Raised by Wolves

Gaki: writing myself Real

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Ninja's Scroll: An E3 pastiche

log: Typing begins, 6:23 pm.

Setup. Bushido.

We hit the drop zone early, leaving the vehicle to kingsnake
to pilot back to base. We make the scene just in time for the 7:30 flight to LAX; the Panda King and I arrive first, black-clad so as to present a unified front with the Leather Twins who arrive minutes before departure. It's a crap time of morning to have to take a flight, and we're practically the only ones to have to take it, but we're under no illusions here... we're ronin. We're badass, we work on a moment's notice, we handle the situations, we don't complain. We're cannon fodder, and we suffer all the earliest wake-up calls. Caffeine addled and barometrically skewed, we touch down and rendezvous with the extraction vehicle; straight to work, no rest for the weary. This is L.A., and we're up too early and pissed off about it... fit right in, in other words. Pilot and copilot spend about an hour vocally arguing with the craft's voice-navigational system, and so we take the scenic route to the convention center.

Imagine, as you might have briefly in childhood, that inside your television is actually a tiny stage, and that each show or commercial is performed by tiny people within who set up, act, run offstage to the left and right and perform for you personally in your living room. Between episode or commercials, tiny setup creatures adjust the lighting, sets, and sound system, never complaining but getting more sullen the longer you watch. That was us all day, inside the commercial, tiny monkeys inside your TV. Lifting, carrying, moving, dodging crowds, setting up the room, pausing to reflect on the fact that the Roots are playing at the AOL Time Warner party... sigh. Just, sigh.

A small tribe of villagers comes by to pay homage to us with their crude and painfully subpar illustrations representing our clan's motifs. Then, to our surprise, as we are trying our best to act impressed, they demand thousands of dollars for it! The Vizier curses them away, and the other ronin hatch a plan to make some money off of the garbage. All it would require would be a photo of a third grade class, some faked signatures, and a "Help Cure Cancer" jar, but after reflection, we decide not to violate the Samurai code for mere drinking money. This time.

Day 1: A breast-taking explosion was heard.

A moment of silence is shared that morning; cybernetic tragedy has struck. One of the performers (I misremember her clan... Tecmo? Namco?) has suffered a traumatic implant failure and had to be rushed to a facility for immediate biomedical attention. A grim reminder of the brutalities of war in the 21st century capitalist mainframe. I spend the remainder of the morning trying not to laugh.

The ronin are discontent, and will grow moreso over the course of the show. The panda is cantankerous, abandoned to back pain and traumatized by cameras, forced to caper for the Man, yet refusing to shirk what he sees as duty, he will quickly grow to a level of rage that is unassaugeable. The Leather Twins dance their dance of Eros and Pain, but this time the dance is drawing to it's mortal end. I do my best to become water, to fill all gaps, to guard their backs when they are weary and take the point when it is needed. All of these struggles go largely
ignored by the aristocrats, as we are ordered to work harder, then less hard, then eat, then stop eating to perform, then criticized for not working enough. These are ronin, not vagabonds, and I watched them suffer permanent spirit damage. This was a silent battle and there were blessed few who saw it happen; I record this for no one's sympathy, but so that I do not forget.

The blessed oasis of the Scottish Game Developer's party afterwards leaves me with the smoky taste of raw uisge beadh on my tongue; it meshes strangely with the metallic air in the city of fallen angels. The paper-butterfly sound of business cards trading hands, and the behind-the-brain hum of digital transmissions forms a quiet anticrescendo to the evening.

Day 2: The Dreaming

Foot pain and intense audiovisual stimulation; the hum of bass is so loud, the lights are orgiastically breathtaking. LCD display towers are everywhere, from two feet to two stories high, all of them going off in a paroxysm of marketing narcissism, all intended to burn corporate sigils onto the retinas of all who pass by, instilling sleeping memes that will come back to haunt us in our dreams until we transmit them to others, parasitic glyphs that download into our heads, hostile neural adware.

Android women make the rounds, carrying simple programs enabling them to demonstrate games that they will never play once they have left this place. Their communications systems are limited, but it's just as well, as the 90% male population here lacks satisfactory communication skills anyway. Were I a warlock, magus, or sigilist, this city would be a matchless energy battery during E3, as legions of geeks masturbating in their hotel rooms or seedy strip clubs afterwards release a tide of autoerotic mystical power for three consecutive evenings, reflected by the untouchable mirror women.

At one point I encountered an flyer-carrying android having a program malfunction...
"Hey, take a look at this...!"
"No, that's okay, don't need one, thanks."
"... please, will you just stand here and talk to me for a second? No
one will talk to me!"
I swear, I saw a glimmer of real human emotion there, before the programming kicked back in. "Just kidding, I'm just kidding, haha! (turn, march) Hey, take a look at this...!"
Like a flower you saw in the snow on your way home... I meant to go back to see it again, but there was never time, and it's cold out there. I felt guilty about it later, though, enjoying a palatial suite with good company all around and good food; I should have gone back. She was trying to find real people, just like you and me.

Day 3: The Bird, the Snake, and the Door.

