Friday, October 31, 2008


Ninja as Child - #12 - Licorice

I've always liked black licorice, but it might be attributable to a particular babysitter on whom I had a little crush.

"Here. Pretend it's just your gum." I'm not supposed to have any candy aside from my gum but she hands me the little black licorice chew and I swap my gum for the molasses masterpiece, rolling it around with my tongue, squishing it against the roof of my mouth, all the while miming the jaw marching rhythm of chewing gum. We hide under the cheap apartment complex stairway and tell stories about what the world will be like when we are older. I tell her my dream of flying one day.

"No wings or anything. I'm just going to jump into the air and it'll be like a vacuum roller coaster, sucking me up and twirling me around...but I'll control it. I'll get everywhere that way." She giggles at my naive charm.

Of course she was much older than I was, probably by four or five years. But she was way cooler than the bible thumping granny that my mom fired last week.

The old lady had whipped out a graphic novel version of Sodom and Gomorrah as soon as my mother left the apartment. I followed along in the pages, marveling at the gore and horror within. My brother realized this was not what our mother would have wanted and when she got home and heard what happened, our mom was furious. The wretched old lady is out. The hot young girl is in.

hmmm... got a lot more to say on the subject of black licorice... and cute girls... but running out of evening hours... to be continued...

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Oh, night time...

Oh, baby girl, how difficult you make the night time.

When I come home at 11pm, after being gone all day, all I want is to hold you high in the air and laugh with you. We could make the mome raths and borogoves envious of our joy. The sacred Navi stone of the northern nomads, said to forever point toward paradise, would divert its perfect compass precision toward us, just for a glimse of inspiration, returning only to find that paradise is not where it once thought. We could make the stars toggle a morse code glimmer, shouting jokes into the midnight sky, sharing the fun with the rest of the universe.

And you fold and bend like a fortune fish against my torso, professing that I must be happy. You roll over and nearly fall off. I must be in love. You look up at me as we walk and stare with such wonder and awe. I want to sing to you. I want to show you the beauty of the world--your little smile and sweet eyes in a mirror. I wish for camera eyes of my own to capture what only I can see--these looks that you won't give a camera, only meant for me.

Against my chest, you wiggle and burbble, spraying raspberry kisses and looking around the room frantically. It must be playtime because daddy is here. It must be time to run around and giggle. Isn't it? Can't we jump and fly, become airplanes and rockets, bullfrogs and kangaroos. Listen, daddy, I've been working on my creekity croak. And you inhale with a long, bubbly croak like the smoothest, softest bubble wrap, gently being squeezed, one bubble at a time, in a perfect pitch stream. Are you a frog, a baby raptor, a mythical beast that no mortal has ever heard and lived? How much I struggle to resist mimicking your sound, encouraging it. I love when you make that sound.

I wish it were time to play. I want only to play, to laugh, to make silly mouth faces and noises with you. But it's late. Your mamma wants to sleep. I must do the same. You must do the same. If only we could stay awake all the time...

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Instant Purified Water

OK, that's it. It's over. It's officially over.

Everyone is still working at the company that just laid us all off. We're working for stock options during this little financial meltdown period. To limit liabilities, the board of directors came down with an order to lay everyone off, cash out all debts to employees, limit all financial liabilities (limit translates to eliminate) and made sure we were all OK with that. Yeah, I was OK with that.

But today, I go back into the kitchen to freshen up my glass of water with some of the UV purified, icy output of the hot/cold water machine only to find that the awesome black box that was there an hour ago has now vanished. They sold the freaking water machine!


That's it. No instant hot tea. No hot or cold water of the so fresh and so clean variety.

I now sink into an abysmal pool of unfiltered dispair. No! Wait. That's not how a Ninja goes down!

Grrr.... *inner peace* Grrr... *zen calming* Grrr... *psychic Gatling gun, derailing my tranquility train*

The office explodes in a flurry of papers and computer disks as people begin to twirl and twist into a spiraling wormhole in my soul. My turmoil is too great for the fabric of spacetime. All carbon substance compresses into diamond streamers as people, desks, walls all rip apart and smash together, fighting for their place in line at the entry to the abyss. Soon, the 30% of office workers that is not water has been removed from reality. All that remains is pure, filtered water. I zap the floating bubbles of liquid as they hover in the air, waiting for me to slurp them dry.


Monday, October 27, 2008

Oh, yeah... well... oh damn!

Being a ninja and a computer geek has its disadvantages. Take, for instance, the time I was escaping a horde of undead, mutant orchids, which, due to a mystical curse, had grown both arms and legs and were hell-bent on strangling their woven tentacles around my innocent torso. You can imagine my dismay when I attempted to produce a flurry of ninja stars and discovered that half of my stash had been mixed with floppy disks. Lucky for you, you don't need to imagine too well since that events of that day have been painted in the HEAD (Hall of Eternal Ancestral Dismay), which is basically a glorified Hall of Shame for ninjas.

