by mercury something has gone wrong

lost time incident 03 – something has gone wrong

by mercury something has gone wrong

lost time incident 03

Welcome, everyone, to the third installment of this sequence of words, most of which are spelled correctly. For recipients of the previous installment, we have one minor correction to run. When you are printing these lost time incident installments and binding them into hardcover volumes for your own future reference, please be sure to use scissors to cut along the dotted lines below. This replacement text can be glued in place for your archival version of lost time incident 02:

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Stood there a bit longer, couldn’t come up with a better idea, and shook her foot a bit more firmly.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Now, with all you archivists sorted, we should be able to continue with no further incident.

In this issue, we’ll see:

  • the conclusion of our teen lust anecdote
  • the results of poor planning
  • a list in place of a film review of “Turbokid”
  • very old news from the wasteland
  • an illustration that would be a spoiler if I described it

anecdote part 3

To refresh everyone’s memory: In the last few issues, I’ve been telling the story of this one time when I was 15 when my girlfriend-at-the-time and I came up with a scheme for an early morning sexytime rendezvous at her place while her parents were away.

Had I been more brave, it could have been a whole night together, but I was not a sneaking-out-for-an-entire-night variety of teenager. I was on Student Council. I read comic books. So I opted for just a shared early morning.

So on a Sunday morning, with the whole town asleep, I pedaled across town at 4:30 a.m. with a half-full 1 lb. bag of M&Ms and with half-lidded eyes. (The M&Ms were Chris’s. She left them at my place the day before and I figured she’d want them back. I don’t carry M&Ms every time I ride a bike, or for every date. That’d be weird.)

When I got to Chris’s place, everything went according to plan: A glass sliding door had been left open for me, so I smoothly entered my girlfriend Chris’s place, and I followed the sound of snoring into her bedroom where I set down the M&Ms and shook her foot. It was at this point that the owner of the foot, in a deep, masculine, sleepy and confused voice asked: “What do you want?”

We now rejoin the story in progress:

Time slowed.

I’ve heard that this can happen in a moment of crisis, like a car crash… in the body’s attempt to protect itself, it gives the brain all the time it needs to figure things out, adrenaline flooding in right on the heels of stark panic.

In a single heartbeat, I registered the following:

  • The person in bed is a man
  • This is not my girlfriend
  • I am not in the right apartment
  • I do not want to be here
  • If this guy gets up, I’m in deep trouble
  • But when I shook his foot and woke him up, he asked me a question, as if having someone shake his foot to wake him up wasn’t an impossible situation
  • He must live with someone else
  • Was that why the TV was on in the other room?
  • He’s a guy so he probably lives with a girl(?)
  • If he lives with a girl, then…

In real time, he mumbled “What do you want?”

And I pitched my voice up to what I hoped was a feminine register and said: “Nothing!”

I then slowly turned and forced myself to walk out of the bedroom at the slow, steady pace of someone who lives there and has every right to be walking around shaking the feet of sleeping people. Most of the corners of my subconscious brain were screaming at me to run. I bargained my way through the dark living room, assuring myself that if I heard the guy getting out of bed or coming after me, I would sprint– of course I would– but until then we were sticking with the game plan and forcing each foot step to casually follow the previous. No rushing. No making noise.

The pounding pulse ringing in my ears was enough noise. I didn’t need help from panicky feet.

The sliding glass door that had so kindly given me a silent entrance just a short time before now rattled entirely too loudly in its metal frame as I slipped back out. When the door slid shut, I finally allowed my feet full reign. A quick sprint to my bike and I was down the street, pedaling standing up, ears still listening for the sounds of pursuit.

He doesn’t need to chase me, I thought. By now he’s called the police. I should take the back roads home. And I did… winding streets with no homes on them, underneath railroad overpasses. I was sure that even from this route, I’d be able to hear sirens on the main drag, should they appear. I’d have some warning.

