Saturday, June 18, 2011
Among the latest allegations in the lawsuit pending in Fairfax County Circuit Court:
Paragraph 10. “At the time of the collision, Defendant was going 85 miles per hour.”
Paragraph 12. “At the time of the collision, Defendant was having sex with a female.”
Paragraph13. “At the time of the collision, Defendant was driving admittedly drunk.”
Paragraph 14. “At the time of the accident, Defendant was partially or totally in the backseat of the car.”...
Charlie landed in the filth with a splash. His arms plunged into the cold waste, and he gagged at the smell. He struggled to turn before the cell door swung closed, but the guards were gone before he could pull his hands free.
“Come back! I shouldn’t be ‘ere!” shouted Charlie.
“They won’t let you out, lad.”...
“Here, Scholar Quaa, this is the permutation I was telling you about. It’s the only one that hasn’t followed the same general pattern that the others did. I think we may have found what the Scholars’ Collective was hoping for!”
“Did you use the same world-initialising parameters as you did for all the others, and calibrate the timeline to traverse the bifurcations chaotically?”...
Friday, June 17, 2011
Sure we've all wanted to wear Nicola Bryant's panties on our heads and watch 'Trial Of A Timelord' through the legholes BUT THIS MAN IS LIVING THE DREAM!!!!!
I seldom, seldom do articles about single websites. But when I do, it's because they are so phenomenally important that every nerd know of their existence. Like Doctor Who's Girl Knickers: A Pantheon of Pants. Basically, one man has devoted his life and his savings to collecting as many underpants of females who have worked on Doctor Who as possible, actresses, producers, whatever...
Yes, these are Peri's panties...
Thursday, June 16, 2011
ORDINARY WONDERS AND BLEAK MIRACLES
An Invitation To Disaster
Al Bruno III
Chester Bush sat on his front porch waiting for the sunset and what the sunset would bring. It was a warm spring day, cloudy with a hint of rain in the air. He had multiple windows open on his laptop and with each one he was checking for news in a city a timezone away.
Three days ago at 7 o’clock in the morning a tornado had come through the town of Drummond, Oregon destroying everything in its path. From his comfy chair Chester could read the incoming stories and watch the video feeds from local and national news sources.
The body count kept rising, it seemed that for every miraculous survival there were three lives cut short. The tornado had destroyed the firehouse but spared the police station. It had avoided the school but leveled an entire wing of the hospital.
There was booze in his free hand, expensive brandy in a cheap glass. His ex-wife Rosie would have said that was typical of him and she would have been right. He had a lousy house full of expensive toys, he had a rusty car with a high quality stereo system. That was just the way he liked it.
He opened one browser window and opened another and listened to the streaming feed from Drummond’s AM radio station. The traffic reports and right wing pundits had been replaced with constant updates. They took calls and tried their best to help people track down loved ones that had gone missing in the disaster.
Chester was two years away from sixty and he was proud of how well he handled the technology at his fingertips. Too many of his friends shied away from it all, intimidated at learning something new, afraid of looking foolish when they made a mistake. Chester had no fear of mistakes.
His cell phone rang and he dropped his drink in his fumbling to get it to his ear. He hung up almost immediately, another one of those damn idiots that kept looking for the previous owner of his cell number.
There had been a time when he would have cursed the person on the other end of the line out until they hung up, then he would have called them back and cursed at them some more. All through his life his temper had been a problem but not anymore. Had he finally mellowed or was it just that at the age of fifty-eight he didn’t have the energy for feuds and fights?
The puddle from his spilled drink had spread out across the bare wood floor. He frowned at it for a moment and then closed his laptop, there wasn’t anything new it could tell him anyway.
He knew that the house belonging to Rosalie Price, formerly Rosalie Bush, had been flattened by the tornado. Just like every other house on that unlucky street.
Chester retrieved a towel from the kitchen then got down on his knees and dabbed at the spilled brandy. The house he had shared with Rosie for seven years was gone, it seemed almost hard to believe. The last time he had seen the place was after the signing of the divorce papers.
He still remembered his last words to her, “Drop dead.”
That damn temper of his again. And hadn’t he enjoyed holding a grudge?
In the eleven years since that day his one great joy had been hearing about his ex-wife’s troubles. He still had enough friends in Drummond to keep him apprised of the gossip. He laughed when he learned her second marriage had crashed and burned. When he heard she had gotten Bells Palsy he’d joked that now the rest of the world would see the scowl he’d had to live with for far too long.