Of course, this battle should have been painted on the COCK (Corridor Of Certain Kills) but my killer floppy disk throws kind of turned into floppy miss throws. Those things are quite powerful if you leverage them correctly but you need to account for a different wind pattern than with standard shuriken...

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Kids and Drugs

When I play with Code Name Alice, I sometimes have flashbacks to high school drug trips.

We're on the couch and she's laying on my chest, giggling.

"Check this out." She psychically projects, "I can eat your shirt."

"Hahahahutha... you're eating my shirt... hahaha."
"huthuthuthahahahah.... I'm eating your shirt... hahahahahaha!"

I start shaking my head back and forth with reckless abandon, making farting noises with my lips. "Hahaha... I can move my head from side to side..."
"hahauhtthuuthhahahthuth! That's the funniest thing ever! haha. I can't stop laughing."

"huthut.... Dude..."

"Hahahahahahahahahahahah... you said dude! hahahahahahahahah."

"Oh, I'm loosing it."

We digress into creatures that can only laugh as a form of communication.

Saturday, October 25, 2008


I was having drinks with a friend the other day and we got to talking comic books and graphic novels. Somehow in my drunken stupor, I failed to mention one of my all time favorites: Transmetropolitan.

Written by Warren Ellis, this 60 comic series features the exploits of one Spider Jerusalem, a columnists and author who does more ranting and raving than writing. Spider is my hero. He's a lot like a ninja, but instead of being stealthy, he openly runs amuck, shouting his identity into his victims fearing faces. Instead of killing people with concealed weapons, he stomps on their faces. Instead of bowing into a dark room to achieve inner tranquility and god-like zen, he screams his head off until people realize they are complete morons who must commit suicide. It's brilliantly written. The visualization is a perfect representation of a grotesque future. Dig it.

Other must read comics here (oddly all Vertigo comics):

Friday, October 24, 2008

Ninja as Child - #11 - Bees

I am one year old. I don't remember this but I can imagine it clearly from my mother's stories.

I'm naked, of course, as I have not yet learned to be ashamed of the awesome ability to pee anywhere at anytime. As I wander out onto the back porch, my mother hears me happily proclaim the identity of an insect.

"Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeee....." This is followed by a moment of silence, which is then followed by incessant tear jerking screams of childhood terror and dismay.

My mother rushes out to see what's the matter. "Are you OK? What happened? Did you get stung by the bee?"

As a one year old, caught in a hysterical fit of shock and pain, I have trouble following and answering these questions. So I continue to wail. Suddenly my mother sees the problem.

My penis is turning a bright shade of purplish red and is swelling up like a frat boy at a strip club who just got the shit kicked out of him by a bouncer.

My mother rushes me, naked, to the car and straight to the hospital. The doctors inspect me and recommend several shots and some medication. As a hippy, my mother objects.

"What is the worst thing that can happen if we don't do anything about it?" She asks.

"Well, if the swelling doesn't calm down, it could stay swollen for a while and he if he has to pee, it could get blocked up and that could cause some serious trouble."

"Ok, but do we have time to wait and see if the swelling goes down before we pump him full of drugs?"

"Yes, you can take him home but call me if he has trouble peeing."

We exit the hospital and as my mother is putting me back into the car, I begin to calm down. This is when my penis explodes. I spray urine all over the car. All over it. The roof, the back seat, the front seat, the hatchback trunk, the whole inside of the car is covered in piss. The swelling and discoloration nearly vanish and I'm suddenly fine.

"I go bee-bee..." I say, woozy and fatigued.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Ninja Nervous Breakdown



I don't have to do anything. I'm a fucking ninja.

Tranquil waves of joy
Carry happy autumn leaves
Through my blackened heart

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Unemployed but still hard at work

You might think being unemployed means you suddenly have all this free time but, strangely, unexpectedly, touching up a portfolio, updating a resume and contacting all yer peeps to spread the word and setup lunches is rather time consuming... especially when your so preoccupied with feline theoretical physics.

I promise more enlightened posts once I cough up this fur ball and get my feet back on the ground.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Back to Work

When making a costume for Saturday's Halloween party, I figured I should make something useful. At the end of the night, I had 2 one dollar bills, a bunch of change (totaling $3.73), 3 suckers, a cigarette and a condom (unused), all crammed into that little almond tin. I never knew it could be so easy.

Well, now I'm off to work.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal

OK, I know it's Sunday but I just have to give a shout out to one of the SMBC archives. You might be surprised how often this kind of thing happens in real ninja life:

That's all I've got for you after a night of drinking at a company Halloween party where everyone in the company was just laid off. My costume kicked ass though. Photos later.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Costco® - the Cheese Dip Fiasco

I hate people at Costco®.

I might have mentioned before how I dislike large groups of people colliding their oversized shopping carts into each other with a lab-grown need to consume an 8lb bag of potato chips. No? Well, here it goes:

At Costco®, you can get just about anything you want. You'll find 50lb tubs of cat litter, racks of Vitamin Water™, bottles of wine, all neatly arranged in towering aisles of selectable back pain.