So desperate was I to put distance between myself and this accidental break-in that when I got home, I went upstairs, disrobed, and crawled into bed. After all, it was still 30 minutes to an hour until I would normally be up for my paper route.

I stared at the ceiling, twitching with adrenaline, miles from sleep. Wondering if I could keep it steady if the cops showed up at the door. Claim to have been sleeping the whole time. Just a wholesome paper boy.

To keep the cover intact, I did my route that day, and with every hour that passed, so did my incredulity that I seem to have gotten away with it. Maybe the guy never even woke up enough to remember the strange presence at the foot of his bed.

It wasn’t until I was telling Chris the story of why I “never showed up” that I realized I had overlooked something important. I hadn’t escaped without a trace.

To this day, I still wonder what the guy thought when he woke up the next morning and found a half-empty 1 lb. bag of M&Ms next to his alarm clock.

poor planning

Yesterday, Amanda and I forced ourselves to leave the confines of our apartment to take advantage of the weather. We took along some postcards to decorate, and at a local organic yuppie cafe I practiced some lettering styles, writing nonsense phrases in whatever faux calligraphy or block lettering struck my fancy.

dynamite cain't hurt me none
“A Little Dynamite Cain’t Hurt None” is perhaps my favorite contextless phrase, though probably not the best lettering I managed. My biggest struggle is with slowing down. It’s tough to break the habit of going at one’s normal writing speed.

Afterward, we visited the organic market itself, once again visually confirmed that we can’t afford to shop organic anything, though we did find room in the budget for some beer.

Which was a mistake. I had one with dinner and, as an old man, now I don’t want to do anything. Maybe lay down and think about things. I think I’ve yawned in-between every sentence in this paragraph. Gotta make (another) mental note: alcohol is demotivating. It is not the right drug to pair with trying to write something. Not for me anyway.

a short list of films were perfect until the last scene messed everything up
1) Turbokid
2) Tucker and Dale Versus Evil
3) The film of my life that’s supposed to play before my eyes when I die

life in the wasteland

I’m not going to bore you too much with this, but when I’m able, I’ve been playing a lot of this video game calledFallout 4. In it, the player starts by designing what the protagonist should look like, then plays out an introductory couple of scenes before being set free to go explore a post-nuclear wasteland at their own speed.

I love it.

If I hadn’t told myself that nothing would keep me from finishing this newsletter on time, that’s what my sleepy-because-of-alcohol self would be doing instead. I created a female character and, because she looked kinda Indian to me, I named her after two vocalists who did songs for Bollywood: Asha Mangeshkar.

According to the game’s story, my character is a parent who’s on a path of vengeance, trying to track down their lost child. But in my game… eh. Who cares about that kid. The wasteland is entirely too full of stories and sight gags to care too much about what happened to my baby.

This morning, I went wandering through a fallout shelter that I found. In the game, a company called Vault-Tec sold entry into these shelters before the nuclear war. In each vault, unbeknownst to those who purchased berths there, a different science experiment was to be performed on the Vaut’s occupants.

In the Vault I explored today, I found rooms with self-help presentations, a circle of skeletons looking as if they had been in a support group, and computers with files on them about fighting addiction. As I journeyed deeper into the vault, I hacked into a computer that revealed that this Vault’s experiment was about the nature of addiction. On the five year anniversary of the sealing of the Vault, when all the residents would (presumably) have their addictions in hand, a sleeper agent was supposed to unseal a secret cache of drugs and monitor what happened.

I started finding bathrooms with skeletons sprawled near toilets or in showers, surrounded by drugs or bottles of alcohol. I found a few skeletons in a room with a discarded 10mm pistol that may have explained why they never left the room. And I found a computer with the diary of a poor addict who had locked themselves in their room when the chaos started, but didn’t know how long they could hold out. In their last diary entry, the loneliness had gotten to them and they announced they were going to see if anyone else was still out there in the Vault. It probably didn’t end well.

