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In Defense of A Game I've Never Played [30 Jan 2008|11:30pm]
Oh frick. Guys, I started writing an essay, and it's late, because I didn't finish on time.  No, this isn't for school.  Yes, this is the rough draft.

     Mass Effect is a recently released RPG (Role-Playing Game) which features a supposedly very sophisticated storyline and action-filled game play.  For some reason, FOX news attempted to make a story about a controversial issue that never existed.  In order to show the 'debate' they brought in one Cooper Lawrence to voice her opinions.  Unfortunately, that's exactly what she did - opinions were spouted with absolutely no basis in reality.
     She begins her tirade of ignorance by mentioning that "thirteen year olds have never seen PlayBoy - because they're not supposed to" 1.  She seems to be under some sort of illusion that adolescent males live in utter ignorance of basic anatomy, while saying their nightly prayers and begging for redemption for these unpure thoughts.  That children are incredibly ignorant of their own rising sexuality.  It's a nice thought if you happen to have teenaged offspring, but completely ignores fact: "in the years immediately before wide public access to the Internet, a 1986 study of 600 teenagers in the US, “found that 91% of the males and 82% of the females admitted having been exposed to X-rated, hard-core pornography.”2  These numbers speak for themselves.  In a full 22 years, with the birth of a more sexually saturated society AND the internet, it is borderline denial to claim that teenagers have never seen pornographic material. 
     Lawrence then continues that Mass Effect is "for adults, but who's playing video games?  Adolescent males, not their dads,"1.  This completely flies in the face of all industry-released figures.  For example, the Entertainment Software Association released that "sixty-seven percent of American heads of households play computer and video games," and "the average game player is 33 years old and has been playing games for 12 years," firmly relegating Lawrence's statement to what is obviously a heavily biased opinion 3.   The ESA goes on to note that "women over the age of 18 represent a significantly greater portion of the game-playing population (31%) than boys age 17 or younger (20%)" which states that statistically, Lawrence's age group is more likely to play Mass Effect than the teenage boys she is 'protecting'. 
     Lawrence's next statement "The damage is this: we know that all the research that shows that violence has a desensitizing affect; well, sexuality does too." This starts off with a flawed premise, because there are no actual studies that have proven this statement.  At best, the studies involving violent video games merely proved that violent images desensitize persons to violent images, which is a redundant statement at best.  If Lawrence wants to conclude that violence desensitizes violence, then why isn't she calling for the banning of certain movies and TV shows?  In addition, the conclusion doesn't even follow from the premise if you were to assume it was true.  Following that leap of intuition, seeing Mario collect a number of coins as he runs across the screen should desensitize us to petty theft, seeing any number of video game characters ingest impossible amounts of food should desensitize us to gluttony, seeing sophisticated wit and jokes should desensitize us to humour, and seeing poorly done artificial intelligence should desensitize us to illogical and flat-out stupid decisions.  It is, frankly, ridiculous to believe that perceiving a set stimulus will not altar our behaviour.  Isn't that what the definition of stimulus is?  What we perceive and change our actions to accomodate?
    Lawrence's ill-informed rant continues on, trying to gain a momentum that is largely weighted by uninformed opinion.  She assumes that a teenager playing violent or even sexual games will become psychopathic and incapable of seeing others as human beings"because this is when the developing mind is happening, this is when they're first deciding who they're going to be, who their identity is, this is when social development is happening,"1.  She seems to be describing aspects of very young children - perhaps even toddlers - and attributing them to teenagers. They are no longer little children that need to be protected from the real world; they understand death, they understand the obvious aspects of their society and most even have a passing knowledge of what happens when genitalia interact.  There are teenagers who live on their own and will for years.  They're still children, but they can fend for themselves rather easily if the situation calls for it.  Their minds have already developed, and they are on their last few steps before they enter the adult world.  In our society, it's really more of a safety net to allow the immature ones to catch up to the mature, so that the fifteen year olds who can't handle the responsibilities of alcohol aren't given free reign of the stuff.  Trying to protect the adolescents who are ready will not help them; if anything, it'll lead them to thinking the world is a safe place they don't need to take seriously. 
     The points Lawrence has said so far has led to this rather ageist thinking - that teenagers are incapable of separating reality from fantasy.   Without ever even trying the game, she thinks that "they see women as these objects of desire, as these, you know, hot bodies,"1.  It is particularly interesting to note this criticism directed towards a video game that has huge elements of its game play engaged in social interaction - and even more in dialog - than something like a slasher flick.  In the same breath, she 'observes' that "they don't show women as being valued for anything other than their sexuality,"1 which is incredibly ironic as the main character "can be man or woman,"1 can end up never falling in love, and whose love scene in question is less than two minutes long in a game whose play-through spans a purported thirty hours.  The coup de grace to this stream of misinformation is that Lawrence mentions how the protagonist "[decides] how many women he wants to be with,"1.  Apparently, there are only four people in the entire galaxy one can 'get mature' with: "Ashley Williams for males and Kaiden Alenko for females, or xenophilic romance with the asari squad member, Liara T'Soni. Players can also have a sexual encounter with the Asari Consort, Sha'ira,"4.  In addition, "you can actually play through this game without the sexual situation ever happening," notes Lawrence's debate partner Geoff Keighley 1.  
     Lawrence then proceeds to dismiss all of Geoff's valid points by misinterpreting yet another source - but at least this time she cited it.  Her exact words being "I gotta go with the research, and the research says there's a new study at the University of Maryland right now, that says that boys that play video games cannot tell the difference between what they're seeing in the video game and the real world if they don't have a real experience,"1.  This is blatantly - I cannot stress this enough - blatantly twisting what the study found.  A simple internet search gathered it, and a mere skimming found what Lawrence appears to be referencing: "adolescents and young adults are seen as especially vulnerable because they are less likely to recognize the source of these impulses,"5.  The quote is actually referencing an increase in "impulsive behavior, shortened attention span and low-level aggression in general," not the utter disassociation from reality that Lawrence describes.   As an aside, more pedantic than anything, what did she hope to accomplish by adding "if they don't have a real experience," behind it 5? 
     The ramifications of this never-ending torrent of slander and libel which are blatant lies being aired on National television are frightening.  A motley collection of conspicuous lies is flung at the viewer throughout the piece:"In some parts of this you'll see full, digital nudity ... You have to pick up the box and look at the rating ... I have not played this game,"1.  The ignorance of  the reporters and their willingness to let untruths go live speaks ill of journalistic integrity.  EA has issued a letter "appealing to [FOX's] sense of fairness" to correct their mistakes, but has not yet received a public reply 6.

