lost time incident 14 – here, have some gator


lost time incident 14
That’s a photo of my mom, offering a deep-fried gator chunk. She and my dad retired to Florida some years ago. My dad now prefers to spend his days sitting in the driveway, smoking his pipe and reading e-books, with some time taken out to play a Facebook game that involves managing a fleet of battleships. As reading, gaming and doing nothing are my preferred weekend activities, there’s obviously a biological connection.

My mother, however, has found time to explore entirely new hobbies. She’s running marathons, scoring well in darts tournaments, and taking workout classes that involve dangling from ceiling-mounted ribbons. We’re a bit more different.


Things I did today instead of writing:

  • Woke up late
  • Finished reading Woman With a Blue Pencil, a meta-narrative novel
  • Cooked up parathas in the skillet to have with some channa masala and coffee for brunch
  • Watched a bearded British guy on Twitch play Bioshock, a video game set in an underwater ruin that had, in its heyday, been designed as an art deco libertarian wonderland
  • Took a slow shower and wondered if at some time in my life, showers will stop being available, as I quite like them, but we’re all doomed
  • Agreed to abandon writing mid-afternoon to go get donuts with friends
  • Poked around on Facebook
  • Wrote this list

I had some time yesterday to write, but instead I spent 3-4 hours putting together a new Signal mix, which is a series of 45-minute music mixes I’ve been making for my own amusement for over a decade. The latest installment was the 123rd episode.

That’s something.

I should write something.

Did I already write something? Earlier this week?

that’s right I wrote something

It was only until after posting the above that I started to wonder how Chicken Hills managed to win a 2016 award so early in the year. The fix is in. I think it’s possible to build a better fence in the time remaining. If we all pitch in now, I bet we could build a fence that could hold in human-chicken hybrids AND does something special… like lighting up, or playing music over Bluetooth or something.

Anyone interested in building a better fence and finally putting the spotlight on the corrupt fence-judging industry in this country, please respond to this mailing list with a list of available dates and an outline of all relevant fence-building skills.


stay on target
Just walked a pizza box outside to the compost bin and you guys… it is so pleasant out there. I absolutely should not be sitting inside, typing these words.


this will become something
In the world that was left, the bullets ran out fairly quickly. But thanks to nuclear power, the electricity stayed on. No matter what bunker or cave you lived in, you still had devices lining the floor, being charged, while you drank whatever horrible hot drink your region had to replace coffee. We all missed coffee.

And when daylight appeared on the horizon, we’d split into teams. One group to find food and the other group to find podcasters.

Rottentooth Manpuncher, bandit leader of New New Orleans, wasn’t the sort of person to have a stale mp3 player full of pre-Fall podcasts. Oh no. The only way to show the other rival warlords that you were top dog was to gather together the most mildly amusing of survivors who still had a knack for sitting down in front of a USB microphone

In the evenings, we’d heat up our suppers and watch them work. We’d ask the podcasters to include advertising segments that helped us remember our lost past, when we were supposed to order boxes of snacks delivered. Do our own legal documents. Try out mattresses, or glasses.

The stars would come out and you couldn’t see much beyond the glow of the face of your mp3 player, ticking along second by second.


rolling pins
Just got back from Rolling Pin Donuts in scenic San Bruno, the California city so named because all other saints had already been claimed by other, faster cities. While I had some fantastic cream-filled donut holes, I didn’t get anything of use for this newsletter.


Unless I count the joke that occurred to me on the way there, which is that the absolute best song about sandwich-related cosplay is probably David Bowie’s “Heroes.” Though it was suggested that one could make a strong argument for “Yellow Submarine” as well.


apocalypse head
The climate changed and the waters rose. The climate changed and the air became thick as plastic. We could still see each other, across the room, but we could no longer go over there because air wouldn’t get out of the way like it used to. It was a new kind of climate.

If you could push your way to the bathroom to clean up, you’d have to chip your way to the faucets and keep your hands clear when you turned the spigot, because hard climate would tumble out before you’d get any water. Plants withered and that was understandable. We get it, plants.

All the petrocarbons that we burned used to be living matter. Organic matter. Liquid dinosaurs. What we didn’t realize was that they all wanted to come back. All the dinosaurs, just biding their time. We burned them and they came back, in the air, swirling particles, reforming their graceful reptilian necks, their crested skulls, the size of buildings. They whispered their lizard desires into the ear of climate, and climate did as they commanded. It finally turned against us, unfriended us in real life and online.

We had to wade everywhere. Pushing climate out of the way, water up to our ankles. No one could look a polar bear in the eye. The last sympathy cards ever printed were filled out and mailed to penguins. How the penguins distributed them among their number, we never knew. We just left a big pile of apologies and fled, hiding our eyes and our burning cheeks, overflowing with shame for what we’d done.

Was it so wrong? To set so much on fire?

Could we be blamed when so much of the world looked better in flames?


[composite illustration courtesy of Amanda Summers]

ending theme song
I was raised as a Catholic and was told that it was partially my responsibility to keep things in good shape because Jesus was due to return. It didn’t take much pondering to add up the number of generations who had lived and died already, each assuming that they were definitely living in the End Times before the return of their Messiah. So many people, each sure that they’d be around for the world’s end.

But the thing of it is: one generation is going to be correct. They’re going to be the last. Not with regards to Christ’s return. I’m not a believer anymore. But apocalypse is in the post at some point.

For each of us, individually. For all of us, collectively, at some point. Somebody’s going to feel like the world is ending and they’ll be right.

The entire world that we find ourselves in is absurd. I’ve got a cat on my lap. I’ve got music in my ears. I’ve spent a few hours today trying to be entertaining. It all evens out.

How are you doing? During this brief pause between disasters?

— Michael Van Vleet

find me elsewhere
signalstation – home
TinyLetter – archive/subscription
Twitter – short nonsense
Tumblr – reblogging
Goodreads – reading
Bandcamp – listening
Amazon – wishlist