Archive | August, 2012

Tell me what you want, what you really really want.

31 Aug

Alright! This is a quickie: I want to hear from you! Tell me your favorite Caustic Cookies Posts! Post them down in the comments. I want to see what kind of stuff you all like to see from me. *smily face* 

-Peter

Mission Impossible: Textbook Edition

30 Aug

It was an innocent mistake, I feel. I mean, how could I have known that technology was going to be a douchenozzle? Generally, technology and I get along pretty well. I mean, sort of like divorced parents (in this increasingly weird analogy, the internet is the kid we share custody over). So, we’re cordial most times. Other times, I realize that technology gets some sick, demented thrill from running me through an impossible gauntlet of challenges.

For those who saw the original movie, Tom Cruise has to put on some ridiculous harness and do a whole bunch of acrobatic moves in order to defeat the evil robot overlord. Fuck, actually, I never really saw the whole movie. Wasn’t that what it was about?

No?

Well, maybe it should’ve been. But maybe it’s not too late. Tom’s not that old, we could squeeze out a few more action films. Cast him in that role and have him beat HAL’s exhaust port or something.

Anyways…

If you couldn’t tell, this is one of those free write deals. You know how like every other day I actually put serious foresight into what I write instead of a basic outline (like today)? Well, there’s a reason for that. And yes, it does have to do with your super secret, awesome surprise coming next month!

Anyways…Part II. The Return of the Tangent.

Sorry. Next time will be “Focus Strikes Back” and we all know how bad that could be.

Going back to the Tom Cruise reference, I felt like I was on a harness, nimbly navigating the laser beams of the robot guards and delicate, omnipresent pressure sensors. And by nimbly navigating, I mean bouncing into the goddamn wall like I had decided to drink a secret concoction from Wonka’s hidden room. Oh, and my feet had turned into Thor’s hammers.  Fuck my life.

I decided to actually do something more fiscally sensible when it came to my textbook. I decided to invest in getting a nook study textbook.

Oh what a foolish, foolish move.

First step, try to buy the book. Hah! Nope, not in the store.

Second step, hack the mainframe and find the damn book. Failed in hacking the mainframe, but managed to find the book regardless.

Alright, third step, download the book and pray that it will download in time for Latin class on monday an- crap. Not enough time. Abort, Abort! Crap, I’d try again later.

Le Later.

I finally managed to actually download it. I was jumping for joy. I was celebrating, the book would be mine, my homework will finally be completed! And that’s when the metaphorical laser was tripped.

“Please enter your credit card information”

“Again?”

*Type type, clack clack TYPING ONOMATOPOEIA*

“Invalid.”

“Wait? Are you telling me you’re sick (invahlid) or that my card isn’t accepted (invaalid)?”

“Invalid”

“Buh-”

“I HAVE SPOKEN!”

Crap.

So then I called up Barne’s and Noble. Time on the clock is 8:48

“Thank you for calling but we won’t be open until 8 AM.”

Looks at clock. Looks back at phone. “I’m sorry what?”

“Automated message repeats.”We don’t open until 8 AM.”

You have got to be kidding.

This must have been my punishment for that forgotten alimony check.

Called at 10Am. Finally got an answer. Now all I had to do was traverse another gauntlet on my tablet to get the stuff filled in that needed to be filled in while talking to a woman who’s grip of english was only lower than of her pre-written script. Which I managed to do. My textbook is now on my computer and I have defeated the robot overlord/ ex-wife/ whatever weird analogies I’ve used throughout.

You know what, I wished Tom Cruise would have been here though. He probably could have done it quicker.

Nimbler. Right. Sorry Tom.

The Beasts from the Shadows

29 Aug

I thought I was safe. I thought the monsters from my past had stayed behind as I embarked on my college adventure.

I thought wrong.

Somewhere, in my heart of hearts, I knew the beasts were there. They were lurking in the shadows. Waiting. Mocking. Laughing at the false sense of security their temporary absence was filling me with.

They were waiting to fill my soul with dread. And I was foolish enough to think that I had escaped them.