So yeah. In the year of 2016, I find that one of my favorite pastimes is to pretend to be an archaeologist of the weird, reading signs and interpreting chaos in a wasteland populated with Mad Max-style raiders, giant monsters, and radioactive wildlife. And somewhere out there, my kid, but he’s probably fine.

Or if he’s not… I hope he leaves a good story behind for me to sift through and put together afterwords.

final bit

Placed here at the bottom, so it’s not a spoiler: An amazing burglar M&M that Amanda drew for me, to contribute to the newsletter. How cool is that?


ending theme song

It seems like we only just got here, but it’s time to go. The floors must be swept, the bottles sorted into recycling. Thanks so much for reading. If all goes well, I’ll see you again in a week. But without the beer this time.

Don’t get me wrong. It was a Californian-style saison. Very tasty. But timing is ……………………………………………………………………….. important.

Later gators,

Michael Van Vleet

lost time incident graphic

lost time incident 02 – caught in the gears

lost time incident graphic

lost time incident 02

Oh, hello there! I didn’t see you come in! I’m speaking metaphorically of course, because I have been blind since birth. (That’s not true. I only recently lost my sight ((That’s not true either)).) Welcome to this thing, this string of words.

I am sitting in a dark room, illuminated by the glow of a laptop screen, listening to the occasional plaintive cries of one of two cats, the one of two that I like the least, mostly because of the very cries I’m hearing. They may be her primary means of entertainment. Like a jam band, she is, just playing with tones. Which meow gets me food? Which gets me to hear the human’s funny “SHUT UP!” over and over again?

And now she’s decided to sit squarely on my chest so I can’t see the keyboard– and is already bored with that and gone again, before the sentence was even completed. If she were a roommate, we would have a roommate meeting, weapons would be distributed, and a dark secret would be shared by whomever survived what came after.

That came out sounding weird. I just made it sound like the only thing keeping me from killing this cat is that it’s not a human who lives here and pays rent. Ha ha! That’s crazy. And as I told the police, we’ve never had a roommate here.

Anyway, welcome back. Let’s hear more about my teenage plans to pursue sex when I should have been stuffing newspapers in the dark, shall we?

anecdote part 2

When we last left our teenage protagonists– being me and my girlfriend at the time, Chris– we had agreed that it would be a splendid idea if I got up crazy early on a Sunday morning to visit Chris for uninterrupted sexy-times. Chris’s parents were going to spend this very Saturday night at their new place, as the family was moving soon. This provided us with a golden opportunity where Chris would be home alone.

Chris, munching on M&M’s from out of a 1 lb bag, outlined the plan thusly: She would stay up all night, because staying up all night is fun. She would also leave open a sliding glass door for me, so that just in case there was any difficulty with the stay-up-all-night plan and she fell asleep, I could let myself in.

Afterword, I could return home to run my paper route before the average neighbor awoke, as if I were a good young man who was much too busy with responsibilities to place any part of himself in another person’s mouth.

Good plan, good plan. At some point that Saturday night, she left to go home. No doubt she saw off her parents and began promptly staying awake as the plan outlined. Meanwhile, I had a normal evening, and I imagine I had trouble falling asleep. Anticipation.

When the alarm went off at the ungodly hour of 4 a.m., it was only the siren call of sexual opportunity that prised my bleary eyes open. I slipped downstairs and poked my head outside. No newspapers yet. The delivery person had not yet left the bundled piles of papers for my subscribers. All I had to do was grab the what was left of Chris’s 1 lb bag of M&Ms, forgotten the night before, then hop on my bicycle to wheel my way through dark, abandoned streets. Getting to Chris’ place required biking along some fairly rural-feeling, tree-lined stretches where there were no sidewalks. Given the early hour, there was no traffic, and I could sleepily weave my way across the lanes as I wanted.

It was pleasant, seeing the area slowly light up with the rising sun, the greys and blues that painted the route slowly retreating as the sun came up, returning to their natural colors.

