Because living in fiction beats the alternatives.

Fortuitous Scarlet Cloak

This is the tale of Fortuitous Scarlet Cloak, a most skilled and devout child of the Fire Dragon. One great day, her mother entreated her to pay her respects to her most venerable and esteemed ancestress and, being the dutiful child that she was, she agreed without hesitation. As a token of the family's gratitude for her labors in upbringing them, Fortuitous Scarlet Cloak wrapped the choicest of moon cakes in rice paper, placed them with a hand-woven basket her younger sister had made, and set off towards the great manse of her glorious ancestress.

The way to the manse lay through a dark and twisted wood, whose spirits had fallen from their proper place in the cycle and become corrupt, twisted manifestations of wrong thought. As she wandered through the wood, she came upon a strange, tall man. "What big teeth he has," she thought to herself, noting how they glinted silver in the wan sunlight the filtered down through the many layers of leaves. Being a proper and respectful youth, she did not comment upon his teeth to the traveller.

"And where might you be going?" inquired the strange man, his hand idly scratching the old tattoos that wound across his skin.

"To visit my ancestress to convey the respects of her children and her children's children, of which I am one," she replied.

"Indeed," said the man, "May you reach your destination without incident." He nodded absently, and watched as Fortuitous Scarlet Cloak continued down the path. As soon as she was out of his sight, he set off through the forest like the wind, touching the ground with but one footfall in five, each leaf and twig bending out of his way in deference to his passing. Unhindered and fleet of foot, traveling as the crow flies, he arrived at the gates of the manse long before Fortuitous Scarlet Cloak was halfway there.

The man passed his hand in front of his face and when it was gone, so was he. In his place, stood Fortuitous Scarlet Cloak, who approached the gates and swung the heavy bronze knocker. After a moment, from within came the sound of footsteps, followed by a query in a old dry voice, like a wind that has blown past too many mountains in its time. "Who is it, my child?"

"It is I, ancestress, your most humble and grateful granddaughter," came the reply, though a careful observer wold have noted that the sound seemed to emerge from a spot just too high to be the girl's mouth.

With a slow grinding the heavy door swung aside, revealing the ancestress in her shining white robe. Faster than the eye could see, Fortuitous Scarlet Cloak flashed into the man from before, who grew into a great Wolf-Beast that sprang forth and clamped its terrible jaws over the ancestress's ancient head, which gave forth one faint shriek and fell silent. Greedily, the beast crunched upon the ancestress's body, splattering gore as the fangs worked flesh and bone like overripe fruit. The smile that spread across the monster's face as it pulled forth the heart and swallowed it whole would have been terrible to behold.

Meanwhile, Fortuitous Scarlet Cloak continued her trek through the woods, and in her own time came to the manse of her ancestors. She reached forth to swing the knocker, but noted that the door was slightly ajar. Concerned, she pushed on it, and it swung open, allowing her to call into the manse for her ancestress. After a moment, there came a reply from the back of the chamber, and the ancestress appeared, wearing a fine red robe.

"Ancestress, what a fine robe you have. Might I be so bold as to inquire why you have forgone your customary white?"

"If you must know, impertinent child who enters without knocking, I was repainting my manse, and did not wish to dirty my white robe."

Fortuitous Scarlet Cloak looked about her, and indeed the manse had been repainted in red. The paint was so fresh that it still glittered with moisture.

"Indeed ancestress, it is a most brilliant color." Casting about, she smelt that not all was right in the manse, for its color had never been changed before. Glacing again at her ancestress, she noted that the old woman's teeth glinted large and silver in the light. "Ancestress, I had never before noted what magnificiently large teeth you have…"

"The better to eat you with my dear!" The Ancestress flowed into the Wolf-Beast from before, leaping at Fortuitous Scarlet Cloak to devour her flesh as well, but she had anticipated the strike and countered by throwing the moon cake into the monster's eyes. Flipping backwards, she danced onto a branch and the creature followed, great claws rending the very air itself with inhuman ferocity. Fortuitous Scarlet Cloak deftly avoided each swing though they struck with the speed and fury of a thunderclap, but in her heart she knew that soon her skill would fail, and that a single blow would enough to knock the life from her breast.

Her name, however had not been given to her without reason, for just at the moment she knew her resolve would ultimately fail her, there came down the road an itinerant monk, well trained in the Immaculate Arts of the Wood Dragon. Spotting the horror swatting at the young child, he invoked the precision and resilience of Sextes Jyles, launching an attack at the beast's very soul, flowing past its invincible body and striking it dead in a single blow.

