the thin thread of reality
Wednesday, December 27 2000
Hey, cool, I just had an interview with Netslaves for that bogus dot com shooter homepage I made yesterday. What an honor and a privilege! It's refreshing to be interviewed by someone who actually understands satire, even if it is satire of the tasteless variety. Someone from the Boston Globe sent me an email wanting an interview too, but from the tone of the inquiry I got the feeling the reporter just didn't get it and was never going to get it, so I haven't responded.
The creative freedom afforded by the creation of a bogus homepage for a mass-murderer is something I don't often allow myself. Most of the time in my writing, bending and distorting the facts to tell a better story is strictly forbidden (some will beg to differ, of course, but that doesn't affect my point). I'm all about the thin thread of reality which winds through the wide plain of possibility. Fiction is not a medium to which I often apply myself. But with Michael McDermott's homepage, suddenly I'm allowed to create a "personal homepage" in all its marvelously flawed glory. The rambling is there, the little inconsistencies are there, the obsessive repetition is there, and so are the complete fabrications. If you were to actually try making crystal meth according to the recipe I provided, it's doubtful you'd come up with anything but an oily white mess; I made it up wholesale, without any supporting research. In some cases I made a conscious decision to include inconsistencies, such as when I started off by suggesting sending the liberal media to Russia and then concluded my point by saying the media wouldn't much appreciate the repressiveness of Castro's communism. To gel as the work of a madman, the page had to be tweaked and damaged in these fun little ways.
For lunch I decided to go find the closest Jack in the Box so as to take advantage of their perpetual 99 cent Jumbo Jack special. Ever since realizing that Carl's Jr. jacked the price of their Famous Star to $1.29, I've had no desire to return. It's going to take one hell of an advertising campaign to lure me back. Not even "some guys would starve" is going to erase the damage done to this customer.
I found a Jack in the Box near the corner of 25th and Wilshire, so I locked up my bike in front and went in. The time was 1:30 in the afternoon and I thought I'd be hitting the post-lunch lull, but, owing to the season, I was terribly mistaken. The place was a madhouse of activity, full of squalling children and fashionable teenagers, all taking advantage of their winter vacation on yet another flawless Santa Monica day. I noticed the teenage boys all had exactly the same look: their hair was about an inch long and spiked up with some sort of oily gunk. Their trousers were loose and baggy and their sneakers were patchworks of angular colored shapes. This must have been some sort boy band-influenced fashion. The alpha male of the group wasn't difficult to identify. He was taller than the others, perhaps six feet in height, and he had the most attractive facial features and a simple neck chain that looked expensive. Still, his alpha maleness extended well beyond appearance; he felt the need to assert his hierarchical position over his peers with a continuous series of rapid semi-threatening gestures, pokes and prods, all of which were accepted without incident, insult, or any form of retaliation. Watching them interact, I found myself thinking how much I loathe teenage boys. I was never one of these kids. I never behaved in this way. It's just so thoroughly unnecessary.
When I finally got my Jumbo Jacks, I went into an adjacent park to eat them. I sat on a grassy knoll and looked down upon an attractive Asian girl sitting on a park bench talking endlessly to someone on her cell phone. She wore cream-colored pantyhose and very short little pink socks, that excessively-cute Hello Kitty look. All around me little kids scampered about with purposeful awkwardness on brand new gleaming Razor Scooters. I realized that this was the first Christmas since the Razor Scooter meme began propagating (some time back in May). One little kid squalled at a comrade, "That's so stupid, planting trees in the middle of the road!" I turned to see what he was talking about and sure enough, right down the center of one of the park's paths was a row of large trees. This certainly didn't simplify the process of learning how to ride a Razor Scooter!
Coming home from work this evening through the alleys of Santa Monica, I came upon an old Valley Data Sciences 160 Series Logic and Memory Programmer, a device used to program EPROMs and other non-volatile semiconductor memory. In its day (circa 1983) this thing must have cost several thousand dollars; it contains a bus with six large cards plugged into it, each of which contains dozens of discrete logic chips. I remember the days when I used to wish I had an EPROM programmer. I even built the rudiments of one that never amounted to anything. But now, if this thing works, I finally have one. It's doubtful I'll ever use it, but it makes a perfect Christmas present to me from "the World." Thanks, World.
I just did a web search for "Valley Data Sciences" and came up with nothing. Hmmm.
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