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Archive for the ‘Manifestoes’ Category

Wildfire

Posted by Fiss on May 5, 2016

I learned a lot about myself in Fort McMurray.alta-wildfire-fort-mcmurray-evacuation-20160503-topix

Around two decades ago, I lived in the boom/bust oilsands town during the awkward formative years of smart-assed kid and post-puberty cringe-meltdown. I got to see alcohol and drugs claim a lot of lives and sanity there, and near the end of my time in the city I suppose I had formed an association between a kind of salvation and getting the hell out…something many of my friends had discovered as well.

Up until about a week ago, before wildfires tore through the town, forced the total evacuation of eighty-or-so-thousand residents, and devoured hundred of buildings…my biggest regret would have been not to have been the one to light the shithole on fire myself.

But reality has this way of calling you out on your bullshit.

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Posted under Manifestoes

Too Damn Loud

Posted by Fiss on January 1, 2016

There’s a romantic notion put forth by television and movies that the roar of a waterfall or a dammed river provides a kind of meditative quality when our protagonists witness it.2016-01-01_1-37-46

Perhaps they’ll spend a moment to meditate under the crashing whitewater, becoming as still and as permanent as one of the riverbed stones it normally dashes upon; or that after stepping through, or travelling alongside, the audio guy fixes for the noise and you hear the passing and bubbling of a trillion buckets of sweet-water as a calming hum or hiss. But to anyone who has stood next to such a calamity, I suspect this illusion is a distant fantasy as the roar digs into your brain and pulls reason from your skull.

We like to romanticize these forces of nature, as if we had some kind of supernatural authority over them in post-editing. Maybe we do, to an extent, even in our own memories. The ringing of church bells stings like a wasp should you stand too close, but the sting turns sweet upon reflection. The concert you wish you brought ear-plugs to, the roar of engines unleashed on a proper bit of tarmac, or the whoosh of the jet sitting outside your window as you climb into the great beyond: all of these seem like lesser, prettier versions of themselves when you look back.

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Posted under Manifestoes

Poppy seeds can be used to make opium

Posted by Fiss on November 11, 2015

Monotone bugs me. Like nails on a chalkboard or fillings on tin foil, I can’t handle the idea that tradition has to be recited with one, rambling tone.Victory_bonds_poster

I remember growing up with the occasional Remembrance Day assembly in class, depending if the 11th fell upon a school day or weekend there was a great variety in the level of participation required of us. The day would usually go something like this:

We would all shuffle into the gymnasium with our bright red (and green…at the time) poppies stabbed into our shirts and someone would fire-up the coal-electric overhead projector with a sheet containing the lyrics to “Flanders Fields” (I swear every Canadian child has heard of John McCrae) and as one semi-mumbling blob, would recite the words, then try our best not to incur the wrath of our teachers by standing still and silent for a minute once the 11th occurred.

It would be silly to assume we didn’t understand the gravitas of the day, but it always bugged me that, for the most part, it was more about poppies and poems, silence and sombreness, reciting and reading…but very few of us had anything to remember. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted under Manifestoes

The Ambient Mass of Meaning

Posted by Fiss on January 1, 2015

Higgs-BosonFiction is defined in part or in whole as something made up by the author, but we are always told to write what we know, to research and experience, and to get inside the heads of our characters. The closer to reality we make it, the more weight fiction can carry to the casual observer…like some kind of literary God Particle.

I’m not trying to pin every Roddenberry alien on a Cold War era culture, or every bumbling, fated-to-blow-up villain as someone’s high-school nemesis whose debt of comeuppance was never realized in reality…but I’m also not arguing with those who see a downtrodden normal kid instead of the Boy Who Lived, nor a sexually frustrated and bored every-woman instead of a chick who fucks sparkly vampire metaphors.

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Posted under Manifestoes

Tales from a Sex Offender

Posted by Fiss on October 7, 2014

e20At the time of this writing, nobody has been charged or convicted for the iCloud hacking attempt that allowed the leak of private, and in many cases, intimate/nude photographs and video of several well known celebrities to the internet – an event that had been unofficially dubbed ‘the Fappening’ by quick witted Redditors.  Some believe a denizen from the ‘Deep Web’ was responsible; after realizing the inherent difficulty of getting paid for his or her ill-gotten bytes while maintaining anonymity in the face of a large number of investigators, agents and publicists, decided instead to follow a nobler hacker creed and released the data for free.  According to most mainstream news network in the United States, the culprit was a hacker known as ‘4chan’.  We may never know for sure.

But that didn’t stop a number of the legitimately pissed off and horrified victims of this breach of privacy to find moral high-ground not so legitimately in the ongoing battles against patriarchy and decency.

I’m going to be a tad unfair here and single out one of these celebrities in general, as she became the front-runner tagline in both the initial incident and the ridiculous media feeding frenzy that is occurring to this day because of it.  Jennifer Lawrence, who admittedly is both talented (in my opinion anyway) and quite attractive (yet never nude in an official photo…at least not without strategic cover) has become the figurehead in this new war against the Internet Perverts.  And in her ‘tell all’ public interview in this month’s Vanity Fair, she had some choice words for us roving bands of digital brigands and torrential rapists.

