Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Final Post (probably)

The new blag is here: A Quality of Aspiration.

Have a look!

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Please Stand By.

Technical Difficulties.

(There will be an announcement made in 13 days.)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

In Which A Tongue Is Held Firmly In Cheek

Ser Andrew, Ser Ulysses, Ser Rutherford, and Ser James decide to have an adventure.

Or, more accurately, Ser Andrew decides that Ser Ulysses, Ser Rutherford, and Ser James will have an adventure. Any objections they may have go decidedly unheard.

"But what sort?" Ser Ulysses asks.

"We'll go to the Moon!" Ser James suggests, getting into the spirit of things.

Ser Ulysses cocks his head. "Um. How?"

The notion, tragically, is rejected.

"How about going to Poland, then?" Ser Andrew suggests, trying to salvage the expedition. "We can see the churches, tour the brothels, maybe burn a few schtetls... it'll be great!"

So they do!


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Book of Baitings

Best Playground Equipment.

Swing: The classic! Generations have grown up learning the essential secret of the swing: tuck your legs in going back, and stick them out going forward. Why? Who knows? It works! This is a valuable lesson for later life. A-

: Also a good choice. Going down gives one a wonderful sense of speed; climbing up, an invigorating challenge! The trouble comes when these activites are mixed. B+

Climbing Bars: A great place for playground mockery and painful falls! It is said in the writings of the ancients that a set of climbing-bars under which no child has broken a bone is an unholy thing; therefore they ceremonially broke a child's arm under each one they built. In modern days, we have abandoned the rite; here all our sorrows stem! C

Rocking Horse: Powerful springs, constructed within a narrow range of motion. Doesn't every child dream of their being - set loose? B

Giant Tic-Tac-Toe Board: A game so simple that kindergartners grow bored of it. And so we build it, permanent, in larger scale? It is a shrine to all mankind's follies. D

edited for typo.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Unibrow of Dr. Frederick

Frederick was concerned about his unibrow.

When it first grew in, that was - surprising, but not shocking. Dr. Frederick shrugged, when he noticed it in the mirror, and went about his work.

When it began to tickle, to itch, even to sting, Dr. Frederick became somewhat alarmed, and might have taken action - but the sensations vanished within two days, and so Dr. Frederick promptly forgot the matter.

And the sleepwalking, the wakings in odd places - why, Dr. Frederick didn't connect that with the unibrow at all!

So you can see that it took rather extraordinary circumstances to prompt Dr. Frederick to concern - circumstances which were nonetheless provided. For the unibrow began to speak to Dr. Frederick - urging him to kill!

Dr. Frederick knew that this was a problem. A severe problem - one that required the attentions of a specialist! So, with a heavy heart, Dr. Frederick went through the secret channels, said the right words, and allowed himself to be blindfolded and taken to a small room. There, the blindfold was removed, and Dr. Frederick saw the face of the man he had gone to see - the most famous doctor in the world - the man who could cure his problem - Dr. Zhang!

"What's your problem?" Dr. Zhang asked, politely.

"Kill," Dr. Frederick's unibrow whispered.

"I - " Dr. Frederick began to say, but Dr. Zhang interrupted.

"Your unibrow just told you to kill," he said.

"You could hear that?" Dr. Frederick asked, surprised.

"Couldn't you?" Dr. Zhang asked.

Dr. Frederick paused a moment to consider this.

"Kill the filthy Zhang," the unibrow hissed.

"Is your unibrow like this to everyone?" Dr. Zhang asked.

"...not really," Dr. Frederick admitted. "Mostly it just tells me to kill you."

"And that's why you're here," Dr. Zhang clarified.

"Yes," Dr. Frederick agreed. A pain was beginning in his head, again.

"Should I be worried?" Dr. Zhang asked.

"What?" Dr. Frederick asked. "Because I might - I might - actually kill you or something? That - that's crazy! I'm not crazy!" His head pounded.

"Dr. Frederick, calm down," Mr. Zhang said. "Please sit down."

"What, you think I'm crazy?" Dr. Frederick asked, shaking. A dull roar echoed in his ears. "You - I came to you for help, and you insult me, you deride me? I - I'll - "

Dr. Zhang ducked under Dr. Frederick's wild swing and swept the doctor's feet out from under him with one leg. "The unibrow is using you!" he said. "Stop - think about what you're doing!"

"You - you!" Dr. Frederick said, crawling backwards towards the wall and using it as support to rise. His face was flushed red, and spittle dripped from the corner of his mouth. "You - unbelievable - I - to think that - " A metallic flash appeared within his coat.

"No!" Dr. Zhang shouted, leaping back from Dr. Frederick's scalpel-swipe. "I don't want to hurt you - "

"DIE!" Dr. Frederick roared and charged, scalpel held before him like a lance.

He crumbled three steps later, darts vibrating in his back.

"Thank you," Dr. Zhang said, nodding to the dart-gun bearing guards standing behind Dr. Frederick. "You can take him away now."

They did so, carrying Dr. Frederick on their shoulders; Dr. Zhang closed the door behind them.

"I really thought I could reason with him," Dr. Zhang, now alone, mumbled. "Man, why do people always have to be that way? Man. People."

He sighed.

"It's Nikolas, obviously," Dr. Zhang said. "He's been planting mind-controlling unibrows on people. This is the third I've seen in the last month, and I've heard stories of more. Driving ordinary people insane, just to distract me, divert my efforts? Despicable! Nikolasian."

He sighed.

"Time to finish development on the airborne mass-depilliation device, I guess," Dr. Zhang said. "The giant hair-ogres and beard-seeking missiles were bad enough, but these unibrows are intolerable! The only answer to Nikolas's vile hair-technology is to destroy all hair on earth."

Then he did!

(And can you imagine - that dirty Nikolas tried to call it a bad thing?)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

What Recourse Against the Intrusion of Authority?

"Oh, you think I'm just stopping by for a class?" the Grace complained. "You don't think I'd come by just to say hello? What kind of friend are you, Mr. Turner?"

"You won't go with me to get food?" 2.0 asked. "Terrible! It looks like you are the soulless machine, after all!"

Mr. Turner drew in a breath.

"ENOUGH!" he said.

"If you do not stop, I will be forced to return to my home and native land," Mr. Turner said. "I am very busy here, so I have no time for that. So: stop!"

2.0 and the Grace sighed in unison.

"What will we do, then?" the Grace asked. "I've got half an hour until my class starts!"

"For a start, one of you could check to see that everything in the closet is fully hidden," Mr. Turner suggested. "I don't want anything lying out for unexpected guests to see."

"Why not do a quick inventory?" the Grace suggested. "I've been meaning to check out what you've got back there. So to speak!"

2.0 and the Grace set to work. But it wasn't long before there was a knock at the door!

"RAs!" the call came. "Open up!"

"!" 2.0 said, its head snapping up.

"What do we do?" the Grace asked, turning Mr. Turner. "Everything's spread over the floor! They'll see everything!"

"Quick!" Mr. Turner said, pulling a small object from the floor. "To the back!"

The knocking at the front door was repeated as Mr. Turner & co. ran to the patio. "What's here?" the Grace asked. "Are we making a run for it? We won't make it on foot - "

"Hardly!" Mr. Turner said, and twisted the object he held.

With a rumble, the floor of the patio fell away; the Grace leapt back in astonishment. From it rose an object - a long pointed cone, fins rising from each side. A hatch on the side popped open, fog pouring from within.

"A spaceship!" the Grace gasped.

"I built it!" 2.0 boasted.

"Inside!" Mr. Turner ordered. "2.0, to the conn!" -

- and when the RAs burst in, they were greeted only by the thick cloud of smoke and cacophonous noise from the rocket's eruption.

"Ha!" the Grace said. "Take that, pigs! We're home free now! Though - I'm not sure what we'll do when we get back - "

"Not time to worry about that yet!" 2.0 said. "Look - on the radar - they're coming after us!"

The race was on!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Umbrellas Defend The Earth

Once, the tenfold-noble Semolian Guard stood watch over the Earth. With umbrella in one hand and las-gun in the other, they put fear into the heart of any black-guards that dared threaten Mankind. Their service was long and storied; but tragedy struck in the end. Fighting a race of space-devil-goblins, the Semolian Guard were, as one, sucked into space by an enormous vacuum, leaving only their umbrellas behind to mark their passage. It was a tragedy beyond comprehension; and it would not be the last.

With the Semolian Guard gone, the enemies of Man redoubled their assault, launching attack after attack. The deaths, the destruction - horrific! Many tried to take the place of the Semolian Guard - but, lacking their discipline and skill, nearly all perished. Only one survived the attempt - a woman named Xi Xu at her birth, but who, in later life, was more widely known as the Umbrella-Speaker, for the same reason as allowed her unique success. After the vacuuming of the Semolian Guard, their umbrellas had retreated into hermitage, mourning their failure to protect their masters. It was Xi Xu who found them, beating past the guardians that protected their land of loneliness, so that she could persuade the umbrellas - not just to rejoin the battle for the safety of mankind - but to lend the use of their hermitage as a shelter for others. It is now the safest place on Earth - protected by legions of umbrellas, training for the day when they, too, must join Xi Xu on the front lines.

When the fire rains from the sky - when the space-devil-goblins seek to wipe the last humans from the earth - the umbrellas do not shy from their assault! Instead, they laugh at space-devil-goblins' attacks - use them to train, by deflecting their fireballs into targets for points!

This is the code of Xi Xu and her Umbrellas; the code of the Laughing Warrior.

See it in action here!

you will probably not regret it

Sunday, November 08, 2009


Grem looked at the ground.

"The earth grows barren," Inga told him. "The crops wither and rot in the fields. No rain has fallen in months.

