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Ultima Ratio Regum

Posted 27 October 2002, 11.38 am by Jake

Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson is a jet-fueled romp through a geographically skewed, post-apocalyptic futuristic society. It introduces a very Neuromancer-like Metaverse, which is the digital equivalent of the real world, albeit where everything is related to information.

Action in this novel switches almost seamlessly between Reality and the Metaverse, which shows Stephenson's proficiency as an author. The plot is driven mainly through the character development and setting (ironically enough, the lead character is named Hiro Protagonist), and Stephenson does a great job of blending action into the plot so as not to bore the reader.

Throughout the story, there are several perspective shifts, which in fact don't affect the pacing and cohesion of the story, but actually give this already atmospheric novel more depth. Stephenson's writing style is a force to be reckoned with, also. When leafing through this book, his style is all over the place.

With a God-given knack for imagery and his spitting out lines such as "It feels like being massaged with a hundred ball peen hammers", you know you're in for a reasonably entertaining ride. Bristling with cultural criticism and sprinkled with a generous bit of Sumerian history, the sheer size of the book (438 p.) may turn off some readers.

But if you're looking for a good, fun read to kill some time, Snow Crash might be just what you need.

To get you in a Hallowe'en mood...

Posted 27 October 2002, 7.57 am by Acheron

This site is just packed with monochomism-like, text-based, goodies.

67 bourgeois die, who cares?

Posted 26 October 2002, 5.22 pm by Acheron

The gory end to the recent siege in Moscow gives us our first real chance to examine not only reactions to terrorism, but especially those of the Americans following September 11. Certainly, the "axis of evil" and its many God-hating minions have been busy these past thirteen months, but this is the first visceral example where a terrorist group has from the outset been blamed.

My question is why answer violence with violence? The current Russian government, since Putin's election, has enacted a surprisingly un-democratic campaign into Chechnya for the past three years.

Now, call me silly, or politically uninformed, but is it not the duty of a "democratic" government to listen to the demands of the people? If there is a separatist movement in a region of a country, is it more in line with the premise of your government to talk, vote, and accept; or is it the way of the democrat to drop fuel-air bombs over villages of women and children? Is all of this worth the price of two of your own soldiers a day, on average? If that is the death toll among the trained and equipped Russian soldiers, what must be the death toll among the rebels?

One Russian was quoted as saying, "Putin has only one choice. [U.S. President George W.] Bush showed the world what to do with these bastards after September 11. It's Putin's turn to liquidate them in Russia." I suppose the aspect of such statements that disturbs me most is that, whether or not they like it, these people are citizens of Russia. Regardless of their religious or political beliefs, they are countrymen to the people they held hostage, and to the soldiers who kill them.

It scares me when the prevalent belief among a country is that part of its population should be, "liquidated."

Play Gameboy Online

Posted 26 October 2002, 10.21 am by Craig

This site is Great! Play loads of the classic gameboy games in a matter of seconds.

Visit Site.

A Job to Do, part 1

Posted 25 October 2002, 5.03 pm by JamTorkberg

At first, I could only feel my fingers. As if my ten digits were the whole of my existence, somehow connected by an immaterial mind. I could even move them, though they still seemed to be attached to hands that did not exist. Before long, however, my hands did appear (I could tell by touching my palm with my middle finger). Then, not long after than, my feet materialized, followed by legs, arms, pelvic area, torso (which took a while what with all the organs contained within), and neck.

My head, now that was the difficult part. So complex, so many ins and outs. Even the slightest miscalculation could throw the whole thing out of whack, and I could end up with a huge dent in my forehead. So I thought about it very slowly and methodically: the exacta mass of my brain, the distance between my eyes, the length and shade of my lips, density of hair follicles per square inch, tongue density, nose size, ear level, cheekbone prominence, and so on.