No one escapes the beasts of their past. The timeline, after all, is continuous in both directions. I couldn’t have a future at all without having a past (although, I could run out of time ahead without losing time behind. That is the definition of Death). I couldn’t move forward without acknowledging these creatures I feared so much. I thought that I was just limited to acknowledgement. I wouldn’t have to face them anymore, I had done so for eleven years.

God, that’s how long it was, wasn’t it? Eleven years since the nightmare. Eleven years since it all began. It was incredible to think that it had been that long. Fear made it feel shorter.

You may have heard otherwise. Fear is supposed to elongate time. Yes, in small qualities. Sometimes, the adrenaline rush will allow time to freeze, hummingbirds’ wings to materialize, and bullets to sit still in the air. But life works on a system of equality and balance. Gain time to fear, lose it to paranoia. I have lost many hours.

Can I be blamed? Even now I hear them, sense them, fuckin’ feel them outside the comforts of my immediate presence. Taunting me, laughing at my fear. Those conniving little bastards are just waiting now that I know they have returned. Since the nightmares, I’ve been afraid of the waking world. They manifest themselves plentifully back home in Oviedo. My salvation was in dreams. At best, I could survive if they confronted me in the presence of another person. Others don’t fear my demons. They brush them off, step over them, treat them like they’re diminutive, and continue on with their day. I wish I had their strength. I wish the nightmares weren’t becoming realized in reality.

But I can hope, I can dream, that my fear won’t fracture me. I know better. The presence of the beasts leaves me mentally shattered and physically petrified. Especially when they’re big.

See, like normal animals, they come in many sizes, colors, hues, and potencies. I consider it Hells consortium. But I’ve managed to make my peace with the smaller ones. But this is mostly out of necessity. If I didn’t, then I wouldn’t be aware of the bigger ones. Those monsters, those slimy, disgusting creatures emerging from the swampy waters of the damned!

I learned that I couldn’t avoid them any longer, for I had seen a little one today. I was stepping off the track and from the unseen depths of the shadows, it bolted in front of me. My heart jumped. I knew conflict with my fears were to be inevitable.

“So then,” I said, “I see that you are here after all.”

It looked up at me in silence. It’s eyes staring into my soul. Those empty, glistening eyes; like glossed glass refracting my own likeness. Reflecting my fears.  It just sat and stared. My heart quickened and dove from my throat into my stomach at each rapid beat. I started to shake. The air around me seemed to thicken and darkness was closing in. It still just stared with its soulless eyes until I shattered the silence.

“Answer me! Where are the rest of you?! Why won’t you leave me alone?!”

And then, from the depths of its hellish throat, came its sole response before departing again into the darkness:

“Ribbit!”

“Seriously man, fuck frogs” I swore as I departed to my room.

I know these damnable amphibians are out there now. Maybe this time, when they emerge from the shadows, I will conquer the beasts and leave my fear with them as broken as their will to terrorize me.

Here’s something new! Thoughtless and Plotless: 1

27 Aug

 

 

Fabulist: Noun

“A teller of tales; a liar”

 

 

I’d say that hits Pinocchio right on the nose there!

 

 

 

Room Update!

27 Aug

It has been almost two weeks since I’ve lived on campus. My room is clean.

It feels just as alien to be writing it as it is to be reading it, I assure you, but my room. Is. Clean! I mean, I even have all the dirty clothes waiting to be loaded up and stuffed into a nearby laundry machine. Provided that they work. It seems like a lot of people are having a hard time with the machines lately. Especially the machines that fills up the laundry cards. One is broken, the other is off limits, and the other is gaurded by a swarm of people that makes me shudder to think that they will eventually breed.

(This one girl was swiping the card with the magnetic strip pointed away from the machine. I mean stuff like that happens as a quirky mistake, but she actually thought that’s how it worked. And one day she will have children. And they will have a voice in deciding things like our retirement and fiscal woes. Someone. Just. Shoot me now).

Anyways, the point of that tangent is to inform that even if the rest of the world is descending into the rank flames of dirty undergarments, my room still smells pleasant and I’m about to start laundry without any issues at all! Mind you, this is with my rank running shoes inhabiting the closet. Somehow, the room gods are smiling upon me. Either that or I’ve lost my sense of smell. Either way, this is awesome!

