27 May 2006

Bob and the circus

Bob was tall for a person, which he wasn't. He was short for a tree, which is what he happened to be. He wasn't extraordinarily short, but a sort of middling short that he tried to compensate for by being extra bushy. It was said of Bob, back when other trees spoke to and of him, that he had boughs in places that most trees didn't have squirrels.
Squirrels are ubiquitous on trees, like sand on a beach or patchouli oil on a hippie. A tree without squirrels wasn't a tree, but a tall shrubbery or bush, or maybe a tall hedge with anorexia. Bob did what he could to keep himself covered in squirrels, even the annoying ones who did nothing but complain. Only rarely, at his patience's end, would he grab one by it's tail and fling it.
The squirrels didn't like to be on Bob when he was moving. He could cover tremendous distances in a short while, taking any passengers far from their home territory. The squirrels cared almost as little for the long run home as they did for the very concept of a moving tree. Trees weren't supposed to move, their immutable locations were of fundamental importance to woodland life. Bob moved and this made him the most unwelcome of trees in the forest, so he moved alone, except for squirrels too irritating to be welcome elsewhere.
Bob, also unwelcome elsewhere, tried to do most of his resting in large clearings. He preferred ones with a pond or stream in which he could soak his roots and drink his fill. He tried to do this toward the middle of the clearing, so as to be as far away from the other trees as possible.
Bob was resting in a large clearing, a pleasant meadow surrounded on three sides by unwelcoming woods. In a portion of the clearing, and along the unforested edge, the ground was covered by the rough black rock used by some animals as pathways when they are scurrying about. Bob was almost dozing in the middle of the clearing one morning, as close to sleep as a tree can actually get, when a great many noisy boxes came and stopped on the black rock.
People got out of the boxes, and milled around briefly. Most of them then began moving other smaller boxes out of the ones they came in, while a few began to wander through the field. They were carrying papers and bags. Some had loose papers, some in notebooks, and some with clipboards. Every here and there, after consulting amongst themselves, consulting with their papers, and kicking stones that Bob couldn't see, they would pull a stick, about half as long as they were tall and with a brightly colored flag at the end out of their bags and pound it into the ground.
There were soon flags waving across the whole meadow, and small carts rolling around that mowed down the plants in their path. Bob, in the middle of a large rounded area marked with blue and red flags, was likewise in the middle of a circle of the men with papers. They seemed to be taking turns, talking with one another, looking at their papers, and looking at Bob.
Bob was looking at them as well, or as well as a tree can look. Trees, like all plants except for the potato, don't have eyes. This should not be taken to mean that trees are sightless, for they are not. Trees can see just fine, though the means are unknown to all except for ferns, who are too self-obsessed to tell anyone else.
“It wasn't here last year,” said one of the men.
“It's too big to have just grown,” said another.
“Must be some sort of a practical joke,” said a third.
“It's too big to be a practical joke,” said a fifth, speaking out of turn.
“It's very bushy,” said the fourth, trying to catch up.
“It doesn't matter if it's bushy or a practical joke,” said the second. “We can't put the big tent up with a tree just off of the center of the second ring.”
“We could lay the tent out so that the tree is just off center of the third ring,” said the first. “Nobody ever watches the third ring.”
“That's because nothing interesting happens in the third ring,” said the third person. “Besides, moving the tent isn't possible without moving everything else.”
“We could cut it down,” offered the first, mistaking for a strong breeze the tell-tale rattling of a tree preparing to pound someone flat. Bob thought better of it, and moved out of the men's way. The men quickly stopped being in a circle around Bob, with a mild bewilderment, not about a moving tree, but about how they could work it into a show.
There are many problems with creating a circus act involving a moving tree. The first is that a tree won't fit inside the average, generic, multi-purpose three-ring circus tent. The second is that a tree won't do anything that it isn't inclined to do. The third is that squirrels are filthy vermin capable of spreading a great many pestilences. It's impossible to vaccinate them all because they flit about elusively, like stripes across a television or an Emily Dickinson reading. Catch one and twenty more run through the branches in it's stead.
The people discussed this as they filled in the hole Bob left just off of the center of where the second ring would be. It was agreed, after some bickering in the fashion of roustabouts, to let management deal with the tree. It was management's job to assign trainers and deal with both talent and performing animals. Bob wasn't an animal, but no circus had performing plants, so there was going to be a bit of adaptation.
The rest of that day, Bob watched as the people setup tents and facades, and began laying sawdust on the designated paths marked with flags of a neon brown color. The next day, the remaining tents were raised, the remaining obstructive plants were razed, more facades were put up, and the animals began arriving in their cages. On the third day, the circus was completed. It was also on the third day that the people who told management about Bob were given as clean of results on the management-ordered drug tests as could be expected for circus-folk.
The circus management wasn't interested in Bob. When Bob started juggling squirrels to amuse children bored by the formulaic antics of clowns, it was dismissed as hyperactive squirrels having gotten into caffeinated beverages. When he returned escaping balloons to their owners, it was called a fluke of the wind. When Bob stole bundles of yarn from the women employed as palm-readers, it was an ill omen and the circus left quicker than it came.
Bob was alone again, with some dizzy squirrels, a few rogue balloons, and a lot of yarn at the edge of a trampled clearing. Bob went back to the middle of the field, just off of where the second ring had been. He wasn't nostalgic for the spot, it just placed him the furthest away from the other trees as he could get. He sat there, unsuccessfully trying to ignore the formulaic antics of the squirrels, and started learning how to knit balloons.

