Blurried Musings (a Kafkaesquí blog joint)
"If you can't annoy somebody, there is little point in writing."    Kingsley Amis
March 30, 2002
My Impression of the Internet Sucking Sound

The most amazing thing I've come to realize at this end of almost a decade spent in near unbroken online excursioning, is that there is so mind-numbingly little out there on the Net, and the Web in particular, I'm able to consider myself impressed by or find of any use.

Oh sure, I can and do stumble across the occasional bright, shiny bauble that has enough spit polish and substance to capture my interest. It's easy enough to be distracted and allow myself to be taken in by something, however brief and shallow the attention given it turns out to be. But in short time it's forgotten, and only later am I reminded of the glossy piece of flint as I'm deprecating entries from my bookmarks. A swift key press later and it's gone for good. Good riddance to bad rubbish. Statistically it's the merest tiniest fraction -- that's a number only a few notches above the smallest calculable value in existence -- that offer enough ace-high and serviceable matter to make it past the period of time it takes to click the Back button in a browser. If software developers made it harder to save bookmarks (and maybe they should), the number of URL endpoints worthy of the effort would make for an awfully short list.

What I'm saying here you've probably heard said in a thousand other ways by a thousand other netizens. Nothing original in this. But maybe I could have avoided taking you through the long way and laid it out in three simple words: the Internet sucks. Of course, I can go a bit further: it blows; it reeks; it's the Bizzaro world version of the golden goose in egg laying production. If the Internet was a style of dress, it would be out of fashion and designers would be committing seppuku out of shame for inflicting it on the public. If it was a plane, it would have gone down in the Andes and we'd be feasting on the crew by now.

All this is not to say anyone is to blame, because then I'd have to put myself into that giant circle of accusation, having been if not an influential part of the Internet clockwork, at least a tiny functional cog in its mechanism. And this is not an attempt to initiate some lame crusade to improve the general interest and ambience of the Internet at large. I barely have enough time to do that with my own productions. And this most definitely is not a demand for the Internet to be shut down, torn up, and it's component parts sent by rocket screaming into the Sun. I want a better Internet, but it's not like I'm suggesting we step up and redo everything. "Game over -- stick another quarter in to continue play." I'm not that foolish. No, I'm just taking this chance to blow off some angst; to do a little rant and whine over what could have been, what is, what will be, and what we're stuck with under any circumstance.

Honestly, I think I just need to spend more time out of doors.

March 29, 2002
Evil Genius Business Tactics for Destroying the World

Stockpile the Tools to Your Success

Nuclear is certainly the weapon of choice for the Evil Genius of sophistication -- few have the money and brain trust available for building space-borne killer beam platforms or other exotic world menacing devices. For atomics, we're talking in the range of at least two to three thousand high-yield explosives. The Earth is a pretty big place, and it'll take quite a lot to spoil it for everybody. If you're an Evil Genius on a budget, then high-jacking a selection of arsenals is your best route. Needless to say this is the part of the plan you may encounter the most difficulty executing. If you're without a large army of henchmen, think outside the box when organizing ways to gain entry to nuclear facilities, military compounds, etc. A small contingent of sexy but powerful android women can sway even the most loyal of male patriots into revealing launch codes, providing access to missile silos or plutonium storage facilities, and so on.

Remove Potential Obstacles

In other words, kill Mr. Bond. Her Royal Majesty's best agent is still dashing and someone you need be concerned about, but this guy has to be 87 years of age by now. How hard is it really to take out an elderly man? Don't go bothering with some elaborate contraption to eliminate him. You've already proven you're a brilliant mastermind by setting up the rest of the planet for immediate extinction, so no reason to get fancy here. And it's highly recommended to stick around and supervise until the job is finished. You're about to take out most life forms on Earth and you get squeamish watching a secret agent kick it?

Avoid the Obvious

In case the likes of Bond or some other inventive, high-level sleuth is able to infiltrate your base of operations, stay away from the sort of blatant visual cues in your control panels that may aid them, such as big red buttons sporting captions like "Abort Launch" or "Self Destruct". In fact, you probably should avoid these types of features altogether, or disable them if they came with the controls when you bought them. If you truly have some need to keep them, think about removing all the control labels, and put some effort into training so your flunkies know what switch does what.

