lost time incident 22 – ghost touch lucky bounce

marriage_v2 lost time incident 22
The sun is shining out there, people, so you know what time it is! Time to hide inside, in front of a fan, listening to the soft strains of our downstairs neighbors vacuum cleaner while we kick off our 22nd installment! Yeah! High fives! Good weather can take a hike!

(I should go out there at some point.)

This doesn’t affect you. Don’t worry about the weather. You’re somewhere else. Somewhere in the future. They may have done away with weather. You may have to strap on some VR goggles to experience what weather used to be like, from the comfort of your nutrient-bath-slash-cyber-home. Just a bunch of plugged in weirdos living in puddles. That’s you.

Well I’m writing this back when things were NORMAL, damn it. And my fingers, without much conscious thought, just wiggle around on a flat platform with spring-loaded buttons and words appear magically on a screen through a mechanism I don’t understand. Something to do with math? Electrons?

Do you still have electrons where you are? Tell the electrons I said “What’s up?”

Man. Electrons. We had some good times.



let’s all go to the lobby



Patterson’s Arch
The Lady and the Dingo
A Pile of Leaves to Remember
Jane Austen: Save Often – [Time Travel, Romance, PG] – A hacker accidentally writes a program that takes him back in time to meet his favorite author: Jane Austen. But when her life is threatened, can he type fast enough to rewrite history and keep her safe, while also pursuing her hand in marriage?
Stammering Englishmen In Small Furnished Rooms

Jane Austen: Save Often
I Understand And I Wish to Continue
Mother’s Maiden Name
Grandma Fell Off The Internet 2


that well known space saying: [cette histoire est terrible]
Last week, I shared an idea I had for a scifi story where an alien character spoke entirely in French, but the French wasn’t character dialogue… it was the translator complaining about the author. This week’s contribution is just a draft, trying to build the framework that the joke will be nestled inside for the final product.

Jack Quasar poked the brightly lit buttons that lined the cuff of his stellar gauntlets, but the chorus of bleeping sounds provoked by this button-pressing didn’t sound positive. He turned to his alien companion Stegh.

“Well, Stegh, we might be stuck in this prison cell for a little while longer. My stellar gauntlets can’t seem to scan through these walls. I can connect to the local network, but our captor’s anti-gauntlet measures are all up to date. I managed to get the passwords for a couple vending machines out there, but that’s it. Best I can do at this point is make sure our captors get the wrong item when they go for a snack. You got any ideas?”

Stegh’s fluting voice whistled between his foreteeth. Quasar was grateful once again for the Braglantian language courses he took on Stegh’s home world that allowed him to understand his alien friend. {place holder for Stegh dialogue}, said Stegh.

“I never would have thought of that. Stegh, you’re a genius!”

{place holder for Stegh dialogue}

“Well. Of course.” Quasar removed his stellar gauntlets, tugged out some of the cables that ran along the inside, and twisted them together. “There. Polarity is reversed and… the door’s open!”

Outside the door stood the biggest, meanest alien Quasar and Stegh had ever seen. It was several meters tall, with razored limbs, wearing a hat that read “Make 105739-Gx& Great Again”. The creature held a sparking stick that promised electric discomfort, a textbook about legislative bodies on gas giants, and the look of someone who didn’t want the prison door open.

{place holder for Stegh dialogue}

“You can say that again buddy,” echoed Quasar.

{place holder for Stegh dialogue}

“That’s an Earth saying. You didn’t actually have to repeat yourself, buddy.” Quasar slapped Stegh on the back in a jovial fashion, tapping the same back area Steph’s ancestors would strike in order to begin a physical conflict over mating rights. Steph managed to restrain itself from removing Quasar’s arm. Sometimes galactic diplomacy requires a lot of struggle with one’s own biological imperatives.

“Good old Stegh,” said Quasar. “Now. What say we convince our jailor friend of the righteousness of our cause?”

{place holder for Stegh dialogue}

Moments later, jogging down the station’s hallway, Quasar and Stegh kept low, following pictographic directions to the hangar bay where they hoped to find The Decommissioned Wreck, their starship.

{place holder for Stegh dialogue}

“I don’t think it’s going to get infected, no,” said Quasar.

{place holder for Stegh dialogue}

“Oh. You just wanted me to agree with you. Yes, then. It’s going to get infected.”

{place holder for Stegh dialogue}



ending theme song
Another week has come and gone and thanks are due yet again to my wife Amanda for contributing artwork. The distressed paperback cover feature the heroic Stegh you see above is an original work of hers.

dah dah dut dah du daa-daa. dah dah dut dah du daaaaa. dut dit doo dit doo dah dah. dah dit doo dah-duh-daa.

lost time incident 21 – classically trained


lost time incident 21
Gray hair is one of the obvious signs that a body has decided that it’s shutting things down. Color for hair? Why bother.

But there are other, subtler degradations of function. I have noticed that sometimes my body doesn’t bother getting thirsty. Water is for bodies that still have things they need to accomplish… a bright future ahead of them. Not this one.

