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.


Monday, July 13, 2009

TED: Joachim de Posada - Eating Marshmellows

The research concept behind this is quite old but you've got to see the hilarious little girl in his experiment video. You'll know which one. Tell me if you piss yourself.

TED: Joachim de Posada - Eating Marshmellows

Saturday, June 13, 2009

TED: Hans Rosling

I can't believe I haven't posted Hans Rosling's TED talks yet. He has the most awesome data visualization in the world. Check it out:

Hans Rosling Shows the Best Stats You've Ever Seen

Hans Rosling Shows Incredible HIV Data

Hans Rosling Revealing New Insights on Poverty

Friday, May 22, 2009


Sometimes, when out on a ninja mission, a fellow traveler queries my reason for not eating mammals.

My reasons are plentiful but I'll try to summarize them concisely here. But first, it would help to begin with an answer to the question, what is a mammal?

You might be surprised to hear (though maybe not all of you) that often, when presented with the information that I don't dig on mammals, people frequently counter with, "Oh, so you don't eat chicken?" Of course, my reply is always a puzzled look of wonderment, followed by a slow and careful, "Chickens... are... not... mammals..."
"Mammals (formally Mammalia) are a class of vertebrate animals whose females are characterized by the possession of mammary glands while both males and females are characterized by sweat glands, hair, three middle ear bones used in hearing, and a neocortex region in the brain."
- Wikipedia: Mammal
You may be surprised to find as well that live birth is not a requirement for the class of Mammal. The Platypus is a mammal. It happens to fall in a sub class called Monotreme (mammals that lay eggs), of which there are 4 other known species. But there are several things in the classification of mammal that I find non-appetizing, aside from the fact that I am myself a freaking mammal:

1. Being allergic to milk protein, whey, cheese, and any other derivative of mammary glad secretion, cultivation and marketing, I'm wary of all female mammals.
2. Sweat glands... nuff said.
3. Hair... as a theoretical compound, I'm not entirely against it, but in practice... ew.
4. A neocortex... (see below)

I don't care about the 3 middle ear bones, but the last number there, a neocortex, is very important:
It is involved in higher functions such as sensory perception, generation of motor commands, spatial reasoning, conscious thought and, in humans, language.
- Wikipedia: Neocort
Although the Wikipedia page specifically identifies 'in humans' for language, recent studies are showing that Dolphins, Prairie Dogs and several other animals have and use languages. I wouldn't feel right about eating anything intelligent enough to be able to tell me verbally to stop eating it. A chicken, lizzard or a fish may fight, but it won't look me in the eye and verbally communicate it's conscious desire to not be eaten.
For this reason, I also wouldn't eat a Parrot. I also refrain (for the most part) from eating Octopuses but that's just because they are not that tasty, fairly chewy, very intelligent and freaking bad-ass (YouTube).

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

100 Word Challenge: Epiphany

The molecules in my head just exploded into a sunshine effigy of memory and lightning epiphanies. I'm all aflutter with toxic exhaust, bleeding forth from my inner thoughts. I'm approaching the center of centrifugal force; it's pulling me in and around it, a whirlwind tidal wave Buckminsterfullerene, caging me with solidity. The weak forces of gravity have no hold on me, I'm floating like flying inside this cavity. My head is all spun up like a jackhammer wind up. I'm singing to myself in this déjà vu voice, looping tones in memory. Insanity or synchrony? This cage can't keep me.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Haiku: Spring

This Spring brings strong winds.
Harmony under attack;
Zombies ate my cat.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Exploits of Ninja and Child - zOMB: Zombie Ninja Battle!

The morning was light, sunny, humid, the sky filled with the sound of garbage trucks and UPS deliveries. Another active day. Another day to walk the streets and seek the bounty befitting ninja services. The afternoon remained crisp and warm as Ninja passed through the empty city. Not a soul outside. All hiding away from the sunny open air and the tightly confined public spaces, tucked away with the squeal of popular fear mongering, glued to their televisions and twitter updates, only blinking after commercial breaks.