"I do not wish to do this," Grem said. "There are risks to any intercession with the God - grave and terrible risks! I might be killed, or worse! Then where would the village be?"

Inga sighed. "I know, I know, you have told me this before," she said. "But it has been months! You must act, or we will all die when winter comes!"

"Also, it is a lot of work to intercede with the gods," Grem said. "And I am very lazy."

Inga looked at him.

"Very well," Grem sighed. "I'll be back in an hour."

Grem traipsed to his Super Secret Shaman Cave. He fetched his equipment. He traipsed out to the fields.

"Hello, the God!" he said to the sky. "You're the best! I know it, you know it, everyone knows it! All those other gods - some people like 'em, I guess. But you're totally the best! Could beat them all in a fistfight, at once! That's just the kinda God you are. Eh? Eh?"

Grem waited for a response.

The sky rumbled.

"Yeah, that's the way of it!" Grem said happily. "So, you can see I've got some sacrifices, some incenses to burn and be pleasing unto your sight, some holy symbols, eh, the God? I'm'na burn the sacrifices, and burn the incense, and cover the holy symbols in blood, as is your preference, and maybe we can see about some rain, eh? Because, you know I wouldn't bother you normally, but we're probably all going to die if you don't give us some rain. So I hope this is worth your while."

Grem lit the incense.

Grem gutted the rabbits and rubbed the holy symbols around in their entrails.

Grem set the rabbits on fire!

"Ahh," Grem said, leaning back. "Nothing like a good bonfire to lighten a mood - "

Grem lost his balance.

Grem fell over, crushing the incense, snapping the holy symbols into bits, and knocking the rabbits into the dirt. (Also, setting himself on fire.)

"Aaagh!" Grem screamed. "Aaagh! Aaaaagh!" He rolled around on the ground for a while.

When he arose, still smoking faintly, there was a curious conviction in his mind.

"I know what I must do," Grem said. "I know how I can recover the God's favor. I know how I can save our village!"

"How?" Inga asked.

"Wait, you're here?" Grem asked. "How long have you been here? Not long, right? Right?"

Inga looked at him, still smoking.

Grem's shoulders slumped.

Then they straightened again - with determination.

"I need to repair a carriage!" Grem said.

Inga's eyebrows raised.

"A carriage?" she asked. "What's that?"

Grem thought.

" know, I don't properly know," he told her.

"Then how are you going to repair one?" Inga asked.

A moment passed. Grem's eyes lit up.

"I have," he said, "a plan."

Inga considered Grem.

"Do tell," she suggested.

"This is a plan in three parts," Grem said. "First, I build a carriage."

"Without knowing what one is?" Inga asked.

"My intuition will guide me!" Grem declared.

"If you say so," Inga said. "Hopefully it won't guide you into another fire."

"Second," Grem said, "I will damage the carriage."

"Again," Inga suggested, "Perhaps not with fire."

"Third," Grem said, pausing for emphasis, "I will repair the carriage!"

Inga looked at Grem and considered her response carefully.

"You're quite certain that this is the only way to win the favor of the God?" she asked. "And that, say, performing the rain-ritual again - but without setting yourself on fire this time - wouldn't work better?"

Grem thought. It did seem odd, this compulsion to repair a carriage - but he knew it was right! He knew it! It must be the work of the divine! "This is the only way!" he told Inga. "I'm completely certain of it."

"Very well," Inga sighed. "I'll sent Greta over to - " supervise? make sure you don't set yourself on fire again? "assist you."

"Thank you," Grem said graciously. He turned his eyes to the sky. "I will build this carriage!"

The sky rumbled.

"Now," Grem asked Greta, "Do you know what a wheel is?"

"No," Greta said. "What's that?"

"The wheel is a secret of the shamans, carried from the ancient West by our ancestors," Grem explained. "I will demonstrate. You see this piece of wood?"

"Yes," Greta said. "It looks like a tree trunk that you've cut and trimmed."

"It is," Grem agreed. "But it's something more. We take it, we put it on its side, we give it a push... you see?"

"It fell over," Greta said.

"Well, yes," Grem admitted. "But before that?"

"It moved very strangely," Greta said. "Spinning, whirling...?"

"The secret shaman word is rolling," Grem explained. "That is what a wheel does, and what a carriage must do."

"So a carriage is a wheel?" Greta asked.

"No," Grem said. "But it has a wheel. It has... four wheels."

"How do you know this?" Greta asked.

"The God speaks to me!" Grem said. "But as to the details... I am uncertain."

Work progressed.

"So you have the two tree-trunk chunks -the wheels - and you cut a hole in them and put a long, straight branch in-between," Greta narrated helpfully. "And what will this do?"

"Now they roll together!" Grem said.

"So?" Greta asked.

"So, now we build another pair!" Grem said.

"And then?" Greta asked.

"We build a box, and put it on top!" Grem said.

"And what goes in the box?" Greta asked.

"You do!" Grem said.

"...can't you go in the box?" Greta asked.

"Nope!" Grem told her. "I'll be behind you, pushing!"

Greta looked at the lop-sided wheels lying on the ground. She extrapolated the likely stability of anything that Grem built. She sighed.

"At least there'll be someone right there to say the prayers to the God when I die," Greta said, resigned.

"That's the spirit!" Grem said. "Now come help me with this ax!"

The carriage took shape.

Grem and Greta observed their work.

"It's beautiful, isn't it?" Grem asked.

Greta was touched, despite herself. "It's the prettiest hacked-together box of wood I've ever seen," she said.

"Glad you like it!" Grem said. He looked over his shoulder. "Well, it looks like the whole tribe's here now, ready to see the first trial. Get in!"

"Already?" Greta asked. She stepped up. The box creaked under her weight.

"Perhaps we should test it without a human occupant first?" Greta suggested.

Behind her, Grem pushed the carriage into motion.

"Aa!" Greta said, being rather unused to vehicular transportation.

"This isn't so bad," she said after a moment more. "Bumpy, jarring, but I nearly think now that I'm going to survive this!"

The carriage hit a stump.

"Are you all right?" Inga called, running as fast as she could to where Greta lay bleeding on the ground. "Talk, Greta!"

"I'm... I've been worse..." Greta said through gritted teeth.

Grem looked at Greta regretfully; but he found his gaze irresistably drawn back to the carriage. "It looks... damaged," he murmured to himself.

It was!

And Grem fixed it!

"Yes!" he said. "I fixed it! I fixed the carriage!"

"So where's the rain?" Inga asked.

Grem looked up.

He stared at the clear blue sky.

Slowly, his hands clenched into fists.

"Come on, the God!" he shouted. "Come on! I just repaired a carriage for you! A carriage! In your name! This is more than any shaman has done for any god, anywhere, in history. This is the most amazing thing ever. And you won't give us a tiny bit of rain? For that?"

The sky rumbled.

The sun continued to shine.

Grem's shoulders slumped.

"I'll be in my cave, making new holy symbols," he told Inga. "Let me know when we all starve to death, because I'm a failure as a shaman."

He tramped away, leaving the carriage behind him.

And in the depths of the Super-Secret-Shaman cave, it was several hours before he heard the thunder, and the rain.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

The History of the BIGs

In the year 1957, aliens arrived on Earth.

Well, alien.

Also, he was a jerk.

To begin a reign of terror over the earth, he kidnapped people from across the Earth and mutated them to enormous size!

"Ha!" he cried. "Now you are my servants, and must obey my will! You will be the tools which I use for Global Domination!"

This was not, as such, the case.

The largest of the mutants, known even to the others as the BIG MAN, burst from his restraints. He charged the alien, and - underestimating his own strength! - slew him in a single blow.

Klaxons sounded. Lights flashed. Steam-blasts broke through the walls. The BIG MAN freed his fellow mutants, and together they fled the alien's lair, outrunning an explosion as they exited.

The alien, before his death, had possessed no respect for the laws of nature.

Outside the ruins of the alien's lair, the mutants gathered together. Led by BIG MAN, they swore a sacred oath - to remain united, no matter what happened to them, as a society of BIGs; to remain BIG, not just in body, but in heart and soul. With this resolution burning in their hearts, they made their respective ways home.

Later, they played video games together on the internet!

Friday, November 06, 2009

Dr. Zhang Fights the War

Internationally renowned surgeon-warrior, Z, stood before the Joint Chiefs.

"This war is fundamentally unjust," he told them. "It is inherently evil, and you must break it off at once, for the good of every nation involved! Also, it's totally the result of one of N's plots, and he's probably going to try to use it to take over the government."

"Nonsense!" the Joint Chiefs of Staff replied. "This is useless to us! We called you here to advise us on the prosecution of the war. Instead, you whine and complain and make up conspiracy theories? You're the worst internationally renowned surgeon-warrior we've ever met! Get out of here! Go sulk in your room!"

Z frowned. With one last, warning look, he left the room, shoulders slumped. Then he went back to his room and sulked!

"Man, stupid Joint Chiefs of Staff," he complained. "All with their heads stuck up their brass and their epaulets clogging their esophagus. Why don't they believe me when I warn them?"

Z's cell phone rang.

"Man, calling me now?" Z asked, digging into his pockets. "Well, whatever, it'll take my mind off those stupid Joint Chiefs. Too bad it's probably not related. I mean, someone calling just now about that very same subject would be a ridiculously unlikely coincidence, right? Nah, it's probably Jeremy calling about lunch."

Shut up, "Z"! This plot isn't going to move itself!

"'ello, Z!" the caller said with a thick accent. "I am ze President. I 'ave an offer for you."

"Wait, the President who is the Command in Chief, and can overrule those dang Joint Chiefs?" Z asked. "Why didn't you call earlier?"

"I am afraid you misunderstand," the President said. "I am not your President. I am the President of the nation you are at war with."

"Huh," Z said.

