jump to navigation

xii October 12, 2009

Posted by eatnorthamerica in farcical review bullshit, onanistic bullshit, pseudo-informative bullshit.
add a comment

I am staring up at the juggernaut glaciers of the Paramina Rift, a sole speck of warmth in a desert of ice. Snow scourges my face; fog scythes the booming peaks from view. Ice drowns the turbid river. I look around; all is time, everlasting. The cliffs stare us down. Move on, they say

but I am caught in the frigid beauty that spreads before me, all particles and polygons. A last tribute to a dying platform, the ephemeral dreams of a forsaken machine. Under heaven, slipping across hell, I stare down the last sullen triangle of light between the ravine walls. I hear it, an eerie sad song of the done.

The wolves are wailing. The dead come.


secret code May 22, 2009

Posted by eatnorthamerica in onanistic bullshit.

‘__[jaded videogames artist]_____ (character) desperately tries to achieve __winning the state lottery_____ (their desire) or prevent ___the inevitable decline of modern society as we know it______ (someone else’s desire), even as ___fate____ (their Nemesis) and ___the gods____ (other forces) try to prevent him from achieving that. In the end, he goes from being a ___rebel warrior____ (who he was at the story’s start) to __disillusioned destitute_____ (something different).’

You fill it in, then.

Today I picked up The Scar (China Mi[e]ville) (here’s your obligatory wikipedia link you lazy people).

The clerk looked at it, then announced he had it lying around at home.

‘like it?’ (I say, while signing off my credit)


‘I never finished it.’

‘…oh.’ (now contemplating my signature for $11.42)

‘well, you know, it’s well-written, I just have this thing about weird names. The names were weird. I guess I’m kind of weird about fantasy like that.’

‘I swing my sword, teehee’

‘…anyway, you might like it, if you don’t mind weird names.’

Unreasonable consonant strings (R’rhhzthahjzks swing your sword GO!!) make me throw books back on shelves, but The Scar seems acceptable. No swords yet, which either floats your boat or does not. It’s well-written, which is cause enough to celebrate. In a world reduced to lisping mishmashes of three-letter acronyms, I grasp at poetry like water.

Ashley Wood did the cover. I wouldn’t have guessed, although it’s an exercise in understated elegance, thereby avoiding my current and exceedingly superficial code of book cover rejection



10 breasts? [increment variable r by 1]

20 got swords and big oily muscles? [ditto]

30 pirates [ditto ditto]

40 space pirates [etc]

50 is twilight? [increment variable r by ∞]

60 if r > 0, terminate with excessive intolerance


Cyrillic looks rude.

And since you are all so concerned re: my exclusive consumption of meat animals, here’s my new health slogan:

switching to an ALL-CARB diet in preparation for the coming apocalypse of WORLD FOOD SHORTAGE better STORE FATS NOW

at bay September 30, 2008

Posted by eatnorthamerica in onanistic bullshit, things that are not quite things we know, verbiage clusterfuck.
add a comment

Home is how I keep the outside world at bay. My doors are almost never all the way open, save to a minute group of people who don’t have to read this to know who they are.

One of those people was over at my place this weekend; I’ve known her since we were 9, and hadn’t seen her for a couple of years. It’s a rare thing, being around someone who knows you for all that you are and accepts you in your entirety. I savour the novelty of not having to be a novelty.

It’s funny how you can not really talk to someone for intervals of months and years, and never need to; yet when you come together again, it’s all you do.

She arrived at noon on Friday; I did hardly any work from 12 onward:

a) I was ahead of schedule
b) so fuck it. see
we were having an extended conversation about life, the universe and everything
d) this conversation ran from 1.45 pm to 1.45 am in the morning
e) she lost her voice.

f) all of it.

It takes a different perspective to put your life into perspective. From her viewpoint my workplace was a haven of cushiness. I think it’s all too easy to assume that everyone has the right to a job that’s at least 60% enjoyable. Meaning: we all bitch too much about shit. At least we’re not working 8-2. Yet.


Sunday, it was Sunday. She was gone. I was standing on the peninsular Vancouver shore, filming my friends filming my germphobic friend crawling through hypodermic sand. One of them used to be a pornographer. They’re making a zombie movie, or something. I was there for the humanity of watching people around them watch them.

“I think I have AIDS,” my friend said, throwing his weight from foot to foot, sloughing the beach detritus from his skin. In his youth he was fed a diet of rice saturated with orange pop. Why any grandmother would do that to her grandchild, I don’t know.

I watched the watchers. You can surround yourself with all the people in the world and still not understand what it means to be known; to never know what people know about themselves, to only know that people will never know what you know about yourself. Sometimes we need to be known; sometimes we don’t.