Prepare a Way Out In Case of Failure

Unless you're an Evil Genius only looking for attention, the last thing you want is to be caught if something goes wrong. An underground transit system unknown to all but yourself is an excellent (as well as comfortable) way to exit from a tight spot. A similar option is to have a small rocket car nearby and always at the ready. Fast acting nerve gas hooked into the ventilation system throughout your lair or fortress -- with activation switch and a well-tested gas mask on your person at all times -- is a highly regarded, inexpensive answer, and can also insure the less zealous of your minions keep in check. Simple but well thought out precautions are all you need to assure your survival for future attempts in the case of a single plan's derailment.

Make Sure Your Goals Are Adequate to Your Needs

Anyone bent on the wiping out all other life on Earth is typically after something a little more than that, whether an opportunity to repopulate the world in their likeness by breeding with a group of protectively sequestered young women, or just seeking after a bit of peace and quiet. But whatever the reason, make sure it's what you really want. Afterall, once successful in destroying the world, there is no going back.

March 28, 2002

I tend to bark. A lot.

Sorry, but I don't mean in any metaphorical or other similistic cover. When I say bark, I mean it plain, just as your pet dachshund might perform it at the screen door to the back yard. So it should be understood in its simplest manner when I speak of it: as the kind of vocalization one tends to expect primarily from the four-legged canine class.

Why do I bark?

Well, I could say to be unusual, appear off the wall, seem a little zany, become an object of discussion around the water cooler. But maybe it emerges from a long-time, Zen-drawn awareness that there are a lot of things I want to say, but have no words to properly formulate them to a point where others will catch my meaning. Early into those weird moments when a thought reaches the rarest of events and perfectly distills within my prefrontal lobe, yet can find no way to make it all the way to my vocal chords -- just before the unresolved gesticulation of hands ends in an embarrassing dance movement unpunctuated by verbal expression, I decide an announcement of some sort is still in order.

It can also act as a release, a tiny but generous EST moment. There's a large repository of channeled angst within all of us that reaches an exit point through the use of our voice. Many tend to let it out by way of the screaming guttural of obscenities or through standard workplace verbal abuse to underlings. But I think an as yet undiscovered territory is the raw power behind the well known but little understood animalistic yawp. It's nothing less -- when done right -- then a palette cleanser, the welping aspiration tossing out all the built-up repressions and terrors and aggravations in our daily lives. Amazing when one can find that in a simple wordless cry.

So I bark.

And on occasion when I do, a listener or two seem to understand what I'm about. Just barely. But never the dogs. Oh no, they won't give me the time of day when it comes to my linguistic skills in their tongue. Their loss.

March 27, 2002
Bumping Into Satan

The lifeforce of the town I live in is so asphyxiated by tourism you'll find three separate guide stations for new visitors within a half-mile radius in the downtown area. The one I live nearest to is a very impressive building-sized display case of a tourist center, with an audio-video presentation room, and a well stocked bookstore carrying only the best in touristy picture books. I paid a visit to it recently to pick up a pamphlet on the history of the textile industries in the region -- we're so into tourist trawling around here even dilapidated old factories can scare up foot traffic aplenty.

While there, I browsed the other brochures and purchased a local street map (I must have maps!). As I was taking my change from the park ranger behind the counter (that's right, the US National Park System is in charge of handling the register), I noticed him on a well polished window bench to one corner of the center.

I knew who he was right off. There was no mistaking the horns, the Van Dyke beard, the black-bordered red satin cape. Naturally, I went over to where he was sitting and took the space on the bench next to him. I had some time to kill.

"So, what's up?" I asked. Seemed an easy enough first question to put to the Lord of Darkness. He didn't respond at first. Looking out through the window as he did, I got a good glance at the placidness in his thin eyes and dark, waxen skin. I was taken aback by the sweat forming over his upper lip. When he finally turned to me, I caught a strong whiff of whiskey. He'd been drinking. And it was only two in the afternoon.

"Did you say something?" The words were slightly slurred but completely understandable. It seemed he hadn't liquored himself up to where handling heavy machinery was out of the question, but knowing nothing of the Heman of Hellfire's ability to imbibe, I tried not to assume anything at this point.

