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Magicians and BloodWhores

Posted 10 February 2003, 2.01 am by Shaggy

I was his apprentice. I looked at him with awe, and a morbid curiousity. Here was the creature that was going to show me everything I needed to know. Here was the beast that was going to enlighten my path to the Other. Now all I had to do was to follow in his footsteps.

I made the same gestures that he had taught me. Simple tricks, really, nothing more than turning an inaminate object into something it is not. Many magicians have mastered this trick, and moved on to greater things, like creating fire from flesh, telekinesis, and other such talents. Somehow, though, what I am doing seems terribly important.

I turn a living creature into a list of names. These names are members of our audience, members who I have looked at with a morbid interest that I could not truly understand. What were these people to me? They were complete strangers, and yet I felt so interminably important to them, as if I am their savior somehow.

Can you believe it? Me, a savior? The thought alone makes me shiver.

My master reads the list. Simple names, normal names, and names that do not ring up much affection to me, except that I feel worried somehow. I am not terribly sure why, I am not terribly sure how, but I know these are victims, and so it is with this in mind that I whisper to one of the audience members to "think of nothing but thorns."

I close my eyes as the audience member form a circle between my master and I. I begin to count arbitrarily, random numbers, and I close my eyes. I can feel myself becoming faint, becoming light, and I know this is an integral part of the procedure.

The procedure is almost surgical. I begin to feel as if I am a member of the audience, perhaps more than one of the group that forms a circle on our stage. I feel as if I am being lifted out from their chests, and I can feel myself passing through the ceiling. I am now in the sky, floating above everything I have ever known. I can feel the warmth of the sky as I have never felt anything before. I can somehow sense that I cannot be seen, that I am like an insect, too miniscule to be seen by the naked eye, and yet I feel immeasurably powerful. I feel free, like a bird with no wings, like a man with no legs. I am not physical, I am free from the boundries of flesh. I feel like laughing, but I have no voice to bellow out my glee. I am at the edge of the clouds, and I can sense something unseen at the other side, something that cannot be seen by physical eyes, but something, nevertheless, that I can now see in my transcendental state.

Yet, before I pass through the clouds, I begin to be pulled back, and I feel myself entering into the audience members. I can feel them, somehow, and they feel like I have surgically removed a part of them. I somehow know that within a few weeks from leaving this stage, they will die.

All except the man who thought of nothing but thorns, the man that my master did not notice was absent from the excursion to the sky. My master is content with the other souls, as he has stolen enough of them to further perpetuate his goals.

I open my eyes, and somehow manage to convince myself it was all a dream.


Posted 9 February 2003, 10.30 pm by The_Roach

It took a little longer than I expected, but I really wanted to give this nifty little device from TrekStor an in-depth examination. You know, the kind you get from local authorities who think you might be trafficking in Turkish black mule heroin. They call it a ThumbDrive, and it may be the coolest portable data storage unit I've ever seen.

It's one of those ideas that I wish I'd had... along with the technical expertise to make it a reality, but that's neither here nor there. Solid-state flash memory has been around for a long time now, but combining it with what's quickly become the most versatile peripheral technology, USB, is something we all should have seen coming.

Less than three inches in length, it's freaking tiny. Anybody who's ever seen the manner in which I choose to live my life knows that this would land me neck-deep in crisis in no time flat were it not for the clip cover that protects the USB connector having a keychain attached. It's a solid cover too. During one of my nervous fits at work, I spent over two hours removing and reattaching the ThumbDrive from it's protective sheath and it's still holding strong so there's little to fear from it accidentally coming loose and becoming lost forever.

Of course, this is all just eye candy and drek. How it performs is what's really important. Using it is simple:

1. Plug it into an available USB port.
2. That's it.

The machine recognizes it as a standard USB storage device and mounts it with an available drive letter. Then you treat it like any other drive on your system and unplug it when you're done. Transfer rates are reasonable (averaging about 1Mb/s), and the capacity ranges from 8Mb to 512Mb.

The optional features... well, these almost made me require a clean pair of shorts. One version of the ThumbDrive has a password lock. Enter your password, or you don't gain access to the drive. No big deal, right? Password protection is almost laughable these days. Well, for all of us cynics, they have the ThumbDrive Touch which utilizes biometric technology to scan your thumbprint and verify it in lieu of password protection, and it's only nominally larger in size. Very cool.

