Friday, January 23, 2009

Cosmic Dice

The sleek form of the alien spaceship shimmered as it passed through the atmosphere. The creatures were deceptive, surprisingly so. Cloaking devices, low-energy orbital engines…thank goodness the Satellite warning systems had managed to pick them up. Their point of entry though, meant that Agent Jones found himself in a hovercraft somewhere near the top of the Himalayas, wrapped in blankets against the cold.

Two could play the stealth game, and Earth’s tech was hardly obsolete compared to the Sh’ka. By the time the aliens noticed the cloaked hovercraft it was too late. Agent Jones pressed the communications button, sending a signal straight to the Captain of the silver vessel.

The insectoid face of a Sh’ka Ship Captain appeared on the view screen, green bulbulous eyes glowing slightly with barely suppressed emotion. The prominent symbols carved onto its carpace marked it as one Captain Kh'r, of the Sh'ka vessel Swzlt.

“This is Earth Territory, Captain. You know the Rules. Land your ship and we can talk this over peacefully.”

The Captain made a odd set of chitterling noises, which the onboard computer translated. “Curse you Earthlings! Very well, we will land on the flat planes and begin the exchange”

Moments later Agent Jones found himself inside a small makeshift tent with Captain Kh’r, both parties wearing their respective Bio-Adapter Suits. Normally, Agents didn’t need to wear a BAS for such exchanges. Then again, normally aliens did not try to land on the Himalayas.

The Agent grinned, holding out the Transfer Box. A series of chitters emitted from the translator embedded on his suit’s chest. “The Sh’ka Government trying to cheat again, Captain?”

“No, no,” answered Captain Kh'r, eyes glowing faintly through the visor, “it’s not our fault if Earth’s too busy expanding to catch one little craft. Anyway, we landed, didn’t we?”

The Sh'ka punched in the keycode into its own Transfer Box. There was a minor display of tiny lights and beeping, indicating that the transfer had started.

“1600 credits, correct?”

“3200 actually. We have the whole System now, so the number goes up a bit”

“You race never stops expanding, does it?” grumbled the Captain as he punched in more buttons.

“Nope,” answered Jones, “In fact, we should be somewhere near the Prime sector by n-”


His suit’s visor flashed as a series of bright red letters marched across the screen. A Universal Message?! The Captain was probably receiving it as well. What could possible be so important that it would warrant a Universal Message directly to-

“Ah…rats” exclaimed the Agent. Captain Kh’r was grinning, or at least what the Sh’ka did for grinning. Its eyes were flashing in an odd pattern of bright and dim lights that Jones recognized as the Sh’ka equivalent of laughter.

“You saw that too, eh?””

“Yes.” The Sh’ka was already deactivating the Box;

“So I guess this means this transaction is void?”

“Apparently. We would need to check the Rules to be certain.”

The Captain left. Soldiers escorted Agent Jones back to the relative comfort of the hovercraft, where he watched the Swzlt slowly rise into the air, the flare from its engines reflecting off the snow, illuminating the entire mountain top.

Moments later, they were gone.

“Damn,” cursed Agent Jones, watching the rapidly fading star in the sky. A tiny point of light zipping through space, dancing from planet to planet – just another one of the many representatives of a hundred different races, from a thousand different planets. He glanced at the omnious message displayed upon his visor and sighed. The Government would not be pleased when Jones got back to base;

“…I repeat, the Earth Flagship The Wheel has landed in the Dark Warp. The ship and all its men will now be teleported straight to the Holding Dimension. Do not pass Sirius. Do not collect 20000 Credits…”

Sunday, January 18, 2009

They are Bonuses

Is there a point? Of course there is, some would say. 3 points. 3 valuable points that everyone looks for and desires.

In trying to keep with the rubrics I lost the interest. In trying to match with what was wanted I lost what I was looking for.

Ultimately, its a manner of character. And the ones that benefit the most are those whom live beyond the system, upon wings of their own devising.

I have lost myself, lost my mind, lost the time and delight in doing things I loved. I looked into fields - work hard, play hard, never lose the spark. I think at some point in life, we all lost our sparks, save for those precious few that inspire me so.

Some people have argued that it doesn't matter why you do it, only that you do it. Such a filthy lie that is. Why do I call it a lie?

That alone, answers the question.

