Friday, July 27, 2012

Experimental: A House Tour

Greetings! And welcome to the abode of Mr. Brand.

Please do come in. I suppose you'd first like the grand tour of this place. It does appear you've traveled quite a ways to be here.

Come along now. You're a shy one, aren't you? Don't worry, I won't hurt you. But I would recommend you watch your step. Lots of random pipes sticking out of the floors around here. Simply shoddy work I say.

If we had known you were coming we might have cleaned it all up a bit. Oh dear, do be careful with that stack of books. That's precisely what I mean. Things being left wherever. Dreadful mess. Do watch your step, a few nasty pipes here. Don't want to trip and land flat on your face. Wouldn't do at all to cover the axons in blood now would it.

Ah, here is the Master Study. Quite cozy. You'll note the various stations around the room and the Victorian chair behind the aluminum control board. It's perched on the gray wood pedestal in the back. Lots of access to all the files and books and whatnot behind those oak doors over yonder across the room. Dreadful mess in there, but much quicker than running down to the archives. Plus this room has the best air conditioning around. Always exactly the right temperature. Makes it easier to get in the groove Mr. Brand says. I say if he wanted to get in the groove he should get rid of those infernal speakers. Always blasting music in here. Terribly distracting I think. Ah, but what do I know.

Come along, still much to see. These hallways you may notice are inspired by old mountain hunting lodges. Strong stone floors, rough hewn wooden walls, and large beams for the rafters. All steel rebar just like in the old days. Although these electric lights ruin the atmosphere a little. And the lack of moose heads. We're not much for decorating around here. Unless you count the piles of books left here and there. Short-term storage he always claims.

Now here's a very nice place, the Artery. Plenty of canvases to paint on and screens to bring up fond memories for inspiration. Or not so fond memories. We don't always paint pretty pictures of butterflies in here. No, that'd be terribly boring. Always fun to dim the lights a little and give a good scare. A few dabs of red for eyes can really make a piece you know. Completely changes the atmosphere. And fear isn't about what you see, it is about what you don't see. Oh good heavens look at me babbling about the art of fear. Must be dreadfully boring for you. Let's move along here shall we? Do mind your step, the antiques here are quite valuable.

And here we are. Through these doors now. And this is the Grand Library. Many many things filed away and indexed and stacked. Sometimes I wonder if we have too much in here. Too bad we don't clean up, things keep getting lost. Especially in the Deep Archives. Not enough light back there, and I swear someone keeps playing tricks and is mucking up all the good books with little annotations and whatnot. Why, just last week I retrieved a story about this birthday party and I could have sworn there was some other fellow in it but all the pictures were scribbled over. Terrible waste, impossible to make the fellow's face and name out. Pity, it was such a nice story. There was cake and dancing and everything.

Oh dear me, I've been babbling again. Well, that concludes our brief tour of Mr. Brand's home. Would you care to have an escort back to the exit? Oh, but I insist. I can't very well leave you alone in here. Too many things you could break, and I couldn't forgive myself if you got lost. Yes, I'm quite sure you're a very capable young man, but you see, we didn't have time to clean up and there are some very sensitive items around that must be looked after and -

Oh my.

Well, if we're doing it that way I suppose I can't refuse. Although really I do think the sword is a bit overly dramatic don't you think? Something tells me you think it makes you elegant and refined. But I say a gun would work just as well.

I see. Guess that's very thoughtful of you, thinking about collateral. Although there would still be the matter of the rug. It is quite soft and blood doesn't come out well.

Yes I know you didn't come here for cleaning lessons. In fact, your surprise at seeing me here at all told me much more than that. But of course you weren't expecting me around. Not many households are able to be staffed at all, let alone now at night. But, you already knew that. You're not a common burglar.

Oh, my mistake. A thief is it? Just as well. I'm afraid you won't be finding what you're looking for. See, I was lying about leaving things scattered around. You really think Mr. Brand and I would leave important memories like that just littered around the place? Especially ones concerning the latest Datajack prototypes. And don't go looking for a safe either. We like to keep the place a little messy with a purpose. Makes it easier to get to things ourselves, but also much harder for someone else to find it. That didn't mean you have my permission to go running down the aisles.

Blast it boy, stop running about. By the way, did you like the architecture? I thought it a nice touch as well. Too often you come in and are greeted by random globes of light or bubbling brooks in forests or massive walls of filing cabinets. Why not have a bit of class when running from one cortex to another, hm? Although we do need to work on the plumbing. Still haven't gotten those blasted capillary lines stowed neatly away.

Why no, good sir, I am not stalling. I am merely talking to myself while I follow you. I strongly doubt you have need to kill me, and I have no intention of intervening with your search. Oh my, I did say be careful with those book piles. They're quite unstable, and liable to land on you at some time if you keep yanking them out at random. No I am not insulting you, just giving you a few pointers. Well, to you the same then.

Now if you're quite done running down the aisles and pulling memories at random, I can escort you to the exit and we can be civil about this. Ah, it was worth a shot. Now put that down before you get someone hurt. I like my head where it is thank you very much. But I won't be helping you.