Once all of my sensory equipment was in place and I had a brain with which to monitor and control everything, I began to take in the world around me. I was in an alley, somewhere out of sight of the main street, which is good. No man should have to be a witness to what I just went through. It was night, perhaps four hours after sunset. There was a fair amount of pollution about, so I was likely in a city. And I could hear commercial airliners not to far away. Sometime between 1970 and 2020

I nearly made the error of walking right out into plain sight wile still nude. I always seem to make this mistake. I’m not used to having limbs and a body, let alone remembering to cover them. If the shock and screams in those around me did not tip me off, the coldness assaulting my bare chest and buttocks would have let me know anyway. Luckily, a broken mirror lying on the ground of the ally helped me to realize my very nakedness.

I made some cloths, my customary fare. Gray cotton suit, white shirt, gray tie, black shoes, white socks, dark gray trench coat, and, you guessed it, a gray hat. I picked up a fragment of the mirror to look my face over, and make sure everything was where it should be. It was then I saw that my left iris lacked any pigment. It was both a relive and a shock. A relief in that I found the one mistake I made while putting myself together (I always make one, more out of necessity than lack of skill), and shock in that I had made my mistake to glaringly obvious. Missing the hair on one knuckle of one finger was the usual sort of error I would make, or missing a toenail, or an extra pair of ribs. Something that was wrong, but not very pronounced.

But one eye brown and the other stark white. This might be a problem. I took a pair of sunglasses out of a pocket, and put them on. It hid my imperfection, but the glasses might seem odd in the middle of the night. To make up for it, I made the gray of my outfit a few shades lighter, made my trench coat about an inch and a half shorter, and made my shoes a bit less polished. There. Much better.

I ventured out for the alley and into the grand city before me. I was instantly unsurprised by the images, sounds, and smells that assaulted me. It was the same old thing. I was disappointed that nothing was new, but you’d think that I would get used to the fact that things never change. I looked about for some place to get some dinner. Though it was dark, the hostility of the cold air meant is was likely winter, so darkness could mean anything. So I decided to eat dinner. I had to get something in me before the acid in my stomach started to tear at the soft walls around it. I spotted a diner a few blocks down, and walked over to it.

I was greeted by a nice lady who’s name was Lois. Lois was born in Brooklyn to a bank manager and his mistress, a secretary of a law firm he used to sue the man who hit his Rolls Royce, a man who’s son later died of a drug overdose in an alley, alone and forgotten, because all of his money was lost in a high risk venture that tanked when his partner accidentally ordered the wrong size nut (one sixteenth of an inch too small) and their product could not be manufactured. The partner ended up selling the nuts to a man named Stoan who owned a company that built diner stools. I sat down on one of Stoan’s stools and smiled. Connections everywhere.

I Don't Know Why

Posted 25 October 2002, 1.27 am by Berly

There is something odd about a little stretch of road near my home. It is a three-lane street (in both directions), with an eye pleasing, grassy, tree filled median. Within this median is a little bunch of fresh cut flowers. I don’t know why, but they are always there. They have been consistently replaced since I first noticed them approximately a year ago.

I've often wondered what they memorialize or signify. Whoever places them there goes through much trouble to do so. This street is a busy one, and there are no sidewalks or convenient safe places to pull off the road near this site.

I suppose I could call the police department and find out if a catastrophic accident occurred on or near that site. It's not even an intersection, which makes it even more mysterious. If there is a plaque or other informational item there, I'd never know it.

I'm further mystified, since one night while traveling this road I came upon a white truck with its emergency lights on, stopped next to the median. It wasn't until I passed the vehicle and looked in my rear view mirror that I realized what kind of opportunity I had just missed. I saw a man with flowers in his hand walking towards a spot where I knew the flowers would be the next morning.

I'm too busy to find out why the flowers baffle me instead of serving their purpose of reminding me. Perhaps I should make them my own monument to something.


Posted 24 October 2002, 2.18 am by Jake

He opened his eyes. Everything was blurry, and his head was pounding.

The dreams were back.