Why do we do all this? Search relentlessly...I know what was missing now. I do not love what I write, I cannot present to the world something I do not love as my own, for love is possessive, and it hurts to tell a filthy lie. But still I endure this pain and plough on, though ever cell in my body screams against the bastard child of my own imagining, against the foul words created in a moment of desperate copulation between joyous imagination and harsh requirements.

All this for the sake of 3 points.

Saturday, January 17, 2009


FOREWORD: This is a STORY. Not a post about my life. Though one can assume so if you wish. The first person is an attempt at something different from my usual third person narratives.

Today at school the teacher was teaching us about history again. It was a play, sort of. Some girl had gotten interested in her servant and decided to flirt with him. Said teacher had this huge PowerPoint presentation, nearly fifty slides long, filled with stuff about themes and relationships and literary devices. All this was to be poured via lecture into our minds and hopefully onto our reports when we handed them up next week. It was hard staying awake, all that droning did was put my brain to sleep, but I pinched myself a few times throughout the lecture to keep awake. It didn’t work.

By the time my friend prodded me awake a good third of the slides were over. Five minutes to dismissal.

Along the way back I met with Paul and Simon to check the pools. It was a competition we had, four times a year. Every boy would have their own pool, dug out of a hole in the yard, which the rain was supposed to fill and the sun dry out. Then when some time had passed we would take turns to measure it, see how deep the pool was. The ones with the deepest pools won a prize.

Paul’s pool was really good – a star shaped one (he liked standing out) in concrete, dug using an automatic drill. His father had been rich enough to afford one, the lucky bastard. As if that wasn’t enough, his uncle had just bought him a rain catcher for his “little project” so that he could fill the pool up faster. I wanted to stay and watch the rain catcher work, but the missed slides from the lecture had left this big empty gap of worry in my heart.

I spent the rest of the night reading the first three chapters, and another two chapters in advance, just in case.

Morning came and with it came Pool Inspection. Some of the kids didn’t bother but personally speaking, a little paranoia never hurt. I had dug my pool in the soil and lined it with plastic to keep the water from seeping; it wasn’t very good plastic though, and the ground was hard. The pool was very wide, but not very deep – each time I tried to go lower the spade would clang off hard rock or soil, sending little shocks of impact through my arm.

We got our grades from the previous assignments back. A literature essay, on a play about some girl who got raped by her father. Or was it her boyfriend? Anyway I had written all the usual stuff that the teacher had taught us in class, some weird nonsense about the flowers being all girly and the characters being “out of place”. I wasn’t sure how much of it was true, but the teacher said it was correct, so I just wrote it all down.

I got a D. “Not deep enough” wrote the teacher. I decided to go look at Simon’s essay, which got an A. Maybe it was something I forgot to write.

It rained a lot on my side, so my pool filled up quite quickly. But each time there was so much water that it overflowed from the pool and into the ground, wasted. Then the sun would come up and dry the whole thing out again, leaving something like a puddle in the ground. That always made me worried. Sometimes after it rained in the morning I liked to go sit at the window and look at all the small little puddles on the road, glistening with potential. Then I had to go to school, and by the time I came back the puddles were gone, all dried up.

I didn’t want my pool to dry up. If it did I wouldn’t get the prize.

During our welfare class the teacher thought it would be interesting to try out an interview session with each one of us. He said it will help us with our future, though how it did I couldn’t really tell. It didn’t really matter to me though, because all that meant was that the rest of us were free to do whatever we wanted. Like my math homework.

John got called by the teacher. He stood up proudly, stacking his papers up in a nice neat bundle before going out of the door. John always had a lot of papers – I think it’s because he kept winning the competitions. The prize was usually this great big piece of paper that all the guys signed and drew smiley faces on, to show that you had the deepest pool for that term. John had nearly eight of those now, thanks to the rain catcher.

I had tried using a hose to fill the pool with water, but every time I did the pool overflowed and most of the water went to waste. It didn’t make a difference no matter how many times I refilled the pool. The sun just came up again and the ground remained hard no matter what. Still, I keep digging, because I really want that prize. Everyone does, except for Simon.

The math homework lay finished, a minor obstacle now overcome. I had to check some of the methods with the guidebooks I borrowed from John, but overall I think I understood the questions. I just needed to make sure I knew which method to use with which question…

Simon came back to the class, still smiling. He was always smiling, that Simon. Even though his pool wasn’t very good and didn’t have any fancy rain catchers it still was pretty deep. When I asked him how he did it he just shrugged and said that it seemed obvious. I’m not sure what he meant by that, though I suspect he uses a hose from time to time. When I asked him about it he just laughed and said the prize wasn’t worth cheating for. Simon was weird, in that way.

