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Rise of the Objects

Posted 23 September 2003, 5.06 pm by Shaggy

Objectify: to pretend as if someone is nothing more than the sum of their parts; to dehumanize; to abuse without remorse.

I recently heard the tale of two lesbian lovers. Not content with actually living happy by themselves, they must take in a third party. You see, one of them is bisexual, though strongly leaning towards women. So periodically, this couple, in order to please her heterosexual side (because, you know, we all must please all our sexualities at once) gathers some stupid man who they both use sexually and then throw away.

Where do they get this man? Who knows. I do not understand how a man can willingly objectify himself, turning himself into nothing more than a sexual organ. I am not the sum of my parts, I am an interesting, opinionated human being, a PERSON.

I would like to see someone try, just for a moment, to treat me like an object. I've been treated like an object before. I lost a job because I'm a male. One of my ex-girlfriends cheated on me because she just assumed all men would cheat so she "had better cheat first, before you do" (quoted from my ex).

Granted, I'm certain many women understand my point of view. But, many people in my position perpetuate the problem. They begin hating the sex that abused them in a gross overgeneralization. Then they begin "cheating before the other side." It turns into a monstrous game of hurt and betrayal.

Forget that. I am no one's object. So, man and woman, all, rise up, and spit in the face of those who would turn you into a life support for your genitals! Spit in their face, and expose them for the petty, wretched slobs they are!

Many of you are probably already disgusted by me. However, one thing I promised myself, as I was beaten down into the dirt (literally) in my younger days, as I nursed concussions and knife wounds, I swore to myself that I would never take my aggression out on others in a world-wide generalization. Because I know why people hurt, and it is the dumbest logic ever: either they hurt out of pure ignorance, or they hurt others because they were hurt first.

So grab your baseball bats, and let's all have a swing against people who are not our enemies... who, in fact, do not know us. Let's fuck around on people, and throw them out in the gutter, never pausing for a moment to consider that they might actually be looking for connection on a more significant plane of existence than sheer sexuality. ...

Rise, I say, all those who have been shoved in the gutter! No longer allow yourself to be stomped on! For those who have been cheated on, tossed aside, beaten, shot at... let's expose those who are ignorant to the pain they cause us! No more shall we bite our tongue and allow your pain.

I will not be objectified, and by God, Valhalla, Buddha, Science, or whatever god you pray to, I will fight to the death to remain as I am in Truth: A PERSON!

Life of Pi by Jann Martel

Posted 19 September 2003, 6.53 am by Acheron

For several reasons, reviewing this book is a daunting task. First, it is incredibly popular. Everyone I know in Canada (I am not exaggerating) has either read this book, is reading it, or is desparately trying to borrow someone else's copy. It may soon supplant our traditional conversational fallback - talking about the weather.

Another reason this book is difficult to review is spoilers. This book is about an East Indian boy. There is some ocean involved. And animals. That's all the plot I can give.

Finally, and most dauntingly, though, there is the book's premise. Here is a book that promises to make the reader believe in God. Even more frightening than the myriad impressions this statement generates is the fact it may well be true.

So you can see, I have left you with nothing. Apparently someone with a funny name, living in Canada no less, wrote a book about a young boy, and then he has the gall to say it will make you believe in God. Popularity, the acclaim of, um, Canada, and my own glowing words of praise are all you'll really have to rely on in deciding whether or not to read this book. I think I should throw a few "very"s in here somewhere to convince you further, because this book is worth reading very very very much.

Fool Britannia

Posted 16 September 2003, 10.31 pm by Villager

A lot of people seem to think that history and its study, either academically or personally, is a waste of time. Others, myself included, value it as a source of understanding the present and a tool for which we can better deal with the future. I find myself studying history at degree level despite popular belief among my friends and family that it is something of a folly, as well as the rather barren and narrow curriculum that I was rationed throughout Highschool. Formerly a mainstay of traditional British education, history has fallen to the wayside, finding itself superseded by a range of more popular courses such as Media, Business and Computer Studies. Accepted modern thought on the matter is that there are basic skills and understanding, the 'life skills'; English, Science and Mathematics, which should be accompanied by more practical, vocational subjects such as Computing, Business, Accounting and Economics. This leaves subjects such as history as marginal topics to be given little attention, an optional extra. Fans of music, art, physical education, philosophy, languages and religion will have comparable complaint: the education of British youth has fallen prey to practicality and economic efficiency, at the fatal expense of culture, art and the exercise of both imagination and body.

