Archive for November, 2004
Well, we’ve only been going for two weeks, but it’s happened already– it’s time to publish and I can’t think of anything to write. Don’t worry, though, I’ve saved something for just such a situation. This is a piece that I wrote a while ago. I like it, most of all because it’s definitely geek lit, which is something I think we all need more of. If there’s one thing I want mikeschramm.com to be, I think it should be your portal to geek lit.
I submitted this piece to multiple publications, but not a single one wanted to publish it. I don’t know why that is, exactly– I thought it was funny. Maybe they never played the game.
Day 1: Ours was a love that was chaste and pure. At first, we had seemed opposites–she in her frilly pink dress, and I in my plumber’s cap and dirty overalls. She was a princess, after all, and I was a merely a plumber. But she’d always said it was something about my eyes that got to her, big and blue, peeking out from between my cap’s M and my black bushy mustache. The same mustache that tickled her soft, gossamer lips, and sang her praises in a high-pitched and accented voice night and day.
We’d met under the strangest of circumstances. She’d been kidnapped by a burly ape, and I, seeing her and loving immediately, had raced up flights of stairs and over barrels to be with her. Perhaps that too added to our love—somehow I’d always seemed the hero, and she the Princess in despair.
But this morning, I woke to find her gone again. I suspected foul play, though Donkey Kong had long returned to the jungles. And, against Luigi’s fervent pleading, I abandoned my wrenches and made my way here, where my journey begins. I stand now looking out over the wasteland, laid deep with bricks and pipes, and wonder where my Princess has gone. Tomorrow I will set out to find what I may find, and I fear it may be a long time before I hold her sweet hand in my large white gloves again.
Day 3: Fairly easy going early on. I found, to my surprise, that a few of the bricks floated maybe twice my height above my head. At first, no matter how hard I hit them, I couldn’t break them open at all, but as fate would have it, I stumbled upon a mushroom, and, not having brought any supplies (shame on Luigi for not reminding me), quickly ate it. I fear to wonder what mysteries this strange land holds—on finishing my makeshift meal, I literally grew to almost one and a half times my height! Oh, if the Princess could see me now! Drunk with my newfound power, I leaped higher than I ever had before at one of the floating blocks, and broke it open, splitting it into four distinct squares that quickly fell into oblivion. I broke a few more, and eventually a few coins burst out, which I quickly collected. Where I might end up spending this new currency, I have no idea, but I assume it will come in handy eventually, even if I find it hard to believe a vendor can exist here among the bricks and pipes. I was thrilled with my success so far.
Until the turtles arrived. Cursed creatures, they seemed to be only able to walk in one direction—towards me. Thinking quickly, I pounded my boot on its head, trying to squash it (I should have brought my wrench!), and crushed it so hard that its shell flew away into the distance. I had no time to celebrate however, as I realized with horror that the shell had hit a brick and was quickly making its way back towards me! I tried to move right or left, but found I could only move forward or back, and before I could realize to jump, the shell hit me and flew off behind me.
I was not seriously hurt, except that the mushroom’s effects appeared to be removed quickly, and I shrunk back to my former size. Truly, this world has much to teach me.
Day 6: A flower today. Glowing with red and white, I again ate it hungrily, suspecting that it would help me as much as the mushroom had. I was half right—now I found that I could, out of nowhere, hurl balls of red and yellow fire, albeit only two at a time. I made quick work of the turtles and sprang down into a pipe, finding myself underwater! I struggled to breathe, and then discovered that I didn’t have to, but the water was full of fish. Making my way slowly around each of them, I collected a few more coins, and only suffered once more when one of them touched me on the way out, reducing my back to my former state yet again.
I climbed up out of the water, and found myself in front of a large flag. Overjoyed at my survival through such tasks, I jumped up and quickly raised it, and no sooner than that, heard the loud cracks of three fireworks around me! Do I have an ally in this strange land? I looked on, and saw only the dark shadow of a castle, an inverted arrow on the horizon that I am sure must hold my Princess. Tomorrow I will face it, and tomorrow my journey must end.
Day 7: Devastation! My journey is no more at the end than it was at the beginning!
I entered the castle’s gates at a slow pace, taking my time before I found out what was inside. Entering the darkened cavity, I found more fireball traps and lava pits, evaded only barely by a few well-timed jumps. After finding another mushroom and again doubling my size, I continued down the passageway. Now, numbers of fireballs flew down the passageway after me, and nimbly I dodged each one, knowing that any misstep would rid me of my fragile power.