Someone alert the presses, inform Satan to initiate the big freeze, tell pigs to sprout wings, fly, then go ahead and fry themselves so I can enjoy some baby back ribs because my room is actually clean!

What I’m most surprised at is that with this cleanliness, my productivity has increased. I’ve done most of my homework- that’s due next week. I still have time to run, work, blog, and just relax. I swear, college is working within a realm of witchcraft! I’ll take it though; after all, the owl is 7 years late as it is! So if my life now runs on some sort of magic, I suppose it’s better late than never.

Ok. Tonight I’m starting to reveal some of the surprises coming your way september first. First is the introduction of a comic strip/ random drawing thing that will come out once a week. True to my literary roots, it’s called “Thoughtless and Plotless.” Today’s entry comes from my study of words and little wooden liars. Stay tuned for your daily dose of awesome!

Tropical Storm Trepidation

26 Aug

I’m sitting at this computer with a sinking feeling in my stomach. It’s like a swallowed a bowling ball whole, and that bowling ball happens to be filled with nitro glycerin. You could say I’m a bit nervous.

“True! Nervous, very very dreadfully nervous that I was and now I am, but why would you say that I am mad?”

I’m not mad. Not insane. I’m being driven insane by memories though. Memories of the last time this sort of thing happened to me. The wind, the rain, the sheer power of God.

I live in Tampa. Within the next 24-36 some-ought hours, a hurricane is supposed to give us a glancing blow. People aren’t too scared about that. That scares me; not in the sense that their lack of fear gives me dread, but it makes me worry about their safety. It’s like they don’t remember. I can never forget.

For those who are suffering amnesia, let me remind you what we’re dealing with. A glancing blow from a hurricane isn’t like a glancing blow from a street brawl. The arm of some thug can only cause so much damage. The capacity to create chaos and suffering is nearly infinite and entirely inherent into the nature of this beast. A glancing blow from a hurricane is like getting a “glancing blow” from a .50 caliber bullet shot out of a rail-gun. For those of you who aren’t up to date with advanced weaponry, a rail-gun can shoot a projectile with enough force to literally ignite the air around it. You don’t need to be in its direct path to experience its wrath: just close enough. And I don’t fear, I know that we are within that danger zone.

I’ve lived through one of the worst summers on record. Unlike most, I don’t suffer from any sort of amnesia. The terror of those storms were too awful for me to repress.

The winds howl at your door like a pack of snarling wolves. It looks for every crevice, every entrance, and tries to force its way in there. Actually, in that sense, their more like the goddamn velociraptors from Jurassic Park. It never seemed to hit the same spot twice. It was sentient and looking for the structures weakness with ruthless determination.

I’ve heard people say that the rain is God’s tears. Not in a hurricane. It’s less divine, less positively charged. It’s an invading army that is unable to take casualties. My roof was burdened with their footfalls. The stomping, constant march of our impending demise. There were times when I thought we could die there, huddled in my parents’ closet. I knew that all buildings had a weakness. Between the rain and the wind, I was sure that ours was being exploited.

We were in the eye of the storm once. The eye wall crashed into us without any regard to mercy.  But we were still in one piece. We were outside, enjoying the first bit of light we had seen outside of the constant barrage of lightning. The sun was warm, the breeze calm. It was almost implausible to think that we were still in danger. We were young. We were playing in the sunshine. A cry came across the lake from our neighbors. There arms were waving. We waved back as we laughed, thinking that they were just enjoying the reprieve.

“…ado”

“What?!” We yelled back. We were confused and getting a little frightened. Their arms weren’t casually waving anymore. It was panicky and rapid. They were trying to warn us of something.

“Tornado!”

My eyes widened. We looked out into the impeding gates of Hell and there it was. Like Cerberus, hungry, vicious, awful, powerful, and piss-your-pants-without-giving-a-damn terrifying. We rushed inside and hoped to God we wouldn’t be sent beyond Oz. There’s no place like home, and that storm wasn’t intending to send us to munchkin land.

