Sep 13, 2009

The Sunday School Currency Exchange

In my early years, my wealth primarily consisted of Bible bucks, yielded from successful ventures in the world of Bible trivia at Applegate Community Church. Making a living as a trivia competitor was tough, the I felt I had reached my ceiling. Even if I swept the competitions, I could only pull in 5 Bible bucks a week. Besides, at the rate Ms. Jennings was printing out bucks in the office, Bible bucks could only land me bible verse bookmarks that I'm pretty sure were the results of the 6 and 7 year olds' craft project. I decided to move to a higher market. I wanted to make my Bible bucks work for me.

Across the street there was a new Korean church. Their Sunday School compensated juvenile spiritual growth with Disciple dollars. They didn't offer much that enticed me, mostly just leather Bibles and personal organizers, but I was so tired of my trivia-for-bookmarks, that Disciple dollars looked like gold. The Korean kids were darn good Bible scholars, but their Sunday School teachers were far more conservative in their payments than Ms. Jennings. The kids were also reluctant to spend, preferring to hoard dollars for security and larger purchases at a later time.

I saw a great opportunity to do business. I wanted goods, they wanted savings. I was loaded with Bible bucks by this time, it's just they couldn't buy me much. I approached one of the more scholarly Koreans, a boy named Timothy, and made him an ambitious offer: I'd trade him all 50 of my Bible bucks for all 10 of his Disciple dollars. He got to beef up his balance sheet, and I got to spend 5 Disciple dollars on an illustrated kid's bible. Turned out that I got the better end of that deal. The next Sunday our class was so well-behaved that she gave us all 100 Bible bucks each. Most of the class raided the goodie store. When the goodie store clerk, Mr. Clark, saw everything getting sold out, he jacked up the prices to slow the run. Just after that Timothy came over to see what he could get with the Bible bucks I traded him. By that time, 50 Bible bucks couldn't get you more than one bookmark.

Mar 16, 2009

Dwindling Inheritance

Since the current economic recession has given weight to blanket statements about the American people, I can boldly generalize modern Americans as spoiled heirs to a fortune, who have blown through enormous amounts of money that they never earned and mistakenly believed that eternal prosperity was part of their inheritance. This may sound harsh, but how else can I explain America's ranking as the world's greatest debtor? For the most part this is not the debt of young entrepreneurs whose ingenious businesses will yield products of value to repay and exceed the debt in the near future. To this observer, it looks a lot more like the debt of a compulsive gambler or drug addict; all the borrowed money is destroyed in needless or even harmful consumption that mandates new and bigger loans.

Mar 9, 2009

Fleur de Fromage

I write this poem to win the heart
Of my precious-sweet honey-dart
She walks like brandy, flowing free
She talks like rosebuds, soaked'n'tea

Jun 7, 2008

Temporary Insanity

The Revolution begins anew

Writing to do’s

A scene outline:

1st act general guidelines: introduce Chris, Gabe, Mr. Godfrey, Constance, Janice and Dr. Liberty Trung. Incite with the “terrorist” act. Conclude with the acceptance of a date.
1. Chris has a conversation with Mr. Godfrey, trying to break to him that he's getting a temp as a personal assistant
2. Gabe rides in on his motorcycle, sees the protestors in animal suits. A security team that looks like a futuristic riot squad uncorks a fire hose and mow down the protestors. The costumed carnage escapes into the storm drain.
3. Constance views from the window, sipping coffee. She tells Chris that he’d better get Gabe before security does.
4. Gabe is seized by security and ushered in to Liberty Ho’s office/torture chamber. She gives him a very invasive medical check-up.
5. Chris rescues Gabe from security. Gabe will be his personal assistant. Chris begins the tour.
6. “Let’s start from the bottom and work our way up.” Gabe sees two-headed Kirby in the labs. Gabe trips over the main power cable and gets a stern talking to from Mr. Godfrey.
7. Left alone at his desk for the first time, Gabe stares around at the blank, ugly confines of his walls. Zombie-like co-workers refuse small-talk, demanding only coffee.
8. Gabe runs around frenetically bringing everyone coffee. Constance shows mercy and hides him in her office and then fetches him a cup of coffee. Gabe spends the next hour retching in the toilet.
9. The day ends: Chris is the last one in the building, until he's surprised to see Gabe exit the women's restroom. Before Gabe can hustle out the excuses, Chris enlists him in planning Constance's surprise birthday party.