Just as important to being taught at all is what is chosen to be taught. Primary and secondary education in Britain seems to be dominated by limited 'snapshots' of history, some of the most common of which are Nazi Germany, English Monarchs and the rise and glory of America. All have their interesting aspects (Nazi Germany being a personal favourite) but their range is abysmal and by character neglect one of the most important things that recent history has to say: that Britain made the modern world. That this is neglected by British schools themselves is quite remarkable. I would venture to say that the history of Britain has more bearing upon the way we live today than that of any other remaining nation. British inventions, intellectuals, wars, language and industries have left a visible and profound mark on probably every country in the world. I do not think that can be said about any other nation still standing in the 21st century. But this isn't about me loving or being proud of British heritage, for I am no patriot and recognise the worse excesses of my ancestors just as their greatest achievements. It is about something in the mindset of those who decide curriculum that either the British Empire and all it entailed is something we should be ashamed of, or a mixed achievement that we should neither celebrate nor decry. So it is neglected altogether. If such a thing as this were to happen in any other country that considers itself to have ever been important, there would be outrage. This is one instance in which it would do us no harm to learn something from The USA: a flag in every classroom, a meaty dose of domestic history and the portrayal of the nation in the most productive light possible, not a negative feature to be overcome.

The great majority of people under 40 have little or no knowledge of the role their nation played in the years before. Many of them see Britain as a developed but beleaguered country well below the standards of many other countries and have no comprehension of how we arrived in this state, now. No doubt some of you are asking 'so what?'. Well the neglect of British history - and so the utter ignorance of the most influential nation since the Roman empire - seems to me to be a perfect example of the erosion of community and culture over the past 50 years. History and subjects like it, subjects that prompt us to think about the world around us and ask questions, are every bit as important to a child's education as understanding maths or computers and far more important than learning about algorithms and business strategies. We no longer see being British as anything more than a name, no more significant that any other Western nation. As history, culture, community and collective self-confidence are gradually eroded, we are left with a society that has chosen without inducement to discard its own magnificent heritage to focus wholly on the pursuit of maximum financial and material gain. Whatever your opinion of the British Empire, Britain without the spirit of Empire is a society devoid of aspiration, self-belief and self-respect. Quality of life is measured by GDP and culture is passed off as pop music and television. As a society we have no mutual respect, as a nation we have nothing in common. True poverty has virtually been eradicated in this country, and most of us are, though we would likely deny it, comfortably wealthy. Isn't it time we spent a little less time and effort in the pursuit of ever greater material wealth and a little more on the development and expansion of the mind?

Confessions of a Flesh Artist

Posted 12 September 2003, 5.06 am by clank-o-tron

The vanity of humanity knows no bounds. It was once exciting to get a loved one's name tattooed upon oneself then, after that, more elaborate tattoos were desired. Eventually, piercing entered the realm of accepted body alteration, beginning with "mundane" locations such as the nipples or eyebrow and moving on to the tongue or genetalia. Just when it seemed that people had done everything they could to customize their bodies - bodies deemed acceptable to the Almighty Himself - I came along. My name is Emerson Drake. I am a flesh artist.

The inspiration for my craft was sudden and almost forced upon me by my good friend Johnson Calem. He and I were having a discussion on the recent craze of body alterations - mutilations, he called them - and the subject drifted to scars. He commented that is althletic ineptitude and careful demeanor had caused him to leave his childhood without any memorable scars. A scar, he said, proved that a man had lived - had seen things and had stories to tell.

As he spoke, I could tell he was staring quite intently at my right cheek from time to time. I knew this because on said location lies a large scar indeed, from my days in service of my country. I had been a sniper - trained by my country to strike silently, accurately, and from afar. No ordinary marksman, I - more men were slain by me alone than entire other regimens. The story of my scar is quite simple, but it still enthralls people such as my friend Calem who have lived their lives uneventfully by comparison. During a routine sweep of a suspected sniper ambush, I found myself staring down my scope to the scope of another. Seeing the muzzle flash of this opponent, I pulled the trigger and rolled out of the way. I was far more fortunate than the other man, as I am clearly here to describe the event to you presently.

Calem glanced from my face up to the mantle where I kept a weapon of the same model I had used in the war on display. An odd look swept over his face as he slowly opened his mouth to speak, as though he was forming the words carefully. When he finally spoke, he asked of my skill and accuracy with the rifle. I issued a brief and by no means exhaustive list of my accomplishments with firearms. He paused for a moment, again with a curious look on his face. He then spoke words to me that I have never heard a sane man speak.

He asked me to shoot him.

I laughed quite heartily at the notion, but when I ceased my laughter I noticed that my friend was staring at me quite expectantly, and immediately offered me a moderate sum of money to perform the service. Before I could speak a word, he assured me that he would sign a paper indicating that I was to be absolved of ay wrongdoing, should his death result from this request. Reluctantly, I agreed, knowing that I posessed the requisite skll to decide whether a man lives or dies from my bullet.