I remember another time, looking out at the storm as the first arm was approaching us. I was young, but I was already jaded to normal fear. I stared on with eyes devoid of feeling. I wasn’t afraid. And that’s what was truly scary. I wasn’t afraid because I knew. That time I just knew that we couldn’t possibly get so lucky again. Our house had come through unscathed every time. Our neighbor’s though, many of them weren’t so lucky. I’d seen buildings leveled from wind alone, others trampled by rain, and others still obliterated by lightning and thunder. I knew that life was just a game of chance. Run the gauntlet enough times, and everyone’s survival rate will drop to zero. I wasn’t afraid. My terror had evolved well beyond that.

The storm looked like something that had burst through my nightmares. I could see bloodlust in the eyes of the howling wind, steeled deliverance in the steps of the rain, and I saw the awesome power of Hell reaching out to drag the remnants away and pull us down to our fate. I called for my dog and we walked inside. I told him everything would be alright. He was smart. I could tell he knew I was lying.

Somehow, we were lucky again. Somehow, we came through ok. But again, I know far too many people who didn’t.

And here we go for the next go ’round. Another “glancing blow;” but my psyche is already battered and bruised. I know that we won’t get the full brunt of it. It’s wrath is directed away from us, for the moment. Somehow I know that this is different from the tropical system we’ve already had this year. I ran in that storm. I enjoyed the wind and rain. That storm was weak, it was almost like a warning shot. But this is a different beast, evident by everything about it. It is not here to give us rain like the last storm. It’s not here to be an inconvenience. It’s here to remind us all that in this state, the gates of Hell are a constant presence. It’s here to remind those who forced themselves to forget that some terrors can’t be ignored. That sometimes, God feels it necessary to draw blood.

That is what has me afraid.

The Strobe-Light Jungle.

25 Aug

For those of you who know the site well enough to worry that I didn’t post last night: don’t worry, I’m alive. I apologize for not posting last night, but there is a purpose behind my absence. I was literally neck-deep in what you could call biological research. No, I wasn’t surrounded by textbooks on biology and evolutionary theory (although, I think that would reasonably classify as a “nerdgasm”). I decided, being the rugged man that I am, to do research in the field. Fortunately for everyone, I kept extensive notes and journal entries. Here is the transcript (verbatim) from expedition log as we entered into what I like to call “The Strobe-Light Jungle.”

9:24: I depart from my domicile in McKay, curious as to what adventures lay before me. I understand that what we are doing is considered “natural” in the animal kingdom…but like any first-time traveler to the Jungle, I can’t deny being a little nervous. The nerves are, I’m sure, just a manifestation of excitement.

9:32:  I arrive at the house of teammate Mike Z. Tonight is the celebration of his 21st birthday. Congratulations are exchanged and we all take a brief moment to collect ourselves and necessary belongings. The total expedition group consists of Mike, Tory, Kyle, and Myself. It promises to be an eventful night.

9:35: We have left the base camp and make our way over to our next check point. We know that as we go further away, we are rapidly approaching territory that is far beyond our normal range of ken. Fortunately for me, my companions have explored the Jungle numerous times. We are getting deeper into an area filled with strange people and habitats. Curiously enough, this is merely the fringe of the actual Jungle.

9:45: We have arrived at our check point. It appears to be a gathering of hybridized beings at the home of another teammate. By hybridized, I mean that they appear to be equally adept to surviving in both environments. Conversation is still taking place through normal english (or at least through proper variances) but the conversation seems more coarse and profane. People are expressing themselves with remarkable candor and honesty. 

9:50: We are performing a ritual that signifies the inclusion of strangers into the Jungle. There are certain tasks my companions perform- tasks to assert their belonging into the group. The use of hollowed ceremonial cups, inked to the point of ruby-red, is common. They must complete the tasks by downing the liquid and performing feats with the goblet itself. I find another familiar soul, Tori, as we are initiated through much tamer means. 

10:17: I successfully soothed many of the party with simple parlor tricks. I was amazed to see their reactions to such grossly simplified illusions. Commentary included everything from approving whispers to the loud and rambunctious: “Hoy Shit! That was awesome! The freshman knows magic!” 

10:35: We leave the party. My companions have donned the roll of the natives rather well. I have managed to retain sense of the situation…At least when the song “Call Me Maybe” isn’t being blasted within the transport vehicle. Then I can’t help myself. My body seems to move on its own.