"I'd imagine you'd be pretty busy about this time of day," I said, alluding to his near inebriated state and the fact he was hanging out in a place not known for high levels of debauchery or other evil endeavors. I felt rather guilty as I said it, as I too was skipping on duties of my own.

"Mmm, I was, I was. But now I'm not. I'm taking a break."

"Must be hard work. Really, um, unrewarding at times." I'd stumbled onto a track of obvious and understated things to say, and didn't see a way to get off.

"No, not really." He paused, a small burp emerging through his white, perfectly straight teeth. "I wouldn't say I like it. But there's nothing all that bad about it. Except maybe the people, sometimes. They can become kinda abusive at times."

"Really? The people get abusive?" This intrigued me. Apparently there's an organizational structure in Hades I was unaware of that requires those in management to permit at least a certain amount of misbehavior on the part of personnel. Was it union related?

"Yeah. Not that I care much, but when they start getting demanding, it can be annoying. It's the ones with the cameras that can be the worst."

Cameras? Never for a moment did I imagine they'd allow pictures to be taken down there. You'd think they'd have a rule against that. And it would not have occured to me that photography as a hobby is something one could take with them beyond the grave. So it must be true: eternal damnation is the final stop for those pushy picture snapping tourists.

"Why do you let them get away with it?" I asked. "No disrespect, but considering who you are..."

"Hey, it's all part of the job," he answered. "Gotta do what the Boss wants if you want a paycheck, right?"

The train of confusion was coming up fast on me. I thought I could understand what demands the Boss must put on him, but a paycheck? Did Satan need to meet the rent? Maybe it was for pocket money on his days off. That booze on his breath wasn't homemade.

"So, what exactly does one get paid for... your work?"

"A little over minimum wage. But it's not my regular job -- just part-time."

We were no longer conversing along the same lines of communication. "Part time..."

"Yeah. I work at the Mobil on North St., but had a few days off and offered to fill in for Todd today. Anyway, gotta get back." He stood up and smiled at me, those perfect white teeth displayed in all their glory. "Satan can't keep the tourists waiting, ya know."

"Yeah, sure," I mumbled, concerned I'd slipped somewhere and only just now regained my footing. "Well, good talking with ya," he said as he left through the doors of the tourist center, then walked down the block in the direction of the Haunted Museum, just another locally run rabbit trap set to catch the attention of tourists in a town built on their open wallets.

I thought I might sit where I was for the next few days, that is if the park rangers let me, but instead I shook off the daze I was in, leapt up and out the doors Satan had exited through, and shouted down the street:

"Tell your Boss he did a great job on the costume!"

March 26, 2002
My Woody Allen Dream Goes Like This

I'm at one of those parties only the movies can make interesting: a snazzy and slightly expensive after the premiere kind of atmosphere with everyone dressed in the best fashions, but nothing of an overly formal nature about it. The drinks and conversation are flowing but neither tends to be too imbibing nor bubbly. I'm not sure if anyone famous, other than Woody Allen mind you, is there to be seen. I don't mingle through the dream and the faces of celebrities don't pass where I'm standing. There is a general lack of paparazzo fodder to the party mix.

I can't say why I'm at this party. The dream doesn't provide me with a back story. However I don't feel out of place. In fact I'm a bit blasé about the whole thing. Not my natural attitude when it comes to... well, just about anything. But anyway, I'm at this party and chatting with a small circle of people. I don't know a one of them in my waking life. Dream acquaintances. As is standard, if we were discussing things of import, like a formula which could lead to a cure for dandruff, it was all lost into the unconscious aether when I exited the REM stage. Since those able to get past my alarm clock snooze period are more appropriate for points of argument at a sanity hearing, don't be overly concerned.

Going along deeper into the dream, the when and why are forever to be fuzzy, Woody appears before me. He's saying something to the person next to me, a bit of pleasantry. Then several in my party circle start talking about ideas for films, new and old, plot lines and genre elements, topics of that nature. For some reason Woody turns to me and begins talking as if he knows me. I say "for some reason" because the lack of an identity for myself in the dream -- other than me as me -- leaves all interpretation to his actions open to debate. So Woody turns to me and starts in on issues he's having with his latest production. Again, sadly, the details are nothing more than neuron driftwood.