Goe, was weeding in the rain.

22 May 2006


Storyblogging Festival is up for the fortnight.

Goe, reading them now.

21 May 2006

More bob

another bob story 1/3 to 1/2 done.

Goe, knows that bob joins a circus.

20 May 2006

An unimportant war.

The war began quietly. Not on purpose, not for dramatic effect, but because when it began it only involved people nobody cared about in a place nobody cared about arguing over things of no lasting consequence. Both parties hated each other because they wanted to. The complaints used to justify the fighting were of incidents so long ago that they were likely as not fictional.
Since it was in one of the many places in the world that we never cared about, we were content to ignore the whole matter, just as we ignore similarly unimportant conflicts in similarly unimportant places. They did not ignore us with a similar disinterest, and we became a scapegoat for the leaders of both sides. Every failed negotiation, military setback, stubbed toe, missing bolt, soiled diaper, and general malaise was lain on our doorstep, both sides claiming that their own failings were because we were helping their enemy. This we also ignored, as pretty much everyone was blaming us for everything anyways.
A politician of ours, seeking to portray an opponent as callous and cold-hearted, pretended to care. Speeches were given about seeking the middle ground, ensuring a fair and equitable peace, and apologizing for our non-interference in things that didn't involve us. The warring parties were not pleased by this, both believing so firmly that we were working against them that greater involvement would doom their cause, so they spread the war.
They began attacking our allies, countries and people that we did care about, in minor terroristic actions, through a variety of mercenary groups. Our allies weren't anymore involved than we were, but they were in easier reach for the unnoteworthy warring parties. Our politicians, and those of our allies, condemned the spread of the war, giving speeches calling for a middle ground to be sought, the assurance of a fair and equitable peace, and apologizing for not interfering in other people's business.
The situation continued thusly until a politician in one of our allies sought a political advantage over their opponent by claiming that the participation they were being attacked for was not only not fictional, but obviously a result of meddling on our part. We denied this, of course, as we hadn't been interfering and were too ignorant of the situation to have picked a side. We knew we weren't involved, and so did our allies, but it was easier for them to shift blame rather than to correct an error believed with religious fervor.
The delusional plight of the warring parties found more allies among us, as organizations indifferent to the war began calling on us to stop what we had never started as a way to gain political advantage in our own political situation. The continued attacks on our allies led our allies to ask for our assistance while their leaders and ours claimed that such assistance was the ultimate cause of these problems. The actual war nearly came to a halt as both sides put their efforts into attacking our allies, ignoring closer enemies.
Others in the region we didn't care about began blaming us as well, and with their aid, the original factions were able to escalate their attacks against our allies and spread the attacks to us. It wasn't until the attacks against us domestically grew too large and frequent for the media to ignore that we actually did something.
Some of our politicians felt that the actions were hadn't taken were misunderstood and could be corrected by sending in peacekeepers to impose peace and force negotiations. Others claimed that we had been involved and that only by distancing ourselves could we, our allies, and the warring parties find peace.