Please help me cite my sources?

1 Fox News, " 'Se'Xbox?" Fox News official site.
 (unknown date)

2 http://www.cief.ca/pdf/harmpornography.pdf

3 http://www.theesa.com/facts/top_10_facts.php

4 http://masseffect.wikia.com/wiki/Romance

5 University of Maryland, "Students See Video Games As Harmless, Study Finds"  Wishington Post http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A1421-2005Feb5.html (Feb 6, 2005)

6 http://kotaku.com/348187/ea-calls-fox-out-on-insulting-mass-effect-inaccuracies

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We Shouldn't Bee Here pt1 [29 Jan 2008|09:00pm]
I have a test tomorrow, so I'm only going to start today's story (as I rather like it and want to spend more time on it than I have available).  I will post pt2 tomorrow.

    "In other news, the attack on Anthill continues without any updates.  The civilian death toll has climbed to the hundreds of thousands, and our own troops are beginning to be stretched too thin.  Most generals recommend staged withdrawals, but our glorious Queen Hunny Honey has announced she is going to increase the troops sent."
    "Ugh, turn that **** off.  It's just depressing."
    "Yeah, I can't believe she's still going on about 'pro-active self defense.'  Every one knows she's just after the pollen fields."
    "Seriously!  How're a bunch of ants going to make attacks on our hive?  It's ridiculous.  Some rebel wasps went and tried to smash part of the colony.  That doesn't mean that ants were 'harboring' them or that they're 'developing weapons of mass defloweration'.  WMDs?  Who really thinks they're going to be able to get something like that over here?"
    "Well, they had some valid concerns at the start.  Turns out it was just a spy screwing up his reports due to some grudge.  I hope he's in the slammer."
    "Hmph.  You don't really believe that, do you?"