A pause in the conversation occurs, and I take the initiative and tell Woody about an idea for a movie I have. At the time it felt, and outside of the dream now it still feels, like it came from nothing, thought up as I was telling him about it. Really don't know how to interpret that, but in any case, here's the outline of the plotline, or as far as the dream lets me get:

It's about a man, someone who is at a stage where nothing in his life is what he planned it to be. His relationship with his wife has broken down and he can't find in himself a desire to repair it. His job provides few opportunities for release of a pent-up creative side, and what he may be able to wring from it is stifled by the demands of his boss and co-workers. He's reached a middle of the road, middle-aged plateau, and can't find a way beyond it, though he desperately wishes to.

This is when he starts arguing in public with strangers, over issues wholly fabricated by him and as if he's known them for years.

The idea goes on, a little of it to Woody, most of it in my head (dream and otherwise). It sounds serious but the aim of the tale is comedy, as the arguments lead to him meeting a woman who falls in with the man's created world and argues back. But I won't go further in describing the story. It's one I've found has some appeal as a piece of fiction, so I'd rather not go blabbing it freely for anyone to use (steal from your own dreams).

Besides, as a part of the dream it ends abruptly and finally at this point, as that's when I awoke. No chance to get Woody's reaction, not that I expect it to be of much use outside of the dream. Didn't get to finish the drink I had. Never even learned what I was doing at the party, or how being there served the dream's enigmatic purposes. All seems pretty much like real life to me.

March 25, 2002
The Kafkaesquí MUD

KafMUD - eternal copyright
system driver: OseOS v0.2b1


There are currently 0 users logged on.

What do you wish for a name? Kafkaesqui
Enter a password as well: ********

- You are challenged to kill Gephra, mightiest of dragons.
- Good luck in your quest, Kafkaesqui!

> look
You are in a dark room, but can make out a door before you.
> open door
You are not quite at the door.
> move forward
You have reached a door.
> open door
Before you lies a long hallway.
> move forward
You are in a long hallway.
> look
Before you in the hallway the floor appears to have fallen away.
> look down
You look into an abyss that is the lair of Gephra, mightiest of dragons.
> inventory
The sword of Berech is at your side.
A shield is tied to your back.
A pouch of potent magic herbs is at your waist.
> climb down
The sides of the abyss are shear and treacherous, yet you reach the bottom unscathed.
> look
You are in the lair of Gephra, mightiest of dragons.
> move forward
You bump into a wall.
> turn around
You turn to see the horror that is Gephra, mightiest of dragons.
> wield sword
The sword of Berech is at your side.
> remove sword from scabbard
The sword of Berech is in your hand.
> wield sword
The sword flashes in the dim light.
> move forward
Before you is Gephra, mightiest of dragons.
> challenge dragon
Gephra, mightiest of dragons, laughs deep and begins to wave at you the bones of fallen knights he defeated long before you were born.
> speak obscenity to dragon
Gephra, mightiest of dragons, is outraged you would address him so in his lair, and offers to contact someone who can teach you a few manners.
> remove shield
The shield is now in your hand.
> move forward
Gephra, mightiest of dragons, begins to throw his feces at you. You are thrown back against the wall of the lair from the force and smell.
> wield sword
The sword is of no use against feces.
> raise shield
The pounding of Gephra's feces is deafening as it strikes against the shield.
> move forward
Gephra, mightiest of dragons, demands you leave at once then runs into the darkness of his lair.
> chase
What do you wish to chase?
> chase dragon
You run after Gephra into the darkness of his lair, right on the tail of the mightiest of dragons. You come quick to where he has stopped. He appears to have run out of breath.
> wield sword
The sword strikes wildly at Gephra, mightiest of dragons. However he is a dragon and is barely scratched. Gephra turns and cries in anger that he has never been so shabbily treated by a guest as he readies to breath flame in your direction.
> raise shield
You lift the shield in time to stop hot flames from the mouth of Gephra, mightiest of dragons, shooting in your direction.
> move forward
Gephra, mightiest of dragons, threatens legal action if do not cease your advance.
> wield sword
The sword strikes wildly at Gephra, mightiest of dragons. However as previously noted he is a dragon and is barely scratched.
> open pouch
Gephra, mightiest of dragons, halts his complaining and demands of you the contents of the pouch.
> look at contents of pouch
Within the pouch are several bulbs of the Nagross weed, a potent magic herb.
> tell dragon contents of pouch
Gephra, mightiest of dragons, is beside himself and shocked you would bring such an illegal substance into his lair. He demands you leave at once.
> challenge dragon
Gephra, mightiest of dragons, ignores your challenge.
> remove weed from pouch
Gephra, mightiest of dragons, threatens to call the authorities if you so much as light up a bulb.
> challenge dragon
Gephra, mightiest of dragons, assumes you must be hopped up on Nagross weed and tells you to grow up.
> throw weed at dragon
Gephra, mightiest of dragons, has had enough of your pot-valor and shows you to the door of his lair.
> wield sword
The sword strikes wildly at Gephra, mightiest of dragons, but again he is a dragon and is barely scratched.
> demand weed back
Gephra, mightiest of dragons, says you should feel lucky he's not having you arrested, and tells you he'll be flushing your "stuff" down the stream outside his lair.
> throw shield at dragon
Gephra, mightiest of dragons, knocks the shield aside and tosses you out the door. As he closes the door behind you, he suggests you clean up your act before returning for another fight.
> open door
The door to the lair of Gephra, mightiest of dragons, is locked and you do not have a key.
> bye