Chris’s family lived– for the moment– in a subdivision with smoothly curving streets, relatively young trees planted at regular intervals, and rows of nearly identical looking homes. It’s the sort of neighborhood that springs up all at once in-between towns. This was in a suburb located roughly 1 hour west of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, but I imagine you could have set this subdivision in most of the 50 of the United States and it wouldn’t have seemed out of place. There was no real space between the homes, because they weren’t really houses. Her family lived in one of a series of horizontal apartment spaces, essentially, with two bedrooms and a bath.

I let my bike fall on to the grass in front of her place and very softly slid open the glass sliding door that faced the walkway. It was open, as promised, as was the screen door behind it. I walked into the home and directly into the back of a chair that I wasn’t expecting. It wasn’t normally there, but then, it wasn’t normally pitch dark in there either. Chris’s parents were no doubt already shifting furniture toward the door ahead of the pending move.

Straight ahead of me in the dark would be a few bar stools at a breakfast counter that separated the living room area from the thin kitchen. Off to the right were the bedrooms, which is where I headed. Looking down the single hallway on the right, a door on the left was to the bathroom, on the right was Chris’s bedroom, and straight back was her parents’ bedroom. I could hear two sounds:

First, from Chris’s parents’ bedroom, I could hear a TV playing at a rather loud volume, the broadcast throwing a shimmering pattern of light around the otherwise dark apartment.

Second, I could also hear some amazingly loud snoring. Bit of a turn off, to be honest. “My love… snores?” I thought. But this revelation was quickly set aside. There was a plan to stick to. Obviously, even with the TV’s help, she hadn’t managed to stay up all night. So it was time to wake her up.

I followed the snoring sounds to her bedroom and set her bag of M&M’s down by her alarm clock. Then I faced a conundrum. What’s the nicest way to wake someone from a sound sleep without scaring the heck out of them? Sure, she knew I was coming when she was awake, but sleeping-Chris doesn’t know a thing about the plan. I stood at the foot of the bed and gave her foot a little shake.


Stood there a bit longer, couldn’t come up with a better idea, and shook her foot a bit more firmly.

And from the head of the bed, the snoring stopped, and a sleepy, deep, masculine voice said:

“What do you want?”

[to be continued]


moving pictures

I’ve seen a few things that may be of interest. Possibly. I meant to mention it to you. But I wanted to wait until the right time, and the right time is this exact moment as you’re reading these words. I hope you’re ready.

1) Monster Factory – A YouTube series where Griffin and Justin McElroy push the limits of digital anatomy by taking the character creation engines for a number of video games and using them to create characters that would have pushed Dr. Frankenstein to consider switching to podiatry. Avant-garde aesthetics meet good humored monster chuckles in each episode.

2) 17 Minutes of Firewatch gameplay – In this game, which hasn’t come out yet, it looks like you play a man who’s decided to try go get his life together while taking a part time job looking for fires in a remote national park. Armed with a Pixar character’s arms, a walkie talkie, and a frequent check-ins with a charming fellow ranger, the game’s protagonist won me over. The clever dialogue and the natural beauty of the landscape have me keeping an eye out for this game’s release later this year. But you can just watch it like a short film.

3) A Bet With Bill –  First watched this back in 2006, before many of you were born. Features vinegar, sailor stories, a fake moustache.

the lone ra’anger

I’ve been working my way through a book that collects all the Western stories Elmore Leonard wrote in his youth, before he started writing crime books. He’s always written great, tight narratives, but the repeated appearance of Native American antagonists, frequently shirtless, with oily hair, drunken and short on bullets… it gets a bit wearing. They’re not all portrayed in a negative light, and the other characters are all equally filthy, but in a Union-soldier-uniform-caked-in-dust sort of way.

It had me thinking that it would be great to upend the genre tropes by switching to sci-fi. On an alien-occupied Earth, an American (of any background) has been adopted as a “Tonto”-style wise native companion for an alien Lone Ranger-type.

