Worlds & Time

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

A (Long) Fun Questionnaire

This is how bored I am today, I'm taking multiple online questionnaires and editing them together. Sources: (One, Two, Three)

Where do you live? Currently I live in Santa Fe, NM.

What color is your hair? Coppery brown.

What color are your eyes? They change. Seriously. They're usually blue or green, but I've seen them gray and light brown too.

How tall are you? 5'11" or 1.8 meters.

What's your sign? Taurus.

Do you have any siblings? Yes, Pocket Lint, who is a U.S. Marine Reservist.

Do you have any pets? We have two dogs, Rosie the bimbo and Luther the warrior.

Do you have any phobias? I'm not a big fan of insects.

What makes you happy? Praise, sex, interesting conversation, and beautiful things.

What really irritates you?

What makes you sad? Those commercials about almost helping people, homeless people, loosing old friends.

What makes you angry? People that don't care about doing a good job, people that that are self-absorbed to the point of injury to others, and people that run red lights.

Who is your best friend? At the moment, it's Jeff.

Ever broken a bone? Yes. I had a double fracture of my C-2 Vertebrae when I was 24.

What's the best advice you've ever received? Every character that you write about should want something, even if it's just a glass of water. - Vonnegut

What's the best thing you've ever bought? My current laptop.

What's the worst thing you've ever bought? The laptop just before that one.

What's the best thing you've ever been given? Books.

What's the worst thing you've ever been given? Something given thoughtlessly, probably. Perhaps the Starbucks gift card I got for Christmas from the Marriott when I worked there, as I don't drink coffee.

What are your future goals? I'd like to have a book published.

Who do you consider the most beautiful woman in the world? Angelina Jolie.

Who do you consider the most handsome man in the world? Brad Pitt. I know, its cliche to have them together, but they are an amazingly cute couple.

What is your favorite thing to do on a hot summer day? Lay on the beach with a good book, non-runny sunscreen, and a cold drink.

What is your favorite thing to do on a snowy winter day? Sit inside watching the snow next to a roaring fire with Swiss Miss apple cider mix.

If you were granted 3 wishes, what would they be? Hmmm . . . First I'd wish for the intent of my wishes to be fulfilled without any unanticipated twists or catches. Secondly I'd wish for the ability to alter and change reality (and if necessary change it back to the way it was). Then I'd probably save the last wish for an emergency.

If you could go back in time to see or change something, when would it be and what would you do? Those are two different things. If I could go back in time to see something, I would visit Jerusalem in the late twenties and early thirties, A.D. If I could go back and change something, I would probably go back and inform the Native Americans what was about to happen to them when the Europeans arrived in the Americas.

Do you believe in the after-life? No.

Do you believe in God? Not in the way that he is commonly personified and characterized by the majority of Christians (as I understand them). If you dilute the term to mean "the naturalistic universe" then I do believe in that, but I don't believe that it's cognizant and aware of us, nor that something metaphysical necessarily exists beyond it other than Branes or some other metanaturalistic system.

Do you believe in ghosts and magic? No, but I don't deny that there can be things in this universe beyond my understanding.

What was your last job? Night Auditor for a Marriott hotel.

What is your current job? Reservations for a local hotel.

What is your dream job? Writing full time, but until that happens, probably managing my own hotel.

What book are you currently reading? Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson.

What do you think about it? It's really good. I regret not having picked it up earlier.

What is your favorite book? I dunno. Issola by Steven Brust, The Riven Shield by Michelle West, or The Return of Endymion by Dan Simmons are all at the top of the list.

What is your favorite magazine? XY.

Never heard of it. What is it about? It's a gay (male) youth magazine. I don't read it any more, but it was good with glossy pictures of hot guys and interesting articles that made me feel a little more connected with the larger gay community.

What is last movie that you saw? I am Legend.

What did you think of it? It was okay. I saw it on my list of the 50 most important science fiction/fantasy novels of the last 50 years, and so I'll probably get around to reading it eventually.

What is your favorite movie? Contact.

Really? Yes, really.

You didn't think that was sort of a boring movie? Boring? It was a fantastic movie with real drama and meaningful tension. I don't think it was boring at all.

What is your favorite band/singer? I'm a fan of Linkin Park. The last CD I bought was "Minutes to Midnight" by them.