And yeah.  I have an exam to prepare for and a summarization paragraph to write.  So see you lot tomorrow.
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The 'T' Stands For 'Terry' [28 Jan 2008|05:28pm]
    "Look, mate, I'm sorry. I  know ye've been part of us since we started, but ye just can't keep up.  Sid can, so that's why we're goin' for him."  Man, bassists are jerks.
    "It's nothin' personal, Jerry.  Come on, you knew if we ever started to make it big you'd hold us back.  That's why you joined us in the first place."  Cathy's not a jerk like Larry, and her charismatic singing is probably the sole reason the band has started to 'make it big'.   None of this really mattered to Jerry T. Jellyfish, though.  He felt like he had become a part of the band, that he'd fused into their identity.  Now all those local shows mean nothing?  What if Larry couldn't pick the strings fast enough?  What if Cathy lost her voice?  Would they oust them, too?   It's not his fault that his arms were so limp!
    Of course, Jerry couldn't actually voice any of these rejections.  He was practically choking on the resentment.    Without a word he turned around, floated solemnly out the door, dragging his many drum sticks behind him despondently.
    "Look, Jerry, maybe if you learned some other instrument," Larry called out from behind him.  That set Jerry off.
    "Like what, Larry?  You want me to be a rapper like all those other jellyfish?  I was going to make it big!  I was going to break that mould!  I was - I was... I was going to be something more, you spoiled little lobster, with daddy paying for everything.  "
    "Jerry, you don't mean that!"  Cathy sure was a sweety.
    "Yes, yes I do.  He can never shut up about how HIS dad is a millionaire.  About how HIS dad owns at least three cubic miles in every ocean. Well, screw you Larry.  At least I bought my drum kit with my own money."
     Jerry was pretty lucky that Cathy discreetly held Larry back.  There's no way he could deal with a hard exoskeleton, freaking huge crushing claws, and that vicious streak all bassists seem to have.  They all knew, however, that there'd be no coming back for Jerry.   That's just not the kind of thing you say to a friend.  Not while sober, anyways.
    On his way home, the ousted jellyfish saw the very mollusk that had wrenched his spot away: Sid the Squid.  Getting high, as usual.  It'd be pretty easy to slip him some of that potent stuff lining his tentacles... He could even claim (if they traced it back to him) that Sid assaulted him!  Screamed something about, hmm... 'Eating the mother of all squids will make the nightmares stop!'  With no real job to go back to - he had quit that - and his band spot now taken away permanently..."Wait.  Why am I acting so hateful?  The Sea Monkeys were founded on love, and this is not love!  I should be trying harder, not blaming others!"
    Then a Great White Shark ate him, because the author refused to turn the story into a sappy "just do your best" lesson.  THAT'S RIGHT:  freaking kill the guy, OR ELSE A SHARK WILL EAT YOU. 
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[27 Jan 2008|11:00pm]
    "Gronk smash!" is about the last thing you want to hear in your life.  Gronk is not a very nice troll.  He's also really, really, really big, with an intellect that is inversely proportional to his stature.  Unfortunately, it's really hard to outsmart a two hundred pound fist that's rushing to your face.
    Gronk was empowered with this giant stature because of a certain mortal man - we'll call him Stjärlink - managed to do something rather unspeakable.  He seduced Baldur whilst he was drunk, and then found a way to sneak out of Valhalla.  Odin was not pleased with this at all - ok, so the homosexuality's not that big a deal.  But seducing his own son whilst he was impaired?  Unspeakable!  And then running away!  What a coward!  Such dishonour!  Such impudence! 
    And so they found Gronk, whose name should have an umlaut but I can only have one thing on a clipboard at once, so he doesn't get one.  He was a mighty troll struck down in battle by Stjärlink many years ago - the act that won him passage to Valhalla, in fact.  Odin breathed deeply and reimbued Gronk with life, with memories, and with no emotion but a burning desire for revenge.  Gronk WILL smash Stjärlink, and he won't stop until he does.
    Stjärlink, however, is a very clever man.  He would have to be, to get out of Valhalla.  He hid from Gronk for many years, until Gronk grew so angry that his anger literally exploded.  The emptiness inside him caused him to hunger mightily, and he began eating any one he found.  Soon, Gronk was full up again - but he was still hungry.  He would consume and consume and consume, and the only thing that could sate his hunger was Stjärlink's heart.
    Unfortunately, Gronk soon became so hungry he started eating everyTHING instead of just everyONE.  While trying to eat an entire mountain that was in between him and the smell of Stjärlink, he uncovered Fenrir, still tied tight by his ribbon.  Suspecting that such a huge wolf would be a lot tastier than a mountain, he ran at it and tried to rip off its leg. 
    Fenrir, of course, thought this was almost amusing.  He opened his mouth and snapped Gronk's head off with a single snap.  He quickly devoured the rest of his massive, engorged body, and waited.
    Gronk had fed Fenrir just enough to snap his bonds, and lo - Ragnarok cometh. 