At the time, I lived in a rather rural community, with a large field behind my house. In addition to the privacy, the routine encounters with unfriendly wildlife would certainly allow for a gunshot to go unnoticed. Calem decided that he would like his scar to be on his neck so that it would peek slightly out from his shirt-collar. I told Calem to stand at still as he could at a spot then, leaving a first-aid kit by his feet, I moved a good distance away. He yelled to me and indicated that he was ready for me to commence.

That was the first of many "flesh artistries" I performed for people. I would draw up a contract indicating that I could not be held liable if their death was caused, at any time, by any gun wielded by myself. Word quickly spread, and within a year I had "worked" upon hundreds of men. My list of clientele was quite sizable, but still, something inside me was left unsastisfied.

As abruptly as my business began, it collapsed. One client wanted a scar along the length of his forearm, and he did not heed my warning that all jewlery should be removed prior to the event. Unaccustomed to the sound of gunfire the subject jolted in shock, causing his ring - ironically one he wore for luck - to redirect the bullet. Ricocheting off his ring, the bullet drove into his chest - killing him instantly. In that moment the boy died, so did my business. His family tried to have me charged for his murder, but the procurement of the contract signed by the boy forced the charges to be dropped. Even in their civil case agianst me, the precise wording of my contract shielded me much better than darkness and camoflauge ever had. It was at that moment that the unknown longing deep inside of me was satisfied. I looked into my filing cabinet full of contracts identical to the boy's.

My business may be dead, but I will continue my work - whether it is requested or not.

Can you see The Man in the Moon? (another extract from The Symbiosis of Life & Death)

Posted 5 September 2003, 8.40 am by Green Mamba

In this world of pain and suffering one thing still prevails above all else.

Looking up at the soft glow of the full moon balancing on the edge of a fading cloud, the girl turns to her lover and whispers.
Tell me, can you see The Man in the Moon?

The Man in the Moon stares down at them and then turns away from the window to cast another log onto the fire.
Tell me Semjaza … what is the purpose of it all? Why do these human beings cling so desperately to this thing called life?
Semjaza places the tray with tea gently on the table. They’ve had this conversation before, a hundred times over and he plays his part without failure or enthusiasm in his typically disconnected servant manner, without the slightest variation in his tone of voice.
I honestly do not know master, tell me?
It’s all about love, my servant friend. They stare up at the moon and look for me in its shiny surface, but whether they see me or not is completely irrelevant. All they care about at that moment in time is the warmth of each other’s bodies, the sound of each other’s voices and the beating of each other’s hearts. Regardless of how far humanity have gone up the evolutionary ladder … regardless of how much they think they have achieved socially and technologically there is but one thing that governs their lives, one insatiable desire and that is to find a soul mate, a companion with whom they could travel down the path of life … and procreate.
Semjaza had finished pouring the tea and hands it to his master. As he takes the cup carefully from his hand, he looks at him absentmindedly.
Then tell me, master … why is it that they complicate things so much?
The Man in the Moon’s face lights up as if that is the question that he has been waiting for all along.
Ah, therein lies the riddle.
The Man in the Moon moves over to the window, takes a careful sip of his tea and stares down at The World a moment longer before he continues.
Yes, my servant friend … therein lies their downfall … this complication of things … this interconnectedness of everything. They weave a fancy web, but the more they try to perfect it, the more confusing it becomes … so much so that they have become entangled in it while the flies just buzz all around them … out of reach. Tell me, Semjaza … why does the spider spin a web?
Semjaza was getting tired of this game, but continued to entertain his master nonetheless. Besides, it was not his place to argue, so he uttered the next line in perfect monotone.
In order to catch flies, master.
The Man in the Moon finished his tea, turned away from the window and handed his servant the cup.
That’s right my servant friend … to catch flies. It has nothing to do with beauty … or boredom … or creative energy. It is not a diversion to steer it away from the pointlessness of its existence, but rather a tool to assist it in its survival … and as long as it continues to perform this function without failure, then there is no need for the spider to try and improve on its design.
Semjaza let out a long sigh as he took the cup, placed it carefully in the tray and then for the first time there was a hint of emotion in his voice.
Just like me.