"You are an internationally renowned surgeon-warrior," the President said. "I want you to come fight for us."

Z squinted. "Uh, I have some problems with the government, and also with the war," he said. "But I think that actually fighting for the other side is... treachery? Which is generally considered bad."

"Were not your country's founders considered traitors by ze king against which zey rebelled?" the President asked. "But do not worry. You would not be fighting your own countrymen."

"...then, who?" Z asked.

"We 'ave obtained information on ze whereabouts of ze man you call... N," the President said.

Z's eyes widened.

"We will book you a flight, eh?" the President asked.

"First thing," Z agreed.

Then he flew over!

"We believe that this map, here, shows the location of N's mountain base," the military commander briefed Z.

"Why does N have a mountain base?" Z asked.

"Hired men," the commander explained. "Agent provocateurs. Impersonating ethnic minorities with legitimate grievances, our actions against them have been taken as a provocation by your nation's military. We need to capture them, or at least their documents, to prove that we have been set up."

"And you think that N might be still there," Z said.

"Yes," the commander confirmed. "A turncoat among the mercenaries reported his presence. Further, he's reported to have a tendency to personally supervise his schemes."

"That sounds like the devil I know," Z said, eyes momentarily unfocusing in thought. He returned to the present after a short moment. "Yes, it's plausible. I'm in. What's the assault plan?"

The commander began to explain. "We go in by helicopter..."

Two days later, Z stood shakily within a helicopter, flying through the mountains in conjunction with the other five helicopters in the attack group. "We're nearly there!" the pilot shouted back, his voice deafening to be heard over the sound of the rotors. "Just a half a klick to the target - it should be in sight at any moment."

"About time," the soldier next to Z said, rolling his shoulders. "Nothing more tedious than a trip like this - "

Klaxons went off. The helicopter rocked.

"What's going on?" a solder shouted.

"We're under fire from the ground!" the pilot shouted back. "Some kinda shoulder-launched SAMs! It looks bad -"

Z leaned out of the helicopter and examined the situation.

Smoke trails criss-crossed the sky, leading from clumps of concealing rocks and shrubbery to the helicopters. The helicopters seemed unharmed - Z guessed at some kind of automatic defenses, and was proved right as another rocket arced upwards and was caught by - of all things! - a weighed net fired with explosive bolts, carrying the rocket to fall harmlessly onto the ground. But those can't work more than once, Z thought -

- and was proved quickly, dreadfully right as the lead helicopter turned into a ball of rapidly expanding vapor.

"An ambush from the ground!" Z shouted, pushing his way to the front of the helicopter. He found the radio, toggled it to transmit as the pilot looked at him with surprise. "All pilots, descend! Move forward and descend, max speed! We need to clear line of sight now!"

"You're not in the chain of command - " the pilot protested.

"The commander went up with the lead helicopter and we're all going to die if you don't do anything!" Z said. "Move!"

Another explosion rocked the helicopter.

The pilot gulped any obeyed.

And well, after that, things were practically easy!

"We've got the papers," the second-in-command told Z. "It's just like we thought. This'll be explosive enough to blow the whole war right to shreds, once we get it to the U.N."

"But there's no sign of N," Z said.

"No, sir," the second-in-command said. "It looks like he was never here - our 'informant' was playing for the other side after all. But thanks to you, that bit him right in the hiney! He'll regret this one!"

"Yes," Z said. "I guess he will."

Z sat alone until the second-in-command left.

Then he raised his arms to the sky.

"I'll get you yet, N!" he vowed.

Later, he had ice cream!

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Legion III

This post is, obviously, a successor to this masterpiece! Can't you tell by the title?

Mr. Zhang woke up. He had breakfast. He brushed his teeth. He flossed. He remembered.

"I left Legion out all night!" he realized. "I should go say hello to him!"

Mr. Zhang rushed to the roof. He looked all about.

"He's gone!" Mr. Zhang discovered. "Where did he go? Did he abandon me? I know he was here, there are limbs and stuff strewn all over the roof - "

Mr. Zhang paused.

"If I take a step back, and look at the limbs..."

"Oh!" Mr. Zhang exclaimed. "It's a pattern - the limbs spell out numbers! Coordinates - for where Legion has gone! But - "

Mr. Zhang's speech slowed. "Legion doesn't have hands," he said. "Well, he does, but they don't really work that well. He doesn't have the time or the patience to make this kind of thing. (I don't even think he knows what latitude or longitude are!) There must have been a struggle - Legion overpowered, many of his corpses knocked off - and the remains used to lure me into a trap."

Mr. Zhang nodded.

"OK," he said.

Mr. Zhang walked into the trap!

"Ha ha!" a familiar voice cried from the shadows of the abandoned warehouse. "You came to rescue your beloved ball of floating corpses. But now you are at my mercy - and soon I will kill you! Behold!"

The lights came on. Mr. Zhang found himself staring at Legion - noticably reduced in size (presumably from the struggle before its capture), and trussed to the walls and ceiling with steel cables. A shadowy figure stood on a catwalk in front of Legion.

"Dr. Zhang - or I suppose I should call you Mr. Zhang, yes? - you do not yet know me, so I shall introduce myself," the shadowy figure said smirkingly. "You may call me N. Since the dawn of time, I have been your foe; so shall I remain 'til the last twinkling embers burn out in the amaranthine-hued heavens, and this demon-wrap't globe at last succumbs to the final temptation of our celestial companion's temptation -"

Mr. Zhang, who had calmly climbed up to the catwalk while N was talking, punched N in the face.

"Ow! Ow! Holy shit!" N said, backing away and holding his face in his hand. "You hit me! You really hit me! Ah, I think I can taste blood - "

Mr. Zhang punched 'N' in the gut.

"Oof!" N groaned, doubling over.

Mr. Zhang stopped. He looked at the blood on his right fist. He seemed confused.

"God damn it, I forgot how you always are!" N wheezed, backing away again once he had regained his breath. "Well, if you don't have the damn patience to listen to a little speech, how's this. In a minute, the doors will burst in, and my trained shock troopers will kill you. That sound better? You have the patience for that?"

Mr. Zhang straightened, having released Legion's fastenings while N spoke. Legion floated next to Mr. Zhang, seeming uncertain.

"God damn it, stop doing things while I talk!" N complained.

The doors burst open. Armed soldiers rushed in, each wearing an armband with a gold xi on it.

"There you are!" N said. "Finally! Kill him!"

The soldiers opened fire.

Mr. Zhang dove from the catwalk, landing with a painful noise on the concrete floor. Rolling, he rose to a low crouch, dashing for the door. He turned his head back to look for Legion -

- and to his dismay, saw that Legion had descended to attack the soldiers! Corpses fluttered to the ground like confetti, shredded by automatic weapons fire!

Mr. Zhang looked with tears welling in his eyes; then he turned again and ran.

"I will remember you, Legion!" he vowed as he drove away. "I will justify your sacrifice!"

But it's okay!

Legion was dead anyway, so technically, the soldiers didn't kill him at all!

the end

Legion II

Naturally, the sequel to Legion I!

Mr. Zhang was very happy with his new pet!

It was a sad fact, but Mr. Zhang was occasionally prone to fits of melancholia. He felt lonely; unappreciated; even hated! Rationally, he recognized that this was the case - but, isolated from his colleagues and without close friends, he lacked support. He worked ninety hours a week! In his circumstances, anyone would have been troubled!

Thanks to Mr. Zhang's new pet, though, his problems were solved. He always had a companion - a friend to talk to, about matters of sorrow and joy alike! No matter what happened, Mr. Zhang knew his new pet would be there for him. He could not have loved it more!

Those around Mr. Zhang, sadly, felt otherwise.

"There is a floating ball of corpses in my operating room," the supervising surgeon said flatly. "Why is there a floating ball of corpses in my operating room?"

There was a squelch.

"Shedding?" the supervising surgeon added.

Her gaze lit upon Mr. Zhang, shoulders slumped.

"'m sorry," Mr. Zhang mumbled. "'s mine. v' s'ry."

"Get it out of here," the supervising surgeon said, her face cold. "We'll discuss disciplinary action afterward. You should know better by now, Mr. Zhang!"

Mr. Zhang left slowly, his expression sad. Legion followed.

"I guess you'll have to stay out of the hospital from now on," Mr. Zhang instructed it once outside. "Sorry. We can still hang out the rest of the time, right?"

"...o...kay..." Legion agreed, its tone sepulchral.

It floated outside.

Traffic passed by.

Then Mr. Zhang appeared again!

"...zhaaang!" Legion groaned joyously.

"Legion!" Mr. Zhang shouted cheerfully. "You're all right! I was worried about you. Come on, it's time to go!"

"...where?" Legion asked.

"A party!" Mr. Zhang replied.

Then they went to a party!

"Whoa, nice music!" a clubgoer said, admiringly.

"Yeah, and crazy atmosphere!" another agreed.

"Man, that floating ball of corpses is so realistic!" a third said. "Totally metal!"

"...hardcore..." Legion agreed.

An kneecap fell off.

"What, is that for real?" the club owner asked.

"Man, that's even more metal!" the third clubber said.

"But completely unsanitary!" the club owner said angrily. "Someone get that out of here before our operating license gets revoked!"

"...rejected..." Legion groaned.

"It's okay, Legion," Mr. Zhang said. "We can still hang out at the apartment, right?"

"Out," the floor manager said curtly. (Several hours later.)

"Oh," Mr. Zhang said sadly. He gestured to Legion; Legion left, via window, and went to sulk on the roof.

Then it rained!

Poor soggy Legion! All alone! Totally rejected!

Poor Mr. Zhang! Deprived of his only friend! Also his heater isn't quite working right, so he's pretty cold too!

It's the nadir of our story!