He brought the wet cloth and glass back into the kitchen, he gave the both of them a quick rinse and set them out to dry. For a moment he toyed with the idea of getting another drink but he decided he'd rather be sober.
For now anyway.
The sun had fully set, the sky was a darkening purple.
Eleven years. That was a long time to be angry but it kept his other feelings a safe distance away. Better to be angry than to look back.
That had changed three days ago. News of the disaster had set him trying to call and email friends. Within a matter of hours he knew that all his old buddies were fine, a little shaken up but otherwise untouched. Then they told him about Rosie's street, and Rosie's house.
At first he just shrugged off the news but as the day wore on it tugged at him until it became a sickening worry. It robbed him of his appetite and the ability to sleep. In the silence of his house all he heard were old conversations, when he closed his eyes they filled with twenty year-old memories.
The next morning he started making calls, he contacted all his old friends and even a few enemies, he made inquiries to the civil authorities, he even called in to the radio station to plead for information.
Headlights in the driveway stirred him from his thoughts. Chester hurried out to the porch steps. He almost didn’t recognize the woman getting out of the taxi. Her hair was short and going gray but even in the dusk he recognized her eyes. “Do you have any bags?” he asked.
“I don’t have anything,” Rosie said, she moved slowly and painfully.
“Come on inside,” Chester paid the cabbie and then helped her inside, “I’ll get you something to eat.”
She paused in the doorway, “Why are you doing this? You didn’t have to-”
“-Yes I did,” Chester smiled, “besides it’s too quiet around here.”
“Oh. Well I’ll see to that.”
“I bet you will.”
The porch door swung to a close behind them.
To streamline the American political processes elected officials became legally required to reveal their junk after being sworn in.
There is no record of space vixens kidnapping men from lonely roads for breeding purposes but Matt kept walking and kept hoping.
The council of wizards soon realized the mechanical unicorn population was directly influenced by the number of technical virgins.
The other superheroes felt that after becoming completely intangible Mr. Cellophane had really lost touch.
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
BBC1 Controller Danny Cohen today revealed that, after much speculation generated since the Private Eye article and subsequent BBC announcements last week, Doctor Who will indeed be returning in a curtailed form during 2012... No other details on how many episodes will comprise the 2012 run at present, though the BBC confirmed last week that fourteen episodes had been commissioned, including this year's Christmas Special, with Matt Smith at the helm in the role as The Doctor...
My first reaction at this news was shock and dismay but a lot of that comes from being an old-school fan and remember that hiatuses were the way death of the series began. The BBC have a lot of cash riding on the series now... tons of merchandise and a grown American fanbase so I do believe this was done as a budgetary matter. This is not a Michael Grade style passive-agressive cancelation or worse yet a Bonnie Hammer 'Lets replace FARSCAPE with a show about dream interpretations!'
I hope and believe that this in the long run will be a good thing.
Of course I also hope that the kids that have fallen in love with the series won't forget about it. Then again that didn't happen with any of us older kids did it?
If nothing else this lull will give Cubicle 7 more time to get new products for the Doctor Who Adventures In Time And Space role playing game out into the marketplace.
Of course that also means that I've got to get up off my ass and start actually running the damn game one of these days.
I do think that I am going to avoid the Doctor Who-related forums for a while. News like this usually sends the fanboys into a frenzy and I imagine there are many threads full of posters blaming the Moff, RTD, the BBC and even JNT for this turn of events.
I was also thinking to myself that while Amy Pond might be the sexiest companion of recent years Donna Noble is probably more fun in bed.
However I am not sure what that has to do with the matter at hand.
But once again I am going to face this admittedly disappointing news as positively as possible and I hope the rest of you do as well.
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
IN THIS TWILIGHT
By AL BRUNO III
Three months in
By now work had become routine but it had yet to become drudgery. Every day Mike Carter sat down in a cubicle that he shared with two other co-workers, logged into his computer, put on his headset and took calls. Working in the Billing and Sales department meant he took calls from doctors, hospitals and nursing homes. Some calls were to pay or dispute bills; others were purchase orders for artificial limbs, CT scanners and medical sundries. There were account numbers to be checked and shipping addresses to be confirmed or changed. Mike was surprised at how much of the work the computer did for him, most of the time all the customer’s data just flashed up on his screen and all he had to do was talk and click the mouse.
“Come on. Look how quiet it is. Sometimes there’s ten minutes between calls.” One of the people he shared his cubicle with was named Cosmos. At first Mike had thought it was some kind of Greek name that happened to sound like the word ‘Cosmos’, but he soon learned that her parents had chosen to name her after the universe itself. She was just married and just out of college and was finding herself disillusioned about both. She seemed to take every call from her husband and every memo from corporate as a personal affront. “They’re going to move the whole damn operation offshore in a year, just you mark my words.”