At the end of the corridor, I found a terrible sight. A huge cavern filled around me, split down the center by a bridge that carried its way across a fiery field of lava below! Fireballs sprung up on either side, warming my face and almost singeing my ‘stache. And at the end of the bridge, I encountered a monster more fear-inducing than any ape: a huge mutated turtle, breathing the fireballs I’d dodged before, was jumping and hungry, blocking the door behind him. Scared to my wits, I hardened my spirit, and thought of my Princess—it was for her that I’d started and for her that I’d continue.
I ran quickly towards the beast, jumping one fireball and ducking another on the way. Behind him I saw—what was that!? An axe! I leapt over him, reaching for the weapon I thought I’d seen, hoping to grasp something that might help me slay the atrocity. My gloved hands touched the object, and I realized that it was no axe—it was a switch. Gears ground around us, and time seemed to freeze as the bridge suddenly rolled itself up mechanically behind me. The turtle lost its foothold, and, screaming, fell into the burning pit below.
I nearly wept with happiness. Success was mine, and the Princess must be behind the door before me. Breaking open the door with the same steady pace that I’d used to enter the castle, I walked inside and almost cried her name looking for her sweet face.
But of course she wasn’t there. There was only a servant, who told me, my face buried in my hands, that my Princess was in another castle.
I will continue. I will find you, Princess, my love, my daisy, my peach. No matter how many lives it takes (hundreds? millions? three?), or how many worlds I have to cross (eight, unless I can find a way to warp between them), I will rescue you, and again will cradle you in my arms up against my dingy overalls. I promise you this, my love: no mushroom, turtle, or Bullet Bill will keep our steadfast spirits apart.
Welcome back to Monday everybody!
“They thought he was dead. They were right.”
“This holiday season, relive the adventure.. of last Tuesday.”
“When they said housecleaning, they meant it.”
“This summer, the student will meet the teacher. Over coffee.”
“You’ve never seen a nurse like this! Unless you’ve been to a hospital.”
“In a world scarred by war, she was fine, really.”
“When all hope is lost, and time is running out… it’s probably best to give up and try something easier.”
“He was a hero, fighting for his country. She was a princess, fighting for her life. They never met.”
“Enter a world completely within your imagination.”
I hope everybody had a good Thanksgiving. I had a very good one– I spent the day in my wonderful hometown of St. Louis, MO with my friends and family. In fact, I am posting this direct to you from the very room that I slept in throughout my grade school and high school years! Of course, it has changed quite a bit (my mother has since moved out all my furniture and replaced it with a couch and a desk), but I thought I’d give you, dear reader, a look at what my room used to look like.
- Pulp Fiction movie sheet featuring Uma Thurman*
- REM’s “Monster”
- Road Kill Cafe
- Two 3D posters from Valiant Comics (one featuring Ninjak and one featuring Solar, Man of the Atom)
- Pulp Fiction still featuring Samuel Jackson and John Travolta
- “Afterburners Fried My Homework”, promotional poster from Boeing Aerospace Program
- Jackie Chan’s Rumble in the Bronx sheet
- Various triangular banners, including Cardinals, Chicago, Walt Disney World, Immanuel Lutheran School, and F14s
- Three comic book posters, featuring Batman and the Joker*, Spiderman 2099 (if you remember that– geek), and Prophet drawn by Stephen Platt (and if you remember that you really are a geek)
- Barry Sanders, Detroit Lion
- “Interlaken” poster of Swiss Mountains, given to me by my aunt
- Cross stitched picture of an eagle with Bible verse, given to me by same aunt*
- Independence Day ID4 poster: “We always thought we were alone in the universe. On July 4th, we’ll wish we were.”*
- Have a Day and Have a Night posters (I believe everyone owned these right around 1995, and I, of course, am no exception)
*Are still on display somewhere in the vicinity of my current living space in Chicago, IL
Happy Thanksgiving y’all!
“Turkey means never having to say you’re sorry.”
“If I do marry, I want it to be for turkey.”
“I would rather be a ghost, drifting by your side, as a condemned soul, than enter heaven without you. Because of your turkey, I will never be a lonely spirit.”
“A life without turkey is no life at all.”
“Turkey is a many splendored thing.”
“I may not be a smart man, but I know what turkey is.”
“Buildings burn. People die. But real turkey lives forever.”
“Faith, hope, turkey. But the greatest of these is turkey.”
“In all that we do, let us do it for turkey.”
