#January2013

MONDAY MORNING COMMUTE: Punch bowl Hallucinations

MMC - Artwork courtesy DEFEAT / Brian Galiano.

Truth be told, I have spent more time searching for the header image for this column than I will end up spending writing it. Whatever. The really juicy nougats come from the give and take inside the comments section, right? My part is to serve as but the catalyst for the gals and guys of OL to begin their weekly wanking. I settled on an image by my good friend Brian Galiano. A couple years back, homeboy drummed up countless works (well, you could count them, but I’m lazy) to accompany Rendar’s novella DEFEAT. If you’ve never read the son of a bitch, start here. Anyways, this is Monday Morning Commute. The column where we elaborate on the distractions coating existence just enough on a given week to give us through the malaise.

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Skyrim: , Willpower: 0

Despite having three projects due in three weeks, despite that I could have waited until Christmas and saved cheddar, despite the fact that I haven’t beaten Arkham City, I caved. I couldn’t help it. Bethesda, you devil you.

Monday Morning Commute: By Rinaldi’s Hand!

Hey-oh! Welcome to the MONDAY MORNING COMMUTE — OL’s attempt to curb the blow that is the workweek! I’m going to give you the rundown on what I’ll be doing in the upcoming days to protect my soul from drudgery and malarkey. Your mission is to hit up the comments section and show off your own entertainment survival kit.

What’s in it? Movies? Music? Candy bars and porno? Let us know!

So c’mon kiddies, gather `round!

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DEFEAT. 040 – Hours Before a Public Suicide

[DEFEAT. is a   science fiction/coming-of-death/war epic novella, released in weekly episodes. at this point, you've either read every installment (unlikely) or you're waiting for the movie (also unlikely). if nothing else, follow the link and check out Brian Galiano's amazing art. blahblahblah!]

“Margie, wake up!”

The rotund younger sister ignored the request, turning over and darting her head under a pillow. She saw that the sun was far from rising and knew the schoolbell wouldn’t be ringing for hours. Her older sister probably just wanted to get something off her chest.

“C’mon, I want to talk to you.” This time, Vanessa coupled her appeal with a gentle swinging of a pillow. She had succeeded.

“Great, now you’ve done it! I’m officially awake!” Margie feigned supreme aggravation, shaking a fist in her older sister’s face and putting on her best scowl. But her natural joviality didn’t allow for such impressions to persist and she ended up chuckling, amused by her own antics.

“Seriously though,” Margie began after looking at the clock, “it’s just after three in the morning — what do you want?”

Vanessa plopped onto the bed. “I’m in love.”

“Oh, spare me!”

“I am.

“With that Daryl boy?”

“He’s no boy.”

Margie halted her intended conversation. “Wait — what does that mean?”

The elder, more beautiful sister did her best to prevent the blood from flowing into her face. She failed. Blushing, she offered her explanation, “Well let’s just say he’s no boy and I’m no longer just a girl with monthly Womanly Responsibilities. I’m a full-fledged woman.”

Margie’s jaw nearly hit her potbelly. She couldn’t believe what she was hearing. “I can’t believe what I’m hearing. You…you let that dude bone you?”

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DEFEAT. 039 – true believers

Daryl’s resolve had been fully reinstalled by Vanessa, the love of his life. He now had a force fortifying him, filling the few remaining empty spots of his soul with purpose. With an emotional connection expressed physically, one is far less vulnerable to the wounds that Life so desperately tries to inflict with His rapier.

That is, of course, unless heartbreak is involved. For as rewarding as is the ascent to the top of the mountain, the tumbling downward is doubly painful. Given enough time, even the most sincere relationships can deteriorate, either losing their vitality or compromising until all that remains is a shadow.

And the shade is fine. Unless you’ve walked in the sunlight.

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DEFEAT. 038 – Cola-Flavored Love

[DEFEAT. is Rendar Frankenstein's unabashed love song to the very things that've kept him alive - sci-fi, heavy metal, fantasy, war epics, and pop culture. Accompanied by original art by B. Galiano, each weekly episode continues the tale of Daryl Millar - a hero guaranteed to die upon the novella's conclusion. All are welcome, but nerds are encouraged]

It was three o’clock in the afternoon. Daryl’d been sitting on top of the Pepsi machine for a half an hour. Perched above, he had clear view of the three suburban blocks in front of him.

It was a perfect panorama of suburban chaos.

