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Archive for the ‘sinister’ Category

Keeping Your Guard Up

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Madness lurks around every corner. Any moment could mean stepping from the light of reason into the murky depths of insanity. Aren’t you the least bit curious? What will push you over the edge, or what will make you jump? Do you wake up in your well-ordered universe, seeing nothing to give you worry, to give you pause, to make you shiver? Do you get ready for work, already plotting today’s course along its path back again into sleep? What if something goes wrong? What if events outside your control upset the plan? What if you are forced to wake up and see your life from the outside; put under the microscope of cosmic indifference? Will you hide? Will you cringe? Will you laugh in lunacy? Who will you run to in confession? Who will you turn to for solace? Will you wrap yourself in comfort, reminding yourself of the good moments, the happy thoughts, the innocent nostalgia that says, “If it doesn’t matter so much, at least it will matter to you, in some small way, somewhere?” Sure, there’s nothing to worry about. There are no monsters waiting in the shadows, nothing under the bed. Death doesn’t circle over your head like vultures. You aren’t constantly one step closer to death with every breath you take, every beat of your heart, every thought in your head. It’s not like we started dying the moment we were born. (It’s not like there would be anything meaningful you could do about it, anyway, either.) Put your weary head down on your pillow and release your concerns to the realms of sleep. Things will continue on despite you, perhaps in spite of you. But, really, they can hardly be concerned with you. Is that okay? Are you still special, at least to someone, in some way?

Now, look again. Turn around. What’s stopping you from doing it? Is that really you in the mirror today, brushing your teeth? Has the cosmos set afire a new soul within that meaty vessel? What is going to set you off? What will be your breaking point? Do you have an escape plan now, after all the rationalization is over? Or will you try to go down, guns ablaze, in a torrent of fury and sound…signifying nothing?

Or do you let it go with a chuckle, a shake of the head? That’s crazy-talk. A momentary lapse. Things are right now. Back to normal. Time to get on with the day. What stupid nonsense. Oh well. You have your reasons. We all have our reasons, right? Does the universe need a reason? No time to think about that, now. No time for that. Keep it moving, now. Someone’s taking care of it; it’s no concern of yours. Of course, they’ve got your back, right? Right? Hurry up, or you’ll be late.

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Written by 2ndhandsoul

October 1, 2008 at 1:08 pm

Traffic.

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Traffic. You hate it, I hate it. Almost simultaneous with the invention of the car came terrible drivers. This is not anything new to most people out there. However, what I’d like anyone to realize, to remember, to consider, is this:

A car is, for most intents and purposes, a moving room with wheels. It is also several thousand pounds of metallic-death-and-destruction-waiting-to-happen. If we pause to consider the fact that we’re driving a really large bullet, we might not take the act of driving for granted, so much. It’s somewhat sobering to contemplate just the danger one can cause or be placed in, while at the mercy of a few tons of steel speeding at many miles per hour. One wrong turn, one distraction, one bad decision, can destroy lives forever.

What is also taken for granted is the fact that there are rules governing the operation of traffic. One has to realize that these rules – and perhaps any rules at all – are pretty arbitrary. They are words and ideas that everyone expects the other people out there will follow. But we don’t have to, that’s the thing. There is literally nothing stopping you from veering off the road and onto a sidewalk to decimate all the yielding and weak, fleshy people presumably kept safe by “traffic laws.”

We stop at red lights and stop signs. We yield to the right of way and pedestrians. We use our turn signals, check both ways, go the listed speed limit, etc. At least, we should, and we expect (and I guess, hope) that everyone else zipping around in their death-machines will as well.

I have news though: there is no one watching to see if we misbehave. Sure, there’s the police, but they are not everywhere at all times. The only thing keeping us from really doing the possibly terrible things we so easily could is some sort of “tattletale” complex. If I do something bad, someone else is going to tell on me – that sort of thing. (Of course, that presumes anyone is really watching or cares. It also presumes that there’s anyone left alive afterward to be a tattletale.)

I guess I just find it fascinating the way traffic functions without the need for constant, overbearing enforcement and regulation. Operating the lethal metal boxes at breakneck speeds assuming our safety and that everything will remain just fine. That’s right Mr. Pedestrian, you may cross the street now. Don’t mind the growl of the combustion engine churning, controlling and channeling the energy of miniature explosions within, empowering this machine that could so entirely obliterate you without even slowing down, should I decide to switch from the brake pedal to the accelerator. You’re life is safe and sound and unthreatened.