The Man in the Moon looks up and follows his servant with his eyes as he leaves the room. He’s been a good servant … all these years he’s never complained, never once failed to do his duty without instruction or fear of prosecution and yet the sadness in his voice was unmistakable.
Semjaza … could you come here for a minute, please?
Without question or hesitation Semjaza comes rushing back and puts down the tray, waiting with his hands respectfully behind his back … ready to do whatever is asked of him. For the first time in his afterlife, Semjaza is unable to read the expression on his masters face … he looks uneasy, disturbed almost and it frightens him a little.
Are you happy Semjaza?
The magnitude of the question takes a while to settle in. Semjaza rolls it around in his head while The Man in the Moon looks at him expectantly and then after carefully evaluating all the possible answers, Semjaza calmly replies with what he believes to be the right answer.
You have been very good to me master and in gratitude I do my best to serve you well. In that I am perfectly content.
The Man in the Moon shakes his head, places his hand on his servant friend’s shoulder and looks deep into his eyes.
Yes … but are you happy?
Only now does Semjaza realise the full magnitude of the question … only now does he understand that his master is not asking him to confirm something that he already had an answer to, but rather that for the first time he is asking him a question that he couldn’t answer for himself. Semjaza looks at his master, the smooth silver surface of his eyes … impenetrable … reflecting only your own obscured face back at you in its curved surface. For a moment Semjaza dwells on the possible consequences of what he is about to say, but then he says it anyway.
No master … I am not. I have been your servant for a very long time now and every day you stand at that window and judge everyone and everything you see. You talk about love … about the purpose of life and humanities failures, but in all the time that I have known you … not once did you bother to go down there to spend even a single day in The World. I have … I spent an entire lifetime there … laughing, crying, fighting to survive the onslaughts of both man and nature and finding joy in overcoming all its hardships. Not only that, but I have loved … I have slept in the comfort of my mother’s arms and I have bathed in the sweat of my lover. I have raised children … seen them grow and made every effort to prepare them for the worst and the best that The World has to offer. No, it may not be a perfect world and yes, maybe the human race fucked up, but I wouldn’t think twice about trading the last two thousand years of my afterlife in The Great Beyond for a single day back in The World.
The Man in the Moon pulls his hand away and turns his back on his servant. For a moment Semjaza thinks that this is it …his master is about to punish him for speaking out against him, but when he speaks … it becomes obvious that he is crying.
Why, Semjaza … why have you never told me this before?
Semjaza lays a hand on his master’s shoulder to tries and comfort him.
Because it is not my place to question.
With tear-filled eyes The Man in the Moon turns around to face his servant.
Then why now … why tell me all this now after all this time?
Because The World as I have known it is coming to an end … all the signs are there. I can see them reflected in your eyes and I don’t know if there’ll be anybody left to tell you this after it’s gone. Besides, if there is a remote chance for you to experience life as I have then my duty as a member of the human race demands that I tell you this before it is too late.
Semjaza leaves his master standing by the window, picks up the tray and walks towards the kitchen. Before he leaves the room he turns around and in his typical servant manner asks.
More tea, master?
The Man in the Moon continues to stare out the window at The World down below, wondering what it would be like to walk amongst these human beings and experience this thing called life.
Yes please … and pour yourself a cup while you’re at it.

The boy looks up at the silver glowing disk in the sky, stares at it for a brief moment and smiles at his lover.
No, I honestly have to say that I cant.
She smiles back at him and rests her head on his shoulder.
Neither can I.

Surviving Matt.

Posted 2 September 2003, 4.59 am by VanGogh

If you believe what they tell you on TV, then living in a small town is the next best thing to paradise on earth. Everybody knows everybody, neighbors trade recipes over the white picket fences, and the children are always happy and well behaved.

I grew up in a prototypical small town (Population 1,300), and from my experience, small town life is a tad different. Specifically, everybody knows everybody, and usually dislikes them for one reason or another. If the neighbors gather to talk over a fence, it’s usually chain link, and the topic of conversation tends to focus more on vicious gossip than casserole recipes. The children, who are undoubtedly bored to tears since there isn’t a damn thing to do in a small town, usually spend their time riding bikes through freshly planted flower gardens and screaming at each other. And you can be assured that if they aren’t doing that, it’s only because they’re out back egging your car.

Knowing this, it probably comes as little surprise to you that when I graduated from high school in 1995, my primary goal in life was to get as far away from my hometown as my financial aid could take me. As it turned out, that place was the University of Akron, in Akron, Ohio.

UA appealed to me for a variety of reasons. They had a good Fine Arts program, which was what I wanted to major in. They were a large campus, which I liked. And they were offering me a substantial theatre scholarship if I attended, which was definitely a plus. But I must confess, all of these things came in a distant second to the most important reason of all: Akron was a four hour drive from my hometown.

In technical terms, this was ‘fucking perfect’.