11:05: We have arrived at Ebor and are preparing to enter one of the environments here in the Jungle called “Czar.” We only have time enough for one trip for… Holy Shit that line is huge! Do we seriously have to wait in that thing? We won’t get in until, like, midnight! 

Mike Z: Yeah, but if that happens we’ll just duck out into the over 21 line. Or at least we will. We’ll see you inside.

Me: Goddamnit I’m going to lose my guide.

11:30: I am casually talking to members on the team including Charles, Tori, other Tory (girl then guy, respectively), Lewis, and Mike. We try to talk about our planned activities and… And seriously, what the hell? This line has moved maybe ten meters in the last half hour!

11:57: I have been marked by a native with an insignia indicating my inability to enjoy the rights of manhood in their tribe. I wonder how long it’ll take for this friggen marker to come off. Wait, what are they doing now? Stamping me, too? Don’t you think that’s a little overkih- Ooooh! It’s a hot air balloon! 

12:00: We have entered the Jungle. Traditional songs are playing and people dance in ways that I have never seen a human move. Not necessarily impressively but…wait? What the hell? Is that a stripper pole? Anyways, they’re moving like they’re from middle school some of them, but others have pretty sick moves.

12:05: I’m noticing changes in my behavior. It seems that the power of the group holds remarkable hold over my social actions and conscious decisions. It appears…that we get to climb up a ladder and dance up high? Dude! Sweet!

12:08: WOOOOOH! YEAH! THIS SONG IS FREAKIN’ AWESOME!!!

12:10: Tory: Dude! Check it out! *Unbuttoning his shirt* I’m shirtless! Woohoooo!

Mike Z: *punches me in the stomach lightly* This guy! I freakin’ love this guy!

Charles: *begins bootie dancing with Lewis*

Girls Team (entirety): *laughing* Wooooh!

Me: Hah! Freaking hysterical

12:20: *Tory and I standing on a higher platform, maybe a meter off the ground.*

Tory: Dude! Let’s do a split in middair!

Me: Sounds good bro! Let’s do it! Yaaaaaah!

*Proceeds to somehow pull of split*

12:35:

Tori: Look at that break dance circle!

Me: Psh. ‘S nothing. Watch.

*Proceeds to walk into circle and go into a horizontal plank, into a perfect headstand, twists down all to the rhythm and beat of the song, and leaves as the crowd roars in approval*

Tori: *nodding approvingly* Nice.

12:40: Mike Z: IT’S MY BIRTTTTTTHHHHHHDDAAAAAY!

1:05: JUMP, JUMP, JUMP, JUMP! *bwah-waaaaaaing! bwah-waaaaaing!*

1:07: Exiting Czar. Hah! Someone’s using the stripper pole!

1:08: Now looking for the teammates and… Did those assholes seriously leave us? What the hell man?!

1:10: Found teammates and acquired taxi. Success!

1:15: Stephanie calling me back. I’ve been texting her intermittently throughout the night and I called her when I stepped out to let her know I’m safe. She’s been out with her friends at a thing back home and she’s a little worried about me, making sure I’m ok and stuff. Such a sweetheart.

Me: Hey! I loveeeee youuuuuu!

Steph: *laughs* I love you too, baby. Glad to see you’re having a good time. 

1:30: Returned home. I’ve learned a lot from my expedition. But I’ll analyze the data later. Sleep sounds good. Sleep sounds really good.

2:00: Can’t sleep. Texted Stephanie to let her know I’m home safe. She had fun at her thing and she’s relieved and happy that I’m ok. I’m glad she had a good time. Texting Tori because she put a picture up on Facebook of the team waiting in line for Czar. I figure I might as well talk to her until I collapse. Steph fell asleep so Tori’s the only one I’m texting right now I guess. That was a hell of a night.

2:14: zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

 

I’m still going over the preliminary data. As to what my hypothesis was, I don’t remember. I can give you a rudimentary conclusion, though. The Strobe-Light Jungle is a place where weird shit happens, you live in the moment, and you don’t question it. Where you enjoy yourself, keep a semblance of sense and moderation, and just dance the night away with people who are totally awesome. But you need to respect the Strobe- Light Jungle as it is an interesting habitat.

And seriously, when the hell are these marks on my hands going to come off?!