By dusk, the nightwalkers have risen, taken to the streets. While the politicians hide from train travel and the students fear eating pigs, there lurks a darker foe than flu: The Lazy Zombie virus is upon us.

Code Name Alice is chanting as a monkey, shaking her tiny fists at the night.

"Come out you Zombies! We're ready for a fight!" Telepathy is strong with this one.

Amidst the stumbling bodies of the slow and inept infected, a strong, fearless zombie emerges from the ground: A Zombie Ninja.

"zOMB!" screams the vile villain.

"Bring it." Ninja and Child brace for impact from the zombie strike.

Code Name Alice prepares with a sonic, "Hah!" and butterflies appear around the zombie, throwing it off balance. He hacks at the air, splitting wings, powdery dust of flight falling into his eyes.

"aaaaRRRGGGH!" He moans, rubbing his face in agony. His left ear falls off as his arm brushes the side of his head. He doesn't appear leprocitic; the ear had been hanging loose from a previous battle. He charges at our heroes. The charge is fierce, intense, savage, with the hunger of the undead, yet infected by the lazy virus, he trots forth in slow motion.

As the zombie ninja approaches, Code Name Alice ramps up a monkey howl, heaves it forward and spits it down at the oncoming legs. The slow motion rush of the zombie becomes a quick canon burst through the air as the figure trips and is hurled forward. Sleep Deprivation Ninja's foot appears in front of the zombie's head, blocking the blow with a richochetic force outward, sending the beast back from whence it came, to join the less equiped, the infected underdogs, slithering around in the gutters, awaiting their feed to come to them.

Even a ninja infected with this virus is useless. Fear not the pig, it is the zombie that will destroy humanity.

Unexplained Absence... or Schrödinger Post... or Sorry, I'm Dead

If you are reading this, it means one of two events have achieved reality:
  1. I've become too busy to write and I've neglected my task of bumping the auto-publish on this post another month.
  2. I'm dead.
I know option #2 is kind of a shocker but it's a possibility. So, if you know my true identity (such as a family member or a trustworthy friend who also happens to be a reader), please call me and bug my living ass to write a post.

At this point, one of two things will happen, respective to the two potential realities above. Most likely, this will result from one of my relatives or friends calling me and collapsing the uncertainty of my living status into a definite state. Here's what will happen:
  1. I will come to my senses and start posting daily once again, altering history by ripping this post off the blog and resetting its scheduled auto-post for 1 month in the future.
  2. Another post is already scheduled to go up automatically next week. Each week a new post will be automatically published, continuing the saga of Ninja as Child, which are my autobiographical essays. Since I may be dead, I don't mind revealing at this point that although all of my posts begin with real events and usually digress into fantasy or dream, the Ninja as Child saga is completely true to my memories (fantastical, they may seem).
I can't be certain, at the time of writing this, of how many Ninja as Child posts I've been able to setup for auto-publication but, hopefully, they will be enough to shed some light on who I am and where I came from. And, maybe, just maybe, my beautiful daughter is reading this and following along with her father in his adventures through time. If you do not see a post next week, it means that I failed to catch up and write extra posts each week. If that is the case, I apologize profoundly and I deeply regret that my memories are gone for good.

I love you baby girl. And, whatever happened, I'm sorry.

XOXO Sleep Deprivation Ninja (aka daddy)

P.S. There is also a special post scheduled to go up on my birthday in the year 2029. I would have been 50 years-old at that point.

EDIT: 8:02am: OK, Just got a phone call. Since I answered it, I suppose I'm not quite dead yet. W00t!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Ninja as Child - #19 - Secret Clubs Part 2

Continuing the story of Mike and Rodney:

Mike has a car magazine and Rodney is standing by him, quiet as usual, looking over at every other page. "Check this one out. The wheels turn 90 degrees so you can park sideways."

They continue to talk about the cars--the conversation withers as I stare at Rodney's shirt. There's nothing special about the shirt itself. I'm actually staring right through his stomach. Suddenly, my fist is at my focal point and Rodney is keeled over, grabbing at his intestines, trying to gasp for air. Mike lowers the car magazine, unaware of what just happened.

"Did you just punch him?"

