“Open Pod Building Management, how may I help you?”

“Yes, I just arrived at my new apartment, and it’s definitely not in a livable condition and I’d like to terminate my lease.”

“Ah, could you tell me what’s wrong with it?”

“Oh, gosh, I’m not sure where to begin… well, for starters, it’s on fire.”

“Ah, I’m sorry to hear that. But could you tell us all of the problems with it? We need to know in order to evaluate whether there is something we should do to fix it.”

“Hm, more than it being on fire? Well, I suppose that while I was in there I noticed a lot of problems, like the tiles being cracked and the faucet having a leak.”

“Oh, well, I’ll definitely need more information about that. Which specific tiles were cracked, and how did you determine that?”

“Um… I’m not sure, just like. A bunch of them?”

“That’s not enough for us to take action on. Also, you mentioned a leaky faucet, are you certain that it’s leaky and not that you simply don’t know how to shut it off?”

“Don’t know how to… shut it off? I’ve used plenty of faucets before. I’m pretty sure I know how to turn this one off.”

“Oh, don’t use your other faucet experience as a judge of whether you can turn these off. They are made for very advanced users, and they are much more flexible than normal faucets, so of course someone who isn’t experienced with them may see them as having a leak.”

“Um… okay, well, regardless, I can’t really use the faucets anyway. On account of the, you know. Fire.”

“Well, that’s just typical, a new resident showing up out of nowhere and thinking they know what’s better for things, but not even being willing to give it a proper time to see if it works for them.”

“I mean, I’d love to, like ideologically I agree with what you’re trying to achieve, it’s just… you know. The fire makes it somewhat difficult to live here, but even without that, I mean. The fact the toilet is in the middle of the kitchen is a bit alarming, as well.”

“I’m sorry you feel that way, but someday you’ll come to appreciate what we’re building. But in the meantime, I highly suggest that whenever you talk about the burning apartment, it does everyone a favor if you could actually go into detail about all of your issues and be clear about when and how you experienced them, so that others don’t get the wrong impression of whether this is a current issue or not.”

Basic communication


“Ah, yes, the universal translator seems to now be attuned to both of our languages. Now we may begin our cultural exchange.”

“Absolutely! So, let’s start with the basics. How do you represent numbers?”

“Most cultures on our planet use a system where we write our numbers out in a string of digits, where the most-significant digit comes first, and the number itself is the sum of each digit multiplied by the base to the power of its position from the right.”

“Ah, interesting. Our common notation is quite similar. And how many digits do you have in your number system?”


“Oh, what a coincidence! We use a 10-digit system as well.”

“Curious. How did you arrive at that number of digits?”

“Well, we each have 10 phalanges on our distal manipulators, so it was a fairly convenient means for our number system to develop.”

“Ah, the same for us. … Except, ah, you only seem to have 8 phalanges.”

“What’s 8?”

“The number after 7?”

“Oh, strange. You see, we call that number ‘10.’”



When you are born, you are given a shelf to put things on. The shelf is angled away from the wall a little bit, but that’s okay, because the things you put on it are boxes and they don’t slide around too much.

But as you get older you’re given more things to put on the shelf. And one of them is a bit round.

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Peter Wolfe


Peter, a successful investment banker, lives in Manhattan with his wife Ana T. Day, a commercial actress. One day, Ana is shopping around town when she gets in an argument with someone who takes issue with one of the products she shills (because Ana doesn’t actually use it). Peter’s jealous ex-lover Felix watches them from nearby. Peter, who was on his way to meet Ana for lunch, runs into Felix gets into an argument with him; this raises the attention of Ana, who asks Peter what’s going on. Peter explains, and warns both Ana and the stranger about Felix; they leave.

Peter then sees a news report about a series of murders being perpetrated on Wall Street bankers; his elderly mother calls him with her worries, but Peter says that he has no reason to be afraid, as the NYPD is on the case. His mother raises a big stink, however, and insists that he and Ana stay safe at home. Ana, as it turns out, is having dinner with Felix, trying to understand their past and try to repair what she thinks is a strained friendship (not realizing they were romantically involved), and while they are in the diner, the killer attacks them. Felix gets away, but Ana is taken captive, and only manages to text him “help” (with an iPhone “find my friends” location attached, yay product placement).

Peter tries to leave home to track her down, but finds that his mother has actually informed the cops that he was in danger, and so he is under police protection. He protests with them regarding Ana’s text message; they say they will send an officer to try to find her, but Peter escapes protective custody and tries to find her on his own. En route he runs into young woman who was arguing with Ana before, and asks her for help. Reluctantly, she agrees, using her feminine wiles to seduce the killer before she incapacitates him.

Peter ties up the killer, asking him where Ana is. The killer just cackles maniacally and says nothing; Peter makes the knots tighter and tighter. The police burst in, and separate Peter from the killer and put the killer in jail (and Peter under house arrest). There is a media outcry around Peter’s house arrest, for what if he hadn’t incapacitated the killer and the police had done nothing?

Ana is never found.

Duck Slap


Late at night, one of my cd towers fell over, spilling its contents over my living room floor. I started to gather them up but then I decided I’d rather go to bed.

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Super Mario Bros.: A Literary Criticism


Shigeru Miyamoto’s masterpiece Super Mario Brothers is truly a classic work of modern literature; borrowing heavily from Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and an obvious inspiration for Trainspotting, this work of unadulterated genius demonstrates the initial joy but the eventual mental and moral decline due to heavy drug usage.

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