No, wait, that's when Legion gets abducted.

Stay tuned!

Legion I

The events of this story take place approximately six years before those of this one; Mr. Zhang had not yet shed his given name.

Mr. Zhang was quite enjoying his vacation, largely to his own surprise. The weather was consistently lovely, the attractions were admirably attractive, and - spending most of his time out-of-doors, out and about - Mr. Zhang was able to forget his sorrows. What trouble an email unrecieved, when your email goes unchecked; what woe a Facebook-friend rejected, when you have not the slightest thought for Facebook? For any person, the mood in which Mr. Zhang found himself might be described as good - for Mr. Zhang himself, it was nothing less than splendid!

This is, explicitly, to contextualize the moment in the third morning of Mr. Zhang's vacation, in which he found a severed head on his doorstep.

Mr. Zhang rubbed his eyes. He closed the door. He opened it again.

The severed head looked at him with sightless eyes. It was sideways. This lessened the effect slightly.

"Um," Mr. Zhang said.

He kicked the head with his shoe. The head rolled in a small circle.

"Eww," Mr. Zhang said.

He put it in a trash can.

Then he went about his business!

After breakfast, he went to see a bridge.

The bridge was quite large!

Mr. Zhang admired it politely.

He opened his guidebook.

"This bridge was the largest of its kind on the continent when it was first built," Mr. Zhang read, pausing briefly as a shadow passed over the book. "Accounting for inflation, it cost billions in today's dollars!"

"Wow!" Mr. Zhang said politely. There was a thud.

Mr. Zhang raised his eyebrows. He lowered the guidebook.

There was a severed arm on the sidewalk in front of Mr. Zhang.

"Am I being followed by a prankster?" Mr. Zhang asked. He looked around - but there was no-one nearby!

On a hunch, Mr. Zhang looked up - but there was nothing there but suspension cables!

He admired the suspension cables politely, and then moved on, tossing the severed arm off the side as he walked.

Significantly later, Mr. Zhang walked out of a diner. His stomach was full. "That was a delicious meal!" he said to his dining companion.

Mr. Zhang's companion was rude. He did not reply to this comment. Instead, he talked about something else entirely! He asked, "Why is there a limbless human torso lying on the ground?"

Perhaps he could be permitted, in the circumstances.

Mr. Zhang observed the torso. His brow furrowed. We might fault him, saying, "You have already seen two body parts today! Cannot you see a pattern!" But we have, for the sake of narrative, truncated and summarized; hours passed between each incident! So it took long seconds before Mr. Zhang thought to look up -

- and saw, for a fleeting moment, an object floating overhead.

"It went onto the roof!" Mr. Zhang cried. "Find stairs!" Mr. Zhang dashed to the left; his companion, after a moment's delay, went right. They met at the back of the restaurant, finding a fire escape, ladder retracted; a nearby dumpster gave Mr. Zhang a platform from which to reach the ladder, and from there the roof.

"Ha!" Mr. Zhang cried, triumphant. Behind him, his companion clambered onto the roof. "Found you! What do you have to say for yourself?"

"" the floating ball of corpses groaned. Slowly, it began to float away.

"What? Stop!" Mr. Zhang shouted. "I want you to explain yourself!"

The floating ball of corpses stopped.

"Who are you? Where did you come from?" Mr. Zhang asked in interrogatory fashion.

"...m...i...t...le...gion..." the agglomeration of corpses, slowly, answered.

"It's called 'MIT'?" Mr. Zhang asked, perplexed. "Are they trading up for mascots?"

"Nah, it answered the questions the wrong way around," Mr. Zhang's companion clarified helpfully. "Probably some bio kid's senior project."

Mr. Zhang's brow lightened. "Oh. Well, 'Legion', tell me - why have you been following me? What do you want?"

"...want... friend..." Legion groaned.

"Aww! It wants to be your pet! That's adorable!" Mr. Zhang's companion said.

Mr. Zhang's stance firmed in decision.

"I'll let it!" he cried.

Legion bobbed up and down with joy!

Next up: Mr. Zhang versus Sanitation Regulation!

The fateful squadron

•̅^•̅ •̅^•̅ •̅^•̅
•̅^•̅ •̅^•̅

Nikolas cryed out ouer the speakers system "They surrounded us! " Lets Retreet"!!! He said. The Helicoupters were buzzing loud around them like swarm of Gnats. Nikoulas pressed the big red bouton on his control panel, and he fire his large missel at the one of them. "That buyed us of some time Let's get out of here!!" He said. A large explosion. He rerutned to head Quarters. Mission failed! He could not subdued the enimies. Nikolas went home very dissapointed. They must won the war! I cannot let the enemy beat on us! !

Another day another battle Field. The captain of Squadrone 1, Commander Nikoulous!! he said, "Lets kill the bastards!" He said yelling them. They won the war, and every body was happy them. Nikolas became a locale heros.

That day he recieved a strange mission brefing from H. Q it said" Lets go to a party! " He said. "But I can not go this time. you must deliver the secret messgage to that girl over there." Nikolas looked inside the letter it say "Hey sex, I wished I was DY/DX so I can layed tangential to you're curves!!" What a good prose, Nikolas thought to him self! He delivered the message personally in person. The girl read it and he spit on Nikolas. How rude he think? He left in a weary mood.

That night he sleep, and he dreamed.

He told me his dream:

so like
i was in scool
and i was taking japanese class
for some reason
i forgot all of the japonese i learned
in hi scool
ryan tsong was there
and then like
he was like o haha im goign to beat you in this
and then
i forgot everything
so like
i was bad
on the test
and then i was like
shit i hope this is a dream
and then
it was a dream
it was a dream
inside a dream
and then like
i woke up from the dream inside the dream
and then
i was talking to you
and then like
i was reminded of the test
so i studied for a bit
and i rememebd some things
and then i did ok on the test
then later
it turned otu
that the test became like some
basket ball game
or smething
and it was really important on apparently
and then were in this big hotel
and ryan was neighbour to my room
and i could hear big party and i was jelouse of him
at that point i was a cartoon character
from a show i saw a long time ago
but then they caem in my room
and there was like
reperters from the news
and important peoplea
and apparently i scored the winning goal
or something
and there was a big party
then after
a womon came into the room
and she was really hot
and it ended up
that we had sex
i dont know how
and then
it turned out
that the womon
was my room mates girl freind
and then i was lik
o shit
and then like
my roommate and i were still in this hotel
and we went to breakfast or somethitng
and he did know
and it was really awkward
and i felt bad about it
and it was like of fuck what am i going to do
and i was like
o god i hope this is a dream or something
and it turned out
it was

"Man, Im so deepresed now, he said"!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Our Lady of Spite

"It is my consideration," Alexa explained calmly, "That you are filth wrapped in human flesh, and do not deserve to live."

"Mmmph! Mmmph!" the subject of her conversation replied, writhing frantically in the corner.

"You have stolen," Alexa continued. "You have lied. You are a criminal, and criminals do not deserve to live. By this proof I pass judgement on you; it is trivial and uncontestable, and therefore I need subject it to no review."

Alexa paused, twirling a lock of hair in about her finger. Her captive stared at her, eyes desperate, darting back and forth.

"Nothing kills by willpower alone," Alexa said, her speech acquiring the sound of ritual. "Nothing is both real and impossible. By this equivocation - "

Alexa whirled, her black-gloved finger stabbing down at her captive. "Mmmmph!" the latter desperately mewled.

"You die!" Alexa said, a black fire filling her eyes.

The captive looked up at her, giving a small, plaintive sort of noise; then his eyes filmed over, and he collapsed, his skull striking the ground with an ugly noise. Alexa kicked it once, contemptuously.

"That proves it," Alexa said, standing. "That here, in this strange underground shrine, the laws of logic can be bent and twisted by human minds - that geometric and mathematical follies can flourish... ha! Integers unfactorable by primes! Triangles with nine sides! Insane, nonsensical by definition - and here - as good as true!"

Alexa stood quiet a moment, pensive.

"I could make a god of myself, in here," Alexa said to herself. "A Queen of flawed premises, an Empress of baseless suppositions. Shall I? Better to reign in hell than serve in Heaven, the poet said... "

"But," Alexa said, starting suddenly, "May I not have both? If the power of this place may be extended outside..."

"There are experiments to be done," Alexa said decisively, walking towards the exit. "Tests, to find the limits of this dark power..."

"And killings; a purging of the undeserving from the world, to make it a suitable Heaven over which to reign!" Alexa cried, a wide grin across her face.

A darkness spread outwards. The city warped. The world turned their eyes towards Alexa's growing realm; and trembled.

The police hunted Alexa, never knowing her name. Alexa watched them from her lair, and consigned them unto death.

The military arrived. At first they sought to evacuate the population; then they bombed without discrimination. Alexa lurked, hidden in her underground lair, and killed without fear or remorse...

But she was not careful enough, and there came a time when a shadowy figure in her demense.

"Who?" Alexa cried, whirling at the footstep. Her eyes were wild, veined with red; the bombings had impaired her sleep schedule. "No man can enter this place without my leave - "

"Just as no man can outwit you?" the intruder parried, his words sharp as a knife. "I am both; but I would prefer that you call me, not Odysseus, but rather Z; it is somewhat closer to the truth."

"You will die here, so-called 'Z'!" Alexa shouted wildly. "I have killed many others, so many others - therefore - "

"It is inevitable that you, too, shall die?" Z interrupted again. "Certainly, and not in too long. For though I would certainly love to speak with you - what strange things might you have accomplished, in this twisted realm, were your thoughts filled with goodness, and not malice? - your acts have shown yourself far too dangerous. I ventured to this city in the days after your manipulations first became apparent - not long before the police began their first hunt - and searched the city's residents for the culprit. There were times in which I despaired - or found myself disbelieving, that such a place existed that could cause such impossible terror -"

"And now?" Alexa asked, challenging.