I was about to re-read the textbook again when the teacher called me out. It wasn’t like I had a choice, so I went outside. The teacher sat across, his spectacles gleaming in the corridor light. I didn’t know what to say, so I told him my name and class and date of birth - and all he did was nod. I tried talking about all the things I knew, like how many eggs a platypus laid, and what methods were best used to solve a quadratic equation. I tried quoting all the good things the other teachers had said about me, about how hardworking I was despite all the trouble I seemed to have. By the time I ran out of things to say the teacher was looking at me with a bored expression on his face, twirling his pen in the air;

“Alright, that’s good. So…what hobbies do you like?”


I tried to answer, but nothing came. What hobbies? What kind of question was that? The textbooks said nothing about “hobbies”. I never bothered, never had time! I was too busy trying to keep up, trying not to let my pool disappear…

I wanted to answer, but all I could do was stare blankly at his face - poised and expectant - as my pool finally ran out and dried, like puddles under the hot afternoon sun.


In a moment of twisted inspiration I decided to write this story instead of my World Lit Essay. Behold the wonders of reading too much Paddy Clarke!

It felt interesting trying a different style of writing though. In doing so I was aiming for some sort of overall message that was bothering me for a while, which (if my writing skillz are l337 enuf) you would have gotten. If you didn't, feel free to tell me the level of fail I have reached by posting this crap onto the internet.

IB really makes me wonder sometimes. In both senses of the word.

Monday, January 12, 2009

The Great Vomiting

Siddhartha much? Perhaps I have been reading too much lit. Well, reading too much at least.

Over the hols I have discovered of all things, an slew of online story sites. Some good, some bad, some that just turned my brain to sludge. But in all that crap something stood out - a strange sort of mismashed impression, that these were all story sites, all on the internet, and all (sadly?) probably written by teenagers between the age of 13-19.

But all together, they became a voice. A small voice amongst the tide of the internet, with its great waves crashing all over the place, facts and wikipedia overloading our minds with every hyperlink. But a voice nonetheless.

They spoke of all things, change. They spoke of futures, of possibilities. Of what could have been, has been and will be soon. This is the age, THE age, where all the knowledge of a million people, their thoughts, their feelings - their sorrows, joys and regets, their successes and failures, their hopes and dreams - all of this, each a drink of innumerable flavors, float around the internet; a sight akin to seeing a slew of wine bottles floating through the gutter. Thing is, you never know which one might be the cheap alcohol, and which the 1787 Chateau d'Yquem.

In an age where all of this is available, what happens? Where we can look and see, from the comfort of our doorstep, the multitude of links and chains that web the world together? We see the patterns, I see the patterns, and they are ever-shifting, ever changing, a product and cause of the past, the present and the future.

We act on the present based on our past, and hence affect the future. That's the common line of thought. But then there is looking to the future to affect the present - this is called foresight. And then there's looking at how the past affects the future as well - this is called history. So what is there to say that the future did not affect the past? Somewhere, in the ancient times of the Egyptians, a king saw the future and made monuments to outlast the grinding hands of time.

And all these voices, they too speak of when has been. I read them and look at life, look at people and the world around, and I see patterns, connections - strange rifts and waves. Life has a rhythm, a flow to it. A song, but more than just music. A story, but more than mere words. A play, but across an infinite stage, with an unlimited cast. And in the heart of this, in the soul and centre, lie the voices of each generation, in black and white type across the screen.

A teacher told me at the start of the year, that the gift of the writer, the power they hold, is the ability to turn life into words, such that when a reader sees them, reads the scenario presented as in drawn into, he or she can say, "It resonates with me. It reminds me so much of my life". Except that its not only one life. Its an ocean, a million, billion droplets connected together in a massive body of water, flowing, churning, sparkling in the flame of life.

And so I drink from this ocean, with shaking hands and thirsty lips, until I can drink no more, am filled to the brim. Until these ideas, swimming and clashing in my brain like stars, burst out of my lips and hands and onto the page. To join the rest of the streams, flowing towards the sea.

I met my friends today, and was reminded of the endless potential displayed in upstart new heroes, eager to take on the world. I saw my EE Mentor, and felt the doom and fear of a minion before his absolute master, Demon of the Abyss. I cheered my sister's wonderful results, saw her tired smile, and heard the cheers of fellow family and friends cheering their champion's return. In life I see stories, and in stories I see life. And God is the Author, playwright and poet, of the greatest play of all.

