Archive for the 'Fine Literature' Category

someone else’s fears

November 17th, 2005

Jeff reminded me of a great book called Fears of Your Life by Michael Bernard Loggins, a developmentally behind-the-curve guy from San Francisco. He covers over 100 of his fears, and illustrates a fair number of them.

blue LEDs are better than anything

November 10th, 2005

*a one-act play*
*by Jeff Hobbs*

*(SCENE: a briefing room filled with reporters and a podium. On the right from behind a red curtain, JEFF enters the room, the MODERATOR nods, and JEFF takes the stage.)*

MODERATOR: Hello, please be seated. Mr. Hobbs will read a short prepared statement, then he will take questions from the press. I’ll pass the podium over to Mr. Hobbs.

JEFF: Good afternoon. *(rustles papers)*. Ahem. Blue LEDs are better than anything.


JEFF: I will now take your questions. Janice?

JANICE: Janice Fleur, Mount Washington Daily Press. When you said “Blue LEDs are better than anything”, isn’t it true that there are some things that blue LEDs are not better than?

JEFF: No comment. You, sir?

STEVE: Steve Walters, Chicago Military Reader. Have blue LEDs been found in Iran?

JEFF: No blue LEDs have been found in Iran. YET. Next question —

BILL: Bill Walters, New York Post. Are blue LEDs better than this nation’s growing unrest with troublesome domestic issues?

JEFF: *(takes mic off podium and walks into the audience)*.

JEFF: *(lays hand on Bill’s shoulder)*.

JEFF: Of course they are, Bill. Blue LEDs are better than anything.

BILL: What about —


*(JEFF suddenly pulls a blue LED shoddily wired to a switch and a 9-volt battery from his pocket. He turns it on, and BILL and STEVE’S faces are illuminated by the high-tech blue glow. With the benefit of the soothing blue light, we see that they are, in fact, long-lost twin brothers — they stare at each other for a second, then they start making out. JANICE joins in)*.

JEFF: HOT. OK, no further questions. *(drops mic to ground with SFX: THUD and walks back behind red curtain)*.



Entitling this post would be repetitive and I apologize for redundantly repeating.

August 8th, 2005

> Subject: Re: Resume
> Dear Ms. Torguswaithe,
> Please find enclosed the sample artwork intended to be an addendum to my
> resume to which it should have been attached, but was neglected, as it had
> become detached during the stapling process, and was left, rather than
> appended to the resume as was intended.
> I apologize for any inconvenience you may have suffered due to the
> inconvenience of having these two letters, rather than the one that would
> have taken place had the enclosed artwork sample been affixed in the
> appropriate manner, that is, in the envelope in which it would have been
> enclosed, save for the aforementioned neglect that led to its being put in
> a separate enclosure, that is, another envelope.
> I hope you continue to consider me as viable for the position for which
> you are considering me a potential candidate, and I hope that the neglect
> of the aforementioned (and herein enclosed) artwork sample does not deter
> you from selecting me as a possible worker within your firm in which I
> have applied and you already work, unlike me, who does not work for you.
> Sincerely,
> Joshua Newman
> Enc.

two-fisted tales of tepid torpor

August 3rd, 2005


by Jeff Hobbs and Josh Newman
*thanks to tucker for digging these up*

**Issue #1**

Commander Crash Nightshade climbed the ladder to the portal of his ship, smiling to himself, and secretly basking in the cheers of the crowd behind him. When he reached the top of the ladder, he put on his trademark hero’s face and the smile disappeared. He turned around and waved firmly to the throng, who cheered in response.

This was to be a historic mission – the first man to fly a rocket all the way to Proxima Centauri. His sacrifice would be great, but the hero’s welcome on his return would make it all worthwhile.

The crowd’s noise stopped suddenly as the portal closed. Commander Nightshade strode through the halls of the ship until he got to the cockpit. He put the radio transceiver voice communicator device over his ears and mouth and clicked the thick cable into a plug marked “radio transceiver voice communicator”. He spoke into the mouthpiece “This is Commander Crash Nightshade. All devices are operating normally.”

The scratchy voice came back “Commander Nightshade, we wish you the best of luck on this mission.”

“Thank you, Command,” said Crash. He pressed a button on the dashboard of the ship and the sleek silver ship pushed into the sky. Soon, it was underway to another star, and, perhaps, to meet the strange people who lived there.

Unfortunately, even at its respectable speed of 18,000 miles per hour, the rocket took 1,401,249,600 years to arrive, and, by that time Crash Nightshade was long dead.


**Issue #2**

Captain John “Stash” Russell haphazardly parked his hover-ride outside of the HoloMedia store and ran inside. Quickly scanning the racks, he picked out the latest “Xanthir Corrinda” HoloCube audio sampler and brought it up to the register. The clerk nodded knowingly — a little too knowingly, perhaps? — rang it up, and asked if Stash needed a bag.

“No,” Stash replied, “thanks.”

Xanthir Corrinda, despite being arguably the finest Synthatar3 player in the entire universe, and besides possessing a beautiful mezzo-contralto singing voice, held an important secret. She was currently extremely sympathetic to the resistance, and often allowed members of the resistance to pass messages between each other through secret encoded messages in her weekly HoloCube releases.

As soon as he returned to his hover-ride, Stash inserted the HoloCube into his specialized decodec player. As he adjusted the digital controls on the decodec, the music swelled, cross-faded into static and then suddenly a man’s voice was audible.