I'm stunned. I don't know what just happened.

"Wow," Continues Mike. "You O.K., dude?" He grabs his brother and helps him back to their apartment, leaving me shaking my head, wondering why I just punched my friend.

Today, I'm the secret club of the Lonely Fist.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Alert: Lazy Zombie Virus is Spreading!!!!!1!!one!

There's a pandemic going on. Code Name Alice has sensed it and thrown the warning. All agents are on high alert. At 7:19pm PST, a massive viral outbreak of the Lazy Death took hold of our city. As fools rushed into traps lain by the infected, they too became infected. Within hours, by IQ, the lowest 15% of the population was completely taken over by the disease.

Sleep Deprivation Ninja and Code Name Alice stare down at the ragged streets of downtown Seattle, piled high with infected villainy. They step near a financial investment adviser who is wearing a $2K suit, with a purple tie befitting a pimp. The business man is slumped against the wall outside Nordstrom, eyeballing passersby.

"I'm trying to conjure a plan that will incite you to come over here and insert your brain into my mouth." Says the lazy zombie, staring at us, drooling with eager yet ineffectual lust.

"Good luck with that." Says Ninja. "What seems to be working for the other lot?"

The investment zombie attempts to shrug but his shoulders are too lazy and he just twitches a little up in his neck, moans a pathetic grunt and collapses to the ground, apparently of fatigue.

A scream. Ninja and Child look over to see a zombie holding a cheeseburger, far away from his face as a vagabond lunges for it, only to receive a sharp bite to the neck from the infected trickster. One more down. But the scream didn't come from this pair. Only a few feet away, a young girl stands at the bus stop, pinned between two languorous laggards, laying on the ground, attempting to trip her by aimlessly rolling as slowly and lifelessly as they can muster toward her unprotected legs.

"Fear not, young lady." Says Ninja with a commanding hand.

"WTF?" Says the girl. "Has the world gone totally, like VR or some bunk? If A-N-Y-one comes near me, I'm going to mace your face!" She produces said accoutrement.

Ninja decides to back off, seeing that the girl is pointing the spray not only at the lethargic zombies but also at him. She has this one under control. "Right." Says Ninja, vanishing as he does.

The virus continues to spread. Be on the lookout for inert instructors, careless caretakers, lackadaisical lawyers, apathetic assistants, somnolent insomniacs, passive police, slothful senators and loafers of all kinds--especially those with pockets of drool forming on their chins. They may be infected.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Ninja as Child - #18 - Secret Clubs Part 1

I'm 7 years old and we are moving back into the Sunny Brae Garden Apartments in Arcata, CA. The buildings are the kind of salmon pink you get after a decade of sun wash over a bad idea. These apartments are where I would learn how to skateboard, play video games, tear the legs off of Water Striders, talk about girls in "that way", and, best of all, to form secret clubs.

There were a few other kids around. My brother, of course, two years older and always the wiser, made connections over every child's mutual love, the Nintendo Entertainment System, which we got as a joint present from our grandparents at the previous x-mas. I too used the power of gaming to join social engagements but I had a penchant for the trees and wandering around in secret or unexplored locations.

Mike and Rodney were also brothers. Rodney was the same age as my brother but Mike was a whopping 4 years my senior. Together they were like ancient sage travelers, come to impart wisdom on the unfortunate inexperienced. I made a habit of knocking on their door almost daily.

They would wander with me and we would talk about the birds and bees, and everday, it would seem, we had some new secret club, which was probably my idea after a while--always trying to create consistent patterns.

On this day, we find ourselves lurching through the rain soaked blackberry vines until we all stand staring down at a dead cat.

"Is it dead?" - Me

"I think it's dead." - Rodney

"Yeah, dude, it's fucking dead." - Mike

This is where Mike picks up the cat by the tail and whips it around like he's a human windmill, letting go right at the apex. It soars, spinning out through the sky, beyond the blackberry bushes, until nobody can see where it might land. The second it vanishes from view, someone makes a sound, "reeaooowww!" For a second I think that it was the dead cat, but I remember that thing about dead animals not being able to talk. I piss a little in my pants with a keeled over, gut-clenching cackle befitting a lunatic. This is the first time I remember letting my bladder go at a joke. I mosey on, slightly behind my friends, inspecting my zipper for wetness, embarassed and worried that my social faux pas might be spotted. As we saunter back to the apartments, I whisper, "Hey, now we're the Dead Cat Club."