With the support of some of our allies, peacekeepers were sent in. The best soldiers we could muster were sent to babysit the local politicians and soldiers whose irrational hatred of us dragged us into their minor dispute. Our politicians who opposed the peacekeeping mission called it an unnecessary escalation of a mistaken policy, and demanded acts of apology and contrition from their opponents. The people whose peace we were keeping and some of our more Vichy allies were easily persuaded to this point of view, with our allies providing a sanctuary to the warring leaders so they wouldn't have to attend the forced negotiations.
They negotiated without us, after a while, and declared that our aggression against them was the real cause of the war, and turned to our allies for aid against us. Our allies did not aid them directly, but provided their leaders and terrorist organizations with money and shelter. As the attacks against us continued to grow, more of our allies abandoned us.
Nuclear weapons change things, and they changed several of our cities. Our own fault, our politicians and our enemies told us, for having started wars in distant lands that we didn't care about. There were negotiations, which didn't take too long and were held a safe distance from the fallout zones. Our politicians, the ones who ignored the distant wars of people we cared nothing about, were to be given show trials and punished for every unfairness in the world. The peacekeepers were to be likewise sacrificed to the corrupt justice system s of distant countries. Everyone, our enemies, allies, and our politicians who sided with them, could come and take what they wanted from us in reparation for the harm we hadn't caused.
Many of us were unhappy about losing cities, justice, and lives due to the corruption and dishonesty of others. We were told that we were greedy, racist imperialists who somehow had to be responsible for any misery, misfortune, or mistakes in the world, even if we weren't involved in any way. Our own troops, and those of our allies, were deployed against us to ensure that we didn't embark on any new imperialistic adventures or organize to further our racist machinations.
A free people are not easily yoked to injustice and oppression, the politicians complying with foreign powers and demands knew this was coming and tried to prepare. The laws used to catch the terrorists were used against us, 'the real terrorists', and actions never permitted to the peacekeepers were adopted by the police to control a restive populace. Our soldiers and police fight well, it's unfortunate that they're not on our side.

Goe, thinks Derbyshire is too upbeat.

18 May 2006


Saw the producers yesterday, first time i've seen the new version. they said elizabeth was hitler's middle name. making me consider changing the name of elizabeth john, since one of the thematic jokes was that the john family children all had names indictative of the wrong gender.

Goe, was disturbed by a google of "bob the tree" (149 results =-( )

Touch of Death

Every candidate i voted for on tuesday lost. all of them. it was sad. the thieving city councilman who claimed spending $75 million to build something of dubious value was cheaper than spending $35 million to not build it won his re-election bid though. his campaign was based entirely on claiming every other candidate was working for "big money".

Goe, against theft, government sponsored or otherwise.

Cult of the Moment

Last night on Ghosthunters, one of the guys asked someone else if the whole purpose of their group was to find proof of an afterlife. It would probably be unfair to assume that he wasn't the only one who failed to follow their goals through to the unstated end, that ghosts and demons are proof of religion in general, if not in the specific. Two days ago on the Corner, they began discussing the subject of "Voodoo Atheism", the belief that all religion is crap unless it happens to be non-western or very convenient, hence atheists practicing religions similar to voodoo. These people don't actually follow any of their conflicting beliefs to the point of cognitive dissonance, but maybe someday they'll toss convenience aside and make up their minds.

Goe, posted about this before.