Now you're just joking with me, aren't you? No. I like their music. It's modern with a strong drum line, it pushes through a lot of power and feeling without resorting to screaming, and they manage to harmonize subtly and interestingly.

Only angsty teenagers listen to them. Are you an angsty teenager? No, but I listen to them, which proves that not only angsty teenagers listen to them. Although I guess you could consider me an angsty twenty-something.

Well, whatever. What's your favorite song? It's still Dreaming by BT.

Jesus, you have really horrible taste in music, you know that? Okay, what's wrong with Dreaming by BT?

It's only the gayest music ever produced. Are you a big fan of electronica? Not really, but I like his music and a few other things. I like the ethereal nature of the high female voices in music like that. I'm not much of a club person though, so I tend away from the really deep thumping base lines.

Enough music questions. I don't want to know any more. What is your favorite food? Sushi.

What? Don't you know that it's got tons of Mercury in it? I only eat it once or twice a week, and more of it is probably from California than from New York.

Still, that could be really bad for you, don't you think? Eh. I drink milk, I eat the occasional burger and I like chili and soda. It can't be worse for me than that stuff.

What's your favorite television show? What kind of question is that?

Pardon? I'm posting this on my blog, and I was trying to give an accurate impression of what I'm like without exactly broadcasting my faults to the world.

You think that telling people about your favorite television show is a fault? Well, I've already admitted that I watch some bad television a few posts back, and I am sometimes embarrassed by how much I watch. Since I'm the one writing this, I figured that I could skip that question without anyone noticing.

Just answer the question, what's your favorite show? Well, House, at the moment.

That wasn't so hard, was it? I guess not.

Who's the cutest actor in it? How is that relevant?

Again, just answer the question. Do you need me to repeat it? No. Well, the thing is, there's really not really anyone that I really go for. The closest is Dr. Chase, and even with him, the fact that he's sort of religious is sort of a turn off. Personality wise, I have to say that I like Dr. Cameron, except there's that major drawback of her being a woman and all. Then, of course, there's Hugh Laurie, who's an asshole but somehow still manages to be loyal, funny, and disturbingly attractive.

You thought about that answer, didn't you? Well yeah, isn't that the point?

I get the feeling that you're fishing for something else though, huh? Er. . . I was sort of thinking about how I could segue from that into cute porn stars.

Something else on your mind? I am a guy, after all, and I suspect that's on a lot of guys minds most of the time.

Aren't you 25 years old or something? Shouldn't you be over that by now? Well, yeah, I'm twenty five, but I sort of missed out of my peak sexuality. I really wouldn't mind trying to catch up.

So, did you come up with a way to "segue into cute porn stars?" This is a questionnaire. I figured I could just ask myself straight off "Who are your favorite porn stars?"

Works for me. Who are your favorite porn stars? Jeremy Penn's still at the top of the list, of course, although he hasn't been on the scene for a few years and his early stuff is still the best. Mason Wyler's still hot, although I could live without having seen previews of his golden shower scenes. Fredrik Eklund, or Tag Eriksson, or however you spell that is still one of my heroes for being both a porn star and a successful human being. Erik Rhodes for kissing Kathy Griffin at the GayVN awards. . . .

Nearly done? . . . and pretty much all of the Corbin Fisher guys for just being cute and straight acting.

Well, that's not excessive. Anyone you're missing? Tommy D, for apparently being bisexual or possibly just straight but still having sex with guys.

Jesus. More than I needed to know. Ready to move on? Yeah, I guess. I just sort of realized that we sort of left the real questions back in the dust a while ago, didn't I?

You got that right. We're deep into Dave Eggers territory now. Have you ever fired a gun? Geez, another odd question. Where did that one come from?

The third reference from up at the top of this post. Have you ever fired a gun? Nope, although I've wanted to become a cop for a while.

A cop? Yeah. Is that so hard to believe?

You do know that you're really gay, right? Don't you think that might be an issue? Not really. There are gay cops out there. Besides, I'm not that gay.

How many out of shape gay cops with broken necks and crazy dreams to write science fiction do you think are out there? Well, maybe I'll be the first.

Why do you want to be a cop anyway? For the same reason that I wanted to become an Administrator on IIDB; I was hoping to make things better for other people.