In this way did Fortuitous Scarlet Cloak learn to be careful and not speak freely to those who might be Anathema.

From Truth to Blog

The key to producing interesting entries is to take real events and embellish them. I use this technique in everyday life to generate fascinating anecdotes that are complete and utter lies.

Take, for example, the time that my mother-in-law, fresh out of college, moved to Florida to be a journalist. She drove cross-country and got convinced by a mechanic that she needed to use most of her remaining money to replace the tires on her car because they were about to blow. Thus, she arrived in Florida with four old tires in her car and no money, and had to live in a tent for a while, and subsisted for the first week on a bottle of rum and a pack of hot dogs.

Now, while this is an interesting story in its own right, it could be better. Instead, consider the time that she had to flee cross-country to escape false murder charges, and all four of her tires blew simultaneously, fortunately while not more than twenty feet from a mechanic. After replacing them, she had no money, but she kept the rubber scraps, because she'd heard they would sell well in Florida what with the recycling boom at the time.

Once she arrived in Florida, she had to hide out in the swamps for a whole month until the murder charges could be cleared, and the only food she had with her was an empty bottle of rum and a lone hot dog. Being clever, she lashed together a raft out of the tire scraps and used it to paddle along stealthily, luring alligators up by dangling the hot dog, then clubbing them with the rum bottle when they got near. In this manner, she was able to keep herself supplied with alligator meat the whole time.

And that is a story.

Spammers are mammals.

I awoke with a small start. It was still pitch-black except for the dull green glow of the digits, indicating that it was 5:08 AM. Something felt wrong. I could feel the presence of someone in my bedroom, a sort of panic-inducing disquiet. I didn't move, so as to not alert the intruder to my being awake. Ever so slowly, my hand crept upward, reaching for the sheathed short sword I kept under the pillow. As my fingers began to curl around the handle, there was faint rustle, as of a cloth-wrapped neck turning back.

He'd spotted me! I flew upwards, whipping out the blade and shouting a fierce ki-ya as I bounded off the bedpoles and parried a hailstorm of little silver disks thrown at me. There was the sudden POOF of a smoke bomb going off, following by a chill breeze flapping in the window, and silence.

I flipped on the lights. The ninja had escaped through the window and was already gone. I slammed its heavy frame shut, latched it, and turned to survey the damage. Sticking out of the walls behind me were the shuriken he'd thrown, all of them CDs with pirated copies of Microsoft programs. On the nightstand was a thick phonebook containing only the numbers of nymphomaniac lesbians who'd just turned 18. Next to it was a picture of a smiling African man in a business suit, as well as a stack of correspondence from "my old friend" Dr. Nbanga, whom I surely remembered and merely needed my help after all these years to relocate "6 hundred million dollar". I was sure that if I looked around, I'd find mortgage forms cunningly hidden, waiting to be accidentally signed. I'd have to spray the whole place for viruses, too.

Annoyed by the relentless attacks of the spam ninjas, I stalked down the hallway to relieve myself before going back to bed. Thinking it was over, I pulled off my pajama shorts and reached down, only find a note taped to my member! "Add six inches overnight with miracle pill!"

All Your Bases Are Loaded

I recently came across a small, spherical object that would, to the casual observer, appear to be a baseball. However, written across its surface were the words "Texas Rangers Baseball Club". Thus, it was clearly not just a baseball, but rather a baseball club. The only possible explanation is that this is, in fact, a relic from an alternate universe, or possibly a remnant of an altered past due to meddling time travellers.

In the world from which it came, the Texas Rangers must have used such baseball clubs as their primary weapon to subdue lawbreakers. They probably beat on the perpetrators in a club-like manner, leading to the name, and held back the option to pitch the baseball club at high speed and bean people in the head for more dire emergencies, due to the risk of becoming disarmed. They likely went around wearing bandoliers full of extra baseball clubs, ready for pitching at a moment's notice, garnering them a reputation as fearsome and tireless enforcers of justice.

Of course, if the baseball club was such a dangerous weapon, no one would dream of playing with it. Instead, they probably had a sport wherein a shooter would unload his six-gun towards home plate, and a batter would try to catch the bullets by embedding them in a wooden bat. If they caught the bullet, they would then fling the bat into the air, and the other team would scramble to retrieve it for use in beating the runner into submission. Being an umpire was a very dangerous job, and required the extensive use of body armor and plexiglass shields.

Would you like fries with that, tovarisch?