    Yeah, Stjärlink changed his name to Stjerk, if you're wondering
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[26 Jan 2008|10:20pm]
    "Yar, me hearties!  T'day we be thee most powarrrrful pirates in thee whole world!"
    "AYE!" roared the crew.
      "We been gettin' plenty o' plunder as of late, and now we gots our very own FLEET!"
    " An' now we gots all the rum, all the wenches, an' all the beef jerky a manly lot like us cud ever want!"
    "All we be missin' is the music, lads, and now I - yer amazin' Admiral Beardy B. McBeard - got that covered!  Introducin' Joney Daves and the Lockers!"
    The intensity of thunderous applause from the rapscallions and buccaneers cannot properly be conveyed in text form, much less LiveJournal's simple encoding mechanisms, so just imagine it really loud with a bunch of pistols going off.  No, louder... louder... There!  That's it.
    McBeard bowed to the huge crowd, and waved over to his side.  An explosion exploded in a very explodey manner (don't worry, that was supposed to happen) and as the smoke cleared, smoky silhouettes began to substantiate.   See prior paragraph, except throw in a few more "louders".    By 'a few' I mean maybe 6 or 7.
    Joney Daves motioned for the crowd to be silent after a pause, and as a quiet fell upon the audience, every pirate got a sick feeling to their stomach.  That's because good sailors recognize a calm before a storm, and this was exactly that.
    The hurricane of guitar notes hit them so furiously that the S. S. Sssssss out in the bay capsized(it was named when they only had an 'S' stencil, so be nice).  The sudden relocation of a good deal of mass sent a miniature tidal wave in towards the beach-concert, drenching them thoroughly with salty brine and becoming the world's first aquatic mosh-pit.           
    Then the drums kicked in.
    After a night of rocking so hard that only true bucklers of swash would be hearty enough to stay standing past the third song, Joney Daves made the worst mistake of his life.  Learn from his mistake, and never, ever, ever, etc., assume that a seafaring pirate only practices one kind.
    "I'd say ladies and gentlemen, but there's not a one of THOSE in ye lads!  Ye lot are the hardest, most rockin' buncha gits we e'er laid eyes on!" 
    "But we've gotta go.  The Fleet of McBeard, this last song is the first one we e'er wrote, and its our pleasure - nay, 'tis our privilege - for ye raunchy lot to be the first crowd still conscious fer it!"
    A pretty awesome riff flew at the crowd.  Loud cheers ensued.
    But not as loud as they were before.  That riff was almost.. familiar.  Then the music cut off, and a Joney Daves threw the first line out.
    "You'll take my life, but I'll take yours too!"
    The cheers cut off abruptly.
    "You'll fire musket but I'll run you through!"
    This was the biggest screw up in musical history.  To emphasize just how badly that went, take Dungeon & Dragon's epic perform check table on audiences.   See how it says "Helpful" to "Friendly" requires a check of less-than-one?  Well, it'd take five simultaneous "less than ones" to achieve the effect they just pulled off.
    You see, Beardy B. McBeard united this pirate armada on a mutual love of Iron Maiden.  Joney Daves was outright plagiarizing their worship idols, and every one of them knew it.  It'd be like running around in The Vatican screaming "God is a lie!" while throwing flaming bibles smeared in human feces at people.  Or telling KISS fans the truth about their musical tastes.  Just a plain out bad idea that you really shouldn't do.
    The Lockers realised their folly long before Joney Daves did.  When the music stopped, he turned around to see the backsides of his band moving in a way that can only be described as "the polar opposite of crowd diving".  "Hey, ye blokes, what gives?"
    The lack of guitars meant the jeers weren't being drowned out, and he turned back around.  He slipped his shades up- which were less 'sunglasses' and more 'so dark that one could look directly into the sun safely"  -  to get his first glance at a crowd so angry and beyond the point of 'rabble-rousable' it'd make even Zeus himself develop a spontaneous case of chicken pox.  Chicken pox requires isolation, you see...
    Now, Joney Daves obviously isn't the brightest lad in the musical industry.  Or even the brightest lad in a room full of alcoholics given an unlimited bar tab.  When the hook-handed gits were the first to scale the fifteen feet to get on stage (the hook hand really helps), he was quoted as saying "'Ey, you lot, no autographs."
    He woke up the next morning; a bump the size of his butt on the back of his head throbbing.  Beardy McBeard stood before him, holding high a book.  This was obviously just a prop designed to intimidate, as it is widely known that McBeard is illiterate, but Joney Daves wasn't the type to figure that out.  In short, it worked, but it shouldn't have.  Kind of how a pirate lives, eh? 
    "Joney Daves, ye've blasphemed an' ignored thee most sacred rule in all o' Beardland.  Thou Shalt Honour Iron Maiden.  Ye attempterized coverin'  'n Iron Maiden song, which is thee highest form of idolization.  But ye tried ta pass it off as yer own.  Thee disraspect was so much Ah had ta take a crash course in formal persecutionin' AND add a new law to Beardland."
    "Then Ah had ta make the lads rig up a new an' proparrr tub tah carry out justice.  Ye, Joney Daves, are sentenced to one keelmasting from a capsized boat in a tarpit, followed by featherin'.  After this, ye'll be shot out o' a cannon point-blank inta a solid granite cliff."