Holding a camera that wasn’t mine, I pushed the trigger again, again. I stopped carrying my own camera around a while ago. It was too tempting to turn life into a series of beautiful, bastardised pictures that show everything and say nothing. Or show nothing and say everything. Either way. The camera is broken, anyway, or I am. I could never make it say what I wanted it to say, that in a picture of a hazy sky was a certain feeling I had about the world that day.


Nighttime. I lie umber and mellow on yielding cushions and think about that very small cluster of people that I hardly ever think about. I don’t need to. Some doors are always open to some people, even through this veiled impermanence called life. We don’t write, or call, or look, and yet our lives are always open to each other.

Sometimes you only ever need to know that you can choose not to be alone.

I’m only lying here, tossing out cheap phrases like “you can choose not to be alone” and murmuring to you that Google only knows two other people who chose to say “you can choose not to be alone”, that not till now did Google choose to know anyone who chose to say “you can choose to not be alone”, and now you are here, and I am gone.

preachers in the street September 25, 2008

Posted by eatnorthamerica in onanistic bullshit, things that are not quite things we know, verbiage clusterfuck.
add a comment

Fifteen years ago, fifteen years from then, I thought I would be standing on a stage like the band that played tonight, night after night into the longest night. It was something I thought I knew would happen, but never did. I was fifteen and my heart sang starstricken dreams as I stood, arms uplifted, a player on a slumbering stage, and waited for the world. I thought I knew all things about time and god and love and death. The world never came to me; I went to it. I met people I wish I’d not. I became, briefly, whom I wished I had not. I learned about truth and life and love and other trite things that stubbornly resonate, like empty vessels under electric storms. And if there was one song, my song, it waxed crazy and dumb and young, and dreamt stages glowing gold and dark.

You could have asked me if I understood, then, what I would come to understand now, and I would have told you that I did, and not been able to do anything but tell that lie, without ever knowing why. I couldn’t tell you now what at fifteen I would have done. I would have laughed. I should have laughed. I, now, would have reached out, put a finger on that unweary cheek, told you it was okay. And now I laugh.

Today the mirror says, look away from what is past, into dreams long-extirpated, into bliss, into a patient accretion of all that gentled you — that asks but what did you regret? and what did you expect? and I pause and say nothing, everything, and briefly, I realise it is true.

And looking at the face I grew into, I shut my eyes and find myself finally able to say; yes, it was me. Yes, I am, I am, a different dream.

The sun on my skin, the wind in my hair, here it is — gold, in October, the honied homecoming scent, red cedar. And the song has changed, as all songs do. Or my ears have, or the world has, or all of us, or just me, and you.

wind, growth, bus August 14, 2008

Posted by eatnorthamerica in onanistic bullshit, things that are not quite things we know, verbiage clusterfuck.
add a comment

We (in this place, at this time) live in a time and place where being considered liberal and open-minded has become a tenet to aspire to. Yeah, it would be nice if people would actually stop talking about being open-minded and just fucking be open-minded. Or just stump up some integrity and stop wasting my time. It’s taxing, dealing with some miasmic melange of the two; viz: “I’m open-minded, but only about things I’m not narrow-minded about.”

I’d rather hear the words people aren’t saying when they say something they don’t really want to say. Maybe we just don’t always want to hear the truth even when it’s something we should hear. Well shit, you run, you hide, you lose your life. You could get hit by a bus. Keep staring into the sun; don’t flinch, don’t look away.

Spit and shake. I see you never; we can be professional about our mutual disregard. Let’s be polite. Let’s be honest. Is it more polite to be honest, or dishonest?

Sometimes I want to stand before the wind and hear what the wind shouts back.

What two people say to each other doesn’t necessarily make sense. It’s like a matching game; sometimes we learn to speak in pulses, with fluency. You keep stumbling along, keep guessing, and one day you strike the right notes. It’s all about congruency; hit counterpoint, pause, stop, unfurl the patchwork harmonies of the heart. The beats aren’t always what you thought they were. Better adapt before the melody breaks. You know it’s going to end someday. Better make the best of it.

Earlier this week I was walking for the sake of feeling the ground beneath my feet; across the street a man sobbed and wailed, a cadenza of rage that split the heavy black sky. I don’t know what the wind told him.

Perhaps the spectators standing by were looking for the same; perhaps we were just waiting for something to lurch us along, all of us overwhelmed by our own rhythm. Perhaps we were waiting for a conductor, waiting for a baton, for a wave to unify. Warbling alone, meandering along, looking for someone to syncopate the breaks in our souls, singing hello, hello, I loved you, goodbye.

On a different day, on a different coast, I opened up my mouth. Lungs filled with fragments, I flew emotion into the wind. The wind shrieked back; she took my words and twisted them and turned them into words I never knew were there.

There I was, and here I am.