“One word frees us of all the weight and pain of life: That word is turkey.”
I never promised everything here was going to be a joke. Or short.
Long ago there was a King, who lived in a castle and ruled a kingdom. The King was not an evil man, but he did like money, and as a result, he tended to be greedy. Sometimes, he’d ask his wife, the Queen, to make pancakes, and when she didn’t he’d whine and moan until she rolled her eyes and made pancakes. In that fashion, the King usually got his way.
In the kingdom, it came to pass that there was an onion farmer. This onion farmer loved onions (as onion farmers should), and, by virtue of his own design, loved to make all kinds of foods from them. Sometimes he would make onion cake, other times he would make onion souffle, other times again it would be onion casserole. But by far his best dish, his piece de resistance, was his onion soup. People for miles around would speak for long hours on the subject of how good the onion farmer’s soup was. It was astoundingly good, and consequently, the onion farmer was soon coaxed into inviting all kinds of people around for dinner, if for no other reason than they could have some of his famous soup.
Soon enough, then, the King heard about this onion farmer and how good his soup was. The King sent for him immediately, tasted the soup, and declared it was the best stuff he’d ever had. It was fit for a King, the King declared, and so he told the onion farmer right then and there that he’d hire him on the spot: the onion farmer would be the King’s official onion farmer– he’d grow and cook onions only for the King, he’d live on the castle grounds, and he’d live a life beyond his wildest dreams. The onion farmer was overjoyed at this prounouncement, with one reservation. The people in his province, he explained, had gotten quite used to his onion soup, and enjoyed it very much. He, being a humble and good man, wouldn’t deign to keep them from eating the soup they so enjoyed. He’d love to live with the King and benefit from his riches, but couldn’t leave the people of his former province without their soup.
Fine, said the King, who loved money. We’ll sell it to them. And so it came to be that the King started selling onion soup, and soon enough everyone in the Kingdom could enjoy the soup, not merely the King, or even just the people in the onion farmer’s former province. Soon, everyone was buying the soup everywhere. It was a bestseller at all the local grocery stores, it shot to number one on all the charts: the onion soup was a monster hit. And the King, loving money as he did, couldn’t stand to let a little thing not be a big one, and so slowly raised the price on the soup, little by little. Eventually, people were paying eighteen dollars and even more for just a single serving of the soup. Sometimes, they’d even got a bowl of soup that didn’t turn out so well, so that they paid eighteen bucks or more for just a few sips of soup.
Needless to say, the kingdom grew unhappy. They did like the soup, and did pay for it, but there was grumbling around that the price of soup was getting too high. The onion farmer, still a hardworking man, now paid beyond his wildest dreams, went to the King and asked why they had to charge so much for the soup, a soup that he’d originally shared with people for free. The King, loving money, explained that, well, of course the onion farmer got his share, but they also had to pay the cooks that helped him and the farmhands who dug up the onions. And they had to pay for the soup’s other ingredients, and there were material costs… The onion farmer agreed that certain things had to be paid for, but the actual cost of the soup didn’t add up to but four or five dollars. Well, said the King who loved money, of course I’m paid for my services as well. If it wasn’t for me, said the King, people would have never tasted your soup in the first place! People should appreciate the service I give them! The onion farmer nodded and went away, all the while wondering about this.
Of course something had to happen, and something did. One of the onion farmer’s cooks happened to glance at the onion farmer’s recipe one day, and it just so happened that this cook had a terrific memory. A memory so great that later that night, he went home and wrote down, perfectly, the soup’s recipe, and then went to show his wife what he’d seen. The next day, his wife took her usual trip to her aunt’s, and when there, shared the recipe with her cousin. The day after that, the cousin shared the recipe with her best friend, who happened to be a pretty good cook herself. And the day after that, the pretty good cook rounded up some ingredients, and made an attempt at making onion soup all on her own, and, lo and behold, she tasted it after making, and it tasted pretty good. She shared some with her neighbors, and they liked it so much that they got the recipe from her and made their own. And so on, and so forth, until pretty soon, everybody had the recipe, and pretty much everybody could make pretty good onion soup, pretty much for free.