Well, that smarts.

ahem That smarts quite a bit really. But really you should have cough let me escort you out. You see, this architecture - this maze of passageways - isn't just for show really. My employer is aptly skilled at rearranging things. I think you'll have quite a doozy of a time just finding the exit from here. A couple of piles are probably moved around. And even if you do, the axon hallways will undoubtedly be different than on your way in.

ahem. Yes, I suppose you are a bit fucked, but do watch your language. Did you really think it was going to be that easy to waltz into this mind and sample a few secrets? Please, you just made the worst mistake of your cough cough miserable little career. Mr. Brand is rated a Level 3 Psianst.

Oh please, I'm already bleeding out. No need to stab me again. cough No, more holes won't make me tell you the cough cough bloody way out. In fact, it makes it much harder to show you the way out since I can't - well come now, I don't have a foot anymore.  cough Very brilliant you silly cough bastard. How am I supposed to walk now? Brilliant cough cough brilliant solution old chap. cough cough wheeze

Bah, enough of this. I will take my leave and leave you to your silly prattling. Come now, you didn't figure it out? I'm the daemon of Michael Brand you ignorant twat. This is my dominion, my very own mind. I can do whatever I please, including healing my own bloody mental projection in my own bloody mind space. I am not stupid, but apparently you are. Good luck finding your way out. I'm afraid you'll be here for quite a while. A little game instead of killing you. Let's see if you can escape my maze as I rearrange it on the fly. Maybe I'll make a mistake and you'll sneak through a crack. Or maybe I'll be able to keep you buried in layers upon layers of walls of books. Surrounded by my memories. All the information you could want about me and yet you will never find what you are looking for.

Ah, you are finally getting it now. Good. All the more reason to just kill yourself now isn't it? Not much hope of you competing with me in my own home now is there. If you live long enough, perhaps I'll even bring in a screen so you can see what happens to your poor body outside. Datajacking into someone else's mind does leave the physical body so...vulnerable.

Cheery-o. Enjoy your stay in my humble abode. I'd say come again, but, well, it just doesn't feel appropriate.

Friday, July 20, 2012

About Me: Humor and Sarcasm

I swear I will finish up that creative writing piece that's been sitting in my saved posts for almost a month now...

If you've spent any decent amount of time with me, you should know I really enjoy good humor. There is just something about cracking a smile and letting out a giant whooping laugh. I live for the moments when you can't even stand up and are gasping for breath because you're laughing so hard (it has happened, it is glorious). Oddly enough I've had people compliment me on my smile and laugh. Which while kinda cool is honestly one of the weirdest compliments I've gotten.

However, I don't enjoy all humor. I require humor to have at least some wit to it. Sure I will grin at most things, but there are certain thresholds where I deem it too mundane or generic or lame. But a clever turn on the head, a sharp pun, or a situation that you just can't manufacture even if you tried, those are what I laugh about. Obviously this is all subjective and whatnot.

As a slight digression, most humor is funny because of the absurdity of it all. You intentionally put something in a weird situation. Or take a mundane situation and add an element of wonky. Or tear down something established and reveal how odd it really is (if you squint). This is why roasts are funny. You take a normal person, usually someone you know intimately, and throw around their best and worst traits for all to see and joke about. Something you would normally never do in good civilized company.

My default joking mechanism is taking potshots at people. Attributing to them a completely absurd situation or attribute. Like if I joke about what kept me up late into the night. I could say something along the lines of me and four others guys penetrated deeply into five others. It was really fun, screams of pain all around, in fact one of the guys was dressed up as the Queen of Pain. Of course, I'm still a virgin, and heterosexual to boot, so ~obviously~ this didn't happen. Right? Well, that's just a really weird way of describing a game of DotA2 when my team pushed into enemy territory and had a massive teamfight where we won. =p

So yeah, I'm a deadpan snarker. Or at least try to be.

There are a few key elements to making this work. First, I have to know about the person. I don't want to unintentionally bring up something they don't want to talk about. Otherwise to steer clear I have to do something extremely outlandish that no one could believe. But the better I know someone, the tighter I can play. Which leads to point that the best jokes are ones people partially believe. Duping a few people into second-guessing their beliefs is the core of all this. It's easy to dismiss the outlandish, but taking a step back, making sure you're OK, is what gets investment and thought into the joke. Even better if the target rolls with it and pretends that what I just said was gospel truth. Then people get really confused and hilarity ensues. Finally, you have to let people in on the fact there was a joke. Otherwise bad things happen. Luckily if you put the proper tells in people will figure it out. But sometimes I have to make sure people realize I don't in fact make 100k. 'Cause, you know, all people with advanced degrees make minimum 100k.

The nice advantage of being a bit of a jokester is security. You get away with a lot of things, and if something you tried was an honest attempt gone wrong, you can sometimes play it off like a joke. Like trying to hit on a girl and she gives you a weird look? Crack a smile. Lining up a few perhaps sensitive characteristics of an individual? Just keep going into the ludicrous and listeners don't know where the truth ended and the lie started.