There is a moral to this story.  Always cite your works.
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Suck It Up, Princess [25 Jan 2008|08:34pm]

    Meet Murphy.  Murphy's not such a bad guy, just a bit unlucky with a harmless mean streak.  Murphy, however, gets a pretty bad rap from a lot of people.  Just because he's an incarnation of bad luck doesn't mean he's responsible for your present predicament.  Sometimes that's Solomon (he's the physics guy) or Cupid or just plain your own fault.  Just think of what the poor guy has to deal with all the time!    "Daggonedubbitnabbit!  Again?"
    "Oh God(s), they got Tim!"
    "****ing ****!"
    All of this and more is constantly being yelped at Murphy, but it's usually not his doing.  It's YOUR fault you dropped the toast, Murphy just makes it land buttered and jammed side down.  It's YOUR fault that you tripped up while trying to show off, Murphy just makes sure that the cute guy you've had your eye on was watching.  Murphy does the little things, but all that he gets for it is grief.
    And it's not like he's immune to his own laws, either!  Way back when he was just a regular guy, his hand-eye coordination could be compared disfavourably to a snake's.  His glasses had lens as thick as his finger, and his feet grew to different sizes - size 13 on the right side, size 11 on the left.  Keep in mind he was all of a glorious five foot four, and he could barely break 80 pounds with his winter jacket on.  It's a miracle he survived Middle School, let alone High.
    Nowadays, he's a rather bitter Incarnation.  Wouldn't you be?  The field of bad luck around him is so strong that the last time he tried to take a walk, George W. Bush got elected.  Twice.  The second time was because four years later, Murphy was still falling down the stairs.  He'd really like to install an elevator, but that'd be an even worse head-ache.  Because he can't even get up without risking serious injury, he's somewhat stapled to his throne.  But it gets worse - that six year tumble knocked the number of the Celestial Cleaning Agency right out of his head.  Of course he's athsmatic; he's got it pretty bad.
    This is just a glance at Murphy's life.  Next time you get caught because your hand got stuck in the cookie jar, or you're two minutes late to stop the $75 parking ticket, or your internet goes out, stop being such a crybaby.  People've got it way worse than you.  Heck, GODS have got it way worse than you.  A little inconvenience in a life of convenience shouldn't garner much sympathy.
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I should expand on this setting some day. [24 Jan 2008|08:30pm]
    Ahh, Mimeville.  World capitol of monochomaticism, striped shirts, charades world-champions, and face paint; infamous for its nearly non-existent imports, exports, or noise pollution.
    A particularly dreary winter day had robbed Mimeville of colour.  The sky was white instead of blue, the grass and trees were covered with a thick fluffy carpet of alabaster snow.  The citizens that shuffled back and forth were adorned in their stereotypical fashion, the occasional crimson lips providing the only flashes of colour on the whole landscape, while the Model T's of less experienced mimes provided the murmering of engines that echoed across the monotone skyscrapers.
    One Anthony P.  Renameme (pronounced 'Ren-ah-meem', also known as 'not a cop-out, honest!', which is rather ironic in that Renameme IS a cop) tilted his head back with his mouth open, his shoulders hunching visibly.  The window fogged up, but his sigh was definitely inaudible - mimes are very good at being silent.   He fiddled with his chrome badge before turning back to his partner.  His hands swung about, speaking a language that was still silent.   "Let me guess.  He got another one?"