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Haiku: Dead?

Auto blog posts rule,
Too bad I couldn't be here:
I think I'm dead.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Notes from the insomniac night

It's become apparent to me that I need to write more. There are so many beginnings of novels and stories in my library--so many wonders to discover. I'm living at night now. It doesn't seem that long ago that 1am was early for me. How I've become so old. My mornings are sleepy, exhausted, sore. I can't move, let alone think. But at night, my mind races, my body wants to jump. I feel the urge to burst out the front door and run screaming into the night. I could do this. naked. I could face the chill of the spring night air, flapping around, free and adventurous, a bird on the hunt for some evening prey. I could just run out there, freezing as it may be. What would happen, I wonder. What would I find. Enough of this; a ninja wonders on nothing that can be realized in a breath. Here I go.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Haiku: My Golem

My golem is fierce.
She is made of clay and peas.
Beg for your life, please.

Single Sentence Story #3 - Spring of Eternal Youth

Beneath the sludge and the ruin, under the edge of the world, within the soul of that ethereal abyss they call the edge of nothing, a dreamer, who began with ambition, having sought to be free from gravity, to break free of death's grip for eternity, now rests his longevity in misery, distraught for what he thought was to be the free flowing spring of beauty and youth is in truth at the base of an inescapable place where only in dreams can we hear his screams, begging and pleading for all to recall that there is no spring without a winter and no winter without a fall.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Who is This Mysterious Man Mario!?

OK, so I step into the car and, in the cubby hole between the driver and passenger seats, I see this business card, flipped on it's white back with a hand-written name and phone number scrawled on it.

As I'm buckling in, I ask my wife, "So, who's Man Mario!?"

"Man.... what!?" My wife retorts, deflecting accusation. I'm not jealous, I just think it's a funny name, so I'm teasing her.

"Man Mario. That man. What kind of name is Man Mario, anyway? Is it like some sort of pipe cleaning service? Or is this some kind of Man service?" I point to the card.

"Look closer." My wife chuckles.

I hold up the card with the scribbled handwriting again. It looks nothing like this:

Mon Mar 10
(and a phone number)

"Yeah, so who's Man Mario?"

And now for something completely different:

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Ninja as Child - #16 - Swimming

Code Name Alice has started swimming lessons. She has a little trouble at first but by the end of each class, she's splashing and laughing and loving every second.

Recently, as I've been putting on her shoes and coat, her gusto to start the day is reminding me of a specific traumatic childhood memory.

You see, I love swimming. The water was one of my favorite places as a kid. I didn't learn to swim until I was probably around 6-7 years old--I'm not sure when it happened--but I wore those arm floaters in the swimming pool until I learned and thought that was the coolest thing ever. I would just bob there and float. Everyone else was working so hard to stay above the water while I just folded up my legs and Zenned out (or did I zone out? Not so clear on that point).

I'm about 3 years old, standing by the edge of a swimming pool in the middle of summer (it's always the middle of summer, isn't it? Maybe it was actually the tail end of summer or the first bite of sunburn, I'm not really sure). My step dad is getting my arm floaters blown up and I'm just staring at the pool like it's a rabbit and I'm a lion and I'm going to rip that sucker a new one. I think I start to drool. The sun is hot, the concrete is echoing blinding light and I'm thinking to myself, "as soon as I get those floaters, I'm going to jump right into the middle of that giant pool." I can't think about anything else. I'm so wired up and ready. My step dad is putting on my floaters and I'm thinking, "as soon as he gets that floater on, I'm going. ready. ready. READY. NOW!"

And I jump in.

Abruptly, I realize that I've made a boo-boo. As I hit the water, I sink. Then I rise in a furious battle with the thin layer between water and air. But only half of my body rises, just my left arm. To my horror, my memory flashes back to the previous moment and I see that my step dad was only putting on my first floater. I'm only wearing one!