Unfortunately it also means people can't take you seriously. I find it can be hard to put it all on the line (yeah, it can be argued I'm a huge wuss and hide behind humor and intentionally lowered expectations). And if I do, sometimes people just smile and assume I'm playing another joke. This is why tells are extremely important. Making sure there is a distinct jump between the plausible and the unreal is important. For example, every time I use the word "obviously" I'm usually intentionally taking a really silly position. Or when I make a list, the later ones are probably the fakes, especially when they come in sets of three. "I went shopping, then I went to another party, then I went and killed 10 people." Hopefully these help distinguish between the times I'm being completely serious and when I'm being a snarky jerk. Cadence of voice helps when telling the joke live, but through text I rely on other cues.  (apparently some people read my updates/blogs with my voice in their heads). Without these listeners can't tell if you are capable of being serious. And trust me, I can get pretty darn serious, and it'd be a shame for someone to not realize it when I am.

People who don't know about my snarky and sometimes biting comments might get a little put off. I've had on two separate occasions two different friends tell me they originally thought I hated them. Like, hardcore hating them. Luckily they learned that actually means I like them. I don't make fun of people I don't like and enjoy poking fun at. I like making people I like laugh. So, if I've ever offended you with my humor, this is a direct and public apology. I was hoping you'd get a good laugh out of it. <3

So that's a bit about me. I am a giant tension diffusal mechanism. I will intentionally poke fun at myself to help lighten a situation. And don't be surprised if I throw in a completely ludicrous comment about you. I'm just trying to make people smile. =D

Speaking of, enjoy this video that always makes me smile:

Friday, July 13, 2012

Quarter of My Life Gone By


Some random events that have happened to me, in no particular order:
  • Successfully went to State Level for History Day. Was the only one who used a screen with media and slideshows that year if I recall.
  • Successfully pulled off a Senior Recital. Granted, I'm still horrible compared to others, but it was a nice feather in my cap.
  • Created and maintained a recurring LAN event. A 24 hour LAN event. We were seriously delusional by the end.
  • Got punched in the face. Hard. Not while doing martial arts.
  • Learn the basics of martial arts. As in enough to know to run the hell away from almost everyone.
  • Got a job.
  • Got an internship.
  • Went to one of the most high-octane amazing colleges ever and learn a crap ton. Plus meet amazing people.
  • Went to a medicore school that showed me some bad sides of academia but provided me development on the social and spiritual sides. Also meet amazing people.
  • Got a car. Expect it to last 6 months. Have it last over a year.
  • Edit lots of videos. Be really bad at it. But excite brother enough that he does badass job at it.
  • Found several clubs. They mostly don't matter. Except that one that got funding to build a game library. It's doing awesomely.
  • Learned to cook. Still learning to cook.
  • Became Section Leader.
  • Kickin' ass in Drill Downs.
  • Lived in Austin Texas. It was really freakin' hot that year. But had some quality times there. Like swimming in a spring.
  • Learned to be competent at dancing. And by competent I mean not a complete fool on the floor.
  • Lots and lots of games. Including playing pro for a very brief period (for certain definitions of "pro").
  • Plenty of late nights.
  • Massive road trips. Both with and without family. Thank goodness I don't get carsick and can read and play games.
  • Playing at Disneyland. Repeatedly. Their backstage is crazy cool.
  • Traveling! China is furthest so far. Still have to hit up Europe and Japan.
  • Running through the airport with my Clinic team to try and catch our flight.
  • Getting on the wrong plane.
  • First taste of alcohol. On a flight home from a successful presentation.
  • Being completely messed up after going wine tasting.
  • Realizing the academic structure of High School wasn't conducive to my plans and forging my own path.
  • Changing clothes in a bus. Weekly. For four years.
  • Switching school districts and realizing everything had changed.
  • Listening to things on a CD Player. Heck, listening to records and tapes!
  • Playing games from floppy disks and being required to know what our sound card was.
  • Mowing lawns. Lots and lots of lawns. I miss the old lawnmower that didn't break.
  • Making forts inside the piles of orange branches after a long day of trimming the tree.
  • Sitting down to start a game, realize I can't save, and just powering through the rest of the game. Much to the enjoyment of the spectators.
  • Winning at giving speeches. Also being forced to give speeches every week.
  • Learning to powerwalk so you can race to the classroom while not "running".
  • Realizing after the fact that the flute is considered a girl instrument in elementary/middle school.
  • Being mocked incessantly for being the only one wearing the school uniform.
  • Being really bad at basketball. Mostly because I never practiced. Turns out that's kinda helpful for being good at something.
  • Getting in trouble for programming my calculator while I was supposed to be taking notes. Still aced the class.
  • Getting into too many arguments over things that don't really matter.
Here's to another 25 years! Hopefully they will involve a girlfriend/wife, a house, and more awesome times with the people around me.

Friday, July 6, 2012


Wednesday, the day I usually write this entry, was July 4th.

There was much cooking and rejoicing. And no writing.

And my other pieces I have sitting around aren't good enough to publish.

Instead, enjoy this video of some awesome music.