Autumn was coming. Autumn was coming, sweeping last remnants of summer away, sweeping us into the dark. It was never about the getting; it was about the giving-up.

Night crackled, white sparks flared, blazing storefronts shuttered into sleep. The bus came battering down the road, hurtling, honking, reeking metal bolts and limits breaking, crashing forward with a great steel groan. I smelled the sharp acrid rage of it. I smelled it coming. A foot from losing skin and cartilage and life, I stood there and let the wind shred my face. And I didn’t bat an eye.

the gleaner July 17, 2008

Posted by eatnorthamerica in onanistic bullshit.
add a comment

Uglyskins was like patchwork, stitched together from a hundred different types of skin.

I craned my neck to get a better look at him through the letterboxed window. The orderly fumbled with the key to the grimy door.

“All yours, sir,” he said, eyeing the neat cut of my coat and shoes, sleek against the pitted concrete floor. He stood aside.

I went through the doorway, and the door shut behind me. I looked at the man within. The unforgiving fluorescent light winked on and off and on again.

He had come to the stained soft walls of the cell nameless and silent, and he lay on the unyielding cot, arms and legs stiff in the restraints at his sides. His hands were balled into tense fists; they quivered occasionally, in perfect harmony with the tic of his pale blue eyes. I could not tell his age through the ruin that was his face. He was stitched together from a hundred different beings; I could not tell how many of them were human.

“I’m Doctor Sands,” I said, swallowing, and walked towards him. “What’s your name?”

Closer, he looked like nothing that should have walked on two legs, or four, or eight. The stitches were tighter around his eyes and mouth, but it made them none the prettier. His eyelashes were gone. I could not tell how he might have looked in one skin.

The blue eyes kept blinking. His mouth was slack.

“I’m here to help,” I said, lowering my voice. “Tell me what happened to you.”

Last year, fresh out of my internship, I had seen a man who bathed himself in acid to rid himself of the invisible ants that crept endlessly over his skin. I had thought, for the first time, that a man should have the right to his death.

I had seen men who had performed arson upon themselves, men who had pared their flesh from bone, but I had never seen anything as hideous as him.

Perhaps it was the guilt that made me reach out and put my hand on his. Perhaps it was the warmth of my hand, and my pity, that snapped his livid gaze to mine.

“I ate them all,” he said. “I ate the girl in the red hood, her wolf, the swan boys, the girl with the goose, that giant man. The snow white girl, the rose red child. All of them playing their parts for centuries. Saying the same words over and again. I set them free.”

I turned the names over in my head. For a moment they seemed familiar, and then the feeling was gone.

“Why this?” I asked, and I touched the threads that ran through his hide.

“Someone must remember,” he said. He shook his head, and whimpered, and shook.

I caught sight of a dark mass on the underside of his shoulder, pushing his arm up from the cot.

Something clumped and ugly sprouted from his skin, breaking through a film of blood and pus. It was hard to see in the cell, but in the wavering light it shuddered and parted, like a clot of feathers.

rune factory (NDS) October 20, 2007

Posted by eatnorthamerica in farcical review bullshit, onanistic bullshit, things that are not quite things we know.
add a comment

My stomach consumed itself on the third day, right as I was coming up to Toytown.

I collapsed against the gates, and when I opened my eyes, a girl said; “Would you like my hoe?”

She said, “I think you look like a farmer.”

She told me her name was Mist, and that she thought I had it in me to do great things with soil and loam. She told me there was a spare hut I could stay in.

She gave me the hoe.

On the way to the hut she’d so kindly pointed out, I saw a young man toiling on the farm, skin beaded with sweat, breath heaving with exhaustion. He was chopping up a stump with an axe. His face was numb with exertion.

“Hey,” I said. 

“Rune,” he said. “Call me Rune.”

“Rune,” I said. “What do you do?”

“Once a day, I brush my animals,” he said, not quite meeting my eyes. “To each one I go. Hi-de-ho. I run my brush over their hides, their scales, their radiant hair.”

He paused; a flush peeped through his skin. His voice swelled and scurried on. 

“I raise my axe, three times per stump. It’s taken me a while, but I’m just a few bits of wood away from 2000. I don’t care if I have to start going down to the dungeons to get more wood, I can’t wait. I’m so close. I’ll have a bigger house, soon. And then Mist…” 

All he wants to do is chop a lot of wood and make a lot of money so he can finally buy that massive house he’s always wanted; the house that will let him move in the double bed he’s been lusting after for months; the bed that will let him move in the woman he’s been lusting after. For months. He’s been chopping wood for months.

You can’t get a real kitchen unless you’ve got a big house. You can’t get a real bed unless you’ve got a big house. You can’t get that girl who looks at you all special. It don’t matter if her lovemeter is maxed, she’s just another capitalist pig. Better start wood chucking, chuck.