17 May 2006

mundane films

a tv in another room is playing 'chumscrubber', a film about which i have no interest. it is yet another dystopian story about suburban high school students who over-react to everything, always understate things, and generally lack any perspective; the latter two traits they share with their underinvolved and usually absent parents. i went through high school in a suburban area, and the film among the multitude of high school noir wannabe's that best represented my experiences was '3 o'clock high'. the main plotline of that film was the main character trying to make sure that none of the people he had to deal with during the day were waiting to beat him up in the parking lot when school got out at 3. no grandiose conspiracies or sinister plots, just wanting to not get beat up.

Goe, not confident in other people's taste in film.

16 May 2006


filled out my primary ballot. i don't think there were very many honest people on it. thought about writing my name in a few of the blanks, but didn't because the democratic domination of local politics means pol pot would probably do better in the general election.

when a candidate for city commissioner believes imposing universal health care on the entire state is the most pressing city business while seeming relatively normal compared to the other candidates, it's a fucked up election year.

Goe, wishes there was a political party for people who weren't batshit crazy.


being late sucks. at least it wasn't entirely my own fault. that they were willing to reschedule is good.

Goe, got some stuff to do.

15 May 2006


went to the zoo saturday, most of the animals didn't do anything but lie there. there also seemed to be a shortage of animals. there weren't very many animals of any type, and only one or two of most of the ones they had. the 'big cats' area had two tigers and a leopard, the 'bears' had two polar and two sun bears. the petting zoo is gone, replaced by a 'family farm' that had goats and sheep, and another pen with pygmy goats. there was also a mountain goat exhibit with one goat. the zoo has gotten all lame.

Goe, remembers when the zoo didn't have a 'thrill ride'.

11 May 2006


was given a quiz on cut-n-paste/copy-n-paste in windows by someone who didn't know what the clipboard was. when i mentioned it, they thought i was talking about the office paperclip, and then told me that cut-n-paste/copy-n-paste only work inside microsoft word.

Goe, rolling his eyes.

10 May 2006

fraud update

heard back at my 'anonymous' email address on the fraud report i sent in. the insurance company isn't really interested in that particular fraud being a pattern of repeated fraud, they want names and dates which i can't give them without tipping off the people i saw doing the fraud. the insurance company doesn't seem interested in just doing a check to see if they've got claims with two contradictory reasons (one = medical necessity and covered, the other usually isn't). i've done pretty much everything i can, but if blue cross wants to sit there with it's thumbs in it's ears going 'i can't hear you!' then there isn't much i can do to stop them.

Goe, because if people want to get ripped off, they can!

09 May 2006

insurance fraud

i know reporting fraud anonymously and then posting about it may seem self-defeating, but i'm a rebel, damnit!

Goe, rebelling against your societal norms.

American Haunting

Bad, bad film. brags itself up as being about the only known case of a spirit killing a person, then wraps up the story with the only fatality having been poisoned by his wife. the whole narration angle was lame, as the story was being narrated by one of the minor participants to one of the people most affected. not really worth watching.

on the plus side, after a lot of mulling it over, i reported some insurance fraud i witnessed to an insurance company. i've known about it for several years (it's not a one time incident but a scam i've seen people in medical offices do to get insurance companies to pay for cosmetic procedures they don't cover) and i've told several people who work at an insurance company only to get brushed off. so i found an online fraud reporting thingie and ratted out the thieving bastards.

a whole field of fraud prevention in healthcare came into being in the 70's and 80's, employing hundreds of thousands of people and costing hundreds of millions of dollars, but everyone i know who is employed to prevent fraud would rather just let it slip on by. like a bank building a vault with solid steel walls several feet thick and putting an army of armed guards in front, only to let anybody wander in and take what they can carry.

Goe, against theft!

08 May 2006

Story festival

There's a new storyblogging festival up over at Back of the Envelope.

Goe, read em all.

