Friday, May 13, 2011

Like the Flash on Angel Dust

(Title inspired by #10 on this list.)

Lately I've become a bit lax about how I spend my Thursday and Friday early morning working meet-ups in Piedmont. At first I did blog posts here. That's all good and fine, I suppose. Then I tried studying Japanese, but the cafe setting, and particularly their schizophrenic tastes in music, isn't terribly conducive to information retention. Then I just had to devour Cory Doctorow's Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, a genuinely delightful sci-fi novel(-ette?) that latched on like a brain slug.

Perhaps a better way to spend the time, though, would be to jolt my brain into being more proactively creative. How to go about doing that is the trick. Embarking on a grand, long-term project isn't much my style, but flash fiction--creating a story of perhaps just a few hundred words in length--is certainly up my alley.

With any luck I can publish the stories in a seedy anthology magazine, start a cult religion based on them and become the next L. Ron Hubbard!

Thursday, May 5, 2011


For early risers it's probably difficult not to think you live in some kind of Truman Show-esque staged reality. I say that as somebody who carefully observes a busy thoroughfare from a cafe window two times a week--perhaps not rich enough sample, but worth something. From this vantage point at 6:45AM the world bounded by my field of view is all but tranquil. The occasional morning jogger passes by, a police officer slowly buys and sips his coffee without any sense of urgency whatsoever and the only cars to pass by are brown econoboxes.

Then at 7AM everything changes in the blink of an eye. Layers stack on layers and the world gets real in a hurry. And brighter. Dog walkers join the joggers, who themselves have multiplied and started equipping themselves with gadgetry. Men in fedoras and woolen vests appear and peel back the pages of a newspaper. Slack-jawed, back-pack-toting students filter in for their cuppa. The vehicles change into sportscars, into European luxury sedans, into motorcycles. The bus that never passed by before passes by.

These are the happenings of any morning in Anytown, USA, I know. The way they all activate at once, though, as if somebody has double-clicked a script to run at 7AM PDT on the operating system of the universe, that's what I find so incredible.

Remember Sim City 2 where you could zoom in close on the street and at some point you'd get close enough to street level and the citizens would populate slowly or quickly depending on the speed of your system? Who can say what the clock speed is of the universe's CPU, but it seems at least as fast as a Pentium 3 if you ask me.