    The partner in question, Charles A. Smith, a portly fellow with diamonded cheeks and an ever-present bowler hat, nodded grimly.   His shaking hands handed him something.  Or at least suggested that.  Anthony took it, and moved his hands as if he was holding a piece of paper.  He scanned it with a furrowed brow, then signed "it all looks in order.  Bring her in."
    Anthony almost gagged as Charles led her in.  The first bit of colour was introduced to his morning, in the form of a red stained bandage wrapped around where her eyes were.  Her lips were terse with obvious fear, but the worst part - by far, the worst part - was that she looked oh so familiar.  It was Lucy Renameme.  Anthony's wife.
    Screw pretense.  Screw regulations.  Anthony threw himself into her arms, and gave the most reassuring embrace in the northern hemisphere.  This was his wife and that sicko was going down. 
    Especially since his wife happened to have a somewhat savantic talent in that she could draw amazingly well with her eyes closed.  Anthony rustled around under his desk for a bit, and pulled out a pencil and paper.  Real ones.  He sat her down, put the pencil into her hand, and ushered Charles out of the room to give her space.
    Going blind is especially bad in Mimeville.  There's no spoken language here, so it's like being struck blind and deaf at the same time.  Most of the citizens don't even know a spoken language, since it's literally impossible to teach it school.  You see, a couple decades ago, the founder of Mimeville grew frustrated with his neighbours and wrote up a petition to 'shut them up'.  The rest of the town council, who were also fed up with their noise violations, didn't bother even reading the charter.  Said neighbours hired a lawyer from the big city to claim persecution.  The town was made mostly of uneducated settlers, and were no match for the legal-fu of the hired help.  Said hired help convinced the town with a flurry of fast talking and convincing arguments that the new bylaw would have to apply to EVERY ONE in the settlement.  Which, in turn, meant that speaking aloud became outlawed.  Mimeville citizens are now quite proud of their unique culture, and as such changed the name to 'Mimeville' as well as repealed any attempts to change that ancient legislation.
    Anthony noticed Charles sweating furiously, and asked him why.  "Look, man, this sicko obviously knows we're after him.  He got your *wife*!  What if he comes after my daughter next?  Or one of us?" 
    "Charles, we can't give up now.  We need to stop this guy immediately."  Anthony knew that Charles was lying, though.  You don't have a partner for twenty four years without noticing that he was always the one that forged ahead, that kept trying to take out the bad guys.  Heck, that's why he has a daughter but no wife - and that traumatic event only made him more resolute in his convictions in the past.
    The two men finished their cigarettes outside, the flares of red being the most vivid sight in the city.  It was time to go back in.  Charles was a nervous wreck, and when Anthony took a look at the drawn picture he knew why.    It was Charles' old look, before he lost his wife and revamped his life.  The bare hair - definitely an anomaly and easy to recognize, but even more so with an arrow pointing to it that said 'brown', the painted on moustache, and the rounded figure...
    "Take your hat off and then place your hands behind your head, Charles,"  signed an expressionless Anthony.  His gun was pushed straight into Charles' face.
    "C-Can't we talk about this?  I mean, I mean, it could have been any one.  I've been your friend fo- I've been framed!  Framed!"
    "Charles.  You are acting just like every other perp caught in the act.  Give.  Yourself.  Up.  Now."
    No wonder he was so nervous.  But why?  Why would he - no.  It's not worth asking now.  Just do your job, and lock this... this traitor up.