That sounds like the most trite answer that I've ever heard. It's really about the power, isn't it? Not in the way that you're suggesting. You'll notice that I gave up power pretty quick on the message board trying to do the right thing. Same thing with being a police officer. With power comes responsibility and all of that.

Two questions: One, do you realize that you just quoted a superhero movie to justify your moral stance? Two, you didn't really give up power at the message board, did you? To your first question, yes, I realize that. I'm not exactly proud of it, but my morality is mostly from books anyway. Just because it's in a movie that doesn't make it pointless. To your second question, yeah, I was kicked out, but it's not like I didn't realize that could be an outcome when I went down that path before I started. Mike was crazy, and crazy people do unexpected things some times.

Don't you think you did anything wrong during that whole situation? I've certainly said I did, especially about being confrontational with Maverick and Mike in the ACR, but right now as I think about it, I just sort of justified it to myself. After all, one of the things that I think is most important in leadership is the ability to take verbal abuse and shrug it off. Even if I was rude and confrontational in the ACR, I don't necessarily think that should have resulted in my disqualification. That Mike and Maverick couldn't deal with it speaks more about them than about me.

So, you do think you did wrong, but you're still trying to abrogate responsibility? I suppose it sounds like that. I take it back then. I did make mistakes.

Why not go back and delete what you wrote in the question before the previous one then? I'm not sorry enough to go do that.

So, why do you think that you'd make a good cop? I don't think that I'd be a good cop, I'd probably be an average cop, but I am really honest. I'd have exceedingly large problems with other cops taking privileges, and maybe I could make the lives of some people better by preventing them from running wild.

You realize that if you ever post this, no police academy in the country is going to let you through the doors? I've already been told that they won't let me in because I'm too smart. See, I'm too honest for my own good.

Uhg. You're sort of a romantic of sorts, aren't you? I suppose I am, about honesty, anyway. I've seen honesty destroy people's careers but I still have this sort of faith that honesty is still the right thing to do most of the time.

If you become a cop, how long do you think that will last? Hopefully longer than my tenure as an Administrator at IIDB did.

Who would you like to see right now? I'm torn. I'd like to kick back with J., the guy I had a crush on in college, as much as it pains me. At the moment, if I could wish it into existence I'd probably choose Mike, who I'm still worried about.

Why are you worried about him? He hasn't been returning my calls or emails. It's been months since anyone I know has heard from him or seen him. His ex suggested that perhaps he's on a long trip with his father, but I worry.

Doesn't he live in the same town that you do? Outside of town, yeah. I'm sort of scared of his house though. I've never successfully navigated my way out there before. I'd really like Jeff to drive me, but they're not on speaking terms still.

If you could go anywhere in the world right now, where would you go? London, probably. I need to go to a place where I can kick my reputation out the window and have some fun.

What do you mean by "fun?" Have sex and write.

Well, that was blunt enough. Why can't you have sex where you are, and why can't you write? I don't know about the sex thing. I need to get out of my Mom's house primarily, and I need to get away from my past. Also, I need to get away from my solitary comfort zone in order to write. Either I have to have friends urging me on or I need to get away from a place where I'm comfortable relaxing in front of a television.

There's your television thing coming through again. Well, why don't you just turn off the television? I can't get up the will power. Internal motivation is something that I lack.

That's an interesting problem. Could you describe it a little better? I have this issue with internal drive. I typically just drift through life in a sort of fugue state of motivation. Other people ask me things, and I can derive motivation from their actions either to do them or to refuse them, but I have a lot of trouble using my internal motivation to create active willpower.

That sounds like it could be a hindrance to having sex. Is it? Yeah. I can't work out for myself, even though I'd love to be in shape. I have trouble approaching the guys that are attractive, too.

So, what do you do? I don't get laid, mostly.

I meant about the lack of motivation. Is it a depression thing? Not really. Don't get me wrong, I've been depressed for most of my life, but even during the good periods I have trouble with motivation. Sort of like extreme manic depression without the manic phases.

Any other fun psychological issues? Yeah, actually, I have a strange sort of mild synethsia that makes certain fabrics and textures uncomfortable sometimes to the point of pain. I don't touch corduroy, velvet, or crushed velvet. I usually deal with it by rolling up my sleeves before trying to touch it.

You're serious about that? I really, truly am. I've been known to exaggerate it, but it's really an issue for me. It drives me nuts and sends these bizarre shivers up and down my nerves.