But to make your trip more interesting, management provides massive shopping carts that narrowly squeeze two by two down the walkways, getting jammed up while some curious grandma stops to look at an 8 pack of sports bras. And the worst part? They don't even put blades on the carts. Nothing sharp at all, in fact. When you slam into another person's cart, you've got to really hit it running and even then you only get a metallic grill beating sound and maybe, if you are serious, a minuscule bounce off the ground, which is unlikely to cause any significant damage.

My least favorite part are those weekend taste-test tables that are scattered all over, blocking pathways and forming large lines of people waiting to get a taste of a cracker. It's a cracker! Oh, and look, there's some stir-fry. You think I'm touching that? Chicken in a warehouse? Um... no.

"Hey, uh, 'scuse me?" The man in front of me fails to respond. He's completely blocking my path, only so he can keep his place in line for the free sample of a 5,000 gallon jug of cheese dip. I'm in no mood for this. I start to shake my cart violently, like a kid in a playground. "AAaaaahhahahahahahahhhhHH!" My voice echoes deep within the cavernous walls of Costco® as I pick up the cart and slam it down on top of the man like a giant cheese grater guillotine, slicing him into bite sized bits and crashing the cart down hard against the unyielding floor. The seismic beating creates an avalanche of cheese dip, pouring from the massive vat at the front of the line. People begin to panic and flee but it's too late, the dip is upon them, making their feet slick and unstable. Countless legs fly into the air as the confused horde runs right into the slippery goop, landing with sludgy abandonment.

I too realize my escape is foiled by the hot orange gushing river. While searching for an alternate path, I see the drooling mass of weekend shoppers descend, diving willingly into the steamy lake, even as it forms. They slip and roll around in it, covering their clothes and licking it off their hands. A woman rips her shirt open, exposing herself to the dip. Others follow suit and soon the flowing melted cheese is an orgy of naked consumerism, writhing in a thick lather of aged and processed cattle spunk.

Leaping onto a nearby column of salsa and bean dip, I make my escape, flying from rack to rack, leaving the growing mass of orgasming food lusters to their fate.

Sleep Deprivation Ninja doesn't do cheese dip.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Ninja as Child - #10 - Beer

"Why is your beer light and his beer is so dark? They are both just beer, right?" I'm presenting this question to my mother and my first step dad (Nam vet dad or NVD). In my five-year-old mind, beer is all the same.

"Try 'em." NVD suggests.

I reach over to my mother's Pale Ale and fail to notice the absurdly uncertain look on her face as I take a sip.

"Ugh! Gah! Blech! Nyeeyeyeyyeyeyeyeah...." I shake my face in horrific disgust. My tongue is starting to lose all feeling but my sense of taste!

"Now try mine." NVD says, nudging his beer closer to me. I'm urgent to get the taste of the first beer out of my mouth so I hastily grab his with the senseless, caution-throwing curiosity that children are known for having.

"UUGGGHHH." I rub my tongue with my hands and shake spastically like a rat that's just been electrocuted. "I'm gonna throw up! Ew. How can you drink that?"

"It's an acquired taste." NVD says triumphant, sitting back and giving my mother a sophisticated glance.

Needless to say, my first time getting drunk wasn't on beer; it was cinnamon schnapps, interspersed with peach schnapps sips to wash it down. Peach pie. The cinnamon burned a little extra and the peach smoothed it out. This is a story for another time.

Anyway, I now have grown a taste for some beer but I still can't take the light hoppy kind. And I have still not found my dream beer:

Imagine a Guinness or some other thick, dark, bread-like stout, brewed with fennel and sarsaparilla, nice and heavy with the black licorice overtones and a subtle flax grain finish to wash it down. Maybe a dash of clove.

Until I find this brew or convince someone to brew it for me, I usually drink a Guinness with a shot of one of the following on the side so I can blend it together as I drink them both:

1. Kahlua
2. Sambuca, Ouzo or Pernod
3. Galliano

Yeah, call me whatever heathen name you can think for me. I'm just all messed up from that beer experience as a child.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Good News / Bad News

Well baby girl, times are getting tough.

Investors are putting the hold order on my company. Some of them got beaten bloody by the market turn but others have saved cash up for this occasion and they are ready to buy in--but they need to see us run on nothing for a while first. They want to bleed us dry, so they can get maximum value. They want us to become so parched that we will be willing to give up all our worldly possessions just for a sip of what they have to offer.

Regardless of the intended outcome, I am as of now officially laid off (along with the entire staff).

I may not be able to get you that trip into earth's orbit this year. What does it run now, aoubt $250K? Hmmm.... let me check my account balance... nope... I might be able to buy you a book on space... Being hoisted into the air with the sounds of mock explosions and thrusters thrusting will have to be enough for now.

But on the bright side, I get to stay home while I collect unemployment look for work cross my fingers wait for financing to come through.