You are exiting the game.
Would you like to save your session? (y/n) n

Your session was not saved...


March 24, 2002
Fragments From the Memory Log, Entry Four

Children pick up a knowledge or understanding of things in unusual and disjointed ways. I'm talking of how they interpret the underpinnings of the world around them, discovering how things work (machines and the like) or appear to run (such as political systems or any illogical adult behavior). In my own case before the age of seven, there were a few things I remember catching onto fairly quickly and with some semblance of depth. And for the most part I got them right. Most part being the operative phrase here, by the way.

Radio -- and so by osmosis television as well -- held no special magic for me. A transmitter miles away sends out modulated radio waves that reach the antenna and the changes in frequency are translated by the radio into sound vibrations through the speaker. A slightly more complicated vocabulary than I would have used at seven, but a fair description of how I saw it in my head. I'm still not sure when and where I engrained the details. School was too busy teaching the art of cursive writing and how to reckon the small hand from the big hand. Maybe it was a book, as I took to reading quite young. And there's a small but unlikely chance it was my parents, though I don't recall asking those stereotypical kid questions like Why is the sky blue? or How come I can't swallow my own tongue? Let alone the biggies of where electromagnetism fits in with the weak theory, or why the huge row over Richard Nixon. (I've worked that one out)

However I received the truth hidden behind the illusions, there was a logjam in my radio intelligence: listening to music playing through them, I envisioned large gatherings of different bands awaiting their turn to perform before the microphones. Now, I knew how records worked (that's right young readers, ancient non-CD technology). It helped me to visualize those thin grooves in the vinyl as bumpy physical representations of radio waves. But why I was unable to tie this piece of obvious music hardware to what was going on at a radio station I'll never figure out. One of those often very personal life mysteries.

Another pothole in the driveway of my thought processes had to do with something a lot more important than radios to many of us: people and the relationships between them. I knew a bit about what people were. And I'm certain I had a good idea what they are made of. Also, I was not without a modicum of those standard skills that allowed me to interact with others, or to sneak through the day without being beat up, antagonized, or even noticed by members of that brutal social order who lord over the playground. Yet they seemed odd, these people. Like they were really not from where I came. Where that would have been I couldn't have said.

Now I won't claim I was imaginative enough as a child to fully conceptualize this, but there was a sense that they (being everyone else) were picking up radio transmissions from somewhere, maybe a place light years away, emerging from a distant studio containing a vast gathering of otherworldly beings. The waves modulated in and the frequency changes were picked up and converted to erratic behavior and mood swings and pop quizzes and the need to hum really bad "popular" music. I was one of them, right? So I must have been picking up these signals as well; but something was slipping through, a sort of static that let me notice the lack of any autonomous nature in others. Yet with that special talent to miss the connection, I failed to see it in myself. I guess the nature of being a radio means never really knowing it's a radio.

I was just a little kid then when I was thinking these things. That’s a good enough excuse. So what would be my excuse now?


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