Station wagons and vans whipped around corners, providing the day’s only excitement for their middle-aged drivers. Youngsters fleeing their elementary schools chased one another with no regard for their surroundings. Husbands rushed out of their front doors with their mistresses, returning to their offices after extended lunch breaks. Mailmen, finally shaking off their hangovers, swore at the ten-year-olds running through their paths of delivery.

All of these islands interested Daryl, but the makeshift crow’s nest had been designed in the hopes of spying one legendary continent. It was lush and full of life, capable of invigorating those few and far between who reached it. Daryl had ventured further into its jungles than any other, exploring the uncharted darkness that no man had ever before braved. Since leaving, it’d been Daryl’s desire to return as soon as possible. And return he would, for he could see his El Dorado on the horizon.

Vanessa.

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DEFEAT. 030 – Informal Gluttony

[DEFEAT. is Rendar Frankenstein's truest attempt at fiction.   Presented in weekly episodes, the novella tells the tale of Daryl Millar - a hero who dies at the intersection of pop culture, science-fiction, war epic, and fantasy]

Principal Clancy took a big, nasty slurp of coffee. The paper cup struggled to maintain itself, pushing against the vice grip of a fat, sweaty paw. The brown juice sleazed passed yellow teeth and fought against a burp on the way down. Naturally, the cup folded inwards as the liquid found its way into the educator’s gullet. In the process, a splash of coffee broke through a fissure and launched itself onto Principal Clancy’s jowls.

He didn’t even notice.

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DEFEAT. 027 – Stories of the House Millar

[DEFEAT. is Rendar Frankenstein's truest attempt at fiction.   Presented in weekly episodes, the novella tells the tale of Daryl Millar - a hero who dies at the intersection of pop culture, science-fiction, war epic, and fantasy]

Daryl Millar wasn’t one to brag. In fact, he held a special disdain for those who gloat about their triumphs. Part of this contempt stemmed from the fact that most braggarts haven’t done nearly as much as they claim. Gum-flapping as a means of self-denial. The rejection of a lackluster life. The other primary set of boasters are those who speak truthfully but only do so as to posture themselves above others. At the end of the day, Daryl believed that most who bragged were either liars or assholes.

Or, maybe even lying assholes.

So it was with some reservation that the protagonist considered phoning his friends. But he just had to tell them about his evening. “I can’t keep this to myself,” he thought, “it was just too unreal. Almost…otherworldly.” Daryl had turned a corner, and was on his street. As he approached his house, he picked up the pace of both his steps and his thoughts.

Thinking on it now, Daryl felt changed, as though shedding the skin of a virgin had not only opened his eyes but granted a third one as well. While he had been trained to connote first sexual experiences with the end of innocence, this was not his current perception. Instead, he felt an overwhelming sense of possibility, as though a door had opened and was urging him to take the final step across the threshold.

Something within had been activated and Daryl was sure that it was pushing him towards redefinition.

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DEFEAT. 020 (II) – Visions at 88 MPH

[DEFEAT. is Rendar Frankenstein's truest attempt at fiction.   Presented in weekly episodes, the novella tells the tale of Daryl Millar - a hero who dies at the intersection of pop culture, science-fiction, war epic, and fantasy]

8-Bit didn’t wait to ask Riff how it went. We walked right past his friend, eager to get his own turn at gazing towards the future. His yearning to the watch the lion tamer had completely subsided when he saw those clowns in mid-coitus, and that previous excitement was now wholly invested in having his fortune read. Any other night, 8-Bit would have disregarded this sort of psychic endeavor as a base attempt to rip off the simpleminded.

But tonight was a night for celebration. A night for trying new things.

Inside the small tent, 8-Bit removed his huge glasses and frantically rubbed the lenses with the bottom of his t-shirt. The glasses were put back on, met with disapproval, and then removed for another scrubbing. With the spectacles back on, 8-Bit realized that they weren’t the source of visual impairment. It was all of the damn smoke.

“Lady, you might want to think about conjuring up some ventilation. I’m not even smoking that stuff, but I feel like I could use an iron lung. I’m cancer-bound for sure.”

Laughing, Rimina gave a sample of her talents. “8-Bit, you’re not going to get cancer from the smoke in here. If you do get cancer, it will be a brain tumor. And it will kill you on your ninety-third birthday. So don’t blame my incense. Or my recreational use of tobacco.”

Sobered by both her words and the nonchalance with which she spoke them, 8-Bit was ready to listen. “Can you…can you tell me more?”