If everything works out, maybe I'll even get a bonus. If it doesn't work out, I'll get to spend more time with you. This sounds like a win/win.

Either way, baby girl, someday, we will dance in Zero G.

... or at least we can go swimming and pretend we are in space...

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

This Just in: Advertisements Lie

I'm not one to frequent MySpace, but I'm working on a MySpace app for my work and, in testing it, I happened to glance over in the corner of the page and notice this:

Wait, that looks like Jared™! <- sellout. Wait... quick google images search. That is Jared™! <- lying sellout

I'm also not one to go to Subway® very often but there is one right by my office and I walk by it nearly everyday. From the street, a passerby is confronted by a massive photo of skinny Jared™ <- bitch-ass sellout. I've noticed his smile has gone soft over the years. He looks sad now or maybe annoyed. He wears a "take the damn picture" face.

And, now I find out that this guy totally lied. The truth has been hiding in an internet ad. He didn't lose all that weight eating sandwiches; he was drinking juice! Sweet, gut cleaning, pee inducing juice.

Now it all makes sense.

Monday, October 13, 2008


I long for sunshine;
In the darkness, autumn falls.
Time to hibernate.

The mighty bear yawns.
Ninja stays awake;
Sleep is for the weak.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

100 Word Challenge: Adjustment

"I think what we need here is an adjustment."

"What kind of mint is a Just Mint?"

"No, no, um... it's not a Just Mint; it's an Ad-justment."

"Oh. What kind of mint is an Adjust Mint? Does it have orange in the middle?"

"Uh, no, there's no orange at all..."

"Is it like an Advertise Mint. I don't like them. I don't like Govern Mints or Punish Mints either."

"Well, I guess it's kinda like all those things in that none of them are actually mints, but..."

"Ok. No adjustment then."

"It sounds like we're having a disagreement."

"You can have a Disagree Mint. I don't want any."

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Ninja as Child - #9 - This is My Rifle

I'm back in Florida and I've digressed back to being so young. So many memories there, I'll have to bounce out every now and then just to keep the variety going in these memory posts. When you're 5 years old, which is how old I was when we left Florida, every day is a lifetime. Every moment I experienced at that age seemed so vital. They seem clearer than my memories of last week.

My second dad was in Nam. He went a little crazy and turned to the bottle for sanity or for a good time. My mother was still, at this time, also enjoying the needed drink or two but working hard to quit. She has now been sober over 25 years. I'm proud of my mom.

Anyway, I'm out in a field with step dad #1 and he has his rifle. He's teaching me all about how to use it and how to behave around people with guns. I'm around 4 years old. The gun looks about as mysterious as the wheat field, which I'm still not used to seeing.

This is the same field where I had previously narrowly missed stepping on a cottonmouth snake, saved only by my mother grabbing my arm and telling me briskly 'HALT!' I hovered, my right foot stuck in the air, over the black viper. The snake then curved and wove itself back into the wheat, unaware that I was lingering above it. I resumed walking, unaware that my life could have ended. My mother was a little more shaken.

So, Nam Dad is pointing his gun to the lightly clouded blue mass that he calls 'sky', aiming at the clouds. "Bet you I can punch a hole right through one of those clouds." He says. I hesitate to disagree and decide that he probably can. "Stand behind me! Always stand behind someone who is firing a gun." I rush behind him, edging out only a little to view the cloud, as I expect it will burst in a flare of white smoke and vanish on impact. He holds the rifle out high and looks around back at me, so low by his feet. He shuffles in circles, making me scurry to stay behind him. He laughs.

Then he shoots.

The echo is intense. I don't even see the cloud he was aiming for anymore, I'm so dizzied by the bang of the rifle. The world spins chaotically for an instant and I steady myself, checking to make sure I'm still behind him. He could fire again. But he brings the gun down, looks down at me and laughs. We start to head back along the path. Several steps later he stops me and points to the ground. "You see that?"

I look down on the edge of the path and see a lizard. Not an especially large one but, to my childish eyes, it looks big enough to get me concerned by what my dad is pointing out.

The lizard is dead. Not just dead, but dead with a bullet lodged in it's head.

It lays there as if it had been casually scurrying back into the wheat when an unexpected bullet fell from the sky and landed right in it's cranium. Squish. Pinned to the ground. Dead.

I look up at Nam Dad. He raises his eyes to the sky and back down at me. Then he raises his finger up in the air. "Don't you ever fire a gun straight into the air."

Needless to say, I'm convinced of the danger that gravity poses when mixed with small, heavy, fast moving cylinders of lead. I stay there, squatted to the ground, with the lizard for a second, examining it, covered in dust. A little bit of blood has leaked from it's head and merged with the dusty path. The lizard is a little skinny; a little emaciated; a little too dead.

How much earlier in the day had my dad come out here and stuck that bullet in the lizard's head before taking me out to this field? Did he kill the lizard himself or just find it dead and get the idea to teach me about Newton in his own way? I imagine him, pistol in one hand and a squirmy lizard in the other, pinning the creature to ground, digging the barrel into it's forehead. No, he must have used a hammer to put the bullet in, or pushed it in by hand. These things puzzled me for a while on the silent walk back to the house.