Someday, I hope to write.

There is but a single line's difference, between a word and the world.

Thursday, January 1, 2009


John Wickerson rose to the cheering ovation of the crowds. With one fine, manicured hand he silenced the masses, with the other he adjusted his sleek, black tie. Upon his smooth, angular face lay a pair of NewTech glasses, calibrated to shield the eyes from maximum glare. As the great man stepped out into the morning sun his freshly tailored smart suit readjusted itself to the heat of the sun, nano-fibres tightening to release the many small pockets of heat-trapping air, cooling and ventilating his body.

The podium was made of sleek, black synthesized oak, the original great trees having went extinct over centuries of woodcutting. A small laser-mic rested upon its smooth surface, transmitting his voice directly into the head-jacks of the populace around the world.

“I am John Wickerson," said the figure, his young voice bright and rich, "the new leader of the Fifty-first state. As I promised then, so do I promise now: Change!”

“Change!” echoed the crowd, fists held high the in air,

“For ten years our country had languished in the pits of tradition, slaving our way through the ecosystem. For ten years we were bound by the environment, blinded by religion, shackled by practice, condemned to remain stagnant forever! For ten years I watched as good men and women, with healthy minds and souls were forced by the boundaries of our once-barbaric society to work, toil and sweat for their lives!”

“We thought things were so for a reason. We believed so firmly in our roots to show us the way. But little did we know that the roots had rotted, the tree was dying, and the fruit - and seeds of our future – were slowly being poisoned by the sickness of ages past.”

A brief cloud passed over the stadium, obscuring the morning sun. Moments later a low hum could be heard echoing over the sky, as the cloud was dispersed into water vapor and air. Nothing would disrupt the perfect, sunny mood of John Wickerson’s speech.

“But then, salvation came! The light of Progress came to our aid! With its caring arms it sheltered the seeds, with its mighty hands it rebuilt the tree, and with its loving heart it opened to way for more Progress to come, that all seeds may grow and not die, without pain, worry or struggle.”

“Progress!” screamed the crowd,

“They brought us technology, showed us the light. Our crippled were healed, our men and women restored. Our industries are automated, that no man be oppressed for the benefit of others. All our previous systems: our failing economies, our flawed beliefs, our outdated practices – were abolished and remade anew! Now we need not worry about finance with the abundance of produce, and no child need waste precious time on painful things like education or work. With Progress all things shall be met!”

Throughout the state men and women cried and screamed in joy, as their mood calibrators pumped dose after dose of serotonin into their minds.

“Once I was but one of the down trodden, a worker in a factory producing cars. But ten years later, I stand here today. With Progress, everything has changed!”


“And so, in the name of Progress I bring to the Fifty-first state the latest development of Progress: the EarthNet! Now all citizens of the Fifty-first state may join the wondrous Dreamscape, where all your imaginations and dreams may soar. No more would we have to toil to see our dreams come through, no more would the poor inventor have to trudge his way through the hurdles of our so-called society, wasting years of precious genius and creativity. Now we can be satisfied! Now we can be Changed!”

And as the cheers of the crowd burst into ovation John Wickerson returned to his seat, and pressed a single button underneath the armrest. For a brief moment the world flickered, as the stadium, the cheering, and the sky went dim. John blinked, taking a moment to re-orientate himself, before removing the head-jack that linked him to the Net. Quickly, he erased all records of his recent imaginings. The Automated political system of Progress did not take kindly to those who dwelled in past victories.

Outside the glass panels of his house what remained of the Stadium slowly crumbled, pulled apart by giant hovering claws and wrecking balls the size of a bus. A single camera floated, a mere fly amongst the rest of the machines, monitoring the Progress of the Stadium. Once more John Wickerson was left with nothing to do.

John simply sighed, throwing his head back on the armchair. The red velvet piece of furniture had been passed in his generation for centuries, one of the last reminders of the old world. He ran his fingers over the armrest, recalling the precious moments he spent with his grandmother in the very same chair. At times like these, the relic gave him comfort.

Outside the weather continued bright and sunny, maintained by the technology of Progress. Forever it would remain that way, until the time for the next Change came once again.


The New Year has come, but have things truely Changed? Which leads to the next question: Should they?