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Sometimes it is hard to be funny.

But let’s back up. Let’s talk about interactive fiction for a moment. You know, those games that were pretty big in the 80’s because the graphics capacity of the imagination was so, so much more than the 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment Systems that were the state of the art at the time. The ones that described the room you were in using plain text and then gave you a little command prompt you could use to (hopefully) tell the computer what your protagonist was attempting to do. The ones that mostly died out as people became jaded to the format but whose spirit has been kept alive across the years by the small but dedicated interactive fiction online fandom.

Let’s talk about Once and Future.

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“Pork, Tenacity”

This one goes out to all my quote-unquote friends at Nielsen Media Research. Merry Christmas, guys.

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I was right in the middle of caving in the side of the thing’s skull with a four-pound chunk of cold-forged tempered steel when the chime came in on my messaging earring.

“Rina,” said the Prior on the other end of the ethereal connection, “I’m, uh, wondering if you could help me with a case.”

“Sure,” I replied, shattering another naked spine with a deft backhand swing. “Just let me take care of a few things.”

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Toby the Cuttlefish dreamed that on Christmas Night, Jesus visited all the researchers and gave them the power of speech.

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(click here for part one)


Tiny motes of light scattered before the two young men as Changeling led his newfound mortal friend (and his friend’s pet donkey) down one of the leaf-lined trails of the Summerlands. Occasionally, Rake would narrow his steel-gray eyes and gently lift one of the less-interesting leaves, murmuring under his breath. Changeling tried to be respectful. He was in a hurry to share his favorite parts of Faerie, for reasons he could not quite articulate. When he thought hard on it, he reasoned that showing friends the things you love for the first time allowed you yourself to experience them for the first time all over again. No glamour he had ever encountered during his many, many days here in the Summerlands could accomplish that feat.

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98% Illuminated

i have a credit card number linked to my phone and
it talks to the little black box at the cashier staton but
this is contingent on it recognizing my fingerprint which
it doesn’t and so
it doesn’t let me inside for
security purposes

all it shows is the lock screen which
shows a notification on its face that
is put there by an app which
i specifically downloaded for
security purposes to
tell me where the moon is and
how much of it is exposed to the sun

it tells me i could enter my code which
is a little connect-the-dots game i play with my finger but
in this state i cannot remember the pattern and
if it is an upside-down “m” or an upside-down “w” and
after ten wrong answers it erases my phone which
i specifically told it to do for
security purposes so
i decline its offer because
there are important mortgage records on my phone which
would take time to replace and
i am a pretty busy guy

i have a wallet with a new debit card in it but
it has a little gold squiggle on one side which
they tell me is there for security purposes but
it only works with a four-digit code which
i can’t remember because
i only just activated it this morning and
i tore up my other card with my bare hands for
security purposes and
i no longer have it

(meanwhile the meat is warming itself on the hot black conveyor belt and i can smell it and it is so much more enticing than the acrid stink of the duct tape and the oily lengths of chain on the belt beside it how fortunate that)

this town has a grocery store that
is also a hardware store which
sells both meat and restraints which
are two things i always need for
security purposes so
it would be ideal except
they do not take checks

“Same jeans!” said Ad Girlfriend.

“Only they’re hers, instead of mine,” said Steve.

Ad Girlfriend glanced over at Steve, and though her sparkly doe eyes blinked, her smile did not waver. “Same stain!” continued Ad Girlfriend.

“Yeah,” said Steve. “She actually went into my closet and messed up my jeans with the same shit that she spilled all over hers. Just so everyone knows.”

“Only here on the left, I’m using new and improved Aloft, with FabriCare!”

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