For whatever reason, the alien language is really easy to pick up, but none of the aliens can be bothered to speak English. The “ra’anger” as we’ll call him keeps doing its best to be sympathetic about the problems caused by its conquering fellows, but it can’t help but show its cultural chauvinism.  “It’s humiliating, Stupid Earthling, how my people have colored every crossing in your cities with the yellow on black striped victory flag coloration. Sure, we conquered this world, but that seems … egregious.”

“Those are just crosswalks,” mutters the sidekick. “They’ve always been there.”



When the aliens lie, they make a weird “whuffing” sound, so Stupid Earthling can always tell. It’s so easy it’s actually boring, helping the ra’anger identify alien criminals.

Maybe the aliens use scent more than they use hearing. That’s why the language barrier exists. The ra’anger disguises its identity by dousing itself in cologne raided from men’s departments across the city, adding to the difficulty of working with it. The fact that the Stupid Earthling can see through scent disguises and lies lead the ra’anger to attribute mystic folk powers to him/her. A noble savage who grew up in a normal suburb and is good at faking out the aliens.

ending theme song

Thanks so much for reading, and even going the extra mile and rescuing this email from your spam folder just because I thought it might be funny, here in the closer, to offer you discounted v1@gr@ from the most trustworthy of Canadian online pharmacies. Lowest price ever!

Next installment we’ll see the end of our ongoing teenage anecdote and then the issue after that, we shall see! I have no idea what comes next. This is the natural state of things. We make some assumptions, and many of them work out, but until the future narrows to the tiny footpath we call the present… who knows, who knows.

Be seeing you,

Michael Van Vleet


lost time incident 01 – more than words



lost time incident 01

The problem with autobiography, for me, is that I’ve never practiced it enough to know how much background material you need to appreciate a given story. Some people are natural raconteurs. They have a mental binder full of interesting things that have happened to them and can bring those stories to bear whenever called upon, knowing where to start the story and where to end it.

I have one story. It’s a pretty good one.

But I’m terrible at telling it.

I think what I’m going to do is over-tell it, with too many details and derails, then work with some of the folks I know with keen editorial instincts to help beat it into shape with metaphoric banded staves.

anecdote part 1

So what do you need to know, what do you need to know… Let’s see. It was the early 90s and Extreme was teaching the world about how it took more than words to show someone how much you feel. I was 15 years old and had been picked out from the crowd by a girl one year old than me to be her boyfriend for reasons that, to this day, are not apparent. Her name was Chris and she was not, uh, conventionally attractive. Her eyes were weak, as was her chin. She ran track and had odd taste in younger men. Near-sighted and soft, seemed to be her preference.

I was a chubby kid with a paper route who spent most of his free time reading (as the internet had not yet appeared on the scene). I took part in school plays, usually in background roles, save for my highest profile role as a drinker and drug addict named Bob in a morality play to keep kids on the straight and narrow. The English teacher who cast the role took one look at me and said: “Yes. Anyone looking at him will know not to emulate his lifestyle.”

In my favor, I was book smart. I took part in student government. I was funny, though most of that funny was the bitter sarcasm that many teenagers affect as a defense against seeming to care about things, or to keep their peers from realizing how vulnerable they are (as they’re all years away from realizing that every other teenager is feeling equally vulnerable).

The story I want to tell you is fueled by sex. Chris had already been sexually active with a previous boyfriend and as such provided a steady pressure on me to “put out.” Progress on this path was slowed on my part by the leftover resistance of my lapsed Christian upbringing. I may no longer have been going to church, but the encoding gets deep if you start young.

My first kiss was with Chris, actually. It took place on a park’s playground that we were loitering in. We were there with two friends, another couple, who were already making out, hidden inside the safe confines of a plastic slide. Chris seemed to take this as a cue that we should be keeping up with them, and so plunged toward me and stuck her tongue in my mouth. My first kiss and it felt like an act of self-defense, trying to wrestle with and determine the intentions of this suddenly-arrived tongue.

