Their barrows heaped with shoddy.

In those first years the roads were peopled with refugees shrouded up in their clothing. Wearing masks and goggles, sitting in their rags by the side of the road like ruined aviators. Their barrows heaped with shoddy. Towing wagons or carts. Their eyes bright in their skulls. Creedless shells of men tottering down the causeways like migrants in a feverland. The frailty of everything revealed at last. Old and troubling issues resolved into nothingness and night. The last instance of a thing takes the class with it. Turns out the light and is gone. Look around you. Ever is a long time. But the boy knew what he knew. That ever is no time at all.

The Road

I restrained myself from quoting five paragraphs before I gave in to this one. And I'm not thirty pages in.

Rather an effect

What makes a human a human? Is it a heart? Skin? A functioning spleen? Legs which take you walking through the fields? Fingers which clutch and caress? Eyes which see the heavens, and weep when they lose a dear, dear friend? I have often pondered this question as I walk my dreamy death through life. We are such a strange and wonderful species that I'm sometimes lost for words to describe us. Though not often.

Also then, so long as I have you here, answer me this: if it is true that the human creature has no eternal soul, if she is but a brief blink in existence, if she is nothing more than the sum of her flesh parts, and if those parts can be replaced with mechanical pieces, then what is she? Her memories? Ah, but her memories are fragile fictions. Is she then the choices which will compose her natural life? Possibly. But if she is just this and no more—a fleshy decision-making machine, something born only to die—then what makes her decide to rise from her bed each day? What gives her life purpose? And what compels her to make her choices good? Perhaps, in the absence of any immortal judgment—or perhaps even in the presence of such judgment—she must become her own pure idea of what is right, and what is wrong. Perhaps in this sense she becomes not a "self" at all, but rather an effect. Perhaps rather than being defined by the physical object she seems to represent, this raw lump of meat and metal she is for the brief time of her life, she can be defined simply by what she leaves behind when she departs the stage for ever.

Theatre of the Gods

Ravished Means You Cannot Stay

"I can't stop," the shark rasped. "If I stop, I shall sink and die. That's the way I am made. I have to keep going always, and even when I get where I'm going, I'll have to keep on. That's living."

"Is it?"

"If you're a shark."

September rubbed at the blood on her knee. "Am I a shark?" she said faintly.

"You don't look like one, but I'm not a scientist."

"Am I dreaming? This feels like a dream."

"I don't think so. I could bite you, to see if it hurts."

"No, thank you." September looked out at the flat gray water, all severe and stark in the sunrise. "I have to keep going," she whispered.

"Yes."

"I have to keep going, so that I can keep going after that, forever and ever."

"Not forever."

"Why haven't you eaten me, shark? I ate the fish; I ought to be eaten."

"It doesn't work like that."

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making

I am almost home. In a manner of speaking (or two).

Beware of Dog

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If you drive any American two-lane highway long enough, you will inevitably pass a real shithole ramshackle house or trailer, blue tarp bricked over the hole in the roof, yard strewn with garbage and the rotting husks of large appliances and cars long dead. This two-bedroom ode to entropy will be surrounded by a fence which will almost certainly topped with barbed or razor wire and adorned with a sign. Something on the order of THIEVES AND TRESPASSERS WILL BE SHOT.

Still stuck at the airport

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I made this last year as an admittedly smug one-off Twitter joke. I keep it as a reminder to (1) try to not so much with the smug already and (2) work toward a world where I can afford to use some of the energy currently spent on grim resolve for frivolous shit like being a smug jerk. Or, y'know, helping.

I figure once the Russians fix our cyber I…CRAP I'm being smug again, they make it SO HARD

I am stuck at the airport

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I'm tempted to say "fuck September forever" but you just know this shit starts with the parents

What It's Like to Have Pea-Sized Confidence With Watermelon-Sized Boobs

For the first time in my life, I could feel my whole body listening. Go here. Come here. Be still. Take charge. Now one, two, three, fly. Like I had practiced as the drunk fawn, I tucked my chin and kicked my legs over my head. But this time Kia's hands were on me the whole time, turning me in the air like I was an anti-gravity baby. I slammed to the ground, screaming to sell the fall. The 12 other women pounded the floor with their feet and fists and howled at the ceiling. Then my moment was over and the next duo scrambled to the center of the ring, taunting an imaginary audience. We were all mermaids with muscle. I howled back at them.

Betty Gilpin, ladies and gentlemen. Turns out she's a damn fine writer, too.

GLOW is a hell of a thing. I stayed up too late last night finishing the first season, grinning like an idiot at her and Alison Brie and all of the others. And I haven't liked wrestling since I was 13.

Via MetaFilter.

Lying Cat is the official mascot of 2017

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Yes, Lying Cat. And you're either thinking "of course" or "…whuh?" but either way I'm not going to explain too much, because you don't deserve Saga or Lying Cat without putting in the minimal work of reading the link.

Lying Cat is one of my favorite creations in all of comics. In no small part because of this scene with Sophie, a recently-liberated young girl who had been sold into sex slavery:

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I was going to make a Hitler joke because Lying Cat's partner is named The Will (though he does not triumph all that often), but to me the president* is less a Hitler than a reupholstered Biff Tannen.