"And now I realize that I was right," said Z, still standing in the doorway. There was a sad smile on his face. "This place is impossible, and the acts that you accomplished here were impossible, and the last few months - yes, they, too, were impossible. And a thing that is impossible cannot exist - "

And we might now claim that Alexa cried out, despairing, "No!" - realizing only too late the trap Z wove with his words -

But that's quite false, of course.

After all, such a person as Alexa could never exist.

(Z, of course, would go on to certain other, better-known adventures; some of which have appeared on this blog already. But you knew that.)

Sunday, November 01, 2009

The Heroic Dr. Zhang


WORLD CHAOS unleashed by AGITATING ANARCHISTS and RAMPAGING ROGUE ROBOTS has PARALYZED governments ACROSS the GLOBE. In the confusion, ONE MAN has risen to power: the terrible NIKOLAS, whose name is TERROR and whose word is DEATH. NONE stand to oppose him...

NONE, that is, save DR. ZHANG, BRILLIANT SURGEON and LONE HERO. Forsaking friendship and even love for his mission, he hunts NIKOLAS with an undiluted passion; the PEOPLE cheer and shelter him, and the minions of NIKOLAS fear him. POLYMATH and WARRIOR with skills BEYOND COMPARE, he is not only the sole man who dares oppose NIKOLAS; he is the only one who CAN.

And TODAY...

YOU can step into his shoes!

CLICK HERE, UNZIP the FILES, and RENAME the ".py_" file to ".py". MAC users should then open it with the PYTHON LAUNCHER, in their PYTHON DIRECTORY; WINDOWS users need only DOUBLE-CLICK IT. (No idea about Linux people.) And - SIMPLE AS THAT* - YOU will be in the shoes of the great hero DR. ZHANG! FRABJULOUS DAY!

Happy birthday, Mr. Zhang! and many more...

*Assuming you already have a Python 2.6 install on your machine. But that's easy - hardly worth mentioning!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Dr. Zhang Has A Good Time

"Ahh," said Dr. Zhang, powering off his mac-book. "I have completed all the myriad tasks set before me, despite the damnable interference of that meddling Nikolas. Now I can enjoy a sound night's sleep - the sleep of the innocent!"

With a pleasant smile on his face, Dr. Zhang drifted off to sleep. But he was not so happy when he awoke!

"Where am I?" he asked, looking this way and that way, groggy and startled. "What has happened? Where is my bed? Where is my room? Why is the sun so large and red in the sky?"

"Ah!" he cried. "I have slept long - far too long! Five billion years (short scale) have passed, and the sun has expanded into a red giant! All that I knew and love is vanished, dust and ashes in the wind!"

Dr. Zhang stood, and began to pace.

"I am a doctor, and a genius of unparalled scope," Dr. Zhang said to himself. "Certainly if this were any ordinary situation I would be able to solve my troubles with ease. But it is not - the only solution here seems to be the creation of a time-machine, to transport me back to before I slept. But - time travel is impossible! And can even I, Dr. Zhang, declared a Knight of the Order of the British Empire by the Queen herself - do the impossible?"

Dr. Zhang thought.

"Well, no," he said. "I can't do the impossible. No-one can. That's why it's impossible."

"But - " he added, quickly - "There may be a better way..."

Dr. Zhang made preparations. A great ship took shape - an ark, many cubits wide and long, built to carry Dr. Zhang into the distant future!

"As sleep carried me into this dismal time," Dr. Zhang said, "So will it carry me out. I will sleep until the end of all things, and die as the Universe itself does - and, when a new Universe is reborn, I will change its beginning, its seed, such that I avoid that dreadful ruse of Nikolas which is certainly responsible for my predicaiment! Then victory will be mine!"

"And," Dr. Zhang added, being somewhat hungry, "I will take this potato chip, which has survived in my clothes for five billion years... and eat it!"

"Wait, maybe that was a bad idea," Mr. Zhang added, feeling nausea churn in his stomach. "Best to enter the preservation pod."

Dr. Zhang strapped himself in. Minutes flew by - years - millenia - geologic eons! Planets fell to dust - protons decayed! The Universe came to an end!


Thursday, October 29, 2009

Reunion (1/7)

So many types of trails. Ion trails; a thin scattering of atoms and molecules, drifting slowly through a vast and impassive void. One - no, more, now - extend outward from the bombardment fleet orbiting Procyon II. Follow the ion trail - carefully, so carefully, squinting to keep sight of the almost-invisible stream - where does it lead? A barren planet in the outskirts of the system, entirely devoid of life. The trail vanishes into the atmosphere, but there is another - leading from a patrol-ship, landed on the surface, visible only as disturbances in the ages-settled dust covering the bleak and grey world. And if we follow this trail - across crevasses, through rocks, so careful to avoid losing our way! - we find yet another - a trail of footprints, carelessly defacing the earth on their way from the glider that took them this far. So many types of trails - each so thin, so fragile, that a breath would dispel them. But in doing so you would create another - for though you try, you cannot break the bonds that bind you to the past...

Philosophy, eh? Abtruse. Abstract. And, in this case, largely irrelevant. Why spend all our time talking about trails, after all, when there are battle-fleets to watch! Space marines to admire! And a panicked, fleeing fugitive, stumbling his way through the dust and the rocks, trying to make his way into the cave system his ship's sensors spotted as it came down from orbit!

Let's watch him, for the moment. Eh? The space marines will be there when we get back to them.

Alan stopped at the edge of a pit, panting for breath. (He knew it was foolish; his oxygen supply was limited. But still his breath came ragged.) He looked down. His eyes widened.

An airlock? So, not caves after all, those cavities in the ground... not caves, but a base...

I have to work my way in!

Alan jumped into the pit, wincing at the impact. He wrenched at the metal wheel atop the airlock, struggling to open it. Was this supposed to be opened by men, or machines? It's stiff beyond belief!

For a moment, Alan allowed himself to relax. He straightened, turning his gaze upwards. Scanning the sky, he saw nothing amiss, just a sea of stars, two brighter than the rest...

Then a patch of darkness passed over the stars; and another; and another. Three ships! That's a third of the fleet. Worse than I dared dream. Even if I hide in, in whatever's down here - will I be able to hide until they give up the chase - ?

No. Have to act. Have to hide. Will plan when it's safe...

Alan turned back to the wheel, gripping it firmly. He took a deep breath, irreplacable oxygen flooding into his lungs - then he heaved, finally sending the wheel into motion, sliding the airlock hatch with it. When it was half-way open, Alan stopped; a motion to wipe sweat off his brow was intercepted by the helmet that covered it. Alan sighed, and then turned, jumping into the gap he'd opened. And above him...

In the bombardment ship Memory of Earth, Captain Klaas reported.

"The fugitive's ion trail leads into atmosphere, with 99% certainty," he said. "Your orders?"

The Admiral nodded, not turning in the chair where she sat watching the stars. "I want the navigators to begin work on a search grid," she said, her voice betraying no emotion. "Cover the globe, starting at the most likely position for the fugitive to have landed his stolen ship. When they have it ready, have it transmitted to the Retribution and the Repercussion for immediate action."

"Yes, sir," Captain Klaas said, saluting. He turned to leave.

"And tell Colonel Sigin to prepare the marines for action," the Admiral added, her voice still completely calm. "They will be responsible for the capture of the fugitive."

"Sir, yes, sir!" Colonel Klaas agreed. He waited a moment more, and then departed, the door irising shut behind him.

"And when they find him," the Admiral whispered to herself, her hand forming into a fist in her lap, "and when they've extracted every last scrap of information from his useless corpse - "

"For killing my son, I will personally reunite the traitor with the hell from which he was spawned!"

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The exotic realms


1. Deſmound wæs bourne upon a ſmalle hille, which wæs atoppe þe mönt, & þe encæmpmente upon þe hille, which wæs atóp þe mönt, yn þe proximite of þe encæmpmente, which wæs nær þe Kingdome of Nikoulous, þe Ratte-Kinge.
2. Deſmound went unto þe church of yſſe-lounde, & hē pray'd to Gode, & Jeſù, & hē æſked for þynges, which were plæſurable, & ynvolved cárnal knouledge, & þat hē louſted æfter.
3. & yn þe chirchē þere wæs much çinging of religös muſyk, & hē joyned yn þe çinging, & hē encountered 2 vyrgins, & hē ſcurrie'd to þem, & hē bade þem come untó his benchē of ſælte, & þey ſat þereunto & çung a hymne.
4. & one wæs before himme, & one wæs to hós ſyde, & hē talk'd to þe one upon hós ſyde præfryentially, þö ſhē wæs þe leſſir of þe two yn térms of þe plæſéntries of þeir bödies, upón his judgements.
5. þe next day Deſmound jörney'd unto þe grét cave of þe ançynt tymes, & yea, hē wæs prépæring to acroſs þe rain-bow, houever, hē realiſd hē did not contayn all his neck-laçe, & hē ſought to retreve yt.
6. & yea, yt came to paſs þat hē realiſed þát hiſſe neck-laçe haþ borök, & þe beades þereunto wert ſcattre'd acroſs þe lande, & hē muſte cóllect all 100 of þemme, for hē to be endou'd wiþ a great pouer.
7. & hē ſerchēd þe caves þe lande, & hē killed dógges, & hē plant'd treeſe, & hē did many þyngs which were odde, or biſſare.
8. & hē gaþer'd all of beads butte one, which hē knowe'd to be proſeſs by þe Kinge of þe önderworlde, who wæs þe Ratte-Kinge, & hē croſſed þe rain-bowe, & hē ſlay'd þe Ratte-Kinge, & hē tooke þe 100 beades unto þe neck-laçe.
9. & þe beads glow'd wiþ a ſtrange pouer, & yt became very hotte, & yt ſhooke þe earþe, & yt gave Deſmound a ſtrange pouer.
10. & þen Deſmounde return'd to þe churchē þe next daye, & hē onçe againe bade þe two vyrgíns to his ſalt-petre, & þey ſát doun, & hē talk'd to þe one which wæs more plæſureable.
11. & hē took hēr up too þe béd-chambre, & hē undreſſed hērre, & hē wæs about to pénetræt hērre, but hē remember'd þat hē wæs a chriſtiæn, & hē did notte, for yt wæs a ſínne.
12. þen hē return'd houme, & drank ále, & ſpirits, & ſmoked a pype, & became quite content'd.