    "He was keeping them.  He was keeping their eyes in his basement, in little jars full of oxygenated fluid.  Every single one was still capable of seeing, assuming it could be reattached."
    And look!  (Pardon the pun.)  A doctor in India had recently found a way to do just that.  Reconnect severed nerves using stem cells.   That relied on another new breakthrough - turning the live skin cells into stem cells had been achieved in 2007.
    I'm retiring, Lucy.  I won't ever let something happen to you again, I promise."
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[23 Jan 2008|05:13pm]
    The lurching figure stumbled through the imposing arch, and a shrieking siren cut through the air.  "Excuse me, sir, would you mind emptying your pockets?"  The young guard - who had no real interest in his duties - rattled off the request like a half-awake teenager reading the back of the cereal box at five AM.
    The figure peered up from his twisted, hunched form, somehow untwisting his figure in a way that made him look even more pathetic.  Ancient, hallowed eyes gazed wearily at the security guard, great lakes in a canyon-etched landscape.  A grating, almost artificial voice split forth from his unnatural looking lips; "I lost my ******* arm to Fritz, boy, an' both o' me feet.  I've got more steel in my head than skull.  There's no way in bloody **** I'll walk through that thing without setting it off, boy, so just let me through."
    "Of course, sir," began another memorized and unfelt speech,  "We here at Stereotypical Airlines meant no disrespect to our valued customers, especially when sir slash ma'am served our great nation in the past.  May we inquire as to the purpose of your trip?"    
    "Family," sneered the wrinkled mess in a way that suggested his face was taped on.  "**** fool son went and got married again, and I gotta bloody be there or there'll be **** to pay."
    "Very well, sir, enjoy your flight at Stereotypical Airlines.  Please enjoy this complimentary coupon for two dollars off any gift shop item.  Not applicable for any purchase under $50."
    "Keep your **** coupon, boy, and git outta the way."
    "Enjoy your flight with Stereotypical Airlines, sir.  Next!"
    The hunched figure's heavy coat covered him like a death shroud, obscuring everything but the horrible coughing fit he experienced while attempting to board the plane.  A service attendant attempted to help him climb the stairs, but an uncannily strong grip caught her hand.  A flash of an evil eye shooed her away, and he began his laborious ascent.   The faint smell of cheap liquor oozed off his frame, masking something deeper... Some unplaceable yet familiar odour. 
    This vile and cantankerous fellow cleared the little section at the back of the seating area; no one was willing to subject themselves to his infallible promises of condescension and that bitter smell of booze.   Eventually, the corner that was home to the skulking codger felt foreign to even the flight's staff.
    After a time, when most of the the other patrons of Stereotypical Airlines were sound asleep and the in-flight movie had switched to the atrocity known as "Catwoman", the old man got up from his seat and began shuffling towards the head of the plane.  The only conscious attendant walked up to him, put a hand gently upon his shoulder, and said "I'm sorry sir, but we can't let you go that way.  Do you need help with anything?"
    He shouldn't have bothered.  A shaking hand, its skin like parchment, raised itself to the hand on its shoulder, and squeezed.  The old coot could help himself to anything he wanted.  A crunching of bone and a yelp of pain erupted, followed by the poor man being flung away.  The gig was up, and so the frail old man shed his false appearance.  Metal tore the papery skin from beneath, and machinery erupted from all areas of the figure.  The coat was shed, and a fully eight foot robot stood erect on a stable base of wheels.  Wicked, whirring blades at the end of the aberration's arms sparked menacingly, and in a show of bravado vodka was squirted from some hidden canister through the sparks, resulting in an intimidating entrance. 
    A brief pause preceded the wails of terror that erupted like some sort of terror-born fountain.  The machine reveled in the horror for but a moment, then flung itself straight towards the cockpit in manner that was reminiscent of a jaguar - both the cat and the car.  The pilots didn't even have time to look shocked before their vitals were... disconnected.
    The last transmission Flight ADF-7 sent was cryptic.  "The military has no right to deem parts of their soldiers 'unnecessary', especially their conscripts."  Unfortunately, red tape prevented the recording from ever being released to the public...
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Dr. Hinklebug [22 Jan 2008|12:08pm]
    Shane Blonde stared at his arch-nemesis, who happened to be smiling smugly while drinking a cup of tea.  "You expect me to talk?"
    "To break a cliche, yes, actually."
    "Ever ever?"
    "NEVAAAAARRRRRone one one!!!"
    "Right, some one's spent too much time on the internet.  Very well then, my broken-brained bête noire, let us dispense with the niceties."
    "What did you just call me?"
    "Oh, I had to resort to some other language to keep the alliteration up.  Don't worry your pretty soon-to-be-scalped head about it."
    "I'll never talk!"