10. The surprise is ruined by Janice, as she runs screaming from the bathroom.

11. Chris calms everyone down, seeks out Godfrey, finds out he's unplugged.

12. Chris goes before the board, takes the blame. Gabe is outside, confessing to Constance that he kicked it out and if that means its the end of him. Constance reassures him: Chris always takes the fall for his employees.

13. Gabe brings Constance coffee, but offers to take her to a better place.

14. Chris descends, haggard from a brutal cross-examination from the board. His party goes pffft when he realizes that Constance is gone, an early exit, with Gabe, the guy he just took a bullet for.

15. Gabe convinces Constance to play hookie for the rest of the day.

16. Chris, his relentless energy sapped, has to fight off Mr. Godfrey from firing Constance. Depressed, he hits the bottle of highly experimental serum from the lab. This begins to make him delusional (he talks to Kirby, sees Mr. Godfrey everywhere and becomes increasingly erratic in his behaviour.)

17. Gabe and Constance break into a zoo and free a few animals.

I'm at a loss for what comes after this. I'm in need of a reason for Gabe to be hired. A personal assistant? Why not Constance? A fresh new face? Wouldn't that be admitting that the workplace is oppressive and bleak? Maybe that's what peeves Godfrey. The company needs something more sinister. They are a cosmetics company. They're cloning faces and heads to put on very rich ugly people. Everyone at Cosmetech is good-looking and young. They all think they've been hired for their excellent resumes. The security people are all masked. Liberty Ho is ugly.

Maybe Constance could get thrashed by a tiger at the zoo and be in danger of being disposed of at the company. This would put Constance in an anti-animal/adventure mood and force Chris into being the savior. Nice little midpoint. Constance returns to Chris. Gabe is suspicious, breaks into the lab. Comes across the evil Liberty Ho again. Injects him with a serum that makes him go a little crazy, a la Gibson in Conspiracy Theory.

So Gabe is the protagonist. He comes to the evil corporation to overthrow it and unleash the animals and people. But he's distracted by his infatuation with Constance. He leaves off his investigation to visit her. He risks his job and the respect of his father to take her out. Then it backfires. She rejects him for the safer man, and their whole operation is placed in danger. Worse yet she puts herself in danger of becoming like everyone else with the facial cream. Now he must get to the bottom of their operation and foil their plans before its too late.

Of course for this to work I need an active antagonist. Constance is a reactive antagonist, a catalyst for Gabe uber-idealism. Chris is a more dangerous antagonist. His wilful ignorance makes him the perfect pawn. So it's a domino effect. Gabe gets Constance, Constance gets Chris and Chris gets Godfrey and Ho. Or maybe just Constance. Gabe gets Constance, who plays off of Chris's obsession to save Gabe and then free the coworkers.

So what is Chris/Godfrey's evil plan? To use Gabe as a decoy to capture the rest of the activists might be a cool homage to Robin Hood. One man is dangerous, but not as dangerous as a whole army.