Friday, October 23, 2009


I had been sent to destroy a radio station.

It was 0515, just before the invasion was to begin. HQ had identified a radio station that OPFOR was probably using to coordinate their coastal defenses; so our squad had been airlifted in, in the wee hours of the morning, to mark its location for "fast movers". Or, that is to say, tactical bombers and their laser-guided ordinance.

I took the laser designator, per orders from the squad's lieutenant, and scrambled off the helicopter, getting clear of the LZ. We moved forward together, using night-vision goggles to pierce the murky pre-dawn gloom. And then... well, something of my inexperience showed.

For this was a video-game, you see, which I'd gotten on sale earlier that day, and I was not very good at it.

I wandered through the night, frequently getting lost, hearing radio chatter as my more-capable AI team-mates engaged and eliminated hostile forces. (ENEMY MAN 200 METERS FORWARD, their robotic voices would disjointedly announced. 3 ENGAGE TARGET. SCRATCH ONE.)

Our original mission had been to target the radio for a bombing run, but it turned out the radio was in the center a populated village. A bombing run would cause horrific civilian casualties. So instead, I agreed to take the radio out with satchel charges.

I had the satchel charges. I planted the charges. I had no idea of how to use them.

So: better idea.

Nearby, the local OPFORCE had a weapons cache; several automatic weapons, ammunition, and an RPG-7. (A rocket-propelled grenade-launcher.) That would do the trick! There were three rounds for it, too... but I couldn't carry more than two (of the three) without dropping something.

Looked at my inventory. What to drop, to make room? Perhaps... this now-useless laser-guide battery?

Now happily (and heavily) armed, I gained a safe distance from the radio. I aimed. I fired. Whoosh! Boom! The radio antenna was fine.

I blinked. I aimed higher. I fired again.

Whoosh! Boom! No more effect.

I loaded my last round and decided to get another angle on the situation...

Which promptly revealed that, rather than firing into the power generator for the radio antenna, I'd been hitting the wrong side of an adjacent truck.

Took aim at the generator. Nudged my aim up. Fired. Whoosh! BOOM!

Objective complete.

The mission continued. Civilians were rescued; enemies were eliminated (by my team-mates, of course); I got lost. Autosaves were made. Finally, I made it to the extraction point; our command congratulated us on a job well done, and suggested that, being already on the ground, we might be suitable for a job spotting enemy beach defenses for the bombers. (A massive invasion was about to begin, you see.)

I was always up for more. "Sure!" I agreed.

"All right," my squad's lieutenant said. "Where's your laser spotter?"

I blinked.

The battery was still on the ground, next to the enemy weapons cache.

"...I left it on the chopper," my character lamely excused himself.

"God damn it, Cooper," my lieutenant said wearily.


I hope you were entertained by this humorous anecdote

(Plusses: I found another weapons cache en route, so I have another three rounds for my splendid RPG-7! And inventories seem to carry over between missions... man, I anticipate good times.)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Romance of Mr. Zhang

I. Mssr. David and Ms. Mary met in organic chemistry class.

Both were instantly smitten with the other. Mr. Zhang cast his gaze obliquely Ms. Mary's way - "So beautiful!" he thought. Ms. Mary returned the favor, careful not to be seen doing so (and missing Mr. Zhang's own stares) - "So distinguished!" she thought, practically swooning.

But, by the tragic flaws of their natures, both were too shy to do any more than sit next to each-other! (And barely, that!) Their conversations, when forced, were terse and emotionless, each doing their best to avoid looking at the other. (What if they knew, after all? And what if they didn't reciprocate?)

II. Mr. Zhang and Ms. Mary sat in their respective homes, talking the matter over with friends. (Ms. Mary spoke with a room-mate; Mr. Zhang spoke with a high-school friend by IM.)

"oh god it is so awkward", Mr. Zhang wailed. "aaaagh".

"I just - I can't say anything to him!" Ms. Mary said, pacing the kitchen awkwardly. "God, he must think I'm some frigid b- - ice princess!"

"Look, you've been sulking for weeks over this guy," Ms. Mary's room-mate told her. "It's past time for action."

"okay okay I know what to do", Mr. Zhang's internet-friend sent. "I have a plan."

"But - what should I do?" Ms. Mary and Mr. Zhang asked.

Ms. Mary's room-mate described her plan. "You work in the labs after-hours, and build a solution of biocarbon crystal-solution. It'll look magical - just the thing to catch his heart! Then you watch how he responds. That'll prove it, one way or the other!"

"ok ok ok," Mr. Zhang's internet-friend sent rapidly, in a staccatto series of beeps. "You rap to her. Rock me Amadeus. Falco. In the original costume."

"But - how do I know he'll like it?" Ms. Mary asked.

"what if she hates it?" Mr. Zhang asked.

"Well, he's in your o-chem class, right?" Ms. Mary's room-mate asked. "So he must like o-chem. He'll think it's cool!"

"come on," Mr. Zhang's inter-friend replied. "everyone likes Falco."

And that settled that!

III. They met after class, two days later - Mr. Zhang in full regalia, Ms. Mary with a glass tube containing a shimmering green solution.

Ms. Mary looked at Mr. Zhang. Confusion was visible in her eyes. Why is he wearing that? she thought.

Mr. Zhang looked at Ms. Mary. His thoughts were filled with perplexity. What is she carrying?

"It's... a study aid?" Ms. Mary attemped.

"It's... for a class," Mr. Zhang tried to explain.

Mortified, both fled.

IV. "aaaaaargh"

"oh god"

"now she hate me forever"

(Mr. Zhang relates.)

"Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god," Ms. Mary cries, bursting into her apartment. "That could not have gone worse."

On prompting, they explain to their respective advisors.

"Wow!" the advisors say. "They were making stuff for you, too! They must actually love you, and just be as shy as you are! Quick, arrange another meeting!"

V. They meet.

They approach, slowly, cautiously.

Then - it's not clear who initiates it - they kiss.

It's long and passionate. They have to gasp for breath when they're done.

Later, they have unprotected casual sex!

This is probably an unwise idea, but who cares? They survive, and live



The Spirit of the Forest

Ally walked through the densely crowded forest in search of the spirit apparition that they told her would appear any minute now. Then, suddenly in a puff of smoke there appeared a most fantastic creature, who was half-man, and half-spirit, and he hovered before her. He stroked his ghostly moustache and beard. He proclaimed, "I am The Honourable GEORGE AIRY, THE AIRY FAIRY, the gouerner of the peesefull lande, upon whych thou steppest, ande what busness hast though herre, I aske." Ally said, "Sureley youe mouste bee the one who they hauth procklaimed to bee the great visionery of the forreste, who speakes the truthe, and predychts the futture, and who whisperres sage advise, unto the loust soules of the whorlde, and who tells of the pathes of the righteousse, I come herre to seke the knowlege of the ancyent ones, telle me the moste wysely advise of your greate wyssdomme." And then the Forest Spirit said, "I wille doe this thynge whych you aske of mee, butte I must teste your whorthienesse with a ryddle, which I speke unto you thusley: I seke a functione, of which the propperties are as folloues. Whan thou takest the deryvative of that functione, and then henceforthe take againe the deryvative of that resultante, then thou subtractest the function in it self, multiply'd by the variabble it taketh, in its foulde, then that answer must be nulle, and noughte, and not summe to any noumber, be it realle, or fancifulle, or imagyn'd in the myndes of Mankinde. That is the ryddle I deliever unto thoue."

Then Ally took some time to ponder this riddle, and walked around the forest for a while, and at last, she believed she arrived at a reasonable answer. She approached the forest spirit and said, "O greate spirite, I belieue that I haue solv'd the greate ryddle, which thou hast poused unto mee, and the function that you seke, cannote be written as in the mannere of ordinry noumbers, or lettres, as thouse of a manne, in the prynting presses, but in the mannere of one who can imagyne the infynite, that which stretches as a stryng, or a lengthe of corde, or rhope, or a twine, or a vyne, or a roote, or a branche, or a leafe, unto the realmes of the unknowne, and this shall be a summe of many thynges, not singulere in natuur, and the summe shall be comprysed of 2 summes, that are segregated from one another, and that are dystinct in natuur, and the first summe shall be wrytten as one, added to the third pouer of the variable, which be devided by the product of three, and two, and then this shall be added yette again, to the sixth pouer of the variable, which doth be devided by the producte of two, and three, and fyve, and sex, but notte four, and then this shalle bee added to the ninth pouer of the variable, whence devided by the prouduct of two, and three, and fyve, and sex, and aight, and nyn, but not four, norre seuen, and so on, unto the darke realmes of the mysteriousse.