I start to flail in a random, uncontrolled fashion, a fashion that is so out of vogue. I think I'm drowning. I actually think I'm about to die. I start to scream. "Halp... glub...*FLAIL*... blah, I'm ... glub... drown.... ing.... blub *SPLASH*."

My mother and step dad are taking pictures. Between breathes, as I'm pushing my head out of the water, with all my will to live, I see my mother half bent and smiling, the camera in both hands, cherishing this moment of my personal achievement. My step dad is just looking at me and holding up the other floater, like, "duh dude, WTF, of course you're drowning. This is what you get for being over eager."

"I'm D-Y-I-N-G! *splash* *gasp* HELP!"

I think they realize now that I am not actually swimming but rather being kept alive, only precariously, through this meager, air-filled plastic bracelet around my one visible arm. At this point, I let my body sink, leaving my arm as a marker to aid search parties in locating my corpse.

Of course, Nam Dad, with his last minute hero mentality, jumps in and pulls me out just before I breathe in the drink.

I spent the rest of the day in the hot tub, which was just deep enough that at the deepest point, in the middle, I could stand up and poke my head above water. I found that if I squatted down and sunk to the bottom, I could stare up at everyone as they sat around the ring. I pretended they couldn't see me and that I had that little world to myself. My own little heated pool in the middle. I didn't need floaters there.

Saturday, January 24, 2009


We've got the smoking laws backward.

I'm walking down the street with my baby girl in arms. A guy walking in front of us lights up and trails a long, thick cloud that lingers in the air as we walk through it.

Now, I don't mind for myself. I'm friend with some smokers and I can cope with it. Ninjas have iron lungs. But my little girl is still in the spongy pink alloy stage.

We banned smoking inside businesses and 25 feet from their entrances. This leaves everyone smoking either in their homes or in the middle of the street.

How about a better solution:
* It's legal to smoke in businesses that allow it
* It's illegal to smoke outside in public air space
* Any business or home that allows smoking is required to have a ventilation system that prevents air pollution outside in the public air space.

This way, the outside air would be clean, inside air in places that allow it could be as tainted as they like and the senseless dope who dropped a smoke bomb in my baby's face would still be alive.

If I were a smoker, I'd probably stand in the middle of the street and smoke. If you aren't allowed to do it inside of businesses or 25 feet from an entrance, you don't really have any other option when you are downtown on a smoke break. Make it a political statement, stop traffic, scream at the sky and talk to invisible people. Hey, if all the smokers did it, they would tell you to smoke inside.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Library of Human Imagination \m/

OK, so jealous... I want my little girl to grow up in a house with a library like this one:

Read the
Wired Article

Watch the TED talk:

Monday, January 19, 2009

Exploits of Ninja and Child: Being Sick at the Fuji Happy Shack®

Ninja with the flu,
like drunken master, will prove
more deadly than you.
--ancient anonymous ninja haiku proverb
When you are sick with the flu, you have to heat your core. Get under those covers. Now create some friction. You can figure out your own way but I suggest you wrap yourself tight and squeeze with the intent to produce diamonds... and drink a lot of sake water.
--Sleep Deprivation Ninja

Our heroes, Ninja and Child, enter the Fuji Happy Shack® convienience store, a large, neon-gleaming oyster waving hello to them as they pass beneath the glowing pearl beacon. "Enter Here!" it claims in the stern voice of several languages, as if to support the ongoing claims of human rights researchers that the sugar bomb Shaved Ice drinks actually do freeze the human brain, preventing its host from being able to realize that the flashing green automated doors are the way into the building rather than to some vortex of doom. A few strung out customers hover around the building appearing to be afraid of the doorway. They stop just before entering, grabbing their heads as if to warm them and withdraw in uncertainty.

Ninja steps into the aisle marked "Recharge!!1!" and grabs a Electric Ginsing Adrenaline™ bar. Code Name Alice coos from within the Moby wrap at his chest. She doesn't need a boost of chemicals to get better. She has immunities from her mother's milk. Ninja, however, doesn't need immunities; the adrenaline bar contains, as a final ingredient, nanobots programmed to seek out and destroy harmful biological contaminants.