Do you have any piercings? Nope. Not planning on getting any, either.

What about tattoos? I like tattoos, but I'm not planning on any of those either. I'd love to get one of my own designs as a sleeve or on my back, but I also think that I'm way to fat to get a tattoo.

You think only thin people can get tattoos? Well, no, but I only like the way they look on people that are in shape, so I don't think I'd get one unless I got into amazing shape.

Are you a giver or a taker? Uh . . . that's sort of an uncomfortable question.

I just took it from the list again. I didn't mean it in a gay way. I'm sure you don't have much of an issue with telling us even if I'd intended it in a gay way anyway, do you? I suppose not. Alright, In a non-gay way, I'm probably more of a taker than a giver. I have a reactive personality, not a proactive personality. In a gay way, I'm more of a pitcher, but I can play both sides of the field.

You do realize that most gay guys say that but really aren't, right? Someone recently said that there was a definite lack of tops in major gay cities like NYC, San Fran, and Miami. I really do go both ways, but then I'm not the most experienced person in the world.

Alright, I'll take your word for it. What are three things that you can't live without? My computer, books, and . . . uh, food and air.

That was sort of a sarcastic answer. Were you going to say something else? No, I just couldn't think of anything.

Here's a question for you. Why did you stop writing this quiz for a week and then pick up again? I don't know. Boredom, maybe?

I bore you? Well, originally I had to leave work. The reason that I didn't start writing again is because of the whole boredom/lack of motivation thing. Are you bored?

I am you, remember? Yeah, well, you don't seem to know the answers to any of these questions, do you?

I'm asking for posterity. What did you want to be when you were a kid? I remember that I wanted to be an architect at one time, and I've always sort of wanted to be a general commentator on television, a talking head, sort of. I've always wanted to be a god, also.

I thought you didn't believe in God? I don't, but that doesn't mean that I wouldn't want the position if it was available. Also, note the use of a small g. I don't know if I would want to be God, only a god.

Let's narrow it down a little bit. What super power would you like to have? Illusion, just like that girl on Heroes had.

Why do you want that? I think it's the most useful power to have. Jeff knows why.

Well, is there anything else that you want to be asked? Not that I can think of.

Alright. Well, if you think of anything, let me/yourself know? I will. I promise.

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Thursday, January 24, 2008

How many countries can I name in five minutes?


Well, that was actually kind of fun.

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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Arthur C. Clarke & Queens

Having read the Rama series straight through, I couldn't really understand why people considered Arthur C.Clarke one of the great masters of science fiction. The first one was good, after all, but the subsequent three books went way too far and subverting some of the most interesting premises of the first book. It turns out that the alien race doesn't believe in triple redundancy. Oh, and God is a museum collector. And God exists, obviously, in a mindbogglingly weird way.

I just finished Childhood's End, and now I can sort of see why he's so warmly regarded. That book was sort of like Rendezvous with Rama, but with a slightly longer perspective and some brilliant characterization of the "Overlord" creatures and some of the notable characters.

There's still a lot of myth thrown in, but then again, I tend to like to use myth as well, so I can't really complain about that.

This book was originally published in 1953, but the prescience about some modern technology is quite impressive. For example, I couldn't get over the fact that some of the things that they use computers for are things that we use computers for. It was hard to imagine that this was written before the advent of the modern microchip.

There was one other brilliant prophecy that's been fulfilled. Quoting from page 141 of my version (Ballantine 1969):
Do you realize that every day something like five hundred hours of radio and TV pour out over the various channels? If you went without sleep and did nothing else, you could follow less than a twentieth of the entertainment that's available at the turn of a switch! No wonder that people are becoming passive sponges [...]

Reading that, isn't it amazing to think that there was no cable and satellite television? There were really only the Big Three television networks in operation at that time. Fox wouldn't be around for more than 30 years after the writing of this book.

Yeah, I know that probably isn't that big of a deal, but it's still amazing to me, especially the part about people becoming passive sponges in front of television sets.

Also, I saw a Spanish movie called "Queens" which also predicted the future: the legalization of gay marriage in Spain. The movie was released in April 2005, and gay marriage was legalized in July 2005. It was cute and certainly very well presented, but I can't get over the cool name of one of the actors: Unax Ugalde. That's an awesome name, and it belongs to a really, really hot guy too. Great movie.