So I became an Akron Zip. For reasons that are so off topic I won’t bother explaining, the University of Akron mascot is a kangaroo. Collectively, teams and students from UA are known as the ‘Zips’, a name borrowed from a formerly popular brand of rain boot. As I was to find out, the abnormal thought process that led to the mascot and nickname was fairly standard at UA. In the year and a half that I spent there, I don’t think a month went by that I didn’t hear about some new rule or project on campus that made me question the sanity of the governing body. They seemed to approach their jobs with the same intentions and understanding that a troop of monkeys has when frolicking with a bowling ball. (Here’s a tip from your Uncle Jaime: If the college you’re attending chooses a marsupial as a mascot, and then names it in honor of footwear, consider transferring.)

It goes without saying that in a year and a half of attendance at Akron I built up quite a repository of stories worth telling. One of them involves my first roommate at Akron, an especially interesting fellow named Matt.

When you choose to live on campus at UA, the housing office sends you a lengthy survey to fill out. It asks you all sorts of things about your cleaning habits, smoking habit, study habits and so on. The purported use for this survey is to match you up with a suitable roommate who shares a lot of compatible habits. In actuality, it acts as a campus-sponsored game of screw the new guy. I say that because only someone brand new to the college experience would ever fill that survey out truthfully. Upperclassmen and savvy newcomers know to lie on it.

For instance, lets say you’re a slob stuck living in a college dorm. Not content to wallow in the mire of your slovenly ways, you have a few choices for how to improve your living conditions. You could hire a maid, a real stretch on the average collegiate budget. Or, if you’re a resourceful type, you could fill out a housing survey and tell them that you’re a neat freak. The housing office will do their thing and assign you a roommate that is also a neat freak. Then when your new neat freak roommate shows up, you can count on them to compulsively clean up after you. It’s a beautiful thing, and a hell of a lot cheaper than the maid.

Of course, I point all of this out to you with the benefit of hindsight and hard-earned experience. When I first enrolled at UA, I had neither, so I filled the survey out honestly. And that is how I, a person who had specifically requested a non-smoking roommate, ended up living with Matt, the human chimney.

Matt was a disability case. He suffered from Multiple Sclerosis, and thus received a lot of preferential treatment on campus. This included, amongst other things, the right to skip whatever classes he didn’t feel like attending. In the year that I knew him, I can only remember him going to class twice. Yet his grades were always fine. He pulled off this miracle of academic absenteeism by playing the guilt card. He’d call up a professor, whose class he hadn’t attended in a month, and ask for credit on work he hadn’t even considered doing. When they inevitably started reading him the riot act, he’d casually mention the discrimination that MS sufferers face in life, and how sad it was that he had to deal with it in this institution of higher learning. Quicker than you can say ‘American’s with Disabilities Act’, he’d have his passing grade. It was amazing to watch.

Not that I got to see any of that right away. In fact, I had been living in our dorm room for almost a week before I even met Matt. When I arrived at the dorm with baggage and parents in tow, Matt had already come and gone. Apparently a man of action, he had saved me the hassle of choosing a bed or a desk by claiming the better of each for himself. I wasn’t thrilled with the bed situation. We had bunk beds, and he’d stuck me with the top bunk. Still, I understood. First come, first serve. So I unpacked, bid the parents a fond farewell, and wandered off into the haze that is college life.

Five days later, I still hadn’t seen him. By this time class had been in session for three days. But Matt, whose name I only knew because it was posted on the door, was still a no show. On the morning of my sixth day in the room, I awoke to the sound of snoring. My first thought was that there was an intruder in the room. Then I remembered my phantom roommate and swung my head over the edge to take a look below me. What I found was a thin, grizzled guy half-hanging off the lower bed, sound asleep and dead to the world. His head was almost touching the floor, and there was a river of drool flowing from the corner of his mouth, past his nose and eyes, and into his hair. On the floor, beside his outstretched hand, was the burnt remains of the cigarette he’d been smoking when he passed out. His shirt appeared to be vomit stained, and he reeked like a Turkish sewer.

Ladies and gentleman, I present to you my roommate, Matt.

When I went to class later that morning, Matt was still asleep. When I got home from class that afternoon, Matt was gone. His bed had been made and his backpack was missing. Apparently he had decided to see what classes were like. When I sat down at my desk to work on some homework, I found a neatly written note:

“I borrowed some socks. - Matt”

We had never spoken a word to each other and already he was borrowing socks. Not a good sign. Over the weeks that followed, Matt and I managed to make contact when we were both conscious. He was an alright guy to talk to, especially when he was stoned. As luck would have it, that was pretty much all the time with Matt. This was due in no small part to the fact that Matt was the third largest drug dealer on campus. He only dealt weed, which kept him out of the running for the top dealer spots. But for a weed-only man, he didn’t do too bad.