At the counter, Ninja lays his out his bar and asks the clerk for one of the Ultra Fever Death II™ vials that they keep for a restricted clientel.

"No way dude, no go. I've only got one left back here. There's been a run lately. Must be another doomsday virus. I'm taken it myself at my lunch break."

"I've got to have it. My child's livelihood depends on my health."

"Fuck off dude. You aren't getting it."

Ninja turns on his ObeyMe Voice Translator™ and it echoes the phrase, "Give it to me or die!" with the torrential malice of the Gods. The effect is weakened when Ninja wheezes out a grandmother-esque cough toward the end.

"Wait, are you sick, man...? Don't come near me. I'm warning you, ninja or not... I'm a sushi belt. I've got mad tuna!"

"Ha-chooo!" Ninja retorts.

An army of millions flies forth to their new battleground. The Fuji Happy Shack® clerk reels back in ricochetic slow motion as the viral horde latches to its newest host.

Ninja reaches behind the man and grabs the vial, slapping payment on the counter. The clerk turns green and begins to shake, oozing white bloodcells that just aren't enough to stave off the attack.

Ninja and Child walk out into the night, prepared for the next round of biological armageddon.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Malcolm Gladwell in Seattle

We left Code Name Alice at a friend's house tonight so we could see Malcolm Gladwell talk about his new book, Outliers--and talk generally about social sciences and some very interesting studies.

He actually talked about a lot more than his new book and it was a great presentation. I recommend seeing him if he comes to your area.

One of the great revelations was that our daughter's birthday will, potentially, dramatically change how well she does in school. This is because she was born in May. The cut off age for acceptance into school for the fall is a birthday in June. This means that if we put her in school at the socially proper age, she will be one of the youngest children in her class, which means she will be less mature, potentially not do as well in performing compared to older children (who have up to 11 months maturity on her) in the class and likely be told by her teachers (indirectly) that she isn't as good as the other kids (who happen to be older--an observation that nobody seems to make in the comparison). Conversely, if we wait and put her school the following year, she will be one of the oldest kids (if not the oldest) in class, which will make her the most mature kid in the class. This doesn't sound necessarily good at first, given that it's never fun to be the smartest person in the room (without much to learn from your peers). However, the teachers will treat her with more respect and think of her as more intelligent, thereby providing her with the healthy mentality that she can do anything if she puts her mind to it.

I am, of course, paraphrasing in a slightly awkward sickly thought process. His new book sounds like it's worth the read (although, I'm not sure any of his educational research is in there). Now I'm going to go curl up with a warm blanket and drink ancient Ninja healing elixir to ward off this fever.

Here he is on TED.com, with a very interesting anecdote about spaghetti sauce:

Friday, January 16, 2009

Haiku: Sick Wife + TED Talk of the Day

Wife is feeling sick
Must put the baby to sleep
No time to write now

Today is brought to you by the letter &, the color cheese and this TED talk:

Thursday, January 15, 2009

We Live Life Backward

This thought occurred to me shortly after watching the Curious Case of Benjamin Button (a fantastic movie, btw).

These are the facts:
  1. I'm 29 years old
  2. My daughter is 8 months old
  3. I work 40 hours a week, sometimes more
  4. I spend 10 hours a week on the bus, commuting to/fro
  5. I sleep between 42-56 hours a week
  6. When most people retire, their kids are grown up and have moved out
  7. When you retire, you have time to spend with your kids
  8. When you retire, your kids don't want to spend time with you
  9. I want to spend ALL my time with my kid
  10. I want to retire now
I dream of a time in the future, when humankind has reached some enlightened age and we take advantage of our youthful situations, rather than work ourselves old and bitter, having regretted not having the time when we were young. I'm taking the time. Anyone who tries to stop me is going to get a face full of ninja fist.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Sleepy

Code Name "Danger" Alice

Before our girl was born, I had two awesome name ideas:

Whatever the first name was, Danger just seemed the best middle name, until I thought of an even better one:


Now, this idea became doubly cool when we decided that if we had a boy, the name would be Evan.