The red haired man who sat directly opposite her rolled his eyes, “The company can’t do that. They have roots in the community,” his name was Jimmy and he'd just gotten out of the Army. He'd joined the service in hopes of acquiring computer skills but in the end all he'd gained for his six years was a bit of inoperable shrapnel and an obsession with Star Trek. The walls of his work space were cluttered with pictures of different girls from the different Star Trek shows. “Besides we’re the most productive of the three regional call centers.”
“Oh yeah,” Cosmos said, “I bet they say the same thing to the people working at the other call centers.”
Mike shared her cynicism but he hoped she was wrong, he enjoying himself here. It was nice to not spend all day Sunday dreading going in to work on Monday.
“You know just because-” Jimmy’s phone bleeped, he turned his attention to his computer screen as it filled with information, “Thank you for calling Trinity Advance Corporation, I am James your Sales and Billing Technologist. How may I be of service to you today?”
“And anyway,” Cosmos continued, “if they’re all so gung ho for this this place then why haven’t they fixed that leak in the ladies room?”
“There’s a leak?” Mike asked.
“They’re always a leak. They fix it and it comes right back and no matter what they do it always reeks of-” Her phone bleeped, “Thank you for calling Trinity Advance Corporation, I am Cosmos your Sales and Billing Technologist. How may I be of service to you today? Cosmos…no really.”
There wasn’t a leak in the men’s room but Mike had to admit there was a strange, almost salty, odor, and it was always a few degrees too warm in there. Actually they kept the whole darn building a little too warm for his tastes. His phone bleeped. “Thank you for calling Trinity Advance Corporation, I am Michael your Sales and Billing Technologist. How may I be of service to you today?”
“Why is toaster?” The voice on the other end of the line choked and gurgled, “What is the referent?”
“What?” Mike turned the volume of his headset up, certain he’d misheard, “I’m sorry could you repeat that?”
“Clamo, clamatis, omnes clamamus pro glace lactis!” The voice continued, “I can see the Husk Worlds when I close the eyes. Aegri somnia!”
“I'm sorry…” Mike looked around to see his co-workers bent over their keyboards. The SIGIL system hadn't brought any information to his screen, all he saw was a cursor blinking mindlessly, “I'm sorry but I don't understand what you want. This is the Trinity Advance Corporation.”
“Tell me where it plugs in damn you. The port is clogged with heterogeneous matter.”
“Sir I don't understand,” Mike looked to his phone. It was a notebook-sized mass of buttons with a long wide Caller ID screen at the top. The LCD readout however didn't give him any other information except for the words EXECUTIVE SUPPORT along with the time of day and date.
“Just hang up,” Cosmos was standing beside him unwrapping a pack of cigarettes. “It’s a call for upstairs.”
Mike pressed the mute button, “Couldn't I just transfer the call?”
Cosmos explained with an exasperated shrug, “There's no way to transfer calls between here and there.”
For a moment Mike sat there in silence staring at her while the caller sputtered gibberish, “There's no way to transfer calls within the building? That's crazy.”
“That's Trinity Advance,” Cosmos smiled, she only really smiled when she was being sarcastic. “The mighty SIGIL system sometimes routes the calls incorrectly. Just hang up and they'll call back and hopefully get sent to the right place. I'm going for a smoke break. Later.”
Mike un-muted the call and said, “Sir?”
“...meaty psychotronic guise, like love only terrifying. Est deus in nobis.”
“Sir, it looks like you got through to the wrong team, I'm not sure how it happened but I'm not going to be able to help you. I need to ask you to call back.”
“Oh. Ok.” And the line went dead.
A cigarette sounded pretty good after a call like that, Mike punched in the codes for a break and headed out after Cosmos. He snapped his fingers and doubled back, making sure he pocketed his ID card. He thought to himself, If that's the worst this job can throw at me I've got it made.
Jimmy looked up from his keyboard, “You going to the Christmas party next week?”
If not for his advanced thumb wrestling skills Abner Deggent might never have survived the night of the pygmy nymphomaniacs.
Grant Mandelbrot considered himself a Post Modern Shaman. In other words he did a acid, a lot of it really.
Cheap Rich's strip club watered down the drinks and forced the girls to rub their asses on his kids' art projects for free glitter.
It came as a surprise to no one that after the zombie apocalypse FOX NEWS viewing figures actually went up.
Decal-Man explained to his adoring fans that they could be just like him as long as they applied themselves.
