lost time incident 11
Hey folks. Thank you for opening the ol’ mailbag to lose some time with me. I slept plenty last night but still feel like I could sleep another 5-12 hours and the caffeine isn’t helping. It’s just painting the back of my eyes with a mild throbbing that’s going to have to pass for alertness. I just watched the movie SCANNERS for the first time last night. If you haven’t seen it, it’s a film by Canadian body-horror auteur David Cronenberg and it’s about a war between rival psychic factions that includes some of the best intense head-shaking, locked jaw, eye-rolling acting the world has ever known.
The upshot being: now for every morning when I’m not feeling 100%, I can grimace and pretend that it’s not just that I’m just getting old, and it’s not just that I’ve spent decades making poor health choices… oh no. I can pretend I’m under attack by a hostile psychic who’s trying to glean my very important thoughts from a distance.
space station 11 arts & crafts
PARENTS: It’s that time of year again. All around the station, children are building their first alternate reality overlays. We wish to take this opportunity to remind parents that creativity is a fragile flower, so be supportive. Nobody is an expert their first try for any endeavor.
All of us with standard Eye-C-brand optic plugins are accustomed making use of such standard public overlays as the navigational system that places floating arrows in your field of vision to guide you to your destination. Additionally, many of us use shopping overlays that highlight products of interest to us as well as sales.
Well, every designer of Eye-C overlays had to start somewhere, and our jobs program is currently teaching young students how to navigate and build in the standard alternate reality building software suites. As a reminder, student projects are tuned on public channels, to make it easier for teachers to monitor progress. This won’t affect any overlay views you use in your day to day life, as we keep all alternate reality filters separated by logical firewalls.
But if you’re curious, you can add the student overlay filters at the following channels, but be aware, there may not be much there yet, as these are all works in progress by our young students.
0331 – Not for the easily nauseated. Large public spaces like the gardens or the low-grav playground, when approached, are slowly inverted. Once you’re inside the space, everything appears upside-down.
0443 – So far, this student project seems to have added decorative arrows to various corners of our shared station space with a floating bit of text that says “I PEED HERE”. Some locations have quiet music as well.
0448 – This student project identifies the ages of individuals within view and, should anyone be older than 12, it doubles their buttocks in width.
0562 – Perhaps the most promising of this year’s efforts, this overlay adds shivering blurred figures in the corner of your vision, inducing an ongoing sense of paranoia and of being watched. Especially effective since this space station was found and not built by us, there’s a certain frisson in imagining that the figures, which disappear when you turn to look at them, are in fact the original inhabitants of this station. Very interested in seeing how this overlay evolves.
These four channels will be rotating to new programmers as the overlay creators declare them complete and ready for grading, so note that the descriptions above are currently accurate, but subject to change.
Sometimes, to keep our creative muscles limber, my wife Amanda and I like to take a pack of postcards with us somewhere and draw and/or write on them, using the visuals as prompts. This newsletter started with a drawing Amanda did of a shoe on one such postcard, which I defaced with a weird lookin’ doof.
Below is another such postcard. To be honest, I can’t remember if I’ve mailed this one yet or if it’s on the desk in the home office… which is… all of five paces away. So there’s no way to know for sure. This blanket I’ve got on my legs, plus the laptop… so heavy. Can’t possibly.
eyes and ears elsewhere
A round-up of what’s catching my attention elsewhere
Wireless – Charles Stross – a short story collection that has already featured amazing high concepts: What if aliens made a copy of everyone on Earth during the early Cold War and put them on a giant flat disc? Can young Carl Sagan figure out what’s going on? (Plus aboriginal termite colonies, Yuri Gagarin as a planetary explorer, a Mt. Rushmore modified to include an insect head… and that’s just story no. 1).
Viral Radio #3 on Resonance Extra – Recommended by Warren Ellis via his newsletter Orbital Operations, which always contains at least one great book/music recommendation or story. This music mix is full of odd, ethereal stuff that makes it perfect to write to, which is what I’m doing right this second.
Kool A.D. – ALL LOVE – Thanks to a profile piece in the last month, I’ve been listening to a fair amount of music from Young Thug, an interesting hip hop artist out of Atlanta. While I like how he plays with rhythm, Autotune, inserting melody into rap lines, etc…. the content of his work is thuggish, as his name implies. So every time I actually make out his lyrics– not always easy, with his accent and tendency to elide consonants– I’m put off. Lucky for me, Kool A.D., one of my favorite stream-of-conscious-style rappers (formerly of Das Racist) knocked out an E.P. in half a day where he uses the exact same Atlanta sound, but is instead just rapping a word salad: “Young historical cowboy Mafia magic man, the clown style triple-double alert gambling rambler, the check canceler… heh.” A lot more fun. And it’s pay-however-much-you-want to download it.
ending theme song
That seems to be that. I am ready for another nap. Drinking water is important, kids, and you can’t let something like your refrigerator dying throw you off, as I did this weekend. Didn’t drink enough water because mentally tap water does not have the same perceived value as chilled water, I guess. Then I spent a few hours preparing for the arrival of a new, working fridge by realizing that we own too many damn magnets, putting produce, condiment jars and thawed bags of formerly frozen veggies into bags, and eventually facing down the horror that was living underneath the old fridge.
There was a coin glued to the floor down there. The substance it was encased in was at a height equal to that of the coin. Never look under a fridge.
Thanks as ever to my wife Amanda for the custom artwork. She contributed the shivering blurred figure on Space Station 11.
— Michael Van Vleet
find me elsewhere
signalstation – home
TinyLetter – archive/subscription
Twitter – short nonsense
Tumblr – reblogging
Goodreads – reading
Bandcamp – listening