I’ve been told that i act silly when I have this little sleep, but I never seem to appreciate the humor until after I’ve regained a solid REM-based perspective.
Also, nosebleeds. I’ve been having about one of those a day for a week. I think it must be my allergy medicine, but I was told by my Speech teacher that they might be the result of incredibly high blood pressure. I don’t think my blood’s any more pressured than it usually is, but I will have to check in on that at some point.
how many nights in a row did you pull allnighters for that to happen omg
Just the one. I can power through a day without sleep, or several days with minimal sleep, but I’m a lightweight when it comes to hardcore up-staying.
You know, when I was younger and I pulled all-nighters (at an age when it was still an effort just to get through the night, instead of getting through the day that follows it) I twice had hallucinations. One was that there was a minotaur that manifested out of the shadows of my blinds, moving between them while I stared. The second was when I thought that there were two armies of gnome-people battling for control of my head, and every time I closed my eyes I could see the two sides rushing to meet each other, and it was deeply painful to have that kind of tiny, fast, sharp movement hammered into my eyes. My memory’s hazy, but I think I dispelled them by just keeping my eyes shut for a while.
If I don’t go to bed, I wonder if weird supernatural creatures will appear in the reflection of my microwave or something.
As an Easter gift to myself, I ventured off-campus, past the gas station and even past the minute shopping plaza, just to see what was beyond. I found a Dollar General.
They had seven copies of the 90s cyberpunk novel Rebel Moon, but I resisted the urge to grab another book that I’d probably never read. I also resisted most of the random crap they had lying around, including a bunch of somewhat expensive DVDs.
Eventually, I was shooed out of the store by the manager, who insisted they were closing and held the door open for me. I grabbed some cheap chocolate, some bad-tasting ramen, and one of those toy cap guns. It all cost 7 dollars in total.
The gun puzzles me, too. I didn’t buy any ammunition, but it was a gift to myself. I can dream of holding it to the back of a mugger’s head and bluffing him into dropping what he’s stolen, but practically it’s just a piece of cheap plastic and metal that makes empty clicking noises when I pull the trigger.
It’s become a great part of my stereotypy-filled pacing, and there’s something satisfying about hearing that click. Plus it’s a little symbol of my power as an adult, that I can buy something completely useless just because I feel like it.
And, like a few other precious items of mine, it’s gained a kind of new significance and sentimental value. It’s not a toy taken from a dollar store, it’s an artifact.
I haven’t slept in 31 hours. Can you tell?
Because it’s the right hour and I’m in the right mood, let me try to elaborate the thing that terrifies me more than anything, and which require words that don’t exist to discuss properly.
In simple terms, it’s that this is everything that ever was. Or that this is the sole reality. Or that this is all that is.
Imagine that this universe is, potentially, one of many. It has a starting point, and it seems to have a vague endpoint, where it’ll keep expanding, but particles that can interact with each other will eventually be used up and the atoms left over will just exist in an expanding, eternally empty void. If there are other universes, they may follow this same trend, or they may branch out with completely different laws of physics- we have no way of knowing.
But all of these universes, everything that is, are a part of a meta-reality, something like a multiverse. The meta-reality is simply a collection of all of the universes that exist, have existed, or will exist.
My fear is that this is the only universe in the meta-reality, and that there aren’t any others. It’s not just that we’re all going to die someday, or that we’re insignificant specks on a huge rock. It’s that these mostly meaningless existences we lead are the only bits of life and meaning that there ever will be. That nowhere else has anyone ever lived or brought meaning to reality, that there was never anything that could be called a purpose to any of this, and that we don’t even have the luck to be an unfortunate side-effect of some glorious act.
We are just it. Here, slowly dying, we are everything that will ever exist, and after us there will be nothing but silence for all time, there won’t ever be a second chance, and ultimately, nothing will have happened.
Compared to that, being covered with spiders or chased by a man with a chainsaw sounds like a breeze.
I’ve finally come to a realization after watching some absolutely atrocious videos related to the Slender Man.
To clarify the problem, they all try to lump it in with every other piece of free-floating internet horror. Things like Jeff the Killer- the kind of awful urban legends that exist because the practices for making them leaked into the parts of it that are populated by thirteen year olds. They’ve turned the Slender Man into Slenderman, and through some jumpscareful games and a lot of pop culture whitewashing, turned the genuinely scary and mysterious figure into a living target for hentai jokes that could be used to market breakfast cereals.
The Slender Man has gone the way of Dracula and Cthulhu. Never mind that the point of Cthulhu was that he was simply a high-priest for the Great Old Ones, and the rise of R’lyeh would lead to the stars being right and the start of a Holocaust of Ecstasy that would teach mankind new kinds of fear. Lovecraft made Cthulhu as a kind of god, which slept but would eventually awaken, whose true visage would drive a man mad and who understood things that pitiful mortals like us should never, ever know. But there was a kind of cultural decay in the intervening time, and now Cthulhu is a cuddly tentacled man who eats sailors in a way that we can make jokes about.
This happens to all good horror after it reaches a certain point. Frankly, it happens to all bad horror. Look at Evil Dead: the Musical. See how the SCP Wiki, which does so much right, is so often reduced to a fast-moving sculpture and rape jokes. We’ve reached a point where nothing is sacred, and while some genuinely good comedy can come of it (like the wonderful “A Shoggoth on the Roof”), for the most part it’s just drivel that distorts everything that’s established about the subject.