The only problem I have with the drive really stems more from my problems with Windows than any fault in the drive itself. If you use Windows 98, you'll have to install some drivers before the system will recognize and mount the ThumbDrive. The way things are progressing, this problem will more or less phase itself out within a year or two (unless you're stubborn like I am, and then it may never be fixed). ThumbDrive is compatible with Windows 98 and later, as well as Mac OS 8.6 and up. There's no official support for Linux at this time, which I find sadly lacking. Then again, this is at heart a commercial product that's only now starting to break into consumer markets. I wouldn't be surprised to see an independant driver already developed.


I've never done a technology review before that I can remember, and it's a bit of a challenge. See, there are two parts of me when it comes to gadgets and gizmos: The geeky part and the practical part. The geek in me is screaming out "JESUS CHRIST! This thing is so cool! I absolutely must have one!" The practical end, however, is asking me what I'd do with such a thing. It's convenient size makes it perfect for working professionals who want to transfer everyday files to and from the office. I am not a working professional and I can't see myself ever really needing to carry around data like that. The amount of available storage could make it handy for use as a backup drive but the price tag on the larger capacity drives make it cost prohibitive when compared to optical disks. The security features on the ThumbDrive Touch will really make things easier for my occasional forays into international and corporate espionage, though...

I guess what I'm saying is that I wonder if there are enough geeks out there to make the ThumbDrive successful with the average consumer. Time will tell.

More info here

stop the insanity

Posted 8 February 2003, 6.53 pm by firebrand

I don't even know what to say

it's a long download (mpeg) so be forewarned.

I Once Heard About Creation...

Posted 5 February 2003, 12.04 am by PixieMeat

Someone screwed up big time. I’m not talking about a flaw in some invariably invisible matrix, I’m talking about in what I perceive to be real life. There wasn’t a big explosion. Or a salvo of ignition followed by implosion of the universe leading to the obliteration and recreation of infinity. We weren’t as fortunate as the dinosaurs. Nothing disintegrated into mid-air, shifted, came to rest, and then shifted again. Something began a long time ago and now we are somewhere close to the end.

The end constitutes a myriad of beginnings that no one being can keep track of. There is a point where straight linear time begins to undulate on the two dimensional axis.

(Have you ever stood thirty feet away from someone and each picked up the end of a rope? Have you tried sending a wave from one end to the other? When the wave concludes its journey to the other side in tries to consume the patterned movement your partner’s hand and arm make. It fails to envelop such a free willed range of motion. And as it concedes defeat it dissipates until you are ready to create it again.)

We are past this of course. We are three dimensional beings with four dimensional minds capable of inventing anything we see in our dreams. Except, of course, perfection.

When was the last time you smiled at the blue sky because you believe in the reincarnation of the morning sun? How often do you think about digging to the center of the earth to see your ancestors of a prior age? You should try molding something out of clay, putting it in the oven, and make it come alive. If you think I’m being silly, you can go ask the wise sea turtles where humans come from.

There is a sun. There is a moon. And there is this habitable Earth. I’ve heard something about “in the beginning” but that part is a little bit fuzzy to me. I’ve heard something about Old Man Coyote and a little bit about Mother Spider. The bible tells me there was a Jesus. There may have even been a God and his council of angels. I’ve read about an Ishtar. He may have been the son of Apsu. But she was killed by Ea anyway. And then there was something about how creation tales borrow from each other and become less about the beginning of time and more about creativity and aetiology.

But that was so long ago. Those questions are so outdated.

Awhile ago, before some time had elapsed to create the present, I came upon a girl sitting at the end of the earth. Her little feet were dangling in empty space, tears falling from her eyes. I didn’t have to ask her what was wrong. The bruise on her cheek told me she had been in contact with a mean nasty electron. His molecular pull and mind-numbing implications had put the little girl in check. As I stared at her she offered a few words:

“I wish electrons were pretty.”

And then she jumped. She didn’t fall like the first humans would have predicted. She was avulsed and siphoned from the inside—out. And as her heart emerged from its comfortable cavity (in search of a new source of love and creation) two electrons began to paint elliptical swirls around it until it burst.