Went through a good stretch of yesterday not feeling thirsty and so, not drinking anything. Naturally, that means that this morning was mostly spent feeling cruddy, like a cracked creek bed, slowly sipping water and hoping my headache will go away. Somewhere deep in my head are a pair of sinuses that refuse to stop aching, or empty out, resisting round after round of hot showers and over the counter medicine.

Slowly, senses are returning, so I’m typing these words instead of hiding under a pile of covers. But the recovery process is so… so slow.

[hours and hours of discomfort happened here]

And just like that, a Sunday disappears.


nothing but an idea
One of my long-time, dear friends translates English & French for a living. I’ve always found translation to be an amazing profession. When I was a little kid and too old to claim to want to be an astronaut, I would tell people I wanted to grow up to be a translator. In hindsight, I might have wanted to follow in the footsteps of a certain yellow protocol droid from a movie I watched over and over again.

I let that dream go and never got much further than learning barely enough Spanish to babble along with a 2 year old, but I still have a lot of respect for the art of translation. When I was flush with dot-com money, I found a translator through Craig’s List who would work with me on translating a Japanese manga series that I was in love with, but couldn’t read. I’d love reading through the translator’s notes about the choices she made, or her attempts to explain jokes, etc. so I could decide how to render them in the English language version I was composing in Photoshop for my own enjoyment.

Anyway. So I recently got an idea for a story that I thought I was going to start this week. The story’s just as an excuse to hire my friend to do some translation for me. It’ll be a science fiction setting. Some humans and an alien they work with. I don’t know the plot yet. It’s not important.

The thing that makes it interesting for me is that the alien will be speaking French as if French were an alien language. The other characters will react as if they understand the alien, but to anyone who— like me— doesn’t read French, it might as well be an alien tongue.

On top of that, I want all of the alien’s dialogue to actually be the voice of the translator, complaining about being underpaid for the translation job, insulting the premise of the story, and talking about unrelated things. A whole second narrative, hidden to those who— again, like me— don’t read French.

That’s what I meant to start today.

Instead, I napped a lot. Rolled my neck around so it cracked. Watched strangers play video games where they fought aliens, or built prisons. Watched movies I had seen before, so I could sleep through scenes and not miss anything. Wondered if I was going to have to throw up just so my sinuses would let go.

I didn’t, though.

The shadows are long outside.



looking & listening
watching – RUBBER: The tale of a tire that comes to life and learns to use its psychokinetic powers to destructive effect. An audience of strangers watch from a distance with binoculars and wonder what it all means. An exercise from the “why not?” school of film. Viewable on Netflix at present.
listening“Devil Is Fine” by Zeal & Ardor. Most original thing I’ve heard in awhile. The sound of old spirituals blended with the spirit and sounds of Satanic death metal.
reading – “Memory of Passion” by Gil Brewer. A man, somewhat unhappy in his marriage, gets a call out of the blue from his high school sweetheart, who hasn’t aged at all. He knows it’s impossible, an imposter, somehow, but will he throw his life away to pursue her? (She’s really hot and totally wants to bang him and be his time-stuck sweetheart.) Will he figure out who she really is? Probably. Gil Brewer was big on noir narratives where man’s basest desires destroy him. We’ll see. I’m about 1/3rd into it.
playingFar Cry Primal: Badger Employee Workplace Review – Spent some time yesterday playing FCP, where I get to roam a violent, Stone Age setting with animal friends. A badger companion wasn’t helping protect me from lions, so unfortunately, action had to be taken.



ending theme song
dah dah dut dah du daa-daa. dah dah dut dah du daaaaa. dut dit doo dit doo dah dah. dah dit doo dah-duh-daa.

The Signal: EP125


The Signal: EP125 – 45 minutes of quiet-loud-quiet, with melodies and those things that go bing-bang-bong. Every song as perfectly matched as a sandwich & pickle. There’s a guarantee you won’t find anywhere else. Except in a deli, I guess.

This time out, we’ve got some Satanic gospel, vaporwave, punk, experimental hip hop, global bass & dancehall, Russians playing 50s-style rock, a calypso legend, Peruvian folk, Japanese dreampop remixed and more! And it does get noisy!

You can either listen right or, if you want a copy of your very own, you can download the mp3 by clicking on the image above or the link provided. It will be available for only a limited time so if you just got here, months after I type these very words, and it’s not there… well, life is full of disappointment, isn’t it? Savor your salty tears and be glad you feel anything at all, for infinities stretch before and after us when we’ll feel nothing. Also: check the id3 tags for the track-listing.

Or, you want the track-listing, access to a permanent download URL, and to be among the first people on the planet to know there’s a new mix, you can always sign up and join The Tuned In, a mailing list for fans of The Signal.

I think that’s everything you need to know.