The morning is oddly idyllic, for all I'm up too early. The room is a wreck; champagne bottles, full ashtrays, and half-eaten shrimp cocktails look less like decadence, and more like kids playing at being "grownups" for a rare evening, even though we're all 20's, some of us creeping on 30's.

Coffee on the balcony overlooking Wilshire, paper extolling the wartime tortures that my MegaCorporation is responsible for inflicting upon the colonized. The bed's now lone occupant is wearing an insufferably smug "I don't have to get up, sucker" smile, but somehow it's cute, so I head downstairs to check out, and ask them not to disturb her until noon.

Most everyone except the die-hards are here late today and will be leaving early, having either overpartied at the Sony fete, or simply lost interest in the event. Teardown is largely left to the ronin, though at least one or two stalwarts stay to help us move things.

In a rare and hopeful moment, a passing bird caught my eye. Transcript of voicemail from eurolymius: "...they're pushing me around in a wheelchair, it's awesome. Um, I haven't seen any cute girls. Well, I mean, I see cute girls, but I mean none of them... okay, whatever, bye!" We and her compatriots held parley for an hour, and she brought me tidings from the east. As always, I treasured the moment, and I hope to see her again.

I bade farewell to the ronin in the wake of the battle; I would cut my own path home, as usual. Weary and footsore but otherwise unscathed, I clicked my cell open while descending the concrete steps of the Staples center and requested an extraction. "Snake. Door." I then headed for the nearest bar, and ordered an Amaretto sour while waiting for the dropship.


Many and strange were my adventures on the return trip.
- I stopped in on my family's lands in the Inland Empire to bid a good birthday wish to my sire.
- Snake and I paid homage to the most thugged-out convenience store in all of redneckland. Somewhere in ghetto-land, there must be a convenience store selling only the Christian Science Monitor, 16 oz. bottles of Lite Beer, Home & Garden, and Bic razors, just to balance the karma out.
- A red-headed firefighter faerie treats us to movies, hobbit-leaf, stories, and breakfast. I just wish she wouldn't wake me up by sitting on me... she's over six feet tall! Her whole house is amazingly purple.
- The wise Loki was on hand to discuss games with me and Snake, at the grotty-ass Pantry in L.A. He appeared like a shadow (well, a shadow that screams "AAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH!" at the top of it's lungs out of it's car window as it drives by you), sneered at me for being an AP, I lifted the obligatory "Oh, typical Dev team" eyebrow, and then we all chattered hi-speed game theory like monkeys on crack for hours. It was great.
- A tiny diva in Long Beach greets us all for HER birthday, then later scolds me soundly for breaking a stick over her magical paper unicorn (blindfighting skills are often looked upon as arcane wizardry by the uninformed). I told them all that it was a mistake to blindfold a man of my dubious social repute and send me out to swing a bat at any white creatures I encountered, but does anyone listen...?
- I am also reminded why you should never bring GOOD beer to a college party. Just pick up the Coronas like everyone else. Happy birthday Gaby! Salutations, Rog, Don, Athena, and everyone else who made it. Fie on you, those who didn't.
- At first I thought selling my soul for eternal youth was a GREAT idea. Lately, though, I have been receiving the "double-bitch slap" of carding protocol when procuring liquor: "Hey, can I see some ID? You look pretty young... DAMN, you're OLD!" Great, I look like an old punk brat. My dignity is saved in this situation by the Asian princess who leaned forward to say, "Honey, that just means you look good!" Me-ow. Thank you, miss.
- Driving in L.A. makes me angry all the time. Sigh. I miss it.
- Okay, this was supposed to be an E3 post, yet it had nothing in it about meeting the Sensei of Xbox Japan, or the president of Atlus, or passing up the opportunity to say hi to the Insert Credit crowd out front (though I did run into Brandon at one point, he's a polite cat.) I was going to gush about FFXII and Fable and Afterlife and Shin Megami Tensei, and I haven't yet. I also have the word "Tequila Dirt" scrawled in my notes and no recollection of why or what for. I'll get to it, I swear.

Whew! Anyway, so ends the tale... for now.

end log 7:53 pm

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(Deleted comment)
Sometimes I forget that I like to write. :) Thanks for reading.

that liquor store...

lemme see, the magazines were all, gun mags, car mags, tattoo mags, high times, some hip hop, some porn, some motorcycles. that was it. no newspapers, no time/newsweek, no movies, people just don't give a fuck. They just gonna get high, fucked up, get some tattoos, roll in their tricked out cars and try to pick up some ass, busting caps in asses if that should fail. I gotta give 'em credit for knowing their audience.


Re: that liquor store...

Well, that pretty much sums up the IE in a nutshell, don't it? And to think I get nostalgic about it... ah, well, "You can take the man out of the jungle, but..."

Re: that liquor store...

tru that. i can't lie, i try to be super-artsy, but it comes back to getting more ink, checkin for ass, and wantin' a truck. the inner suburban thug lives on. and it's still a good think i don't own no gun.

Once again, you never fail to inspire. Ones like these leave in their wake a trail of sly smiles, chocolate and wise. If language truly has tribes, I think Kayne comes from similar climes. It might just be the *riddim* ::wink.:: Peace out Ninja.

Once again, I am linked with undying evil as a compliment. :) ::hugs:: Thankya, miss!

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