Monday, June 13, 2011
Sunday, June 12, 2011
Price Breaks And Heartaches
A journal of retail and failed romance
Foreplay On The Edge Of Forever
“What the Hell is wrong with you?”
“Do you think you’re funny?”
People have been saying those two statements, or a combination of the two, to me since I was five years old. I mean it. If I had a dime for every time I’d heard it I’d be too busy counting dimes to make inane blog posts about my love life.
Sometimes I think it was because people just couldn’t understand me. I was too far ahead of the curve... Too edgy. By sixth grade I was enjoying and stealing jokes from Monty Python’s Flying Circus and as a young adult I was brimming with energy and ideas. Was it so wrong that if I saw the opportunity to make a joke I threw any sense of self-preservation to the wind? Could I really be the only person out there unable to resist the urge to make a terrible pun or bizarre statement?
On the days that Tallulah wasn’t in the copy center I barely got to work on time. There was some grumbling from the Paper Shredder’s management about it but I felt my job was pretty safe.
The Christmas holiday had just passed and the store was busy with people searching for post holiday bargains. How was my Christmas you may ask? This year had been one of the best of my sheltered life. I had gotten my first word processor, a real top of the line model.
Now for you kids out there a top of the line word processor in 1988 was roughly the size of a briefcase. The device was a dot matrix printer with a keyboard, a floppy disk drive and an amber screen roughly the size of an unpublished writer’s ego.
And weirdly enough my brother Phil had gotten it for me. Yes, the same brother that I frequently got into fistfights with. It took the term love-hate relationship to a whole new level.
Awesome as that gift was I had barely noticed it, after all what present could ever outdo the simple pleasure having Tallulah’s hand in mine?
Truth be told I don’t even remember if I thanked my brother for what was a pretty fantastic and expensive gift.
Sheesh, the more I write these things the more I come to realize I was kind of a prick in those days.
Anyway... the Paper Shredder dress code for men was black slacks, our standard issue smocks, a white collared shirt and a necktie. I tended to forget my necktie so I had gotten into the habit of leaving mine at work. Since Tallulah was a full time employee she had a locker so I kept my necktie in there.
On this busy day a week after Christmas I retrieved my tie and found a note pinned to it. For a moment my head swam with possibilities. Was this a note from some arch enemy of mine demanding I endure a series of physical and mental trials to save the lives of my family?
If so my arch enemy would have to wait, I had a girlfriend to now.
See what I mean about me being a prick?
I unpinned the note from my tie and read-
I like coffee
I like tea
I love Al
He loves Me
Grinning I pocketed the slip of paper and headed for my register. The lines of customers were already halfway to the back of the store. The sound of the canned music was drowned out by the general din of the customers and the occasional call for a price check. Right then and there I decided to stop by Tallulah’s house after work, I wanted to see her, even if it was only for a few minutes.
“Albert!” the assistant manager Ms. Cooper yelled, “Where is your tie?”
“Whoops! Be right back,” in my glee at reading my girlfriend's little note I had forgotten to actually put on my tie. It was still in Tallulah’s locker. It only took a few second for me to retrieve it and slip it on.
Ms. Cooper was waiting for me near her office, “What have I told you about going out onto the floor without a tie?”
“Not to do it,” I answered.
“Exactly but this is the second time in as many months that you’ve forgotten.”
Ms. Cooper glared at me, “If you’re sorry then why do you have that silly grin on your face?”
“Oh,” I tried to look serious and failed, “I was just thinking.”
“Thinking about what?”
“I was thinking that it is kind of unfair in a way.”
“Are you questioning the wisdom of Paper Shredder’s uniform policy?” Ms. Cooper’s unibrow bristled.
“You know what I mean,” suddenly my shirt collar felt very tight, “only us guys have to wear ties. None of the female employees have to do that.”
There was a long pause and if I had been older and wiser I would have used that pause to make a run for it.
“I think the policy is perfectly fair,” Ms. Cooper said, “after all none of the male employees has to wear a bra.”
“Well,” I laughed, “you don’t really have to wear a bra do you?”
I had intended my statement to be a witty commentary on the state of affairs in this post-feminist era. Ms. Cooper’s expression darkened and I realized then that flat chested women don’t appreciate witty commentaries on the state of affairs in this post-feminist era.
Mostly because they think you are making fun of their poker-chip sized boobs.
“What is that supposed to mean?” Ms. Cooper shouted, “Do you think you’re funny?”
Not right then I didn’t.