He and his brother, Bob, were in the skiff again, going for their daily fishing outage at Coos Bay. A gale had blown in, and the mainsail popped loose, the rope lashing in the wind like a spastic snake. Bob leapt forward to try and catch it, but the sail blew around and smashed Bob in the side, sending him sprawling into the churning waves. Danny snatched a life preserver and dove in after him, but to hardly any avail. Bob was already dead when Danny hefted his body aboard the ship. Fatigued, Danny fell to his knees and screamed. The rest was forgotten.

Danny had been found on the streets of a local port town, babbling insanely about “god knows what”, according to several townsfolk. He had been apprehended by the police and later admitted to a psychiatric ward, where he stayed for about three weeks after being claimed by his parents. Even after he was released, he had recurring nightmares along with bouts of somnambulism, and was prescribed several brands of pills to balance out his psyche. He had come to the decision that he needed a bit of a break, and headed down to his daughter’s house for a weekend.

When he got there, it wasn’t the same. His daughter and her boyfriend drank and smoked pot openly in front of him, and even went so far as to offer it to him. That’s when he acquired his penchant for the drink. It silenced the voices in his head, for however long he could stay sloshed.
He went back home.

So, a few years passed. Danny stayed with his parents for a while, visited the psych ward regularly with accumulating progress, took his medications as scheduled, and commuted back and forth to town on a bicycle. Everything finally seemed to be calming down. He still frequented the pub, though, and was more often than not admonished or apprehended by the local police for his tipsy biking trips back and forth from the bar.

He couldn’t help it though. He loved the drink. He loved the comradeship at the pub, he waxed maudlin over the idea of an evening at the bar, and he wouldn’t dare lose it for anything. It was his escape within an escape, he thought.

He got up, shook his head, and stretched. He opened the blinds, but ended up shutting them almost mechanically when the first rays of sunlight came peering through the cracks. He rubbed his swollen, bloodshot eyes and trudged to the bathroom to shower.

What’s a man to do, when left to his own lack of sanity?

He fumbled around in the medicine cabinet, pulling out several plastic bottles full of pills. All those beautiful little vacations, all different shapes, sizes and colors. He shook two from the first bottle. 50 mg Xanax. Nerves. He raised a glass of water to his parched lips, and gulped down half of it before taking the pills. He continued on, in that fashion, until he had run through his whole morning routine.

He walked into his kitchen and poured a glass of Tom Moore. “Never too early”, he grumbled to himself,”for my proverbial ‘coffee’.”

After downing half of the glass, something caught his eye just outside the window. He glanced outside, and did a double-take.

Jesus, it was Bob.

Tears welled up in his eyes as he screamed.

“Bob, goddammit I knew you didn’t die!”

He ran outside, and with a kiss on the cheek, embraced who he thought was Bob. He was greeted by a fist to the side of the head. A slightly older man with a tawny beard glared at him menacingly, and reared back his fist to strike again. “Fuck ‘re ya doin’, ya pansy bastard?” He spoke with a slight Irish brogue.

“Bob, we….it….it’s me, Danny! Your brother!”

The man just glared at him. “Look, Chief. I don’t know how long ya’ve been hittin’ the sauce already, but I ain’t fuckin’ Bob. Ya got the wrong guy. Kissin’ me on the cheek and shit, I dunno if there is a right guy. Faggy twat.”

With that, the bearded man spit in Danny’s face and walked away with an angry, stilted gait.

Danny just looked down at the pavement, and began to cry. He fell to his knees, sobbing, and curled himself into a ball on the sidewalk. He stayed like that until the police came.

The unbearable undecidability of Being

Posted 22 October 2002, 11.31 pm by Shaggy

I often find myself running different paths. It is as if my mind simply does not know itself, or my predispositions, and just runs willy-nilly.

Or perhaps it is the lack of sleep and overwork that is turning me slowly insane.