“Of course. That’s why I get paid the big bucks.” Rimina’s cigarette, the fourth since her meeting with Riff, was brought to her dark lips. As before, an inhalation was coupled with the grasping of handsand followed by a hearty exhalation…

Exploration. Lots of exploration, all over… the world. The worlds. In a (not-too-distant) future, the teen with coke-bottle glasses turns into the man with coke-bottle glasses, and for the first time in this existence the look actually helps him fit in. It is the realm of academia — real academia, not just the optional four-year layover before going to work. There are schools and professors and textbooks stacked higher than one might think they should be. That’s dangerous he thinks they could very well fall over. Of course, worrying even now, during a glimpse past the present circumstances and into the future. Stop worrying the female voice, communicating without speaking, reminds him. Seemingly endless work is piling up, but the academic does not cave into the pitfalls of frustration. For this man, defeat is not an option, for the knowledge-seeking of the vision bearer is not a matter of being worthwhile in its own right — it is a deliberate attempt to construct a means to an end. There is a goal. Of discovery. Of impossibility? Many think so. But not the scholar. For he is atypical. He turns to the unconventional, the dangerous, and even the manipulation of the mind through use of the illicit.

But now, the future has slipped away and it is 1986 again. It is yesterday, before school. It is yesterday, at the arcade. It is today? At the circus? Now, is this the end of the week? The pep rally? Is this now or later? Both? It is unknown, but there are feelings of success and gratitude and love and accomplishment. There is work to be done.

“Heed my words — this is but one of the many, a mere sliver of a broken shard from the entire mirror of existence, whose inward reflections of itself far outnumber the outward. This fate has been neither determined nor surrendered. If it pleases you, think of it with cautious optimism. If it displeases you, change yourself so that you may best fit within this world.”

[to be continued]

DEFEAT. 020 (I) – [Six] String Theory

[DEFEAT. is Rendar Frankenstein's truest attempt at fiction.   Presented in weekly episodes, the novella tells the tale of Daryl Millar - a hero who dies at the intersection of pop culture, science-fiction, war epic, and fantasy]

The first to go in, Riff found himself wondering why Ray Dean had called her the Woman in Gray Robes. The moniker wasn’t inaccurate. But he thought a far more distinguishing title would have been The Lady with the Eyepatch. He just couldn’t take his eyes off that damn circle of black swatch.

One may be inclined to think that strapping an eyepatch on a beautiful face would be like smearing shit on a painting. But in this candlelit room, the smoke of incense and cigarettes swirling about, it was more akin to adding the cherry to an ice cream sundae.

Necessary to legitimize the entire experience.

Sitting on a small beanbag chair, the fortuneteller waved Riff towards her. “Come, come, child. Sit down with me. You are intrigued by my eye, are you not?”

Riff tacitly nodded as he found his seat.

“Don’t be afraid. I may have a restricted license and Jaws 3D was a waste of time, but I can still see better than most. Much better.”

Rimina flashed a smile, knowing that the teenager before her was opening up enough for divinations. “Lean in,” her sultry voice commanded, “and I will free your mind from the chains of the flesh. The shackles of the material. The handcuffs of the temporal. Come with me.”

Rimina took an extended drag from her cigarette. Held it in. Returned the cigarette to an ashtray. And then she took both of Riff’s hands into her own and exhaled…

Guitars. Lots of guitars, being played by an older version of the antihero. Sometimes, the smoke swirled in a direction so that Riff could see himself playing music on stage. Sometimes the stage was small. Sometimes the stage was large. Sometimes there were huge crowds of people watching the shredder demonstrate his craft. Was that Castle Donington? He wasn’t sure. But it sure looked like it. Other times, the bluish carcinogenic wisps danced in revelation of a guitarist playing a true solo — hiding away in some room, under self-imposed isolation with an acoustic guitar. The fingers of the hazy figure flew over the fretboard with a precision and speed that the world’s best surgeons could only dream of. A quick flash — the tombstone – an enforcer of the law – the father — the tyrant — dead — gone – thankfully — not missed. A return to the guitar, now slung over the shoulder. The guitarist iseen walking on the road. A future of some uncertainty… and some certainty. Hidden hardships in store, no doubt, but with the guarantee of a face pained chiefly by its grin of accomplishment.

“Heed my words — this is but one of the many, a mere sliver of a broken shard from the entire mirror of existence, whose inward reflections of itself far outnumber the outward. This fate has been neither determined nor surrendered. If it pleases you, think of it with cautious optimism. If it displeases you, change yourself so that you may best fit within this world.”

[to be continued]