"Hey, what's your name?"

"Evan, Evan-acious Ninja!"

Now, Code Name Alice still has a pretty awesome name, even though the wife was adamantly against Danger as a middle name.

I also toyed with the idea that a her middle name could be "\m/", so she could just give the rock-on sign for her middle name.

She'll still always be Danger to me, though ;)

What awesome baby name ideas do you have?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Top Reasons I Love Being a Dude

Going out on a date:

"I'm reeaaaady... how 'bout you?"
"You're ready, already?!"
"Yeah, I'm a dude. You're still half naked!"
"I guess that gives me time to pee... STANDING UP! Bam!"
"You didn't shave."
"Nope, I'm going for the rugged look. That's low maintenance, baby!"
"OK, Mountain Man..."
"Mountain man?! This is urban winter!"
"Hey, when you eat, does your face-dog try to steal your food? It must get hungry trying to upkeep that kind of mass."
"Hey, you're ruining my list."
"Your what?"
"Forget it."
"Ooh, your hands are warm!"
"Snap! That's 'cause I'm a man. My extremities are always warm."

Monday, January 12, 2009

Down at Fraggle Rock?

No offense, baby doll, but your hair made me have a flash back to this:

Saturday, January 10, 2009

100 Word Challenge: March

We march all night, through the mad burgeoning streets, passing the ghosts of slaves and the solid bodies of the limbless and lifeless. The roads seem to curve and meander, split and branch in vain, as if a path to nowhere, this writhing fractal of cobblestone and walls. Traversing it is simply an act of blindly choosing one direction or another, each time making a left where you had previously chosen right and a right after your left. It's the only way to prevent going in circles: weaving a zig-zag until, perhaps, someday, we will finally get to the point.

Friday, January 9, 2009

I miss you, Koala girl

I almost didn't see you today. When I woke up, you were still asleep. We spent a few minutes together before I left for work at 9am. I kissed you goodbye and you didn't even know I was leaving. I missed you all day. When I got home at 8pm, you had already gone to bed. I ran upstairs to see if I could say goodnight and there you were, eyes closed, laying with your mama. When you opened your eyes and looked up at me, you smiled and laughed with more joy than I've ever seen in someone's face. Thanks for that, sugar bear. My face is yours to grab; my tongue for you to pinch; my ears for you to swing on; my shoulders for you to climb; my heart for you to keep.
Now go to sleep ;)

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Haiku: I'm still alive, but...

Work is exhausting.
Why do we keep doing it?
I just want to dream.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Steampunk Mist

I'm drowning in mist. It's so thick I wipe it off my face by the handful, uncertain where the moisture ends and my skin begins. It's all melting together in the heat.

Nobody can see. We are all blinded by this wetness, this solid-gaseous-liquid hybrid that we are wading through like salmon in a stream. In heat like this, the energy is low. We slug it out, blending the burden of hydration with the syrupy air. Several pounds of water makes it from the inside to the outside. It's heavy on our skin but it lubricates the steam off of us faster.

In the distance, the sound of thunder is taken over by the clang of iron and the shank of steel. Pistons pop and pulse in a rhythm beyond harmonic measure. A train whistle blows and I can feel the steam from it's chimney on my face.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

100 Word Challenge: Doorway

I'm standing in the doorway, watching over you as you sleep.
You're dreaming of cats that fly through the air, swinging to the ground, stopping to let you grab hold and ride them. Piano keys make music in the background, decorating the landscape in black and white stripes. Your mother dances for you, covered in smiles and shaking her booty. You laugh at the sight of her. I'm herding the flying cats, purring their praises and singing you a pathway through the sky. We sing together.
As you dream, baby girl, remember, I'll always be there to play the piano with you.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Haiku: Sunset

Pink spark exploding,
a pretty subtle sunset,
distant evening flare.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Haiku: Iron Ninja Man

Iron Ninja Man.
Nobody wants me. Here I am.
Ninja lives again.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Haiku: New Year

Where did the year go?
Seems like only yesterday.
Someone dropped the ball.