When the spirit heard this, and confirmed it as the correct solution, he laughed evilly, and he proclaimed, "Foole! Now you haue told me all I kneed to know, about the most fancifulle functions, that I shalle publishe it onder my owne name, and I shall become famovs ouer it, and counquer the whorlde of mathematicks." And then Ally said, "What a rude beaste you are, houeuer, thou hast promysed me the prophesy and the wysdom advise, that you keepe, and I shall lyke to knowe it nowe." And the spirit said, "Indeede, I shall say that to you, beinge a manne of my worde, and that the advise that I render unto you shall bee as folloues: That you shall go unto your classes at the Universyty, and you shall go to the manne, who is in the class of Physick, and who grows a bearde, which is blacke as coale, and who smelles of chese, and haue sexuelle relationes with himme, and it shall be pleasureable, and goode, in the eyes of the Lord, and all shall be ryght with the worlde." And then the spirit disappeared in a puff of smoke, to publish his findings, and the next day, Ally went to class as usual, and she did what the forest spirit told her, and everything worked out pretty well, and that was the end of that.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Undifferentiated Enlightenment

Elia woke up. She yawned. She stretched. She stood up.

Near the base of the bed, there was a lump of flesh growing in the carpet!

"Oh!" Elia said. "A person-seed!"

She left the room, returning several minutes later with an earthenware pot in one hand and a spade in the other.

"It's odd," Elia said, putting the pot down. "I changed the screens on the window a few months ago. But I suppose that's when you must have come in - just wafted in through the window like pollen!"

Carefully, Elia used the spade to dig out the chunk of carpeting surrounding the person-seed, lifting it gently into the pot. (The pot was already mostly filled with carpet.) She looked at the person-seed a little longer, and then pushed more carpet onto it, leaving only a small surface of slowly-pulsing flesh visible. "There!" she said. "Now you'll grow as quickly as a person-seed can!"

"It's funny," Elia said, looking at the person-seed. "It's only in places like this that you'll find people-seeds - places struck by fallout from the Enlightenment Bombs. When I was growing up, I never saw any at all! Now you're everywhere, collecting in the corners on the street every morning before the street-cleaners come by, like a haze of pinkish dust. It's just a funny thought - to think that you, all of you, are people!"

Elia carried the pot and spade downstairs, putting the spade back in the hidden cubby from which she'd taken it. She began to do the same with the pot; and then reconsidered. Instead, she closed the cubby and put the pot down on the kitchen table. She sat down.

"The Enlightenment Bombs," Elia sighed. "Weapons of mass transcendence. When detonated, they instantly enlighten every last person in a city, firing them physically into Nirvana. Then, the unenlightened people that launched the Bomb can move in and take their stuff!"

"The side effect," Elia added, "being a rain of not-quite-enlightened souls that fell just short of Nirvana." Elia smiled at the tiny lump of flesh in a pot. "Like you!"

Elia got up. She drank a cup of coffee. She showered. She had breakfast. Then she left for work!

Later, she sat down at the kitchen table again.

"It was advanced Buddhist theory that led to the development of the enlightenment bombs, but there are hardly any buddhists around any more," Elia said. "Most of the true believers just gathered around one of their nirvana bombs - and boom! Mass enlightenment! The ones that were never really committed to the faith were scared by the thought of actually attaining enlightenment. They thought it was only a hypothetical possibility! So they left the faith. That's why you don't really see any Buddhists around these days!

Elia stood up. She brewed a pot of coffee. She poured a cup. She sat back down.

"The only Buddhists around these days," Elia said, "are some hermit-monks in the mountains - reportedly - and a few rare, terrifying bodhisvattas. Bodhisvattas postpone their own enlightenment in the hope of assembling an enlightenment bomb - and taking a city with them!

Elia sipped at her coffee.

"That's where the old saying comes from," Elia explained. "'If you meet a buddhist in the road, kill him!' After all, either he's a bodhisvatta - or, nearly as terrifying, a scammer trying to sell overpriced yoga-course subscriptions! A threat to life and health either way."

The person-seed showed no particular reaction to Elia's humourous comments.

Elia shrugged. She stood up. She changed clothes. She went to bed.

Days passed.

Then came a sharp rapping at the door!

"Yo, dog, the police be up ins!" a voice from outside declared. "We be detectin' too much enlightenment here, so if you've got nothin' to fear, open up and let us in!"

Elia, in the process of washing dishes, looked up. "One minute!" she shouted, and rushed over to the table, picking up the person-seed pot thereupon. (The person-seed was noticably bigger than when Elia had first seen it.) Running to the stairs, Elia hid the pot in the cubby at the stairs' base; then she went to the front door and let the police inside.

There were three of them; dressed in blue and silver, each with a slowly spinning lotus on their left palm. Two of the police began opening drawers and cup-boards, searching the house; the third spoke to Elia.

"Our enlightenment detectors," the policewoman said, gesturing with her lotus-palm, "tell us that your neighborhood is way too filled with enlightenment, dogg. So we be lookin' for summa dat enlightenment stuff, as so we don't all make the big boom."

"I don't know what could be in my house that would be setting off your enlightenment detectors," Elia said innocently. "Ah - there was a person-seed that landed in my bedroom, a few weeks ago. If you move the floor lamp, you can find the chunk I took out of the carpet when I dug it up."

"Hey, dawgs!" there came a shout from upstairs. "Someone's been diggin' up carpet 'round here! I'm'a thinking it's a contamination!"

"What'd you do widdat?" the policewoman speaking to Elia asked politely.

"Well, naturally I was afraid that it would grow into a bodhisvatta and enlighten everyone," Elia told the policewoman. "Being so enlightened already, and all."

"Dat is bein' a natural concern," the policewoman agreed.

"But I wasn't sure what to do with it," Elia said. "So I told Ms. Umpleby, next-door, and she told me she'd take care of it."

The policewoman furrowed. "Dat bein' all kinds of irregular..."

"I'm sorry!" Elia wailed, tears beginning to form in her eyes. "I didn't know what to do! I don't want to be enlightened yet!"

"Shh, shh," the policewoman soothed. Her colleagues had already reappeared downstairs; the policewoman signaled them with a nod. "We be goin' over to your neighbor-woman to be sortin' it all out. You don't be guiltin' at all. Just remember next time as to give 't to the street-cleaners, yah?"

"Y-yes," Elia said, wiping her eyes with a sleeve. "I'll remember."

The front door closed.

Elia, now completely serene in appearance, walked over to the hidden cubby. She took out the person-seed pot and put it on the table. She looked at it.

"Of course," Elia said, "When the police search Ms. Umpleby's house, they'll find the defective screens she installed, and the little person-seed garden she's keeping in the basement. Ha - she thinks they're cute! I didn't give her one, of course, but when the police find what they will - why would they believe anything she says? Looks like my little voyeurism habit has paid off."

The person-seed pulsed gently.

"Don't judge me," Elia told it. "I have to maintain a few vices. Otherwise, I'll ascend into Nirvana, myself!"

Time passed. Elia brewed coffee.

She sat back down in front of the person-seed.

"I have a confession to make," she said. "I've been hoping you'd grow into a bodhisvatta. The primary component of an enlightenment bomb is a nearly-enlightened soul striving for enlightenment - the tension of their few remaining material attachments is enough to catalyze a cataclysmic enlightenment explosion! (Well, with the help of an attached Teller-Ulam nuclear device, but I've already got one of those.) I intentionally left a gap open when I was replacing my screens, so that you would float in - my neighbors would suspect me if I didn't have any screens at all, or defective ones, like silly Ms. Umpleby, so I had to be subtle. Then I was going to raise you until you unrooted from material desire - and the carpet - and use you as the core of an enlightenment bomb. I'd send you straight to the capital!"

Elia sighed.

"...but I can't do that," she admitted.

"Watching you, thinking about you - innocent, a person wiped clean and yet to re-form - "

"I came to realize I was wrong. My beliefs, my goals, all I've been striving for the last few years - misguided, at best."

"If you want to root yourself to the material realm - even so close, so very close, to enlightenment as you are! - that's your choice."

"And if they, all the people in this city, want the same - that's their choice, too."

"People have the right to make their own wrong choices."

Elia sighed.

"I'll keep the Teller-Ulam device," she said. "Just in case I change my mind, or decide there's some group of people that really needs a swift dose of enlightenment. Like terrorists, maybe, or lawyers. But if I need to set off an Enlightenment Bomb, I'll rededicate myself to the Noble Eightfold Path, and use myself as the catalyst, as I always should have planned to."

"And I'll keep you around, too," Elia told the person-seed. "Because you are the most adorable, lovable little chunk of undifferentiated person!"

"Now, to stop externalizing my internal monologues onto a person-seed that has yet to develop hearing organs, before I go as crazy as Ms. Umpleby," Elia said.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Il Professore Nikolas

"Quali sono tutte le radici cubiche di 1?", Il professor Nikolas chiese ai suoi studenti. "Uno", ha detto uno studente. "Bene," ha detto il professor Nikolas, ma quali sono le radici cubiche, eh? ", Ha continuato," L'uomo si ragazzi sono così stupido, me ne vado. "Poi se ne andò. Gli studenti erano in collera con questo, e avevano protestato . professor Nikolas ha detto ai suoi studenti che sarebbe tornato quando uno di loro potrebbe produrre un altro radice cubica di 1. Fortunatamente, uno degli studenti stava prendendo un altro corso di matematica, in cui ha appreso questo concetto della voce. ha detto il professor Nikolas, e lui è stato molto impressionato. chiese il ragazzo, "Come hai potuto capire questa soluzione?" Il ragazzo ha risposto, "Um, io sono solo un genio, credo». professor Nikolas è stata soddisfatta a questa risposta, e decise di tornare in classe il giorno dopo. Egli disse al ragazzo: "Tu mi ha impressionato molto con la vostra intelligenza, sicuramente devo premiare in qualche modo." Il ragazzo ha detto il professor Nikolas, "Be ', ho bisogno del vostro aiuto per qualcosa .. ".