Rune said he was waiting for the stumps to appear in his field again, overnight. With the dew and the strange glowing spheres that let him stay up later than any man I’d ever known. I figured if I wanted some monsters of my own to brush I’d damn well better get back to my own farm. Lord knows I could feel the axe handle in my hands already; Lord knows my palms were imprinted on the grainy wood. Lord knows I’d be chopping wood for the next few months.

“How about you?” he asked, scratching his chin.

I shrugged. “I’m just looking,” I said. “For a place to stay. For a while. Until I find something else.”

Next morning I talked to Mist again, trying to figure out why Rune liked her so goddamn much. 

“Ha ha ha!” she said, her face crinkled up into a smile. “Blah blah blah, blah blah, blah blah.” 

I don’t know. To each his own. I wandered around the town, talking to the townsfolk, all of whom were politely repetitive. I met a girl out by the pier; she was hot, in a ninja kind of way. I got the feeling she really liked fish; she said, “I love fish.”

I tilled some land, sowed some seeds, got really tired, went to bed, woke up, got a cave pass from the mayor. I went to the dungeons. I smashed some monsters in the face with my hoe. I went to bed again. I woke up. I went to the farm.

I saw Mist standing in the garden again, and wafted a hello over to her.

“Ha ha ha!” she said, her face crinkled up into a smile. “Blah blah blah, blah blah, blah blah.” 

I asked Rune about it, and he just shrugged. He wasn’t one for big talk, either. He just did his thing, and he did it well. Still, he said, it was frustrating that Mist said the same thing every morning when he greeted her. Hey, you can’t rationalise love.

“You try it,” he said. “You try talking to the rest of them. It’s creepy, it’s unsettling. But I love her. I want to marry her, man.” 

I listened to Rune. I talked to the rest of the townspeople. They didn’t say much; they never said much. I got into a routine with them, and we became closer, although we never really spoke. People talk small talk, sometimes minute talk, and this talk was infinitesimal talk.

The ninja-ish girl liked me, because I fished for a fish, and then I gave her a fish.

“I love fish. You are awesome,” she told me.

I gave her another fish.

“I love fish. You are awesome.”

It kind of went on like this for days, and then I stopped seeing her. It just wasn’t working out. I stopped talking to the townspeople, too. I stopped farming. I just went to the dungeons, chopped wood, mined for gems and metal, and bought myself a fridge. I bought a kitchen. I learned how to bake a cake. Life went on.

When I came back to the farm a few months later, Rune’s house was larger. Bigger. Better. I saw the silhouette of a woman through the foggy window.

Rune was standing by the gate, watching me.

“How are things?” I asked, watching him.

He met my gaze. He let his shoulders raise, briefly. He met my gaze, through the mist.

Inside, the woman, barely a girl, moved back and forth, dusting down the sheets, pottering to the stove.

What was there to tell him? He had it, his dream right there in his hands. Tomorrow he’d be brushing his animals, one by one, scraping hearts from their frowning faces. He’d gotten to the stage where they loved him just enough to water almost all his plot, but not quite. He’d said it gave him a little sense of purpose, watching the water stain those last three squares. Knowing that it, as so much else in his world, was ephemeral. That he’d be there again the next day, filling in a blank slate.

I looked at his eyes — void as stars! — and bade him good night. He didn’t reply. We didn’t talk. It was the talk that came after infinitesimal talk; null talk. As I was walking home, I saw him as he’d been; bright eyes sparking as he talked about his dreams and hopes.

It was a week later that I moved out, just a hundred logs short of 2000. Spring was in season, the frigid morning air lapping at my neck as I meandered through the drowsy town, past my droning friends and loves, past Rune’s tidy farm. He stood in the middle of his plot, surrounded by a host of glowing orbs, just standing, staring.

I waved to him, but he didn’t see, and after a moment I began to walk away, down the road and out of Toytown, maybe to go home, knowing I wouldn’t be back.



Rune Factory has rather attractive graphics, but I got bored of it after four days and haven’t picked it up since. It is deeper than the other Harvest Moon games in that I stopped playing those after a cumulative total of four minutes. The townspeople have nothing interesting to say and do not even convey the illusion of having something interesting and possibly humorous to say, unlike, say, the idiot-looking animals in Animal Crossing: Wild World.

The dungeons, new to the Harvest Moon series, are reasonably entertaining and even slightly nethackish in that they respawn every time you go back into them and you feel slightly paranoid about dying. Which is a rare feeling to have in a modern game.

The chopping wood bullshit was probably the biggest factor that led to my giving up, as even with a megapowered axe it was still the most annoying and tedious task you could be expected to do six million times for fun. It is even more annoying than weeding in AC:WW. It’s a chore, but does it have to be so much like actual work?

Smashing monsters in the face with a hoe was moderately enchanting, though. For a time.