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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Innovation In Video Games

So I've been playing Wii's Mario Galaxy thanks to the generosity of Carlos. We've been taking turns between controlling Mario and his little Starbit collecting disembodied assistant, and so far I've been really, really impressed by the game play.

Oddly though, I realized that there isn't that much of a difference in game play between Mario Galaxy and Mario 64. You control Mario mostly through a joystick and you can jump, stomp, and bounce around the 3-D virtual world in both games.

The brilliance in Mario Galaxy is that the game designers seem to have had an epiphany that since the world is constructed in a computer they can play with gravity, space and even time, all of the things that you can't play with in the real world (yet). Thus, having subjective gravity surrounding a curved object throws an entirely new spin on a previously established 3-D world by subverting one of the most accepted premises in video games (and in real life); that when gravity exists, it goes down.

While being bored on the computer just now I stumbled across this article at which talks about the innovation of gameplay in the extremely simple Flash game Cursor*10.

Cursor*10 is a lot of fun (my high score, incidentally is 181) and the game mechanism is extremely innovative. The premise of working with successive iterations of yourself over 16 levels is interesting and allows you to build extremely complicated patterns out of small point and click movements of a single mouse.

Davey, the writer of the article, compares this to the static streets of Rabanastre in FFXII, which is one of my favorite games. You simply don't see the sort of complexity of movement in the great city of Dalmasca that you do in a very small flash game. Davey would like future games to transcend linear gameplay and evolve into a much more complex world that combines the best properties of FF's story telling and Cursor's intelligent complexity.

That would be nice, but having checked out the mind numbing complexity of the "simple" non-linear character generator involved with the Storytron engine (I believe I've mentioned this before on this blog, as Laura Mixon at Viable Paradise was involved in the project) I think that for the immediate future we'll have to deal with both linear stories such as Square-Enix's masterful Final Fantasy games and much less complex non-linear games developed on Storytron-like engines. Right now, the complexity involved in having just a few computer controlled characters that can interact with players and their environments is beyond what a skilled writer (or even a team of writers) can handle, much less base a compelling storyline on.

Personally, I'm looking forward more to gameplay innovation than story innovation, such as the Mario upgrade mentioned at the beginning of this article and and games such as Portal that twist existing methods of gameplay to create entirely new experiences. Still, I expect that we'll see a lot of non-goal oriented non-linear game play in the future such as Spore (and The Sims, and SimCity, and Alpha Centauri . . . The Sid Meier Effect, I suppose I should call it).

Update: I'm coming back to this post because I realized that I never really explained what StoryTron is.

Although you'll have to talk with the creators to get the specs, etc, the basic idea has to do with interactive stories in which the characters follow a set of internal guidelines and preferences to act in character, and react to you as well. Thus, there doesn't necessarily have to be a pre-written script. Any virtual character can take one of the possible actions, and they do so depending on their own inclination, interacting with you or the other virtual characters.

Okay, take a virtual world, such as Rabanastre in Final Fantasy XII. Instead of most of the characters on the screen being just part of the background or responding to specific triggers, they move around and talk with each other. They buy things from merchants. They go to the bar and drink. They get into fights at the Chocobo races.

This is all by themselves, without any necessary input from the character. Of course, the character can choose to interact as well. He or she can talk with the characters and try convince them to do things for the character, or buy things from them, but in the background they will be able to do the same things that you do to each other. And they have a mood that changes. If you cut in front of them in line, they'll dislike you. If they just drank a glass of water, they won't want more. If they like tall handsome guys wearing armor, they'll act all lovey dovey toward tall handsome guys in armor.

That's what Storytron does. It creates a simplistic internal world that can create a basic ego system for virtual characters. By tweaking the numbers Storytron can create pacifists, murders, lazy shopkeepers, and fiercely overprotective mothers that will react to outside stimulus as though they were pacifists, murders, lazy shopkeepers or overprotective mothers.

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Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Fiction: Temptation of the Antichrist

Another unedited short story, typed directly into the blog. Sometimes, I have too much time on my hands. This was cross posted at Left Behind (see here) because the theme of it came up during a discussion.

Nicky was sitting comfortably at his kitchen table when his refrigerator burst into flame.