07 May 2006

GA Chapter Six

When Amiable and Noreach reached the Rally Inn early the next morning, the first shimmers of light were creeping up from the horizon. Dandy Fop was already there, asleep and wrapped in a thick fur cloak. He was perched on the top of a large gilded carriage emblazoned with the Fop family crest, two crossed swords with large roses on the ends where the pointy bits should be.
Idiot and Stupid were trying to move a set of matching gilded luggage from the carriage into a weather-beaten clapboard wagon from which remnants of faded gray paint were imperceptibly peeling off. Several of the gilded trunks were already in the wagon, along with a simple brown chest, and a set of trunks in the deepest black Amiable had ever seen.
Snarky was nowhere to be seen. Selfless waved to them as he rode up. He was on a large brown horse, several bags holding his gear hanging from the saddle. “Good Morning,” he said. “There are more than enough horses to go around. Fop's men will tend the wagon team for us. I don't know where that Anachronism fellow has gone off to, but I expect he will be back shortly.”
Amiable nodded to Selfless even as he ignored the message. He spent a few moments looking over the horses before slinging his bags onto one. All of the horses were brown, except for two. A white horse of impressive size and strength had some very odd things hanging from the thickly padded saddle. A oddly shaped black horse obviously belonged to Lord Fop. It was only of middling height but it's girth betrayed a lack of exercise and bordered on the obese. It's saddle was also thickly padded and, along with everything else hanging from or covering the horse, inlaid with cheap baubles made up to look like precious gems.
“I don't see the bloody lad about, have you?” Noreach asked of Amiable as he began to fasten his own bags to another of the brown horses.
“No, but I hope he shows up. We'll look like idiots if the first person we sponsor is too cowardly to even bother to come along.”
“Adolescent Misfit will show,” offered Selfless, the half-heartedness of his voice betraying a lack of sleep. “I've done a great many of these little excursions, and nobody has ever quit this early. No. Nobody will quit until we've reached Recuperation.”
“Has somebody quit already?” asked a strangely dressed young man. His attire was so strange that it appeared to be nothing more than a collection of silken pockets.
“This adventuring party is being managed by the Order of Timely Heroes, Enchanters, and Royalty, a Section 23 organization. As such, it's business is a secret protected by both guilds and the King's law,” droned Selfless.
“So if you don't move along stranger,“ added Amiable, “We'll have to kill you to keep that secret.”
Amiable and Selfless both bared a small part of their favorite swords and Noreach pulled one of his smaller axes from their leather carrying case. The Goon brothers, sensing trouble, moved to stand between the stranger and Fop's carriage.
“It's, uh, me! Snarky Anachronism! I have a shave and a bath. I'm going with you. I just wanted to know who wasn't.”
“Everyone is here, Anachronism, except for Upwell and Misfit. If we're lucky, Upwell will have had a bath as well.” Selfless didn't sound the same, the fatigue was still on his voice, but there was a hesitancy that spoke more to confusion and a lack of confidence. Noreach was the only one in earshot who didn't notice. He did catch the comment about Upwell and began snickering.
“Knock it off, Axemaster.” said Amiable curtly, adding in a whisper, “Something's wrong here, watch your back.” The dwarf nodded in reply and finished packing his things.
A bit of chivvying by Selfless got the Goon brothers back to work. They finished moving Fop's trunks into the wagon and hooked up the extra horses, leaving two out for the late arrivals. Snarky watched Selfless with a concerned look, both of them being watched by Amiable and Noreach.
The Sun was cresting over the hills when Cleans arrived, courteously approaching from downwind. He had neither shaved nor bathed, the two unlucky horses trying in futility to shy away from him. He still picked one and tied a sack to the pommel that smelled of rancid meat. It actually was rancid meat, although it was slaughterhouse fresh when Cleans adopted it as the latest in a long and failed line of good luck charms.
Cleans was hanging a rusted and dented sword to the other side of the saddle when Adolescent arrived. He was out of breath and barely able to make his apologies for being late. “I'm sorry,” he said to Noreach's frown of disapproval, “I slept in, and then I went to the On The Way Inn, but you had already left, and then I went to the Lavish Luxury Inn where someone gave me directions and asked me to remember them to Lord Fop. Pudgie, her name was.”
“Pudgie?” snickered Noreach, arching an eyebrow. “Was she missing his company already?”
Adolescent looked apprehensively at Noreach. Slowly, comprehension dawned on him and his face wrenched in disgust. He shook his head and Noreach began laughing loudly at him, loudly enough to wake Fop, who lifted up his hat enough to Stupid holding his horse. “Time to go then,” Fop said merrily, climbing down from the carriage and onto his horse.
Adolescent put his bags into the wagon and his weapons onto the horse before climbing up into the saddle. Noreach, Amiable, and Snarky did likewise. They looked around a moment before Snarky spoke again.
“Selfless Sacrifice, you'll do nobody any good at Ambush Pass if you don't get some sleep. Sleep in the wagon, and we'll wake you when we get close.”
“We're going through Ambush Pass? There are rumors of bandits there.”
“I know of the dangers. It will take three days off of our journey and we won't get there until this afternoon. So get some rest now and we'll deal with what comes as it comes.”
Selfless grew worried. He stared at Snarky, as if trying to get a measure of the man. Snarky proved either inscrutable or illegible, and Selfless glanced instead to Amiable. Their gazes met and Amiable gave the slightest hint of a nod.
“Okay,” said Selfless, sliding down out of his saddle. He tied the reins to a ring on the back of the wagon. Idiot gave him a hand up and as soon as he was nestled into the baggage, Selfless pulled his hat down over his eyes and sought rest. Snarky turned his horse towards Starting Gate and began to edge it forward. The other riders began to follow. Stupid flicked the reins for the wagon team, and those horses began to trot in unison, as if for show. “These are good horses,” muttered Idiot, and both Goon brothers flashed an approving glance towards Selfless, who had yet to sink into an uneasy sleep.

