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Raised by Wolves

Gaki: writing myself Real

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Trainable interactive Robopet moves,expresses moods,and performs tricks of increasing sophistication

All my memories of Vegas have been fractious. Loren and Kayleigh sniping at each other as all the things that hold a marriage together come crashing down around them, and I’m there to play Witness, or observer, or voice of reason, the aftermath of beer and speed applying a murderous hammerlock to the rear half of my brain as I try to focus between them. Screaming punk lyrics in my wacked-out rasp as Tully, Jared and I cruise out to catch Social Distortion at the Hard Rock, and rampaging around the casinos afterwards, and me dragging Tully around by the collar to stop his drunk ass dry-humping every waitress we pass by, and we run across some of the girls with some of the band later on and the girls like my Dead Kennedys shirt, and my teeth ache from hitting someone’s elbow unexpectedly, and I’m exhausted and when I’m exhausted I often say inappropriate shit and I’m half-convinced Mike Ness is going to be testing out the durability of his cowboy boots on my skull in half a minute, though I never ran into him. Or tromping around the city with my parents years before that, trying to find some kind of solace in a city that’s anathema to me, septuagenarians locked into some kind of mechanical daze, pulling those slot machine handles as the clock hits 2, 3, 4 am, and endless buffets, troughs where wide round people roll in and out in their buttery, greasy and efficient glory, everybody all high-frequency and focused on their hustle. It’s nightmarish in some ways, like if you gave a bunch of people the keys to build a paradise and they decided to build it out of flashbulbs and celebrity pageants and crappy tourist merchandise.

I’m driving one of those mid-size not-quite-an-SUV things. I can’t for the life of me get a shopping basket at Wal-Mart, there are only carts. Meat appears to be sold by the half-cow. Even the airport’s dry, joyless sandwiches are half the size of my head. Everything’s got to be big. Americans would rather have a huge payload of crap than a tiny iota of grace. It’s economical, and capitalist, and would make a certain sort of sense if we didn’t twist the ideal until it bled, until everything for everyone becomes everything for me, everything for free. There is nothing on the radio but showtunes, country, and screamy suburbanites doing their screamy best.

Behind the strip, the city flattens out into a deadzone of stucco and beige, endless gated communities and apartments and miles upon miles upon miles of “plazas,” chain stores feeding upon each other like starving piranha. This, at last, I recognize. This is home, in all it’s hated, barren glory. Walgreen’s, Wal-mart, Food-4-Less, Blockbuster, Hollywood Video, In N Out, Arby’s, Mickey D’s, Burger King, Bed Bath and Beyond, Olive Garden, the list goes on, and on, and on. The endlessly underwhelming universe of chain stores and tract housing that grows upon our country, a fungal, progressive infestation that grows to swallow acres of ground each year with parking lot after parking lot.

I grew up in the heart of such a morass; the Inland Empire has little else to distinguish it’s barren brown hills, it’s refinery and manufacturing-plant caused pollution. There’s nothing to do and nowhere to go, there, and perhaps you can see the marks of it in my character today, as I keep shuttling around, seeking and exploring city after city in order to find...

... What?

I am suburban decay, and all around me I see things failing to matter to people. I am grossly ill-equipped to deal with this shortage of heart. I’m easily amused, easily content; I used to rage, filled with frustration at the poverty of experience in my surroundings and in myself, at the walls being built up around danger and meaning, at people relinquishing their desire to signify. So I saw things, and though tempered now by age and the roads I’ve traveled, I sometimes see them that way still. The things my soul craves are no longer inexplicable; indeed, they generally reduce to a drink in hand, starlight, and a few dear friends around to remind me how fucking amazing the world can be, and will be, and is.

Surrounded by the human menagerie of spectacular sensations for affordable prices, and sintacular sensations for more than you can afford, a world of gaudy, surface pretensions -- it’s to understand that really we all have our pretensions. From the other end of the looking glass, everything and everyone in the world is deeply profound, and we are only limited by those times in which we fail to appreciate that.

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I have always had a hard time being in the City. If anything resembles the Tower of Babel and ancient things of the past...it is most apparent in the City. Anonymous and bloated and self absorbed.

Your words...some ring true to me, they Echo, if you will...while others seem to fall just shy. Your path sometimes seems to open a bit, Cephus, maybe you'll see that, too, while mired in that mess of City.

Well, if ALL my words echoed to you, then you'd be just like me, and that'd be... scary. ^_^

My path is open in a million directions right now, and I'm pondering most of them. Certainly things are feeling brighter for me than they did last year at this time. But that, like me, is neither here, nor there.

I feel as though I've just read something that *should* have been an excerpt from SnowCrash, only Stephenson never quite plumbed to that level. You have reminded me to rewrite a scene and post it. I will do that now.

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