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Universe! (bug reporting system)

Posted by Fiss on September 29, 2014

Universe!god-at-his-computer

Current version 1.28c

———————-

Thank you for submitting your bug report!  You are number 2108121329499192910410414828812405391013930193391039013331

Subject: “I’m right & they’re wrong!  Why the hell can’t other people see this?  I’ve worked hard and become so much better – but they look at me like I’m the bad-guy when I explain they are wrong.  I have included a number of screenshots showing specific examples.  Obviously, there is an issue with the teaching system.  All I’m trying to do is share my experiences…why am I getting aggro?”  

Severity: Critical

Category(s):  Learning and Education, PvP

– STATUS: Reviewed – Senior team lead.

———————–

Thank you for submitting your bug report.  As senior team lead of Quality Assurance, I have been authorized to give you a bit of insight into this bug and what we are doing to address it in future versions.

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Posted under Manifestoes

Pew…Pew…

Posted by Fiss on September 24, 2014

ShotShellReloadingThere’s a strange meditative quality to cleaning a gun.

I’ve only recently rediscovered it. Books and television and movies focus on the visual and auditory report of a shot, and if they do dare to dive into another sense, the sense of smell, it is usually the rancid burn of gunpowder and the thickness of blood and death associated with a firefight. But they never talk about the other smells. The cold iron rubbing against the skin as you disassemble or tinker; the pleasant, warm sweetness of gun oil as you clean and clean and clean and try to prevent your old friend oxidation from taking hold. There is cotton fluff in the air as you pull the swab through the eye of an overblown needle’s head and when you shove it down the inert blued metal of a barrel, coming back clean, you are finally satisfied and can put all your trinkets back together where they belong. You lock them up in a big, green safe, and you smile and tell yourself you are responsible…but just in case…you can unleash hell should it be required. It’s a calming, wonderful feeling.

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Posted under Manifestoes

Fiss Chow Alpha – Day 1

Posted by Fiss on June 10, 2014

work.6847455.1.sticker,375x360.contents-unprocessed-soylent-green-sticker-v1One of the hardest face-slaps I received in the year of 2013 was realizing just how far I had let my health deteriorate from nearly half a decade of graveyard shifts.  This and the exponentially hard eating and exercise habits gleaned from such a lifestyle that had been drilled into my soul like a strange reverse boot-camp.

Before I had spawned a youngling I spent eight or so months on a low-carb, low-cal, low-everything diet and had actually succeeded in trimming down, improving my health and feeling better about my ghostly meat-skeleton arrangement.  It didn’t last, as I said I did gain back a lot of weight, but it took more than five years, a stressful handful of management changes, making a baby and continuing to pretend to be a responsible adult to make it finally happen.  Even so, the ease of weight loss I experienced gave me a perpetually false sense of security; that I could re-drop the weight and feel better nearly whenever I wanted if I just put my mind to it.

Yeah.  Right.  I seem to recall writing only one thing was ever easy, and it sure ain’t living.

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Posted under Colapost, Manifestoes

Of Chum, Chances and Family

Posted by Fiss on August 25, 2013

I want to share with you the moment today in which I seriously thought:  “What the hell is the point of all this?” Kawaiiiiiii!

Before anyone starts shoveling Suicide Prevention Hotline numbers toward me, though, I should clarify that this thought occurred as I stood in line, hot, moody and miserable, in order to get autographs from the voices of multi-coloured cartoon ponies.  This, coupled with similar moments fresh in my mind from May…standing in line…standing in line…paying money and then standing in more lines…really got me thinking if maybe I was done.  Maybe I needed to re-evaluate my Geek Card.  My Nerd Chic was fading.  The Fandoms…be it SciFi, or Magical Friendship Equines….were starting to fade.   Would it really be so hard to just skip the next convention?  Maybe the next two?  Three?  Nine?   And as I weighed in on the internal battle for my squeeing-fanboy-voice versus the sheer insanity that is a Fan Convention exposing its seedy underbelly in my general direction like an unwanted mooning.

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Posted under Manifestoes

Thank you for completing our Survey!

Posted by Fiss on June 1, 2012

At work,  I have occasionally needed a password reset due to forgetting which program I am currently logged into, or somebody attempting to log in using my computer and not changing the user-name before locking me out due to too many unsuccessful attempts.  No problem.  We have a handy dandy help desk that we call POC, or “Point of Contact”.   I call them up, talk to a polite, nice young man or woman, and within 5 minutes my new temporary password is in my inbox and I can move on with my life.

Unfortunately, I work for a Corporation, and someone decided that a 4 page, 24 question survey about my “experience” was necessary to judge the effectiveness of the service I used.   This survey, even if I didn’t read it and selected “Excellent” for every question, takes longer to complete than it did to actually get my password reset.  This is not the first time they’ve sent me a survey, either.  At the end of the first, I warned them that if they didn’t streamline the process and have a smaller, quicker, more relevant questionnaire, I would make them pay.

They didn’t listen.  So here was my response for Survey # 2:

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Posted under Manifestoes