Understandably, sales on onion soup fell off the charts. Why buy soup when you can make it for free? The King, who loved money very much, was livid. At first, he tried to trick the people. He took a picture of the onion farmer and put posters of it up everywhere, with a caption that asked why people were trying to steal the onion farmer’s soup (the onion farmer didn’t much care either way– he was just happy that his soup was reaching the people he made it for). He even paid one of the onion farmer’s more dim-witted cooks to go on movie theater commercials and talk about how people making soup was hurting his family. Well, not exactly how it was hurting his family, but how it was going to hurt his family if it continued. Well, at least it would hurt him. Well, maybe a little bit. Someday.
None of it worked, of course. The people weren’t idiots– they knew the only person who was really hurting from the soupmaking was the King, and that’s only because he wasn’t making nearly as much money as he used to. But the King cared very much about how much money he made, and soon, he started throwing people in jail. Those that made the most soup were convicted and arrested of theivery: the King claimed they had stolen soup from him by making their own. The people started to think he was crazy (how could making soup, something they’d been doing for years, be illegal?). And maybe the King was crazy, because he kept jailing people. He jailed an old lady, simply because her grandson had made soup in her basement. He jailed two people for letting their friend make soup in their house. He even threatened to jail one person for talking about how much he liked soup on his website.
All in all, the kingdom grew to be a pretty miserable place. Making soup was branded illegal, and people that did it were looked down upon and hounded by the King’s cronies. The King sat in his castle and whined and moaned, stopping only to find new people to jail and threaten. And the onion farmer, who only cared about getting his soup out to the people that loved it, wept, because great numbers of people were never able to taste his soup again.
Moral: What a terrible kingdom. Good thing we don’t live there.
Angelina Jolie: “Never will there be an Alexander like you… Alexander the Great.”
Alexander the Swell
Alexander the Impertinent
Alexander the Apathetic
Alexander the Promising
Alexander the Emotionally Unavailable
Alexander the Not-so-Great-But-Still-Pretty-Good
Alexander the Pathetically Enthusiastic
Alexander the Needs Work
Alexander the Somewhat Impressive
Alexander the Grating
Welcome back, dear reader! Did you enjoy your weekend? I hope you did. I enjoyed mine, as I got to see “Sons of Liberty”. It was interesting and fun.
About four months ago I was blessed with the incredible technological advance that is known as Gmail, Google’s email service, famous for the fact that you can save one gigabyte of emails on it for free. A month or so after that, I logged in to find that I had a few gmail invites to give away– invitations that I could send to people to let them have their own free gmail account. Being an enterprising type, I instead decided to give them away to craigslisters:
Chicago Craigslist posting: 10-6-04
Title: gmail invites
Just in case you haven’t experienced the constant orgasm that is gmail, they gave me some invites to give away. Yours if you want them. Email me and, in haiku form (or sestina form, if you have a ton of free time), tell me why you want one.
Haikus, if you’ll recall, are short japanese poems consisting of three lines of five, seven, and five syllables, and usually containing a seasonal reference. In response, I got sent a few of them, although no one tried a sestina. To protect the innocent, I’ve not included the names of the authors, but know that I did not write these, I’m merely reprinting real haikus that were sent to me.
i want a gmail
because gmail is awsome
have no service now
write like the speeding
there is much that storage gives
my love is e-mail
Why gmail? simply
becasue of huge storage space.
Sorry, no big O.
gmail for me,
to have and to play,
what fun it is,
to rock with 1k
I would like a Gmail, because I need free storage. J
Can you send me an gmail invite..
i will be thankful..
i came to know thru craigslist..
Obviously, those are terrible. The last three aren’t even haikus, and have spelling errors and strange punctuation. I did get one good one, and sent them an invite right away:
Gmail invites, yes?
Unlike spring blossoms, still there?
My geek needs one bad!
Not bad, and it’s even got a seasonal reference. However, I am sure, dear reader, that you could do much better. Heck, maybe you could even come up with an actual sestina about gmail. And it just so happens that I do have one gmail invite left to send. So go ahead, send me your gmail haikus, and not only will I reprint them here, but I will give the best one a real-live, actual gmail invitation. Send away!
No post tomorrow or Sunday, as we have reached the first weekend in mikeschramm.com history! Fret not, however, as not only will we be back Monday, there will be a post next Thursday. Christians among you know it as Thanksgiving. All you heathens think of it as… oh, wait. Also, it will be Thanksgiving-related! So it’s got that going for it.
Which is nice.
The United States of Schramm
The Schrammington Post
CSI: Crime Schramm Investigation
AOL Time Schrammer (I would also have accepted Schrammer Bros.)