“Stash — this is Commander Psion. It is of the utmost importance that you meet the Baron and his henchmen at the entrance of the southern archipelago tonight. That’s where the trade will be made. The future of the resistance rests on your shoulders, Stash” The voice faded off into a virtuoso Xanthir Corrinda Synthatar3 solo.

Stash immediately gunned the engine and proceeded to the wait point. He waited and waited, scanning the horizon with his MagnaScan goggles, but the Baron’s mini-sub never emerged. Most likely that was because Stash thought that an archipelago was a narrow strip of land connecting two larger land areas, when in fact, that is an isthmus.


**Issue #3**

Every day Timmy and Joey would ride their bikes to the construction site of the new houses being built near Timmy’s neighborhood. There was a gigantic dirt pile at the site, and the two would spend all afternoon playing “king of the mountain”, a game where the boys would take turns climbing to the top of the hill and throwing dirt clumps at the other. They would return to Timmy’s house laughing and covered in dirt, to the constant annoyance of Timmy’s mother, who good-naturedly cleaned them up and promptly whipped up a late dinner for the two.

On one such afternoon, the two happened upon a small, newly formed crater in the ground. Cautiously edging towards the crater, the two friends discovered a small blue cube with a small red button at the bottom of the hole. As Timmy picked it up, he noticed it was still warm to the touch. The cube was covered with mysterious and exotic looking writing, but as Timmy held the cube he was surprised to realize he could understand what it said.

“You are now the keeper of the Ultimate Annihilator. It has been sent to your planet to hide it from the unspeakable forces of evil. Whomever holds this object holds the ultimate power of the universe.”

The boys were silent for a moment as they struggled to comprehend the message.

“Dude, I dare you to press the button,” Joey said. “I double-dog dare you.”

“You double-dog dare me?” Timmy replied.

Timmy pushed the button. Nothing happened, so the two quickly forgot about the whole thing and went home to eat dinner at Timmy’s house. Timmy’s mother made meatloaf, and it was pretty good.


**Issue #4**

Scratch slouched in his apartment, his black hair like a bird’s nest and his eyes glazed and focus-less. His leather pants creaked as he breathed. Beside him lay his portable armory: a bandolier, made of an advanced polymer that stretched like skin and made its contents radiate the same heat as the body under it, making the weapons nearly invisible.

Scratch knew that it was time. He had had enough of this physical realm. He wanted to dart like a sparrow over the net, feel data coursing through his veins, see the invisible, feel the insensible. He had had the socket implanted in his skull just hours ago, and the bone still ached. He fingered the new strange hole in his skull, feeling the smooth edges.

Scratch reached across his weapons for the jack and plugged it into his skull. Tragically, skull jacks did not exist and the 3/4 stereo plug pierced his brain, making him unable to remember the names of anything colored red. This was disorienting enough, but when he stood up, the jack wiggled in place, making him forget how to unplug things. To this day, he wanders around his apartment with a stereo cable hanging out of his head doing himself some really serious brain damage, let me tell you.


**Issue #5**

The meeting convenes within the dark and stuffy corporate boardroom of a large company. Executives enter the room and shuffle into the seats around a large table. All are dressed normally, if rather plainly, and they all sneak furtive and nervous glances at each other as they sit.

As each man’s attention wanders past the sweaty brows and faces of the other nerve-wracked executives, there’s a sudden noise at the head of the table. Giant hairy hands come down on the boardroom table with a THUD. Only the hands and silhouette of the man at the head of the table are visible, who is completely covered in shadow except for a thin trail of smoke coming from the cigarette in the ashtray to his side.

“Gentlemen”, the man thunders, “I think we all know why I called you here.”

There is a sharp intake of breath throughout the room; a palpable feeling of danger and impending accusation fills the air.

“The boys from security have completed their internal interviews. And,” he pauses, “their findings are in.”

Another pause.

“One of us… is a robot.”

Another gasp. The room breaks into a low murmur, each man turning to the man next to him.

“QUIET!” the man at the head of the table roars. The room snaps to attention. “We are going to get to the bottom of this NOW. Not later. NOW.”

“I am going to ask each of you one question, and one question only. You will answer me quickly, completely, and truthfully. We will start with Johnson.”

The man at the head of the table turns his gaze to the man seated to his right.

“Johnson,” the man booms, “are you a robot?”

Johnson trembles in his seat. “No…” he replies.

The man, seemingly satisfied, turns his gaze to the next man.

“Weinburg,” the man booms, “are you a robot?”

Weinburg straightens in chair. “No sir.” he replies.

The man eyes him suspiciously for a moment. But he eventually turns his gaze. Systematically, the man goes throughout the entire room, asking each nervous executive in turn if he is, in fact, a robot. In each and very instance, the answer is “no”. The man seems agitated; the mood in the room turns increasingly more uncomfortable.

Finally, the man’s gaze falls on the last seat. “Klanky,” the man says. “Are you a robot?”

Klanky sits silent, save for the soft hum of a hard drive spinning up. Two accordion tube arms flail upwards and pincers snap the air. Suddenly his giant metal box of a head rotates from side to side, making a soft servomotor BZZZT BZZZT BZZZT sound. There is a whirring — giant orb-like red glowing eyes flash twice –and from Klanky’s hex-bolted chest a small punch card pops out with a “ding” sound. The man slowly pulls it out and puts on reading glasses.

“It says ‘no’.” he reads.

There is silence. The man at the head of the table takes a drag on his cigarette.

“Damn.” He exhales. “It seems we will never get to the bottom of this mystery.”

Years later, it is revealed that the man at the head of the table was the robot.

(Issues 2, 3, and 5 by Jeff Hobbs. Issues 1 and 4 by Joshua Newman.)