So now you know.

lost time incident 20 – grasses and crates and gnarled roots


lost time incident 20
What a week, what a week, huh, folks? There was that sportsball thing, and the political person said that thing and we were all like: WHAAAT!?!? I had a morning where I took one or two of every variety of pill in my backpack so I could feel like a functioning human and then there was that celebrity news! Oh man.

It’s fat housefly season in this household! We have two… or maybe three of them! Name suggestions are welcome. (Update: Have killed two out of three. Only one name suggestion will be considered.)

The sun is shining outside, but we’re ignoring it in favor of you, readers. Such a sacrifice.

Speaking of sacrifices…


playing monster
This last week, I’ve spent a bit of time watching players on YouTube try out a new game called “Dead by Daylight.” The game is still in beta, which makes things interesting, because you can see game elements being added and tweaked based on the date of the video.

Up to five players can play at a time, with one of them playing a movie slasher-style monster who chases the others around an overgrown abandoned lot, trying to beat them up, hang them on meat hooks, and sacrifice them to spider-leg-thorn-nightmare monsters in the sky.

The survivors/victims are racing around the game map, trying to stay silent, hide behind tall grasses and crates, dodge traps, and repair enough generators that they can open the doors blocking the path to escape.

When the killer is near, the survivors can hear their heartbeat get louder and louder, as a sort of radar warning, and menacing music starts to swell. Players in these videos get as freaked out as their cinematic forebears, scrambling to stay ahead of the killer.

And yet all that fear is forgotten when they get to take their turn chasing their friends with a blade… Then they’re perfectly happy to laugh and say “Where are you going?” as their friends try to vault obstacles, cackling as they drag them to their doom.

If that sounds fun, a great place to start is Serial Killers Everywhere hosted by ChilledChaos (or “Chilled” for short). You’ll see his face in the upper right corner of the screen. But the highlight of this video is his pal Seananners (Adam) who spends much of the vid creeping out his friends as the murderer, but demonstrates quite a knack for screaming when the tables are turned.


tweet tweet



she’s a cop, she’s a witch
“T’chyeah, like this witch has nothing better to do than curdle some milk and make a sow miscarry. Rrrrright. I got creepy little dolls with faces carved out of fallen crabapples to make so I’m a LIT-tle busy these days.”

Officer Foxhazel adjusted the amulet on her belt. She’d been a witch cop for dozens of moons, so dealing with a reluctant suspect was nothing new.

“Okay, Goodie,” said Foxhazel. “So maybe you weren’t troubling livestock or dairy supplies. But this isn’t the first complaint we’ve had about you this month. Or are you going to say you haven’t been cavorting in the woods either?”

“What woods?” sneered Goodie Crow, her stringy black hair hanging over her defiant eyes. “There’s a lot of woods around here.”

“I didn’t want to have to do this,” said Foxhazel, “but you know we keep a file on all the reliquaries and soul cages in the county, right? While you were spending your time talking to goats, or whatever you’ve been up to, the witch cops have been busy with paperwork and focusing ceremonies. A bit of scrying, a bit of dowsing, some group chanting and sacrifice, and pretty soon we had a comprehensive list of where every spell-slinger and potion-brewer in town was keeping their secrets.”

“You can’t—”

“I can walk right down this hall, find out which gnarled set of roots you’ve stashed your essence under, or which trunk with a cursed lock you used, and that’s it. We’ve got everyone’s secrets, on 4×6 cards, neatly labeled, stored in a walnut cabinet adorned with the bones of owls. Wouldn’t take me more than 10 minutes to look your name up.”

Crow swallowed.

“So I’m going to ask one more time about that curdled milk… and that miscarrying sow. Because we have the rites, so you can’t remain silent.”

WITCH COPS! Tune in with your far-sight gems this Fall!



looking & listening
 First episode of Preacher  – so far, transcending the source material
listening: Marta Ren – Stop Look Listen – modern retro Portuguese soul
playing: Fallout 4 – Tried to get around to finishing the game, but got distracted building a killer robot. It happens.
reading: Down Don’t Bother Me by Jason Miller – I was just following this guy on Twitter because he was funny, but he wrote a really great Southern crime novel about a mine worker who gets press-ganged into the role of private investigator by the owner of the mine.



ending theme song
Why do bookstores use stickers that don’t come off cleanly? Why?

Last night, I tried to peel a price sticker off an old paperback, only to see some of the cover come away with the sticker. So I used a citrus-based sticker-removing solution and watched that soak into the cover, staining it, so the worst of all outcomes. Now my $2 paperback looks like a $1 paperback. Since that’s the worst thing to happen all weekend, things are going pretty darn good.

Thanks are due to my wife Amanda for supplying the illustration of a blade-wielding video game maniac. The mocking dialogue was lifted directly from Seananner’s taunting in the linked video.

What else. I’ve been messing about with Snapchat recently. If this is also true of you, you can find me with a search for: signalstation

That’s probably it. Time to go fritter away the rest of the weekend. Later, gators.

—Michael Van Vleet