Down the street from here they just opened this new fast food joint called The People's Republic of Sandwich. Their special is the The People's Meal, featuring a spicy red sausage patty with red onion and red cabbage on a pumpernickel bun, a whole potato, and a shot of vodka. They have an ad blitz going on about how they intend to "Widen the Flavor Gap with the great taste that Capitalist Pig-Dogs would love if they were not busy being oppressed by the Bourgeois." I hear that for just 39¢ you can upgrade your drink to a Cuban Bladder Crisis.

Objectively Speaking

So I just saw the trailer for the Atlas Shrugged movie. I don't think they're quite being faithful to the book. It looks like the story involves an evil witch named Ayn Rand who lives in a tower where she's building a giant golem with the magical power to convert communists into capitalists. She plans to unleash it on the happy citizens of the People's Republic of Hobbiton, a country full of short people known as Oompa-Loompas who sing and dance joyously while toiling in back-breaking chocolate mines all day for the good of the collective. They're apparently based on Mormons with a clever twist, as the common family arrangement consists of seven of their men living with a single human woman. Ayn Rand is eventually stopped by a magical Oompa-Loompa ninja named Bilbo who rides a dragon named Smaug. Smaug is voiced by Sean Connery, and Bilbo is played by Vin Diesel.

What in the world?

It is a well-known fact that all movies which end with the word "world" must, by law, contain Yul Brynner. The most famous of these is, of course, Westworld, closely followed by its cinematically inferior sequel Futureworld. At possibly the extreme end of obscurity lies The Light at the End of the World, in which Yul Brynner plays a pirate leading a crew of Italian extras who like to peel cute monkeys with large knives. He is opposed by a lighthouse operator played by Kirk Douglas, who turns into a ninja upon meeting the pirates and proceeds to annihilate them.

In the ground-breaking Cool World, Yul Brynner posthumously played the part of a minor cartoon police officer, using a recording taken of him prior to his unfortunate death from lung cancer (which altered his voice beyond recognition). Not to be outdone, Steven Spielberg is including a digitally re-created Yul Brynner in the upcoming War of the Worlds.

Other, less-well-known roles include that of an elder vampire lord in Underworld, a conniving record-company accountant in Wayne's World, a morose teenage girl in Ghost World, and a suitcase full of money in It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World.

Other highlights of his career include authoring Brave New World, personally having fathered everyone to ever appear on The Real World, and inspiring Madonna to write the song "Material Girl", as clearly evidenced by her use of the phrase "Material World".

Cobbling Together a Plan

This is my favorite time of year. Everyone means so well. They mean to get back in touch with relatives they haven't spoken to in a year. They mean to spend more time with their family. They mean to stick to their New Year's Resolutions this time around. So many good intentions, and it's so easy to collect them.

That's why I volunteer so much. It lets you get in touch with all those good intentions. Take all this bell-ringing I do. The money I hand off to the Salvation Army, and I'm sure it makes someone's life better, but the good intentions that people hand off with the money I keep for myself, take home every day, and melt down into little solid blocks. (It's amazing how many good intentions you can keep stored in a furry red hat.)

After they cool, I take these little rounded blocks of shiny gold, gleaming with the best that humanity has to offer, and lay them down in my basement, ten blocks wide, and stretching on and on into the bottomless depths. For, you see, I am building a road—a road straight to hell. When it gets there, I will use it to summon a demon, and that will make my life better. I'm almost there, and I think I should make it this year, right around Christmas eve. Phenomenal cosmic power and rulership over my fellow man—that'll be my Christmas present to myself.

An Ultimatum

"Humans! I am Lord High Archivist Tch'kar of the Zentrax Consortium. We have come to your world to share the wealth of galactic information with you, but woe upon the madness we have found. Unlike all civilized species, you do not use the One True Media Format of Binary Transcoded Phase Shifting Compression. The supremacy of such encoding is obvious to all who study the mysteries of the universe."

"In your wretched wallowings, you do not even agree upon a single format for your sad species. These DVDs of yours are an abomination! We will give you but one chance to abandon your heresy and join the Consortium. Convert your recordings or be destroyed!"

Black Bean Botulism Dip

Take one can black beans. Use half, then store the other half in an opaque container in the back of the refrigerator. Wait until you have forgotten about them. Discover them, sniff cautiously, and make a pensive face. Be unsure as to their okay-to-eat status. Rinse them thoroughly, then place them in a saucepan to simmer. After a while, add some cream cheese or sour cream. Blend until you have purple goo with beany lumps. Put it in a clean container, then return it to the back of the fridge. Wait until you have forgotten about them again and they develop fur. Make a blechy face and throw the whole mess away.