lost time incident 78 – always pouring, never drinking

an eternally pouring stream of milk into iced coffee

lost time incident 78
Hey everyone! How are we all doing? Good, good, good. It’s a bright, sunny Sunday here near the San Francisco Bay. Kind of near the Bay. If I was willing to walk about 20 minutes west, underneath that overpass that people are now living under, across two of the busiest local highways, past places that sell pet food and ceramic tiles, across long expanses of concrete, I could find water.

I’m not going to do that.

Instead, I woke up and made coffee. Cooked some chicken sausages. Listened to stand-up comedy. Read all of Twitter and filled my barely-awake brain with jokes and a towering dread, an easy expansion of my personal enemies list, a sense that the day is already lost, and then I took a shower. Let water beat on my head and realized that it’s possible I’ve already seen my parents for the last time.

They’re fine, by the way. They’re retired in Florida. They wrote to me recently about a trip they have planned in the UK. I just don’t see them very often, that’s all. Only a handful of times over the past 20 years.

They seem as distant and unfamiliar as my own childhood. That bookish chubby boy I barely remember being. The past is a foreign country. You can find keepsakes you picked up there, but you no longer remember exactly how you got from place to place, what you were wearing. How it felt, the distant streets under whatever-shoes-you-were-wearing-back-then.

I think I wore velcro shoes for a while. Yeah. That feels true. I once took a spill off a scooter and scraped up my knee pretty bad. A week later, as the scabs started peeling off, I found a tiny jagged peak sticking out of my knee: a broken piece of green glass buried in the healing wound, poking out like an emerald iceberg from new skin.


I spend a fair amount of time wondering about the persistence of memory, how strange it is to be pinned in the present moment between the past and future, ticking forward one second at a time, with no way to prove we’ve been anywhere or been anyone save for memory, whatever memory is.

Then I get out of the shower and think “It’s been a while since I sent out a newsletter. That’s a thing I could do.”

And here we are. You and I. Right here. One second at a time.


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Dracula’s House of Jokes!



What do you get if you come to my grand estate outside of town beyond the mists I can have my driver pick you up ha ha ha no don’t put the part where I’m laughing that makes it sound like a trap no don’t say anything about a trap this is a nice mailing list for jokes and invitations to my estate oh it’s ruined do not send


[next billing cycle: Aug 1]


an idea born of white wine and access to a keyboard, the internet, and the social approval of strangers
okay, it’s like AIR BUD but with Dr. Frankenstein fielding an entire team of the reanimated dead, and at first you’re like: no way can they win

their limbs fall off, they’re slow, a sassy teen on an opposing team during an exhibition game spins a basketball on top of the flat head of a point guard

but montage: the team of reanimated dead get juiced to the ol’ neck bolts, lengthen their legs with extra limbs from convict graves and suddenly they’re 8 ft tall with 6 knees each

and the ref’s like “neither god nor the league wrote rules preventing this”


sponsored content
“If you loved DNA, you’ll love new DNA 2! Everything you loved about DNA… and more!” said the wet creature slapping up against the lab’s bolted door.

Has this ever happened to you?

[a cell divides, then divides again]

oh noooo! Finally, there’s a better way!

[a creature with impossible limbs falls out of a tree onto a passing pedestrian]

It’s … DNA 2! All the DNA you’re used to… and some that you’re NOT!


ending theme song
I think that’s going to do it for this installment.

Oh, and before I go, my wife Amanda has been introducing me to the wonders of “hidden object games”, which are computer games that combine puzzle-solving with beautifully illustrated tableaus. A frequently used trope is: Someone you care about has been kidnapped. To get them back, you have to do a series of fetch quests, puzzle out intricate locks that no one would actually use, and sometimes pick specific objects out of crowded collections of mismatched garbage.

Of course, we gravitate towards the supernatural ones, so we’ve been playing one where our protagonist’s fiancee has been kidnapped by a drowned ghost, or a metal-faced weirdo, or both, and we don’t seem to be in a huge hurry to find her. If you want to follow along, all the videos in the series are in a playlist on YouTube.

Maybe you’ll dig it! Maybe you won’t! The important thing is: You’re still here, on this planet, orbiting a star that has yet to destroy us! So make the most of it! We have no idea why we’re here, so you can pretty much make things up as you go along! Okay!

Still here,

—Michael Van Vleet

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