To this day, I tell myself that this event was staged. But I still don't think that was a blank he fired straight into the air.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Dream: Cactus Tree and a Broken Bridge

"I wouldn't want to be under that cactus tree right now." I point off into the distance where a giant tree is flailing wildly as if a mobile beast having a freak-out seizure. The tree is the size and shape of massive maple tree but it's branches are bulbous cactus limbs, thorny and heavy.

The entire landscape is moving in speed cinematography. In the distance sits a farm house, surrounded by empty wheat fields. The cactus tree is just out of reach, lurching from back to front, smashing it's great arms into the ground.

"It's not moving that fast really." The tree begins to migrate toward us. It crawls on the ground like a Stomphia anemone, fleeing it's prey. We stand firm and the tree creeps passed us, along the road.

"No, look closer, the large branches are moving slowly, when turned down to real-time but their are those fractal appendages, thorns or something, that are pulsing at the ground like lightning. It's just tearing up the ground. A fierce wind blows overhead, bending the other trees in the distance. "It looks like a thunderstorm is approaching." I warn with a finger pointed to the sky.

"But it's all sunny and there isn't a drop of rain." My companion protests.

"Around here, that doesn't matter." Thunder cracks and raindrops cover the land.

Now I know I'm in a dream.

In the farmhouse, a man is showing us models of bridges. One of the models is made of strange shapes in three different colors. "Imagine, if you will, that one of the elements used to make this bridge suddenly becomes insoluble."

"Insoluble?" I ask

"Yes," he pokes at the yellow parts of the bridge with the tip of a pencil, bursting the pieces of the bridge. The bridge tilts as it looses two crucial foundation points on one side. The other end of the bridge is sticking up in the air now at a steep angle and suddenly the bridge is life size. I'm outside looking at it from the water below. So many cars are falling off of the bridge and people are screaming.

There is a tsunami coming. The earth is shaking and I can see waves smashing against the bridge. I run, trudging through the water, attempting to get to the mountain on the other side of the lake. Higher ground.

When I get to the mountain, I am holding a tray with three pieces of sushi on it. I'm ravenous and trying to eat the sushi while runnig away from the chaos. Some people are following me and for some reason I see fit to evade them, biting at my tray in an attempt to snatch a sushi ball. I'm holding chopsticks in my right hand but I don't use them. The terrain is rocky and uneven so I concentrate on keeping balance while running around the corners and climbing up the walls. Soon all the pieces of sushi are gone.

On the other side of the mountain, I am walking down a residential street. A man is approaching me and I know he must be stopped at all costs. Grabbing up a bottle from the sidewalk, I bend in a threatening, "I'm going to throw this at your head" kinda way. He ducks, I threaten, he hucks, I adjust my aim and heave the bottle hard at his arm. It bounces back to me like a boomerang and I immediately smash it against his face. He falls to the ground, dead.

"My oh my, looks like you killed the mayor." A man chewing on a strand of wheat looks at me with his arms folded, resting himself against a storefront. "Been wait'n for some-un ta do that. They're gonna be after you though. More of 'em. You should run that-a-way." He points down the road toward a massive shopping mall.

In the mall, I see many security personnel, all scrambling from earpiece orders. I dodge them methodically, blending in with the crowds, shifting escalators and dropping into elevators to miss the searching men. Hiding between some display plants, I see two security guards meeting.

"He discarded the chop-sticks. We've lost the trace on him." One says to the other, holding his earpiece.

"I duck down to the elevator, pressing the bottom floor. When I get there, I rub all the buttons to Go and run out. I leap off a terrace onto the very bottom floor where many citizens are moving in and out of a restroom waiting area. There are payphones and candy machines and benches for waiting friends. I sit on a bench.

"Hey man, they will find you here." This from an aggressive looking neo-punk twenty-something who is moving too close to me for casual comfort in a stranger. "You need to go out that door and meet up with the others." I thank him for his advice and move toward the exit.

Cautiously, I peer out and around for a trap. Seeing none, I bolt through the opening and into the bright daylight, just in time to hear my baby stir from sleep.

"Can you take her?" My wife turns away from us. I take the baby and rock us both back to sleep.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Classified: Nemesis Wanted

Married, 29yo. father of 1, Sleep Deprivation Ninja, who enjoys trans-dimensional walks on the beach, seeks Nemesis who is willing to join the occasional bar brawl, write snarky emails and hit on my wife (you don't stand a chance). Applicant must be willing to shed a tear at my funeral. If your Archenemy attempts to take your life, SDN will intervene. Nemesis must be willing to reciprocate action if ever needed (but not likely).

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Movie: Hellboy 2

Since my mother was in town over the weekend, we went out to a movie. I didn't realize how cool simply going to a theater really is until I had a baby. Once you get passed the notion that your child isn't going to die if you leave the house for a couple of hours, it's pretty fun.