Living with the third biggest drug dealer on campus has some advantages. Matt always paid for pizza, and we had the biggest TV in our dorm. We also had a fine stereo system, and all the CD’s that money could buy. And Matt taught me all sorts entertaining life skills, like how to break a brick of product down into dime and nickel bags, a task we used to do while watching the Simpsons on TV.

The downside of being a dealer's roommate is that people often show up at your door at three in the morning looking to score. And occasionally these people are knocking on the door with the butt of their gun. That sort of thing gets old fast, especially when Matt has decided to disappear for awhile.

I could care less about dope. I don’t smoke it because I can have just as much fun without it. But for those who choose to, I say have fun. However, when you live with a drug dealer, the lifestyle tends to drag on you.

After four months of living with Matt, I was ready to move out, if only to get some sense of normalcy back into my life. I had already applied to transfer rooms, but the housing office was giving me the run around. They wanted Matt and I to attend counseling sessions. How in the hell was I supposed to talk him into that? As fate would have it, Matt solved the problem for me.

He had been MIA for two days. This wasn’t unusual. He’d go off to a party, crash there for the night, then leave the next afternoon to go to another party. When the parties were flowing and his mood was right, he’d carry on in that manner for up to a week.

It was a little after four in the morning when he started trying to get his key in the door. After consuming a fifth of Jack Daniels and smoking enough grass to keep him tripping in style for a week, most of his basic motor skills had abandoned him. Those that were left had fallen prey to the MS, and so poor Matt was having a hell of a time walking, let alone guiding his key into the lock.

At some point, his slurred yelling and repeated banging on the door woke me up. I listened to him struggle with the lock, trying to convince myself to get up and let him in. Before I could muster up the energy to climb down, he finally succeeded in opening the door. I feigned sleep in order to avoid a drunken conversation, and watched him stumble into the room. Out of consideration for me, or possibly just because he didn't think he could manage it, Matt didn’t turn on the light. This meant that I could lay on my side and watch him as he shuffled around the room muttering.

After a few missteps, his shuffling led him over to his desk. He grabbed his chair and began to drag it out into the middle of the room. This already monumental feat of basic coordination was made even more challenging because Matt’s backpack and several of his textbooks were resting on the seat of the chair. After several false starts, and one near tip over, Matt was satisfied with the position of the chair in the middle of the room.

By this time my curiosity had eliminated any pretense of sleep. I propped myself up on my elbows to attain a better view of the events unfolding before me. For the life of me, I couldn’t figure out why Matt’s chemically altered mind wanted the chair in the middle of the floor. I didn’t have to wait long for the answer.

Matt stood facing the chair, swaying in a wind that only he could feel. Then he unbuckled his belt and dropped his pants. As they were pooling around his ankles, he shoved his underwear down and pulled out Mr. Happy. Before I could even begin to comprehend what was going on, he was pissing all over his chair. He started low, giving the legs a good once over. Then he whipped it high, over spraying and hitting the curtains before correcting his aim to hit the back of the seat. Finally, he lowered it to his backpack and books.

Now to read that took you only seconds. But the seeing of it lasted much longer. Old Matt was deep into beer piss territory, and the bath that he gave his chair and belongings easily lasted for 40 or 45 seconds. When he was done, the chair was soaked, the books and backpack were sopping, and a huge puddle had streamed onto the floor. The smell was overwhelming. I managed to sit all the way up in bed, but couldn’t get out any words. Instead, I watched gaped mouth as Matt shuffled out of shoes, pants and underwear and collapsed into bed nude from the waist down. He left his clothing soaking in the newly formed lake.

I don’t know how long I sat there in bed trying to process what I’d just watched. What I do know is that by the time I snapped out of it, Matt was snoring loudly. I leaned over the edge to say something to him. I don’t know what exactly, but something. However one look at his corpse-like presence told me he was out for the count. I was on my own.

After some careful study of the growing puddle on the floor, I managed to climb down and get out of the room without stepping into it. I stood out in the hallway for a moment, trying to figure out what my next move was. I had attended Freshman Orientation, but strangely enough, they hadn’t covered practical steps to dealing with roommates who confuse desk chairs for urinals. I made a mental note to suggest it to the housing office the next time I was in there. In the meantime, I decided to go wake up my RA.

Resident Advisors, or RA’s, are upperclassmen who are put in charge of keeping order in dorms. Generally there are one or two RA’s per floor. They are paid to handle normal everyday hassles, and to notify higher ups when necessary. Our RA was named Mike. Mike was good guy. He handled toilette paper shortages like a pro, and had developed an immunity to our juvenile humor. I wasn’t sure he was prepared for an in-house outhouse issue, but frankly, I didn’t care. I needed to pass the buck on this one, and he was paid to take it.