He paused, the orange juice almost to his lips, and looked at it. The ugly white enamel was blackening slowly and the rubber seals were dripping down onto the floor.


"Aw, come on," Nicky said, interrupting the booming voice. "Could you not ruin my fridge?"


"My fridge. Jeez, I'll bet you're destroying everything in there too, aren't you?"

"ERRRRRRR . . ."

"Look, could you maybe stop with the fire?"


"I believe you. You're the God of the Patriarchs, just put the fire out please."

The fire went out abruptly. Nicky stood up, leaving his breakfast at the table, and inspected the damage. Aside from the absolutely ruined refrigerator the paint on the wall and the ceiling was charred black and the cabinets to the side were singed. The cabinets didn't look like they needed to be replaced but the entire kitchen would have to be repainted.

He sat down again and looked around. "Hello?" he said to the otherwise empty kitchen.

"I'M HERE." Something iridescent and glowing rose out of the yellowing linoleum floor, scintillating and throwing brilliant rainbows of light around the poorly lit room.

Nicky winced, and the angel obligingly toned down the light display. "You know, 'burning fridge' doesn't have nearly the same narrative impact as 'burning bush,'" he told his guest.


"Yeah, I suppose that's true. Are you here to tell me to go running in the park more often?"

"NO." The angel did something that came across to Nicky as clearing its throat. "You know, you don't seem all that surprised by my presence here."

"I've seen Dogma," Nicky pointed out. "Besides, this is New York and it's just before seven. If you want me to be surprised come back after nine and we'll try to work something out. What happened to your voice?"

"It wasn't worth the effort required to maintain the effect," the angel said. "How'd you like it?"

"Your voice?"

"No, the movie. Dogma."

"It was okay, I suppose. The ending was a little trite."

"I can see that," the angel said. "Deus Ex Machina and all. Do you mind if I sit?"

Nicky gestured to the chair and the being of pure light pulled it back and sat. "I'm here to inform you that you're the Antichrist," he told Nicky after he'd made himself comfortable.


"You're the Antichrist."

"Are you sure?"


Nicky carefully scraped together some of the slightly runny scrambled eggs and took a bite. He chewed slowly and finally swallowed.

"Shouldn't a demon be telling me this?"

"Why would they care?"

"Er . . . cause the Antichrist is supposed to be one of the bad guys?"

"Not really. The position is more about getting the job done. Besides, demons are unreliable messengers."

"And that job is?"

"Destroying the world, of course," said the angel, sounding surprised. "You know, as foretold in John's Revelation and all that. I was told that you'd read Left Behind."

"Only the first book, and I hated it. Come on, it was mindless drivel."

The angel shrugged. "I can't argue with that."

"This is about my internship at the U.N., isn't it?"

"Think of it, 'Nickolas Mountain, youngest Secretary General in history!' I'm sure that the girls would love it."

"It's just an internship!"

"But it could be so much more. I know that you've dreamed of being the Secretary General."

Nicky paused. "I've also dreamed of being U.S. president," he finally pointed out. "Or getting lucky with Jessica Biel."

"Dominionship over the Earth has its perks," the angel responded. "We could probably work something out."

"All leading to the end of the world."


"When would that be?"

The angel pulled a glittering golden pocket watch out from somewhere. "One thousand and fourteen years, six months, and a few days," he announced.

"That includes the millennial reign of Christ?"


"I don't think so."

"The future's written, kid. I could cite the passages easy. What's got to happen has got to--."

"No, I meant I don't think I want the position."

The angel sat there, glowing over everything, and Nicky took another bite of his eggs.

"I'm offering fame, power, and unlimited unlimited wealth for seven entire years, Nickolas," the angel said.

"It's Nicky, and I'm not interested."

"I can see your heart, you know," the angel said abruptly. "I can see that you're tempted. Imagine all of that money and power. Seven blissful years of unlimited power before handing it over to the next guy. Think of the cars, the parties, the attractive women!"

"Yeah, I get it," said Nicky dismissively. "Except there's that whole part about the world ending. The power and the wealth is all nice and good, but I wouldn't be able to live with myself if I took all those people's lives away from them."

The angel seemed to shake its head, although Nicky couldn't tell for sure because the glow had surged back to full brightness. He looked down at the table and continued to munch on his food.