So we get to the theater and only 4 other people are there. It's Sunday night at 22:00* so it's expected but I still release a mental shout in the form of SCORE!!! A young couple sits in the back and an older pair is in the middle. We sit close to the front.

The old guy in the middle keeps making crass and lame jokes about the commercials that play while we are waiting for the movie to start. I don't give him a hard time because I really hate those commercials. It pisses me off that they show them at all but we are at one of the discount theaters that only shows movies that were cycled out of the good theaters at least a month ago. Tickets are $3 each** so I can't complain here. Someday I may crack at one of the theaters that charges over $10 each though...another adventure.

The trailers start and the old guy is at it again, he's a little loud and obnoxious and I'm bottling my ninja gusto, preparing for the moment his crass ass shouts something stupid during the feature presentation. I can feel it in my black ninja blood that there's going to be trouble tonight.

Ten minutes into the movie, another couple walks in. The man is quite overweight and as I size him up, I start to wonder if I could throw him in a fight. I don't think this is a ninja thing exclusively. Guys can vouch, yeah? And this applies to heterosexual male thinking only. I'm sure the train of thought is different when you are attracted to men. But the train of thought experienced by heterosexual guys, when meeting another guy for the first time, runs mainly along the same track, stopping very briefly at the following destinations:

1. Is he a bleeder?
2. He looks like a (nice|decent guy)|asshole|badass|poser|{insert other superficial character judgment}
3. How far could I throw him?
4. If I'm going for height, where's the best handle on this guy? What about distance?
5. Is he more attractive than I am?
6. Is he betting on speed or strength to save him from me hurling this chair at his head?

We have a completely different rail line dedicated to first thoughts at the time of meeting a woman. It's itinerary goes something like this:

1. Would I have sex with her?
2. Would I have sex with her in an apocalyptic scenario?
3. Is she the hottest girl here?
3. Would she have sex with me?
2. Would she have sex with me in an apocalyptic scenario?
4. Does she think I'm more attractive than that guy over there?
5. Is he a bleeder...

This is where the two train tracks meet in a giant, deadly criss-cross. You have to be very careful because collisions can occur if you get overwhelmed.

But alas, I digress so much. So this guy does look like a bleeder, he doesn't look like a particularly nice or bad guy. I give him the thumbs sideways in that department. I'm not sure how high or far I can throw him. Attraction to the ladies isn't an issue, not the least of which is due to the fact that I'm here with my hot wife and none of the other ladies can even afford a ticket to lady train stop #3. I suspect hes betting on the large tub of popcorn to save him from a chair being lobbed at his head. Either that or he just trusts the benevolent nature of mankind. I'm not a bad guy. I don't throw chairs at people's heads for no reason. So maybe he's safe.

I can't even see the lady behind him, so she doesn't hop on the train. Besides, the movie is going; you think I have time to size up everyone who enters a theater after the lights go down?

Hellboy 2 kicks some serious ass. It reminds me of growing up in the projects--foul and beautiful creatures alike, all trying to wipe out humanity.

Halfway through the film, I hear really heavy breathing. Massive breathing. I start to wonder if I need to shift hyperplanes and kill something that's trying to eat its way through the fabric of space. As I look back, I see that it's just the newbie with his eyes shut, his head tilted back and his mouth flapping incessantly in a snore pattern. While I watch, in utter shock, he begins to snore, snort, sniffle and snuff, in random order and volume. He's a steam engine ready to blow, rubber lids blocking his air valves and old dried crude cluttering the pipes.

"Hey, you can sleep at home, dude!" I know, sometimes I refer to people as 'dude'. Don't ask me why.

"Ohhuhnnk! guh...." He's awake now, staring at the screen like he didn't even hear me.

OK, I think, back to the show.

Ten minutes later, the snoring is back. It's chair time. I grab the free seat to my right and heave it back toward the guy. I make good height but the man has already woken up from the sound of the metal base being ripped from the ground. He lifts the jumbo popcorn bucket to his face to block the theater chair. I'm surprised at the resilience of the butter tub as it ricochets the chair three rows forward.

"Hey, what gives?"

"Your snoring gives, bub." I'm at his side and I shove my hands deep into his stomach, aiming for a good organ to grab onto for leverage. Picking up big guys is tricky and best achieved internally.

Once I have a good hold, I lean back and with the prowess of an Olympic discus thrower, I go for distance, sending this guy toward the exit door. He turns out to be lighter than I had estimated as he makes it all the way out of the theater, the exit door slamming open on impact and swinging shut with a locking click as he vanishes into the parking lot. His girlfriend, who is obviously the disheartened victim of an internet dating service, appears relieved and runs away quietly, spryly exiting through the main entrance.

The old guy cheers and his wife smacks him aside the back of his head.

"Shut up, Steve!" She resumes snacking and enjoying her movie. So do we all.