Sony Playstaschramm 2
The Schrammopean Union
Coca-Schramm / Schrammsi / R.C. Schramm
Star Wars III: Revenge of the Schramm
Yup, we’re going to attempt the five day update. That means you can find new content here every weekday, without fail. That is, until I fail, at which point we’ll probably drop back to three days. But until then, it should all be fun and games.
If you’re in Chicago, there’s a tiny little piece of mine in Newcity today, so tiny that they didn’t even publish it online. It was edited quite a bit, so maybe I’ll see if I can publish the whole thing up here sometime.
Q: Why did the chicken cross the road?
A: To get to the other side.
“Well, I guess you’d expect there to be something else over there, otherwise why would he go? There’s supposed to be a reason to go over to the other side, but I guess there is nothing, but the chicken goes anyway. He just crosses from [motioning with hands] here to here, and you find out that the chicken did it for no reason. That’s just what they say, I’m not sure why he did it exactly.”
A man walks into a bar. The second man ducks.
“Haven’t you ever heard that joke about the man walking into a bar? He walks in and he says, I don’t know, “Get me a drink!” or something. He says that to the bartender, and then the bartender says… he says… I don’t know… “I’ll get you a drink!” or something like that. You haven’t heard of that? Everyone says it. This is a play on that, like he’s walking into a bar, but it hits him on the head, and so the second one ducks. To miss the metal bar. I’ve heard that joke, people like it. I try to tell you these things, have you heard that? He’s ducking the metal bar.”
Q: How many surrealists does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
“What’s that? Giraffes? Say it again. This one I don’t get. Are you laughing? Your mother’s laughing, too. I’ve heard of these lightbulb jokes, I’d suspect it’s a play on that. This is… Say it one more time. Oh, okay. This is the surrealists, so the answer is giraffes because that doesn’t mean anything. You laugh, but I’m just trying to explain these things. I’m just trying to explain these things, so you all can know about it. You’re still laughing, ok. Ok, I tried. Excuse me. Just trying to tell you.”
I reviewed Chronicles of Riddick over at RJ’s. It’s got Vin Diesel in it.
Also, I said on Monday that I was only planning to update this site three times a week, but I’m thinking I might go ahead and try to update it every weekday, five times a week. I guess you’ll find out tomorrow, so come back and see if I post or not.
Charles Manson: “Yes. With lots of ketchup.”
Winston Churchill: “The different between me and you, madam, is that in five minutes, my fries will be gone, but you’ll still be behind that counter!”
George Washington: “I cannot tell a lie. I did chop down that… wait, that has nothing to do with it. Sorry, what was the question?”
Calista Flockhart: “Just one.”
John Ashcroft: “No thanks, just the apple pie. Are you all hiring?”
Pope Pius IX: “No, thank you. Amen.”
George W. Bush: “The will of America is that America deservitates fries. But are they french or freedom?”
Me: “Yes, please. Actually, do you all have, like, a “biggie size” or something? I’ll have that.”
Finally, after years of hard work and months of extremely scientific tests, it’s mikeschramm.com!
Ok, well the work wasn’t so hard and the tests weren’t scientific, but it is mikeschramm.com, and let me tell you, there is a cornocopia of wealth and entertainment soon to be hidden within these pages. I’ve drawn up a little list of what to expect and what not to expect from mikeschramm.com:
What to expect:
-Updates every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday!
-hilarity levels beyond belief!
-punch and pie!*
-maybe even interviews, or whatever I feel like putting up on a given day!
What not to expect:
-*Note: there will not actually be any punch and pie!
-rudeness! and vulgarity! Well, hopefully not too much vulgarity, but I am very nice
-Free ge||er1c v1agr@!!!
-me to make any money!
-anything not entertaining!
Obviously there’s lots to come from mikeschramm.com. I’ll put up a new post on Wednesday (as soon as I think of one), and I’ll keep the blog coming, so check back every day to see what’s new.
Meanwhile, why wait? Email me and begin the total orgasmic interactivity that is mikeschramm.com! Or, if you’re artistically inclined (or just inclined), you can get creative and make a header! Thanks for visiting, welcome to mikeschramm.com!
This is kind of a funny article, but it’s really just a placeholder. Check back Monday for the real opening of mikeschramm.com. Meanwhile, you can email me and let me know what you think of the site!
You can do a lot of stuff in GTA: San Andreas, but as much as there is to do, there are still some…
Read a good book
Get in that Army Base without dying. Come on now.
Win at the casinos. Seriously.
mikeschramm.com is cc 2004-2006 Mike Schramm.