"You know the problem with this job?" the angel said and then continued before Nicky could swallow and speak. "You're all the same. Smart, driven, and absolutely opposed to the world ending. Do you have any idea how many times I've been turned down now? It must be in the mid twenties, at the very least."

"You mean for the Antichrist position?" asked Nicky.

"Yeah," the angel said. "Sometimes I could swear that Satan is screwing around with this whole process. Anytime someone meets the qualifications . . .," the angel must have seen the curiosity on Nicky's face or "in his heart" because he elaborated, ". . . charismatic, speaks a few languages fluently, intelligent, works at the U.N., born in Turkey, non-Christian . . .," Nicky nodded and he continued, ". . . you always turn down unlimited power and wealth. None of you are driven."

"Not at the expense of others," Nicky said. "Maybe in a few years you can try me again."

"It's a one time offer," the angel said. "There's a time line associated with it, and every time someone declines we have to put everything on hold again. You've already turned it down, you can't be offered it again."

"That's sort of a silly rule."

"I'll say," the angel said bitterly. "But the Big Guy's all about personal choice."

"I thought you said you are God."

"Technically I'm the Voice of God. You know how it goes, Dogma and all that. . . ." he waved a glowing hand dismissively and trailed off.

"So God really exists?" Nicky said. "I don't suppose you'd clue me in which denomination . . ."

"Mormonism," the angel said without hesitation, and then he chuckled. "No, sorry, that's just an angel joke. The correct answer's really Quaker, or anything similar. Imagine the irony that Nixon's in heaven."

"Er . . . okay."

"It'd be so much easier if I could just . . . you know, order you to be the Antichrist," the angel said wistfully.

"Hey, I'm sure that someday someone will say yes."

"Twenty some times, and he says that someday someone will say yes. . . ." The angel grumbled something about the power of heaven, and then fell silent.

Nicky finally ended the uncomfortable quiet. "I don't suppose you want some bacon or something?"

"No," the angel said miserably. "I should be going." He paused. "Are you sure you don't want to be the Antichrist?"

"Yes, I'm sure," Nicky said. "I thought you said it could only be offered once."

"It was worth a try," the angel said. "Maybe since I haven't left yet they wouldn't have noticed."

"Well," Nicky said as the angel stood. "Good luck on finding someone."

"That's what they ALL SAY," the angel said, ending with his voice once again like thunder. "ANYWAY, HAVE A GOOD DAY. HAVE FUN AT YOUR NEW JOB."

There was a flicker, and the being of light disappeared, backing through the far wall toward Mr. Stephen's apartment.

Nicky finished his bacon, put the plate in the sink, and examined the refrigerator again. The melting rubber had congealed on the floor. He'd probably have to pry the linoleum up and replace it before he ordered a new fridge.

Right now though he needed to catch the train into midtown for work, so he'd have to start calling around after five.

He sighed and wondered if as the Antichrist he would have been able to get a discount on fridges from Sears.

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Saturday, January 05, 2008

Why I Have So Many Sidebar Links

When I log into a computer, the first thing that I do is log into my gmail account and check my mail. These days, I usually have about 4 to 6 emails to deal with, which is more than a year ago when my average was probably about 1. This sounds like very few, and it is, and I like it that way, because it doesn't make me feel stressed out about getting to everything.

Then I go up to the Google "more" tag at the top of the screen, and pull it down. Since I've been using Google for a while, it's learned to recognize the Google Aps that I use the most, and thus "Blogger" is usually at the top of the more list when I'm logged in.

Then I check Right Behind and Pocket Lint Communications because I consider those to be more along the lines of "work" and thus important to deal with right away. I'm the person that puts the tags onto Right Behind posts most of the time, and I try to make sure that the Right Behind sidebar is constantly up to date with all of the authors and stories.

After that, I check out Worlds & Time. Right now I'm posting all those backdated posts which have been previously written, so I find the oldest one that isn't posted, post it, and then update it on the Myspace and LiveJournal mirrors.

Then I use the front of my blog as my hub, as a collection of the links that I use the most. I check out my favorite blogs such as Whatever, Making Light, and Slacktivist, and then try to find something interesting on Fark or Totalfark.

Since my blog is accessible from nearly anywhere, that's the easiest way to keep in touch with the stuff I like. All those places are literally things that I pay attention too and read.

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