* Ninjas prefer the 24-hour time format but we don't call it military time because it's been around centuries longer than any military. Ninja history goes all the way back to the beginning of time when we measured moments in picoseconds and those incalculable fractions of time allotted to the passing breath one takes at the moment of death.

** Cheap tickets is one of the advantages of not being able to see movies when they come out (due to babysitting difficulties). Another advantage is that my Netflix queue is the triple digits. I will never EVER run out of something interesting to watch. Not that I ever have the time.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Whatup iPhone

Dear iPhone,

I know you're a badass phone with all sorts of apps that I couldn't live without, but really, do you have to make my baby look like a kaleidoscopic alien so often?

P.S. I still love you.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

100 Word Challenge: Blend

I begin by slashing four strokes into the blackness, slicing out a square, occasionally hacking an 'X' through the box before it falls away like fabric, revealing a cloudy blue sky. I dive through the opening and I'm falling fast. The ground manifests in curvy planes, adapting as it unfolds into mountains, plains, a cityscape, ocean.

Now flying through the clouds, splashing into the sea or touching the ground running I'm always on the move, allowing the world to define itself. I try not to intrude.

Control blends into release, consciousness into subconsciousness and the event stream is uncontrollable.

Now I fall asleep.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Exploits of Ninja and Child - #8 - Recess

Daddy, why are you going to work today, it's Saturday?

Well, little baby girl, I've got deadlines and I need to get some things done at the office. Times are tough and I need to work extra hard to make sure my job will still exist in the coming months.

Daddy, what would you do if you lost your job because of the economic recession?

Well, since I wouldn't have to go to work, I would just stay home and hang out with you and mom everyday. Of course, we wouldn't have any money to do things.

But daddy, we've got year long passes to the Zoo and the Science Center and the Aquarium and there are so many other things to do that are free like singing and dancing and listing to music and smelling the spices in the kitchen and walking around the city to hear the things that are there and you can write and play your accordion and we can walk around Greenlake and laugh and play.

That's true; we could keep pretty well occupied. But eventually, we wouldn't be able to pay our mortgage.

Daddy, I hope the economy crashes just for a year.

Me too, sweet pea, me too.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Ninja as Child - #8 - Jon Bon Jovi

"You don't know who Jon Bon Jovi is!?" This came from Izaak, the 7-year-old kid standing in front of me, wearing a leather jacket with a big "Jon Bon Jovi" spread across the back.

I had, of course, in my ignorance, dared to ask him, "Who is Jon Bon Jovi?"

Queue music:

We are all standing in line, awaiting our release from our second grade classroom, into the open embrace of recess. I look at Izaak who has only half way turned around to give me the same face the Fonz would use to tell someone, "hey, it's cool, I'm cool enough for the two of us."

Izaak is cool enough for the two of us. He is a certifiable badass. This kid knows everything that is cool. He's slick with the ladies. He can always win those toys from the stupid claw machines at the video arcade. Every. Freaking. Time. Sometimes we go to the video arcade at the mall just so he can prove it.

So, I'm standing there, turning red with embarrassment that I don't have a clue who this Bon Jovi guy is and Izaak saves me. He leans in and whispers, "he's a singer, man."

"Oh. Oh, yeah, I knew that." I'm such a smart-ass. Izaak shakes his head, totally not falling for my ruse. "You going to Mike's birthday party tonight?"

"Yes I am." He says and then he throws his hands into the air in a badass biker style "ROCK" just as the bell rings. For a split second it looks like he made the bells ring just by throwing his arms up and giving the signal. I marvel until the vanishing line catches up with my position.

Children pour out into the play yard like a bag full of marbles spilling out onto the floor. Direction is meaningless. Vectors change based only on the terrain. Individuals coalesce into groups, arbitrarily merged based on location, rather than social status. The hordes of children indulge only in fun.

Mike's birthday party that night begins at Angelo's Pizza. There are about eight of us running amuck, pizza in one hand and a fistful of quarters for the video games in the other. Several very large pizza's are quickly devoured. My stack of quarters lasts me about fifteen minutes. Some other kids have more and I watch as they play. Izaak has been playing for over thirty minutes on the quarter he borrowed from Mike. Badass. Within the hour, all the quarters are gone and Izaak has killed the game. This place is spent. But the night is still young. The party continues at Mike's house, where we will all slumber over, living the fort-building, pillow-fighting, video-game addicted paradise.

When we get to Mike's house, I look around at all my cohorts and something isn't right. "Where's Izaak?"

Mike shrugs, "I don't know... I think he had to take off or something."

"Man that sucks." I'm a little hurt. How could he ditch out on the best part. A sleepover! That's just crazy. I'm sad for a brief moment but little boys with their toys and games are easily distracted and fooled. We all forget about Izaak.

The next morning, my mother picks me up and she asks me how it went. "Oh, we made this awesome fort and played video games and ate lots of junk food and it was fun. I wish Izaak was there. Do you know why he didn't come?"

My mother stares out the window of the car as we drive away. She looks unusually distant. "I drove Izaak home last night from the pizza place." Then she looks at me with a pained expression like she is about to cry.