    "Yes, yes, we've heard that before.  I'd stop saying it if I was you," began the stereotypically nefarious Dr. Hinklebug.  Before Shane could inquire as to why, however, the obviously quite-more-intelligent of the pair cut him off.  "We wouldn't want to make you any more of a liar; now, would we?"  
    "Big talk for a mad scientist without a death ray."
    "Death rays?  DEATH RAYS?" Hearty villainous laughter broke out into a child-traumatizing crescendo.  "Death ray plans NEVER work, my addled adversary.  It's an undocumented law of physics.  No, my ridiculous rival, I am much more clever than that.  But enough about me.  It's time to soften you up a bit."
    "I'll never taaAAAAAGH!"  As the boiling sludge splattered across the doomed hero's crotch, tufts of greenish-brown vapour flew into the air.  His tormentor inhaled deeply, seemingly relaxed by the indubitably toxic vapours wafting upwards. 
    "You should be sterile by now.  Well, besides your sensitives having just been turned into a puddle of melted flesh.  If you were to some how get out of this alive - which you won't, rest assured - you'd probably want to go test for cancer."  Hinklebug smirked at his squealing target, which writhed about in agony for over half an hour. 
    The pain seemed to subside, or at least begin to.  "H-How can you drink that rot?"
    Hinklebug responded by raising his hand.  His fingers pinched his wrist, and pulled upwards - revealing a glint of metal.  His skin was fake!  <i>Fake!</i>  Said fist then balled up, and slammed into the scorched and barren wasteland that was once Blonde's favourite recreation center.  "I was once like you, you know.  Saving the world, blah blah blah.  MY arch-nemesis caught me once, and he had a right and clever torture machine hooked up.  By the end I had three ribs, an eye, and a central nervous system left.  He didn't even care about what I had to say - he was already done.  Lucky for the world he didn't double check his notes, and blew himself right back to kingdom come.  I had pretty good health care, so the government built me a new body.  Unfortunately, they really couldn't erase the mental trauma."
    "You're insane," Shane managed to spit between throbbing waves of anguish.
    "Well, duh.  I was getting to that.  I'm quite impressed that you're still capable of speech, however.  I must have broken your pelvis with that last bit.  Let's see what happens when we rip a finger tip off!"
    The cacophonies that echoed around the chamber got more and more feverish.  No man could take this sadistic attention.  "Fine. Fleagggh.  I talk.  I straagh!  Talk."
    "Very, very good!  I was wondering if I'd have to start reattaching bits again.  For my first question, my tortured trouble, would you mind explaining just how you got in here?  The main entrance is quite secure, and there's no other safe way in."
    "Hhhheat inssk..  Sink.  Disabled.  Crew.  Crugh.  Crawled!  Crawled..."
    Hinklebug's artificial eye widened.  So did his natural one - the only thing in his body unaffected by his capture, so very long ago.  "I'm terribly sorry to leave you all alone like this.  THIS button ought to release enough morphine to keep you fine.  See?  Answers are good.  However, I must take my leave.  Something rather urgent has just come up," and a rapid clanking quickly faded out of perception.  The still amusingly PG cusses in his metallic, rasping voice took a much longer time to fade...
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Oh, That Saucy Screen [21 Jan 2008|09:06pm]
    Joe's eyes widened at the specter of possibility looming before him.  He had spent so much time working on this pet project, and the time to reap his rewards loomed closer.  Speeches, denouncing all his prior critiques (the ones that claimed all this "game playing" would amount to nothing) danced through his head.  Self-glorifying soliloquies came unbidden to his mind.
    The map finished loading.  This was it.  He was going to rich.  But one little Korean kid stood before him and his grand prize.  Recognition, prize, respect - he could taste it all.  He panned his mouse across the screen, to get an idea for his immediate surroundings.  A grim smirk crept across Joe's face, though he didn't realise it.
    A flurry of commands raced across the server.  It was a race against time.  This was the big leagues, and preparation was everything.  Nothing happened.
    A slight pause.  Three rapid blinks.  Nothing happened.
    A sneer crept across Joe's face.  "Not now!  No, NOT NOW!" 
    The frame advanced again, before dropping him to an all-too-familiar sight.  His monitor shone an azure hue, white letters blinking half-read words at his gruesomely malformed face.
    A series of beeps came from his computer tower.  Their tone was rapid, sporadic, and some how condescending.  The words wrapped around the screen coyly, in a pattern strangely reminiscent of swaying hips and, due to the flashing words, a heaving bosom.
    Joe's head slammed into his hands, tears forming in his eyes, wispy threads of hair pulled taut by his quivering palms.  "Why now?  Why no-o-o-owww?" he sobbed, as he held the power button down.  He glanced upwards, and thought he saw a message to him.  He tried to look again, but at that instant the power finally cut.
    Did it really say "JOE, WE NEVER DO ANYTHING FUN ANY MORE..."?  That's - that's ridiculous.  It must be a grief-borne hallucination.
    It must be.
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