Goe, over 14% of the way there!

05 May 2006


had an interview a few months ago on pill hill where the interviewers scoffed at their predecessors skilltesting of applicants. hiring people for who they know instead of what they know is the fashionable thing. yay for cronyism/'networking'!

had interview today with two managers who seemed genuinely uninterested in my job skills or work ethic and entirely interested in how i'd fit into office politics.

Goe, wondering where all the grownups went.

Gender Ethics

I watch Grey's Anatomy, it's one of my vices. This last week's episode is summed up on another site, but they seem to miss the point of one of the sidestories.

a pregnant woman who already has six kids wants her tubes tied secretly so her husband won't know, because they're catholics and it's apparently good for tv shows to bash catholics and their beliefs. she tells the doctor she wants her tubes tied, intern says she should tell her husband or call the police if he's been abusive. patient says husband is great guy, she just doesn't want to have more kids and doesnt want him to know. so during the c-section, the doctor cuts her tubes and calls it a 'complication'. intern tells husband to get a lawyer, doctor hates intern, patient is happy but won't tell husband to call off lawyer to hide her position.

it seems that most people think the doctor did the right thing, the intern is an asshole, and the patient is the victim of an evil oppressive cult that should be abolished. they seem to think that the lack of a signed 'informed consent' for surgical sterilization, and falsified patient records (both done by the doctor, not the 'asshole' intern) are perfectly fine and should not be questioned. it gets stranger. most of the people that i've heard blame the intern for exposing fraud happen to work in health insurance, doing fraud prevention. Curious about why insurance costs keep going up?

Goe, because fraud is theft with more digits.

03 May 2006

Corner revisions

The recent change to the corner is a bit more visually appealing, even if it makes it a tad bit harder to see the list of new articles. for some bizarre reason, the impromtii have lost their name and are now just another bunch of nordlinger articles. the world is a worse place for this having happened.

Goe, will blame the french and soldier on.

01 May 2006

May Day

Even though over a hundred million people have been killed in the name of communism, some people still think it's the best thing ever.

Goe, doesn't want to die for oppression.

Remembering the victims of social injustice

over here.

Goe, not a commie.


volunteering at habitat for humanity:
  • get appointment for briefing on history of organization
  • go to briefing on history of organization
  • fill out application
  • interview
  • get scheduled
  • get something done

    volunteering at google:
  • click 'next blog' button, if you think it's a violation of terms of service, click 'flag'.

    it's not really surprising that for-profit encourages and uses volunteer labor far better than charities and non-profits. it is sad, though.

    Goe, busy busy busy.