"Why, what happened?" I'm scared for Izaak. Did he get injured or something? Did he have some kind of emergency?

"Mike's mother told me she didn't want him there because Izaak is black." She looks at me. I'm at a total loss for words. "She said, I don't want that negro boy staying at my house with my son. That's what she told me. So I took Izaak and I drove him home and I explained it to his parents.... I'm so sorry." She turns back to the road.

"Mom! Why didn't you tell me? Why did you let me go there? I wouldn't have gone if I knew that." I start to get angry, brooding with my arms folded tight.

"I'm sorry, I should have told you. I regret not telling you."

I can't stay mad at my mother. I stare out the window and I imagine that I am Izaak, sitting here in the passenger seat, being driven home from the party. Did he cry? I wonder, did this happen to him a lot? I had no idea someone would ever do something like that to him. Why? WTF? Why?

Fuck. Now I'm fighting the tears just remembering this shit. And yes, ninjas do cry, but it only happens when a ninja relives some of the tragic memories that eventually combined to create the need to become Ninja. I can still choke a Jabberwock with my pinky.

Izaak just keeps cool. On Monday, in class, he just shruggs like the Fonz when Mike and the others ask him what happened to him. "Hey, I just had to go, you know." Izaak didn't miss a beat. Mike doesn't even know his own mother is a racist bitch.

I look around the classroom. Tiffany has red hair. Brian's hair is black. I have extreme blue eyes, about which the teacher makes frequent creepy comments. I'm the only one in the class with eyes this blue. Tiffany is the only one with red hair. Izaak has really dark skin. It's darker than peter's and in a different way. Everyone's hair is different. Everyone's eyes are different. Our noses are different, our chins, our height, the size of our hands. Everyone has a different skin tone. The only thing we see in each other is difference. And difference is cool.

This classroom is full of hippie children. Most of our parents were hippies. Some still are. We live in a little town full of natural food stores and local bars where everybody knows your name. In this town of monotonous living, conformity is tantamount to wearing a shirt that says 'Dull'. So we all look at each other for the differences that make us cool, all trying not to blend in with anyone else. Until we get around to learning about discrimination in school, none of us has any idea the world is full of such things. Sure, we notice we are all different but by what scale could we even dare to label any of these traits better than others? The only thing that matters is that you know who the fuck Jon Bon Jovi is. That's definitive.

Many years later, I'm about 15 years old now, and I'm at the grocery store getting a bunch of stuff for my mom. When it's my turn in line, I unload a full cart of food onto the conveyor belt and when I look up, I recognize the woman at the register. It's Mike's mom. She's older but she still looks the same. I remember Izaak and as I think about him, recognition dawns in her face too. She knows who I am. She knows I was friends with both her son and with Izaak. I think about screaming at her or just casually asking her what it's like to hate people like Izaak for such stupid reasons. I look behind me and see that the line is long. Everyone is waiting for my heap of goods to be purchased so they can take my place and interact with this woman.

No, not this woman. I look at the ground and lick my lips, clenching my fists, ready to bash her face in while she's calmly beep-beeping my groceries. I look up at her and slowly shake my head. I can't do this. I can't make this transaction.

I leave. I just walk out. The pile of groceries sits on the conveyor belt and yields to no one. She doesn't say anything. I know as I leave the store that she is just staring at my back and she knows exactly why. It's not much resolution but at 15, I am not yet a ninja. I'm still just a little boy who doesn't understand the world. Not even a little.

Damn. That was the saddest stroll down memory lane I've taken in a while. I'm getting all of these memories written so I can remember them when I'm old and so my daughter can have an idea what the world was like when I was a kid. I had forgotten when I started this project that so many of the memories that stuck are pretty shitty. I've got a million more. But that's why I eventually cracked and became Ninja. Time for something to laugh at. This seems relevant:

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Vice Presidential Debate

The most fundamental difference between the two candidates:

Education VS. Indoctrination; Nuclear VS. Nuk-u-lar; Change VS. More Bush

Product Review [unpaid]: War on Terror Game

Ok, this is awesome:
If you are looking for a way to get on the NSA watch list, this is it. Just get yourself a copy of War on Terror, the board game.

Just listen to this awesome discription:

Each player starts as an empire filled with good intentions and a determination to liberate the world from terrorists and from each other.

Then the reality of world politics kicks and terrorist states emerge.

Andrew said: "The terrorists can win and quite often do and it's global anarchy. It sums up the randomness of geo-politics pretty well."

In their cardboard version of realpolitik George Bush's "Axis of Evil" is reduced to a spinner in the middle of the board, which determines which player is designated a terrorist state.

That person then has to wear a balaclava (included in the box set) with the word "Evil" stitched on to it.

Police confiscations of this game in the UK have proven once again that you can have peace or you can have justice but in a dictatorship by committee, you probably won't get both.

While in the USA, you still have freedom of speech, so long as you don't say anything illegal.