I walked down to his door and knocked. Then I knocked again. From inside I heard a groggy voice mutter something. I knocked again. Mike, being the well trained and responsible person that he was, told me to fuck off. I just kept knocking. Eventually, having gotten the idea that I wasn’t going away, Mike cracked the door open.

“Jaime, what in the hell do you want? Do you know what time it is?”

“Hi Mike. Matt pissed on the floor.”

“You fucking woke me up for this? We’ll have a janitor get it in the morning. Just use the other bathroom.”

“Uh, no Mike. He pissed on OUR floor. In the room.”

Mike just stared at me. “Say what?”

“He’s drunk. He pissed on our floor. Actually, he pissed on his chair and his backpack, and it ran onto the floor.”

“You’re kidding me.”

“No.”

Mike closed the door in my face. I stood there staring, trying to figure out what I was supposed to do now. Before I could summon up another plan, Mike opened the door again, this time wearing shower shoes. He motioned for me to follow him back to the room. When we got down there, he used his pass key to unlock the door and swept it open. The smell that rushed out to meet us made my eyes water. Mike stood there, looking from the floor, to the chair, to Matt, and then back to the floor again.

“He pissed on the floor.”

“Yeah, that’s what I told you.”

“Yeah… but I mean… He pissed on the floor.”

I never could get anything by Mike.

“So, what do I do?”

“Well, if I were you, I’d move out.”

I repressed the urge to scream.

“No shit. I filed the paperwork a week ago. They say Matt and I have to do counseling. What am I supposed to say? Matt, it really bothers me when you decide to give the room your own personal rinse?”

“Fuck that counseling shit. We’ve got an open room at the end of the hall. It’s yours.”

“I’m not cleaning that up.”

“Nah, leave it for him.”

And that is how it came to be that at 4:45 AM on a Thursday morning, I moved from room 303 to room 310. By the time the early risers were up, I was completely relocated.

Throughout the day, the story of Matt’s innovative use of dorm furniture made the rounds. By the time Matt woke up at five in the evening, everyone on the floor and most people in the building knew about it. I was just walking out of my new room when Matt finally emerged from his.

“Hey man, somebody stole your stuff. And the room smells like shit.”

“I moved, and the smell is piss, not shit.”

Matt, still hung over and desperately trying to grasp my words, turned around looked back into the room. Then he looked back at me. “You pissed in the room?”

“No dipshit, YOU did. You pissed all over the place last night.”

“The fuck you say! Where?”

I was beyond exasperated. I walked down to the door to point his handy work out to him. When I looked in, I stopped dead. The piss was gone. Not a sign of it anywhere. The chair was still in the middle of the floor, but there was no urine to be seen.

For one panicky moment I wondered if I had dreamed the whole thing. Then I remembered showing Mike. If it was a dream, we had experienced it together.

“Man, I don’t know what to tell you. Last night you came in drunk as hell and pulled out your chair, then you pissed all over it. Soaked down your backpack, your books, everything.”

“Then where’s the piss?”

“Evaporated?”

Even as I said it, I knew it had to be true. I nearly gagged at the idea that I was now breathing his piss. Would this nightmare ever end?

“Look, if you don’t believe me, go check your backpack. You doused it last night. It must still smell.”

He shuffled over to the chair and picked up his backpack by the handle. As he did, piss came running out from the bottom.

“Oh fuck!”

“Yeah, my thoughts exactly.”

He looked at it for a minute, then set it back down. Then he looked around the room and back at me.

“So you moved out?”

“Yeah man. I’m down the hall now.”

With complete sincerity, he asked, “Why?”

Ladies and gentleman, I present to you my ex-roommate, Matt.

Are YOU worth it?

Posted 2 September 2003, 3.25 am by Jake

We've all been really busy lately. Too busy, in fact. We don't even think about what we're preoccupied with, we just dive into it like a pre-pubescent drunk teen virgin on our first date with that girl. You know, the one that lives a few houses down, wears a lot of make-up, no panties? Yeah, her. She kisses funny.

Anyways, what was I saying? Oh, yeah. We're busy. I don't know where I was going with that, but I've decided not to waste my ramblings on you people. Yes, you little peons, you who were born through an unsuccessful (or successful, depending on how you look at it) act of copulation. You people who eat, breathe, shit, and sweat just like every other human being on this earth (save for a select few) are just not worthy of hearing my scathing witticisms regarding everyday life. In fact, I'm going to go have a beer while you guys wait, in suspense, for me to fucking do something.