Il ragazzo disse: "C'è questa ragazza nella mia classe di chimica organica. L'uomo, che la classe è veramente brutto! Mi piace molto la classe. Ma devo prendere, perché esso è necessario." Si fermò per un secondo, e poi disse: "Ho bisogno di fare sesso con questa ragazza, l'uomo, è come, sai, così caldo, l'uomo". Il professor Nikolas è stata presa alla sprovvista, sbalordito e divertito. Egli disse: "Non posso aiutarti in questo sforzo. Dovete guardare nel tuo cuore e trovare le soluzioni, molto simile a come avete trovato le soluzioni della matematica". "L'uomo non si tratta di una buona situazione", ha detto il ragazzo.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Desmonde and the Snowe-Wolfe of Dartmouthia

Desmonde wasse borne in Isse-Lunde, and he wasse dead.

It did come to pass that Desmonde, residing in the courte of the Isselandic-King, with the men, and the women, and the dogs, and the sheep, and the cattle, and the horses, and the goats, and the children, and the raveners, and the oil-pots, and the unusually ornate tapestries depicting Greate Military Victories over the Ratte-Kinge, defeated some seven years ago, didde hear worde of a terrible creature, being posessessed of fanges, and claws, ande fur, and teethe, ande teeth, and a pelt, ande long tearing nails, stained with the bloode of its victims, and yea, also did it exert a terrible pull upon those metal objects being brought near it, those being such divers items as swords, and shields, ande helmets, and pots, ande kettles, and cross-bow bolts; ande yea, did it frolick among the woodland meadows, and leap, ande cavort, and bring death and devastation upon the peaceful village of Dartmouthia, and also surrounding regions; and yea, didde Desmonde see this as a great injustice, and a tragedy, ande a wronge, to be Wrighted, in the manner of those lawyers and barristers of the Isselundic isles; and yea, didde Desmonde arm himself with sword and bow and spear and cross-bow and spring-launched harpoon; and yea, did he armour himself with a gambeson, ande a hauberk, ande a cuirasse, ande a helmet, ande a shield, ande a large wheele of cheese, being for defense againste the Höfðingi-monsters that roamed the plaines of Isselunde; and yea, did he acquire arms-men, and horses, ande sailors, and long-ships; and yea, did he sail to the easte, for days upon end, such that his men grew weary, and complained, "Yea, certainly we will never see land again!"; and yea, did Dessmonde skewer those that complained with his sword, and his bow, and his spear; and yea, did he hang them upon the maine-maste, up-side down; and yea, there was no more complaining until landfall; and yea, Dessmonde did hunt the Snowe-Wolfe downe, through the forests, ande the fields, ande the meadows; and yea, did it raven moste vigorously, and tore at the horses, ande sent the arms-menne to flight; and yea, did Dessmonde confront it in the manner of the duel; and yea, did it pull at him, in the manner of a lode-stone to iron, or an electromagnet hoisting a car to be scrapped; and yea, did Dessmonde cry out, "Objection!"; and yea, did Dessmonde leap from his horse, and fly unto the Snowe-Wolfe, and stab him many times, with his sword, and his spear, and his spring-launched harpoon; and yea, did deathe come swirling downe.



Friday, October 16, 2009

In the grim darkness of the far future, a man contemplates the bleakness of his own life, wailing over the thousand sorrows the assail him, weeping at the indignities he suffers. And we mock him for it; bccause, in the end, he is no more and no less than a silly Zhang.

how do you tell
if like
doesnt like you

Are they spitting on you, or in your path?
That would be a clue!
Otherwise it is a nontrivial problem and I am not sure I can help.


i will decribe
the situation
ok so
on friday i went to class
and there was a dude on my chair
so i sat next to that womon
and it was ok

(There is a woman for whom he pines,
seated near him in his al-chemistry class;
yet with her he cannot sit,
save unless he is given some excuse!)

(So tragic.)

on monday
there was no one there
i sat up there again
and i said some things
and it was ok

(A boldness!)

(A daring!)

(Certain to win the lady's heart.)

on tuesday
i did the same thing
and it was still pretty ok
not as much as monday

(All right, truthfully: that's a little odd.)

on wednesday
i did it again
and then
it was less cool
she was always looking away from me
at a really sharp angle
and like
i said some things to her
and she was like yea
uh huh
at the end of class
i went up to her
and i was like
hey do you want
to study
or something
and then she was like
i have like
some friends
or something
and then she said she might email me
but then
she didnt

(How can this be?)

(Have the lady's affections for our hero...

(How can this

so then
on friday
i went to class
and then
i decided to sit up there again
and i thought
ok i will not say anything
and see if she talk to me
and then
she didnt
so that was that

(The tale grows grim indeed, dear readers!)

and then
on the next monday
i went back to my old chair
she did not notice
so that was that

(From this point on, readers may find the tale... unbearably dark. Like a black cat in a soot-filled black paint factory! Beware, those of sensitive tastes. From this point on, there is no going back!)

(Unless you start reading backwards, I guess.)

(But that's just be odd.)

so then on tuesday
i went to class again
and i sat in my old seat
and she did not look at me
or antyhing
so i thought
ok forget it

(Almost as though her attention was on the class itself, unlike our hero! (Why is he even in this class, anyway?))

in my next class
there was this womon
that i usually talk to
and she was like
nice and whatnot
and then i was like
im not going to say anything to her
and see if she talks to me

(A brilliant ploy! This will be a foolproof test of her feelings! Because if she doesn't talk to our hero, it will mean - that she hates him!)

(Or that she's busy, or that she thinks he's snubbing her, or any number of other things.)


and then
she did not
and then class was over
and i left
nothing happened

(It is always good to note when nothing happens. Otherwise, you mightn't notice!)

so then
on wedmesday
i did the same thing
and nothing happened
and then
i thought
ok i will try to talk to that womon who has
a boy firen

(She has a boyfriend.)

and then
i sent her a email
that day
and she did not respond
that day
on thursday
i didnt have class
so then
i sent her another email
that was like
hey im free
do you want to hang out
and then
there was not answer
that day

(Little does Mr. Zhang know that his internet connection was severed weeks ago!)

on friday
i went to class again
and i did not talk to anybody
in any class
and nothing happened

(Another useful note.)

and i still did not get a email
so then i thought
i should go
and see if there are any womons
that i can hit on
in any of my classes

(A valid goal! (Maybe.))

and there was this girl
in my math class
and she was hot
i did not know her
at all
ever talk to her
or anything
so i thought
i can try to leave at the same time as her
and like
at her
or something
she left with a larger
group of men
that surrounded her

(Dear readers: I must confess. I have read ahead. Brace yourself: this is the most magnificent piece of writing in the entire post.)

Are you ready?

All right. Go ahead. Do not forget to
savor the moment.

a ionic compound
that was solvated
in watter
a metal
that was coordinated
at 6 ligands

Mmm. Delightful!

and then
i tried to follow her
but i was going to be late
for my next class
so i didnt

He was planning to murder the men with a knife!

so then
on the weekend
i thought
ok i can party with those guys again
like last time
but then
they were all like
hey we all got into fraternities
unlike you
you know
we are going to do stuff there
and be cool
i didnt do anything
over the week end


on monday
i went to classa
and i saw that womon
in my math class
and this time
she left by herself
and i took that chance
so i went into the hall
with her
and i said hi
and she was like
looked at me
with a funny look
and walked past
and then i thought
that is that

reference link

i went to my next class
the next one

The meticulous chronology is one of the many things that sets the inestimable Mr. Zhang's chronology apart from that of his many rivals.

then i went to lab
and i thought
i can talk to that stoner guy
who is next to me
he was stoned


and hung over
he was saying
rude things
to me
so i thought
thats that

This is Mr. Zhang's catchphrase.

and then
i finished the lab
and it was night time
and i went home
and then
i thought
i can hang out
with my room mates
but then
they were not there
and later that night
they came back
and he said
o we went to this cool thing
without you

oh noooooooo

so i didnt do anything
that night
on tuesday
i went to class
and then
i got my tutouring assignment

(Mr. Zhang is becoming a tutor! Even in real life! It is crazytimes.)

and i thought
hey this is cool
and it was a womon
and i thought whoa cool
and then
i went to the meeting place
to work
with her
and she was like
not there
but then
she came
and i was like
and she was like
and then
she got her cellular
and she called some people

This is slightly odd.

and like
i was like
do you have
any questions
and she was like
and she like
gave me
her homowork
and she was like
can you do this for me

She is an excellent student!

and then
she got on the phone agagin
her boy friend
and she was talking to him
and then
i was working
on the homowork

This is basically the root of all of Mr. Zhang's fictional problems. Maybe even some of the real ones. Hard to be sure.

and then
the time was up
and she took ait
and left
and she did not say anything
so then
i went home
and i thought
thats that

The catchphrase is used - but this time, it is more ominous than ever!

and then
on wednesday
i did not come
to class
but nobody noticed


and then
on friday
i was not in class
and nobody noticed

Wait, hm. This seems inconsistent. What about that stoner guy? Wouldn't he notice.

...I guess he could've been stoned.

(For days on end.)

Carry on.

and then the midterm came
the techer noticed that i did not take it
and he said what is going on
they could not contact me

Oh no! Did Mr. Zhang forget to leave his cell phone on?

and then
they went to look for me in my room
and i was there
with a gun in my hand
the end

Oh gosssssssssssssssh

(This is of course entirely unrealistic because it is hard to get a firearm, especially if you are living in the middle of nowhere. Is there even a gun shop in Dartmouth-Towne? It seems unlikely.)

(Also because Mr. Zhang is both talented and well-liked, and would never be driven to such dark extremes in "real life".)

(Unless he felt driven to it by his paranoid imagination...)

(What's the number for Dartmouth emergency psychiatric services, now?)