As weeks and months passed, my own raging hormones assisted Chris’s efforts, chipping away at long-held but unexamined beliefs such as “I should wait until marriage for sex. ” There was no good rejoinder to the “Yeah, but why?” counter-argument that originated from below my belt line.

The result of this debate was months where Chris and I explored the limits of what could be done with mouths and fingers, not yet crossing the threshold to anything where pregnancy might be a risk. Naturally, as teenagers, opportunities to engage in this behavior could be hard to come by. In addition, a certain tenor of urgency had arisen in our relationship, as Chris’s parents had announced that they would soon be moving to another town during the summer this story takes place in.

One weekend, Chris let me know that her parents were scoping out their new apartment and were actually going to be away for an entire weekend, leaving her at home alone. If I were interested, she said, I could visit her that Saturday night and we’d have the place to ourselves. We mulled the possibilities while we munched away at a 1-lb back of M&Ms that she had brought along.

I didn’t think I could get away from my parents for an unannounced overnight excursion, but I pointed out that I got up at 5 a.m. on Sundays for my paper route. Instead of being a good employee and setting to my work as per usual, I could instead get up an hour earlier and bike over to her place to spend some quality time before returning home for my route.

This seemed sensible to us and so we went on to eat more M&Ms and debate which of the brothers in the band Nelson could be described as “the smart one” versus “the cute one.” It was a question that helped define the decade. Not a lot of people remember that.


[to be continued, obviously]

words words words

I read a number of things, but don’t think you’d be interested in most of them. Here are a few possible exceptions.

Thuglit –  This is actually a periodical I’ve been fond of reading, as it’s a great place to read short crime fiction. Not mysteries, mind you… In a mystery, you follow someone allied with the law who’s solving a puzzle. In crime fiction, you follow the quote-unquote bad guys… some of them truly bad, but many of them just dumb, or weak, or in a bad spot. The most recent issue (#21) includes a fun story with a high concept that shouldn’t have worked: a nice guy comes to himself in the middle of a dangerous situation and over the course of the story, you find that this “nice guy” is one of two personalities this guy has. The other is a dangerous Russian killer with Mob connections. The nice guy personality comes out as a defense mechanism against the terrible things the guy does for a living. Unfortunately, he doesn’t share his other personality’s skills or memories. This proves a fair obstacle to cleaning up his other personality’s messes, especially when at gunpoint.

The Accidental Terrorist – William Shunn –  Great autobiography from a former Mormon, describing what it was like to go on a proselytizing mission for his church in not-terribly-glamorous Canada (when some of his peers are off to places like Brazil), struggling with his faith, and with the narrative intercut with history about the Mormon church that Shunn read up on as part of his eventual parting with the church. If you have any curiousity about the American-born religion that put up a Presidential candidate in our lifetime, this is an easy way to pick up some history while sugar-coated with the narrative of a lonely teen who wishes he wasn’t knocking on doors and bothering people.

Sextrap Dungeon: Clock Tease – Kurt Knox – All of the installments of the Sextrap Dungeon series of choose-your-own-path adventures have been fun, but in this third installment, our narrator-on-the-make is female, making for a break with the established Ed-Hardy-and-Ax-drenched previous installments. You can journey through time in an attempt to get “dicked up and down by the very best history has to offer” in this amusing puzzle of a book. Can you make it all the way to the end of the book without dying? Probably. You probably can.

a series of riddles I invented on the spot with no good ideas for their solutions

How is a walrus like a flock of chickens?
When… crossing the road… nobody asks about their motivation?

What do you get when you cross a damp wash cloth with the Queen of England?
A cleaner Queen of England

Why did the ant say to the Minister of Education that it had no need for its diploma?
Because the Minister of Education is obviously a graduate, so asking to see her diploma would be redundant, if the ant were serious about checking the Minister’s credentials. [This is one of those classic joke twists where on first reading, you thought the diploma in question was the ant’s, but nope. It’s the Minister’s.]