May 27, 2008

The Last True Flea Market

Consumers requiring a finely maintained used magic carpet, carnivore cactus or any other magical antiquites of the old desert have only one place to turn to: the Flea Market of Potar. Here you see Trader Zeno riding in for the annual event from the dust gales. He rides a rare Indignant Dust-Flea. These majestic, sensitive creatures hide on the backs of wild camels until they are captured by travellers such as Zeno. The traders make use of irreverent insults to offend the noble creature until they swell to a great size with indignance and render themselves a fine and speedy flotation device. Without his beast, Zeno could not hope to traverse the Gales to the tiny and remote locales where the last original magic carpets were made or to the great cities of industry where emigrants would sell their old rugs for discount prices; it is thus out of necessity that Zeno berates his mount so incessantly. If they were to make any sort of amends, Zeno's ride would shrink in happiness and he and his rugs would be left alone and helpless in the Gales.

The mouse in the cage is the formerly great sorcerer Moze, stripped of his human form by an old rival and forever confined to the cage. The indomitable Moze overcame his small stature and the limitations of his confinement to open a pawn shop just outside of Potar. He is one of the few merchants who keeps his shop open year round. His maintains his livelihood by animating whatever stray objects traders sell him and selling them as oddities or companions to travelers or keeping them as friends and servants.

Apr 7, 2008

On Navigating the Doldrums of School

Could I, should I write a new version of The Language of Peace: Second Language Struggles of a Korean Missionary? For those of you not in the know (everyone), this is the latest in a string of school assignments that I’m not really interested in. The analysis of language has as much interest for me as discussing Egyptian hieroglyphics. It’s theoretically interesting and occasionally colorful but it offers no real potential for dramatic flair. After all I’m talking about the bones of language. Unless I construct a fancy and meaty analogy to sustain me through the whole ordeal I’m stuck with a dry, abstract subject with very little at stake, in terms of both GPA and ideological importance.

Such is the case with so much of my schooling: I must master the basic forms before I can move on to the dynamic stage of creation - drool with the dogs before I rule with the gods, if you will. I must prostrate myself before the supposedly foundational pillars of knowledge. Yet I have a rebellious disposition. For all I lack in discipline and in spite of the glaring absence of a few organs in my body of knowledge, I think I have a critically thinking mind. That should be enough to begin a creative endeavor and forsake all these academic fitness exercises.

‘Patience, eager heart,’ comes the warning of my melodramatic inner voice. I remember that my mother told me to make each professorially mandated postulation (I don’t want to say school assignment) a creative project of its own. She believes each superficially dull assignment can be mined for glittering bits of dramatic inspiration and that the useless rubble surrounding it should be ground into mortar to build a showcase for such gems. In Psycho, trusty old Norman Bates assures us that ‘a boy’s best friend is his mother’ and despite that man’s deficiencies, he did have a point. Mothers are the best people to turn to when in need of coping mechanism, and what do schoolboys need more than coping mechanisms?

With maternally-bestowed moral compass as my guide, I shall return to those ventures previously curtailed by extended stays on the sickbed of severe boredom and more appealing prospects in the great land of Procrasti-Nation. I urge you to do the same. Who knows what treasures we shall forge from the dross of academia?

Jan 19, 2008

Ron Paul-ism

I may stealing from Pieter (Friedrich) to pay (Ron) Paul a compliment, but I'm going to anyway. Paul does the world a service by demonstrating that integrity can and shoukd be a wide and sturdy plank for any campaign platform.

I'm a surly critic by nature, so I discovered this with some reticence. I hadn't discovered this Ron Paul guy and I certainly didn't want to jump on the bandwagon late, so I've been trying to feed my ignorant skepticism with meaty question marks about the man. Once obtained, I could lord my knowledge over the frenzied Ron Paul supporters until they broke down, at which point I would comfort them with a wet blanket.

But Ron has too much integrity to make this an easy task. Basic moral integrity is something a few other candidates in the race can claim to, but none can boast of the immense doctrinal integrity Paul has shown over his many years of Congressional service. If there's an issue he's making a fuss about in a debate, you can be darn sure he's been making the same fuss for the last 30 years, by word and action.

In keeping with my curmudgeonly ways, I'm much more interested in pursuing a few more potential chinks in Paul's armor than ceding him my vote. For now let him be a proud man to have earned my praise.