At any rate, I find myself extremely capricious. Not in the malicious sense (or at least, not consciously so), but rather in the wil you nil you manner, my mind running amok. The only thing really holding me in check is the presence of passion in my life: passion for the Truth, if it is at all attainable, passion in entertaining whatever need humanity has for the arts (at least, in my field), and passion for my love. These passions keep my decisions at some sort of control, filtering out anything that might be destructive to the ideals apparent therein.

At any rate, being in a perpetual state of worry, ponder, philosophizing, calculating... in other words, being in a world only inherent of the mind is a dangerous prospect. It is arguably what brought Nietzsche to his final straw, so to speak, knocking him over the edge unto sanity. Or perhaps he had an imbalance or something. Whatever the case, it is a world that is regarded and accepted as dangerous should it be the sole existence...

My girlfriend is long distance, as is my family. Not that I do not get the chance to talk to both, because obviously I make time for them. They are too important to me to do otherwise. Yet, my brain just feels so damn tired... I feel approximately 986496906340957 years old, at the ends of my rope.

Too bad there isn't something similar to eyedrops for your brain... neurodrops. They make your brain feel fresh and exciting! Catch them at your nearest grocery mart!

I suppose this is a confession of sorts, and as such, not in my usual style. Usually my articles are contemplations about something outside/in, such as the way I see the world or the way the world sees me, but this is purely inside myself. No, not because I feel particularily self-important (indeed, I always feel rather insignificant, a cog to a gigantic wheel that I hope to keep on moving), but rather, because I feel at home here, at akpcep. Yes, folks, get out your handkerchiefs...

I actually have a heart beneath all that pretensious babble.

That's right, you are my friends, as true a friend as any I have kept over the years. You know my secret desires, you know my faults. Indeed, we are so close that when I present my faults, you hope to inspire me away from them. You all are my friends, and are the first people to actually criticize my work. I have been called "wonderful", but never do people compliment me on being human and having faults.

That said, I guess I must admit that this is also cathartic for me. I have embraced the darker side of my psyche for awhile, hoping to find some refuge with seeing the world through a different perspective. Perhaps I have destroyed a lot of what I worked up to, doing a lot of the things I said I would never do, embracing the parts of me I always wanted to surgically remove from my psyche. However, I admit, it was not without warrant; for, I firmly believe, in a world of intolerance, it is necessary to see the world through a different set of eyes. Not everyone is made equally, and not everyone's perceptions work on the same level.

We are so different, you and I, and this is one of many things that I adore.

Listening to Grieg's Ase's Death... (forgive any misspellings), I feel solemn. Listening to one of Chopin's Nocturnes, I feel melancholic and loving. When I listen to Liszt, I feel energetic and tempermental. It is these alterations that I hope to find and mimic in my personality, hoping that through this mimesis I can find a clearer path to the many Truths that I am searching for.

My soul is a deep, hideous cavern that echoes as Things, perhaps truthful or perhaps lies, knock against the walls on the way down. It eats up all it sees, but also, as a part of this nourishment-function that it serves, it also destroys. I hope to both take the Truth into me, and to return it unto the Real, that which rests upon the high pedestal, and in doing so, perhaps I, too, can glance the wonderful world of the Real, where Truth lies, to bring it down back to the particular.

I hope that you, my friends, might help me carry the heavy burden of Truth to whatever mountain it resides, returning it to its original position. I hope that you, too, my friends, will walk down the path that Zarathustra has paved for us.

Only, I hope, we won't go mad, like Nietzsche did when he took Zarathustra on the path to begin with.

I am not crazy. I am, hopefully, not even selfish/self-righteous. I am merely a dreamer, with my head in the clouds, hoping that Truth has not whithered away and died, and that there still exists a path that I can both go up, unto the deadly and often perilous heights of the Real, and hopefully, my soul will survive to take the walk back.

Thank you for allowing me to search by your side.

And forgive me my instabilities. They are ever-so pressing nowadays.

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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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Props to Green Mamba for bringing the weirdness


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!


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