When I saw that, I promised her that I’d try. I’d try to reinvent creation.


Posted 3 February 2003, 11.47 pm by Sickan

It was late one night a few years ago. I had been sitting at home waiting for my mom to get back from where ever she was. I actually knew where she was I just didn't want to think about it.

I brushed my teeth and slowly got ready to go to bed - I had to because I had to go to school the next morning and it was already way over my bedtime.
But I just didn't like to fool myself into believing that I actually could sleep without her having returned home.

I looked out the kitchen window, I could just see the path two stores beneath me and I looked at the faint reflections in the water covering the grey stones, of the dimmed light from the other concrete buildings surrounding the twin I was living in.

I stood there for the longest time - not thinking about anything much, just trying with all my power not to think of the terrible feeling of desertion I knew that I had to keep that at bay, as well as I had to fight to keep the worried thoughts away - I was really scared that something had happened to my mother.

The phone rang. I looked at it from the kitchen, the little black thing on the desk by the livingroom - I turned slowly as if someone had made a bubble of slowmotion around me. It rang again. I walked to the desk and picked it up.

'Sick..' I said in a low voice, I knew right away who it was and I and was both relieved and furious. I had picked up the phone too many times in my life to regonize the sound of someone calling from a pub or anywhere where there are drunk people - or as some would put it, high spirited people.

I clenched my teeth and felt the tears fill my eyes and then I heard her voice. She tried to sound sober as she always did. But as both of us knew there was no way of hiding it from me. I fiddled with a random note by the phone and put it down again, and fiddled with the plant that stood on the other side of the phone - when she spoke I tore some of the moist leave off.

I put the phone down and let the tears run free. I had many years of training in crying silently, I felt the warm drops run down my cheeks and stop by my chin just to take the free-dive from my face to the floor. The tears were big and my heart was broken again.

I didn't really notice the tears - I just went into my bedroom and got my spare blanket and pillow and made a bed in the livingroom. Mom was bringing someone home with her. Again. But this time something was different. Usually there was no need for me to make a bed or anything like that, it was usually just very important for me to be gone when she got home - if she had told me she was bringing a man with her.

I knew I had about half an hour before they came home, just enough time for me to make some coffee for her and for my face to look normal. I didnt want her to know how much this hurt me, eventhough I also knew that she was aware of it, but too weak to stop it. I had just learned to bottle it all up.

When they got to our apartment I was sitting in my room watching TV - I looked at my mom and said a faint Hi, when she looked at me. I never saw the other person - I just realized that it was a woman. I was puzzled by this and got up and walked into the kitchen - I could hear my mom talking silently in the bedroom and I poured some coffee and waited for something to happen.

After a little while my mom appeared in the doorway and she didnt look at drunk as I had imagined her to be. I could see she was worried. I looked at her a long moment and then gave her a mug of steaming coffee. She smiled and thanked me. I looked at her and tried to provoke her to explain with my eyes.

She took a deep breath and shook her head and said,
'She has been fucked up by her boyfriend and she had no where to go... so I offered her to stay here...' I clenched my teeth again.
'Okay,' I said slowly, 'this guy, does he know that she is here?' I looked at her.
'I don't know... he might..'
I kept on looking at her, trying to understand why this kept happening to us... no actually, just why this kept happening to me.
I tried to imagine what he had done to her and decided that it was just better not to think about it. I shook my head in confusion and despair.

'I'm going to bed' I jumped down from the table and put the mug in the sink - I wanted to say something, but there was nothing to say,
I left the kitchen and walked the few steps into my room and closed the door and sat down by it - I hugged myself and tried not to cry, but I couldn't stop it and again the tears fell heavily on my bare legs. I cried and cried and just let it all out, silently and without realizing I even did it.

After some time, I have no recollection of how long I had been sitting there I crawled on my bed and fell asleep. I was so tired and I slept as a baby.

At some point I woke up, I was facing the black wall and I could see the moon outside, just in the center of my window, big and grey and full. I couldn't really focus on it because my brain was still half asleep and my eyes had still not gotten used to the dark. But there was something wrong with the image. There was something that wasn't supposed to be reflected in the window - something in the room.