The only things I can think of that properly escape this pitfall are the Fear and Holders Mythos. The Fear Mythos qualifies because it’s a branch of the larger Slender Man story which has remained obscure enough that no one’s started making well-known Let’s Plays of its game adaptations. And the Holders Mythos does this because it’s too underground, and too set in stone. There are 538 Objects, it says, and they must never come together. There’s very little room for adaptation, and anything parodying it is already hosted as a part of the series, keeping rampant adaptation away. Both of these things aren’t distorted simply because they’ve managed to stay out of the public eye.
But the Slender Man doesn’t fall into this trap, because nothing is established about it in the first place. Maybe it’s some kind of sentient tree, or a half-person creature in a suit, or an Elder God, or a fey beast that spirits away children. Maybe it has tentacles, maybe it infects people, maybe it’s just a side-effect of a slow descent into madness, or maybe it’s a monster that only appears to those it wants to see it. Maybe it only exists because so many people are thinking about it.
That’s what scared me, when I was a few years younger. The idea that just maybe, we’d created a monster, and that if we thought too long about it we would be dead. I could make myself believe, in those days, that maybe there was something to all of this, and maybe people really did turn into Runners and create logs of their terrified adventures as they ran from god knows what. That was worth a trillion Jeff the Killers. And this oversaturation of it as an icon has ruined that.
And I realized, just recently, that there’s a perfectly good explanation for this, taken from the Rapture Logs. The reason that your average Slender Man isn’t very scary is because it’s just a slender man. It has tentacles and it’s very deadly and all that malarkey, but in actuality it’s just a knockoff, a stand-in spat out of human culture for something much greater. The puny, pathetic regent for the god-king, if you will.
I feel better now. The things I like seem further away from being watered down by snickering tweens, and that’s always liable to brighten my day.
Know what I think is annoying as all hell? Anyone who complains about us having too many labels and about how labels are so divisive and awful and why can’t we just be people?
Putting a word to something doesn’t destroy it, it makes that thing a concept that can be communicated- it means that you can talk about it. And every word, in every language, code, cipher, or other message ever conceived, is a label for something that a person either imagined or which does or did exist at some point.
Where would biology be if taxonomy didn’t help divide organisms into distinct branches and let us map out an evolutionary tree? Where would writing be if we couldn’t compile a dictionary or an encyclopedia? And how many people would still consider themselves broken, wrong, or unnatural if they hadn’t found the right word for their identity, and found others who shared in it? How many more suicides and dead-eyed people would we have in a world where “asexual” and “transgender” weren’t words?
But there are so many labels for people and they don’t fit into an easy system! No, of course not, because they were all made by different people and then society as a whole grabbed them and started fitting them into different models. This is a postmodern world we live in- plenty of people doubt that there is any one true model of the world. That said, words like “bigender” and “demisexual” don’t have a lot of meanings, and whether or not the words are well-organized has little effect on whether or not you understand them.
Oh, but it destroys our sense of wonder at the unknown to put it all in little boxes- no. We are able to determine what we do and don’t know. We can look at a field and recognize the questions we haven’t answered, and come up with prospective answers, and hopefully work our way towards the actual answer. In many cases, we’ve already done this, and we ended up understanding those things that were unknown.
And, let’s be honest here, people who say this aren’t actually against labels, they’re against the things that labels are for. They don’t want new words that better describe the world, because it’s inconvenient to them to learn those new words. They shun new knowledge and new language, and they shy away from understanding, and they’re perfectly content to live in a world which remains motionless so they don’t have to stress their learning centers for five minutes. It’s an egocentric, small-minded philosophy for the sort of people who would rather burn books and live in caves than try to make the world a better place.
I don’t like this expression “First World problems.” It is false and it is condescending. Yes, Nigerians struggle with floods or infant mortality. But these same Nigerians also deal with mundane and seemingly luxurious hassles. Connectivity issues on your BlackBerry, cost of car repair, how to sync your iPad, what brand of noodles to buy: Third World problems. All the silly stuff of life doesn’t disappear just because you’re black and live in a poorer country. People in the richer nations need a more robust sense of the lives being lived in the darker nations. Here’s a First World problem: the inability to see that others are as fully complex and as keen on technology and pleasure as you are.
One event that illustrated the gap between the Africa of conjecture and the real Africa was the BlackBerry outage of a few weeks ago. Who would have thought Research In Motion’s technical issues would cause so much annoyance and inconvenience in a place like Lagos? But of course it did, because people don’t wake up with “poor African” pasted on their foreheads. They live as citizens of the modern world. None of this is to deny the existence of social stratification and elite structures here. There are lifestyles of the rich and famous, sure. But the interesting thing about modern technology is how socially mobile it is—quite literally. Everyone in Lagos has a phone.— Teju Cole (via sambwmn)
Another great moment in Reamde: one scene ends with gunshots that make you think a character is about to start a gunfight when we next roll around to them. Then, in the next scene, we start a minute or two before and have that character come up with a convoluted reason to fire their weapons in exactly the way that it happens at the end of that last scene, but is interrupted from this plan when a fight suddenly breaks out and he has to start shooting.
I love double-fakeouts.
McGann hasn’t aged because somewhere in his attic is the original reel of the TV Movie, aging.
Fun fact: I can’t visualize things. I’ve tried, and I can’t actually see things at will with my mind’s eye. I can have vivid dreams if I wake up at night and then go back to sleep, but I can’t see things when I close my eyes. I seriously wish I could, though.