Knock Knock
Who’s there?
A riddle format…
A riddle format who?
A riddle format has nothing in common with a knock knock joke, which is usually pun-based.

How did the cow?
What? How did the cow do what? Was that it? [looks around] Is there anyone else here who knows anything about riddles?

Why did the court jester collect eggs in his hat?
Because, considering his low economic status, having a specific basket just for egg storage would be eggs-travagant.

Why is anything anything?
I don’t know. I honestly don’t. I wish I had some wisdom for you, but just a little while ago, I was pretending ants can talk. They use pheromones. They talk via coded stinks. Every ant is living in a Smell-o-Vision world. What a nightmare. Poor ants.

true childhood confession corner

When I was a kid, I asked for a ventriloquist dummy for Christmas one year. I don’t know where I got the idea from, but I remember having the thought that there would be lots of laughs chatting with my new dummy friend.

The dummy I got was a classic Charlie McCarthy-type. His dress shirt was open in the back, so that’s where my hand would slip in to squeeze the interior trigger, flapping his plastic jaw.

It didn’t take very long to realize I had miscalculated. A dummy is not a new friend. It has nothing to say. I would have to be talking to myself. No…. no thank you. Not interested.

The only worse present I ever asked my parents for would have to be a rock tumbler. No matter how much you think shiny rocks are great, the tedium of a plastic drum whirring away in your father’s garage for hours on end will smooth that interest right off of you ’til you’re a smooth sphere of indifference towards geology.

ending theme song

Well, that’s it for now. If you like what you read, you’re in luck. There will be more.

And if you know anyone else whose inbox is a garbage-strewn shopping mall promenade full of political groups asking for money, industry-specific article digests, LinkedIn requests and other such nonsense, then send ’em on over to sign up for this mailing list. Then you’ll have something to talk about!

Until next time,

Michael Van Vleet

The Signal: EP122


The Signal: EP122 – When the growth hormones kick in, that’s when the music mix really sprouts up. Nothing fits anymore. This time out, we’ve got French psychorama (if that’s a thing), rockabilly from outer space, punk from the undead, funk from New Orleans and much, much more. If that sounds interesting, click on the image to get to the download link.

The file is posted for a limited time. If you want to know artist/song titles, that information is in the id3 tags of the file itself. Most mp3 playing software can read that info for you. I have a few notes below about the process, should that be of interest.


Continue reading The Signal: EP122




Has this ever happened to you?

[a shirtless man waves a stout tree branch in desperation, teeth clenched, surrounded by an encroaching army of over-sized red crabs, their claws drawing blood and rending the fabric of his pants]

Ha ha! Of course it’s happened to you! But what if there were another way?

Try new LOST TIME INCIDENT, a (so far) weekly newsletter from the guy behind this very infomercial: Michael Van Vleet, author of THE SPIRIT LEFT ME and the cult classic ME AND WHAT ARMY!

In your dusty, spam-clogged inbox, you could be receiving a fiction-and-nonsense-filled message to brighten your day. Finally! An email to look forward to! What an age we live in!

And you can go from this– [a crab’s claw shakily approaches the vulnerable throat of the shirtless man, who’s resisting its approach with all his strength] —

To this! [ a shirtless man pours tea from a dainty pot to tea cups on saucers, each one in front of a crab. the crabs are wearing top hats, monocles, or elaborate dresses and tiaras. a crab sips some tea, its pinkie extended— and the camera does a double take! How does a crab have a pinkie? it’s a human ring finger, attached with a corded rope of seaweed, and the camera pans over to the laughing shirtless man for an explanation, his hand bandaged where the finger used to be, and all the crabs rise and fall in nonverbal amusement at how silly their whole struggle was, and what’s a single finger among friends? ]

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