I suddenly knew why I woke up - there was a person in my bedroom with me, actually standing mere centimeters from me. I had no idea what to expect and what to think of this. Thoughts flew through my, what did this person want from me, what could I do, what should I do - should I just pretend I was sound asleep or turn around and face the unknown. No more than a few seconds went by and I realized who the person was, that stranger my mom had brought home, that woman who had been beat up - why the fuck was she standing in my bedroom, just standing - looking at a 16 year old girl sleeping.

I turned around and looked at her, she looked like a ghost, there were black marks around both her eyes and her mouth was deformed partly by the many shadows and partly by the force of a weak and sick man. She looked at me, I could not see her eyes but I knew.

I wanted to say something, I wanted to make her leave, I wanted to hold her and tell her everything was going to be allright, I wanted her to do something, anything - she looked like a ghost and she behaved like one as well.

Most of all I wanted her to go away, I imagined myself screaming at her to get the fuck out and never corrupt my heaven again - this was the only fucking place outside my own mind I was safe, behind these 4 walls my entire life were, and she had invaded it, just like that - she had snug up behind me while I was sleeping and that is a threat in itself, but for me it was like I lost everything - she stole my life.

I turned around again and faced the wall - as much as I wanted to tell her to fuck off as much I was unable to. I didn't know what to do about the situation I was scared, but still the damage had been done and I could not make what I lost come back. It was gone forever.

I must have fallen asleep again and I can't remember her walking out of my room. When I got up the next morning, way too late to even catch the last class, my mom told me that she had left early - before anyone was up in the house.
I wanted to tell my mom what she had caused - that she was responsible for my loss, I wanted to scream that I hated her, that I hated my life and what it had become, I wanted to hug her and tell her that I loved her and that this had to end, I wanted to hit her until she promised never to drink one drop of alcohol again...

Most of all I wanted my safety back. I wished for a life where I hadn't been forced to grow up before time, a world where my parents were like real parents and not like children. I knew that non of this was going to happen and I had to make up my mind about the life I wanted to lead - did I want to be a part of this anymore, or would I have the strength just to pack up my things (again) walk out and never look back...



Posted 2 February 2003, 11.23 pm by firebrand

That's right, The Parking Lot is Full

one of them patently offensive webcomics (it is now dead) but damn, some of the early ones are great.

"Postcards from Hell"
"Quiet Ambition"
and "Anubis" are my favorites.

Case Modding On A Budget

Posted 2 February 2003, 11.18 pm by Unforgiven

Because we can't all afford a case fan with 3 LEDs in it.

Fat of the Land

Posted 2 February 2003, 8.30 pm by firebrand

25% of all Americans are obese. 57% are sheerly "overweight." Fifty-seven percent.

The U.S. is slowly choking to death on its own fat. Everywhere you look, there are diet books and magazines exhorting the average American to lose weight. "You don't look like Tyra Banks," they whisper, "there must be something terribly wrong with you." Even though American royalty is still as thin and beautiful as ever, the rest of us just keep turning into blobs with legs.

The entirety of American culture is geared towards obesity. Bigger equals better, right? Who wants the Civic Hatchback of burgers when you can have a Cadillac. Besides, you're not fat.

At least, you don't realize that you're part of that 57% until your favorite store doesn't carry that shirt in your size (XL) or you have to work pretty damn hard to zip that pair of pants over your bulbous gut.

Suddenly, you're a member of a group that has more health problems than any other, except perhaps the elderly) - high blood pressure, diabetes, reproductive cancers, osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, the chilling tendency to lose peanut butter sandwiches in the folds of your body. But, there's always someone telling you it's not your fault - evil McDonald's made you fat, our car-dependent nation has made you fat, or your genes have made you fat.

You'll stand in front of the mirror and poke at your squishy thighs, your rounded belly, and your underarm flab. And you won't be alone. 5.7 out of 10 people that read this article will be right there with you. Including me.

And deep inside, you know the solution. Now, you just have to fix the problem.

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In 2018 I started painting again. This was one of a series of acrylic sketches I did to relearn techniques and revisit my skills from art college.

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Hey Cris, it's as busy here as it was at the end - which is to say, not at all

I wish I could new you guys was here in the beginning of 2020 LOL

OMG I was feeling nostalgic and I can’t believe that AKP is still here! So how’s it going ?

Props to Green Mamba for bringing the weirdness


80s candy bars were pretty good


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