I guess that’s what cheeses me off about reckless or rude drivers. So they think they can get away with shit? The rules are able to bend for them, because…what? They’re special exceptions? What’s stopping me from snapping and forgetting the rules, myself? This made me consider making a little list…

THINGS I WOULD DO IN A VEHICLE, IF THERE WERE NO CONSEQUENCES FOR MY ACTIONS:

– Jump into the lane with oncoming traffic and see how long I can last before getting hit.
– Drive along a sidewalk, preferably downtown.
– Drive a car off a parking ramp, hopefully from the top floor. Also hopefully onto a crowded street and sidewalk below.
– Smash through the front door of a shopping mall or office building or bank; whichever has nice, big glass doors. Then I would park and continue my business there. Fuck parking lots, right? That’d be the closest spot, I think.
– Always go as fast as the car can go, even if it’s just down the street. Without heeding crosswalks, stop signs, or traffic lights, of course.
– Do some donuts in the middle of a cemetery or public park.
– Instead of the horn, I’d just ram people to get their attention.
– Straddle the lane-dividing lines.
– Side-swipe people that try to pass me. Slam on my brakes if someone is tail-gating me.

Well, that’s just some. I’m sure to think of more.

Written by 2ndhandsoul

September 19, 2008 at 4:05 pm

The Fringe: Friend or Foe?

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Have you watched this new show: The Fringe? No, I haven’t yet. I probably will watch at least an episode or two, just to make sure my knee-jerk reaction is either justified or not.

What is this knee-jerk reaction? Well, it comes about the premise of this show, primarily. These are X-File-like stories about federal agents policing “dangerous science” of some form or another. Stuff like re-animation of the dead (I wonder if they’ll be making references to any H.P. Lovecraft material?) or nanotechnology or whatever. I think the idea is that they ensure that such science doesn’t damage society and civilization as we know it, by any unethical or reckless experimentation and so forth. Fine. That seems reasonable enough. But does the popularity of the show bespeak of another, underlying current of sentiment in our society today? As always, I think I am reading into things a little too deeply.

What worries me is how this show can be seen as a manifestation of our latent fears toward anything we don’t understand. Instead of magic, warlocks, sorcerors, demons, and whatnot, we’ve replaced these fears with “science run amok” — these monsters and dark practitioners have been exchanged for scientists, mutations, aliens, etc. I suppose we’ve just switched one set of superstitions for another, continuing to fear and dig our heels in against evolution.

Am I saying that careful monitoring and the emplacement of ethics for proper research is a bad thing? No, of course not. I just think it’s a little bit of an over-reaction, perhaps like the whole hadron collider scare. Perhaps it’s a little arrogant to think we have the power, even accidently, to destroy our race or our planet. I don’t want to start getting religious or far-out-there, but I have to consider that other forces out there might not let us get that far. Sort of like how all the world’s banks are helping businesses out of the hole they dug themselves in, lately… Okay, maybe that’s a bad example. The connotations either way imply too many more connotations.

Anyway, before I bunny-trail any further, I guess I’m going to have to check the show out and see what’s up. I love horror and disaster films, if only because they are so outrageous and I enjoy seeing how the authors and creators believe mankind will get done in. The more fantastical the better, since I really don’t believe in it. It is more of an expose on our own basic human natures; the survival instinct, the … “noble-izing” of the human spirit against horrible odds, etc. Wonderful human drama of the most extreme possible type. Just how this show supposes to give a cultural critique will determine the worth of this show to me. Will they really play off science as the new evil to be kept in check, or will it be the evil in our own human nature, where science is the tool, that will need saving? Are they trying to open our eyes and teach us a lesson? Or are they going for the cheap thrill and prey on our human fears and prejudices?

Yeah, so that’s what I think, so far. I predict an avalanche of similar sorts of shows. We’ll see if “Heroes” will take a similar tactic, or veer off onto its own course. You can be sure I’ll be back with something to say about it, sometime.

Written by 2ndhandsoul

September 19, 2008 at 12:53 pm

A Baby Formula Best Served Cold

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How was Chinese baby formula chemically tainted?

I’ll tell you: it was a secret revenge tactic taken by the Olympic Oversight Committee at being cornered into allowing a bunch of obviously underaged atheletes into the ’08 Summer Olympic Games.

The conversation went a little something like this:

“Hey d’ya see the news about what that hacker found about them gymnasts?”

“Yeah. Damn, we’re kinda left with our pants down. We look pretty stupid for allowing it. Yet, it’d be almost as much hassle, if not more, if we penalize them or something. Especially considering the Olympics are being held there. I don’t wanna get knifed like that poor bastard, do you? What do we do?”

“Well, I suggest we keep things rolling, but we even the score later. I have a great idea: we’ll sabotage their infant formula!”

“Yeah, there won’t be any more underage athletes or, if we’re lucky, a China left, if we wipe them out early!”

And thus the plan was put into action, shortly thereafter…

Written by 2ndhandsoul

September 18, 2008 at 8:41 pm