My Dad was laughing, and by that I mean he was mocking something I had said, “Oh yeah. You’ve got some whiskers on your chin and suddenly you think you know it all.”
We were in the kitchen of his apartment, he was cooking, I was standing there looking helpless. Every once in a while my Dad’s hot girlfriend would pass by, she was cringing on my behalf.
“All I’m saying,” I explained, “is that you could show me a little more respect.”
“What you said was that you wanted me to start treating you like a man,” My Dad arched his eyebrow then turned back to stirring the spaghetti sauce. He usually let his girlfriend do the cooking but when it comes to pasta and sex the Bruno men like to take charge of everything. “I’ll start treating you like a man when you stop living out of my pocket.”
Now that really offended me, “Hey! It isn’t just your pocket I’m living out of. I mooch off everyone.”
“A man stands on his own two feet, you should have listened when I told you to join the army.”
“They wouldn’t take me.”
My Dad added a few dashes of salt to the sauce, “Well maybe if you didn’t pee sitting down...”
“One time!” My voice cracked with frustration, “That was one time and you should have knocked! Besides the reason I wouldn’t get in is because I only have partial vision in my right eye.”
And that’s true folks. 3-D movies do nothing more than break my heart. I had, and still have, untreated lazy eye. Everyone from the school nurse to my teachers to the eye doctor thought I was faking or goofing around when I told them I couldn’t see clearly out of one eye. Only my Mom had my back but by the time someone with a medical degree realized there actually was a problem I was in fourth grade and the damage was done.
“Partial vision?” My Dad snorted, “Your Mom made you neurotic.”
“Hypochondriac,” I corrected, “you think she made me a hypochondriac. Mom thinks you made me neurotic.”
“Don’t change the subject.”
“Was there a subject?”
“Yes there is a subject. You think you’re a man now and that’s a mistake, you’re still a boy,” the water was boiling, Dad added the angel hair and told me to stir, “what’s worse is the way you’re talking about this girlfriend of yours Dora.”
“Tallulah, her name is Tallulah.”
“Her name doesn’t matter. What matters is you think you’re in love.”
I dropped the spoon into the boiling water, “I am in love.”
“No, you’re not. You don’t know what love is,” Dad handed me tongs so I could retrieve the spoon, “you’re just a kid and if you’re not careful you’re going to ruin your life.”
“Ruin my life? I don’t drink or do drugs, I’m going to college. I’m doing all the things you’re supposed to do.” I was so flustered that my hands were starting to shake.
“All I am saying is that you are supposed to be having fun and kicking up your heels,” Dad explained, “you’re not supposed to be acting like you’re going to marry this girl. You can’t marry the first girl that screws you.”
“Then that really messes things up for the guys that are saving themselves for marriage,” I tried to joke.
“What the Hell is wrong with you?”
“Al!” my Stepdad called, “your girl is here.”
My girl. I must admit I liked the sound of that. I saved the story I was working on and headed out to find Tallulah talking with my Mom and Stepdad. They really seemed to like her and that made me happier than I thought it would.
I headed into the kitchen and gave her smooches, “You’re early.”
“I figured you would want to look at the bookstore before the movie started,” she replied.
“Don’t you think you’ve got enough books?” my Mom asked.
Of course you can never have too many books but on the other hand I did have more books than I had shelf space to keep them on. In fact twenty years later I am still working my way through some of the backlog I created during those times when I was flush with cash.
“And don’t forget...” Tallulah said, “You owe me something.”
“What?” I said momentarily confused. Then I remembered that I had promised to chip in for a birthday gift for her mother. I had been invited to the family birthday party. I had wanted to make a good impression and Tallulah had explained to me that a copy of Clive Barker’s Books Of Blood might not be the best thing for the woman.
I reached into my wallet and gave her a pair of twenties. My Mom and Stepdad were watching and with a smirk I blurted out, “Here you are and you were worth every penny last night.”
My mother and Stepdad laughed. And that was when my girl punched me in the gut. Tallulah stormed out of the house, I ran after her. Well I shambled after her really.
“...wait...” I gasped, “...wait...”
She opened her car and got inside, “You’re an asshole do you know that?”
“...can we talk about this?” I begged, “...I mean after I stop tasting blood...”
“Is that what you want your family to think?” She shouted, “ That I’m a whore?”
“...they don’t think that...”
“Why not after what you said?”
The sound of her car starting nearly drowned out my voice, “It was just a joke!”
“Just a joke?” She threw her car into reverse, “Do you think you’re funny? What’s wrong with you?”
“Wait!” I cried but the squeal of her car’s tires as she sped out of the driveway was the only reply I got.