...

Okay, I'm back. I can see the eager looks on your faces. I can taste your desires...your desires to feast your eyes upon my golden words of wisdom as they grace the god-forsaken HTML-formatted page that I'm spurting my savior-seed of genius upon, your desires to embrace my thoughts, to caress my mind and become one with my overly cynical and brash attitude. Why? Because, in my superior opinion, you people are just too boring. You're too run-of-the-mill, you're still in the motherfucking era of the Goatse man while I embrace the Star Wars kid. We're cavorting our fat asses off in the moon-light, baby, while you masturbate to Aria Giovanni. You see, I get all of the new stuff. I've got videos you wouldn't believe. The Mexican Donkey Show is nothing compared to what I have. You want bukkake-bestio-grandpa-interracial-butt-sex? Seen it. How about a pregnant chick in latex lactating while fellating a mime? I was the mime. I've got Flash vids that will make your eyes bleed, bitch-boy. They're so fricking cool, they'd make you pee yourself like a young girl amidst a pack of ravenous wolves. But I haven't posted them yet. You're not worth it. I'm 3l337, you see. I made this virus, and it's going to wipe you all out as I sit on my 320-lb ass and pick my nose, and leave my name about in an inconspicuous manner so that I can be accredited like I so deserve. I'll show you motherfuckers, man. I'll rush up on all your asses in my sleek black Lamborghini Diablo and dispatch you like a ninja master.

Really, I will. Did I mention that I'm eleven years old?

THESE CITY WALLS (PART II of II)

Posted 26 August 2003, 6.56 am by Green Mamba

She followed The Road up to a city, perched like a giant boil in the middle of a large clearing, where The Road abruptly turned left and around it. How strange, she thought and then she simply stood there staring at the immense wall that surrounded the city. There were people on top of The Wall and in response to her own curiosity; they stared back at her wide-eyed while they whispered nervously to each other.
To add to her confusion, there was no gateway into the city, just The Wall, seamless and insurmountable all around it and the growing crowd staring down at her from above. The day was almost over, so she decided to stay overnight and started gathering wood for a small fire on which she could cook the rabbit that she had killed earlier. Still the crowd grew and by now the muffled whispers had turned into a low rumble.
After cooking and eating the rabbit, she decided to try and rid her body of all the dirt and grime that she had accumulated from the days travel, removed her armour and bathed in the nearby river. The water was cool, pure and unpolluted … unlike The River of Dreams from which she drank earlier in the day and she took her time, allowing the gently flow of the water to caress her body. By now, The Wall was lined from end to end with curious onlookers some of whom showed expressions of disgust while others merely gawked at her nakedness. She didn’t mind … in The World water like this was a rare commodity and such a prized possession that nobody would even have noticed whether she was naked or not.
Back at the fire, she wondered what could possibly persuade anybody to build a wall around themselves without making an entrance. Dwelling on the possibility that maybe the whole city was a prison of some sort, she soon surrendered her senses to the sweet oblivion of sleep. She was awoken in the early pre-dawn morning hours by a nagging call coming from above.
Hey you down there! Wake up!
She looked for the source of the voice and found that it came from a grey-haired man who appeared to be the spokesperson for a small group of elderly people that had gathered on top of The Wall. The rest of the crowd were gone, not surprisingly since they must have gotten bored watching her sleep, so without delay she got up, approached The Wall and looked up.
What?!
The old man cringed a little, obviously fearful that she might try to harm them, although given the height and the size of The Wall that was very unlikely.
How long do you intend on staying down there?
She laughed softly to herself and then looked back up at the old man trying to conceal her amusement.
Are you inviting me in then? Sure took you long enough.
The old man was visibly shocked and pulled back, conferred with his friends and then stuck his head over the lip of The Wall again.
No no! On the contrary … you are disrupting the citizens of Jericho with your presence and we would appreciate it if you would leave as soon as possible.
She was a little taken back by the blatant rejection, but tried to keep her composure as best as she could under the circumstances.
Oh? In that case I’ll get going right away. Wouldn’t want to cause a riot or something now would I?
They were overjoyed, clapping their hands and cheering as she followed The Road around The City and out of sight. In the morning when the people ask what had happened to the blue-haired woman, they would tell them that she was killed by wild beasts and dragged off into The Forest … and that should be the end of that.

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Doggybag/baggy_dog is an artist living and working in Barga, Italy. Click here to read about this piece in his own words.


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80s candy bars were pretty good

only because i traded it for a candy bar in the 80's.

lol we all know you don't have a soul ghoti

my soul for some carbs...

But of course!

Yo ! Does this work ?

* Alexander wonders if this still works

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