Tag Archives: Not so serious

Area man ponders near death experience over frozen yoghurt

After coming literally this close to dying just over fifteen minutes ago, an area man has elected to treat himself to a froyo.

 

Over lunch, Andrew Cheng reflected on one of his most harrowing experiences to date. After having gone to a new Sichuan restaurant for lunch, “just to try it out,” Andrew reported that the irresponsible restaurant served him food so spicy that it very nearly killed him; having been taken to life’s precipice, he even had time to peer into the abyss, putting into perspective the folly of all his ways, before dousing his internals with water and bland, saving white rice.

 

“I really should’ve been able to handle that,” Andrew said in disbelief, mentally believing his Asian heritage ought to have rendered him immune to such an attack. While his parents did emigrate from Taiwan to Canada, Andrew’s tastes are fully and incontrovertibly North American, which explains his use of stupid words like froyo and inability to consume mildly Sichuan-spiced dishes without being convinced he is going to die.

 

It cannot be confirmed just how close to death’s door Andrew came, but he was surely right on the razor’s edge, considering the substantial number of cartoon chilis listed beside the menu item he ordered (three of four, ranking him as a 中辣/Medium on the house scale). As Andrew stares at the table, his froyo nearly untouched and his eyes distant as he relives the haunting episode not long past, it is evident that lunch caused streams of both mucus and tears to run down his face, leaving still visible streaks.

 

“If God spared me, He must have some grand purpose for my life,” said Andrew slowly. “I’ve been… sent back among you for some reason…” He followed up this realisation with a vacant, smiling gaze which settled upon a nearby group of humans who were also enjoying a froyo, albeit theirs lacked the peculiar spice of Having Not Just Almost Perished. Finding the benevolent, other-worldly stare from the stranger a couple tables over kind of creepy, they quickly gathered their things and left.

 

 

 

SHANGHAI CIRCLES SERIES POSTS

thousands of protestors issue joint apology to riot police

shanghai expat somehow managed to survive alone for years

man in the next stall over is having a rough time

 

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Duel between Wenger and Mourinho this weekend to be decided by lightsaber

Arsenal coach Arsene Wenger looks on prior to their Champions League third round first leg soccer match against FC Twente at the Gelredome stadium in Arnhem, eastern Netherlands, Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2008. (AP Photo/Ermindo Armino)

Arsenal coach Arsene Wenger in front of the famous dual suns of the Emirates. (Original Photo:  AP Photo/Ermindo Armino)

Having finally vowed to put all their differences to rest following the outcome of one freaking epic lightsaber battle, Premier League managers Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho have been stirring up the press and their fans for support all week.

While Arsenal and Chelsea are playing through an irrelevant match on the pitch, Arsene and Jose will be in the midst of a grueling duel to decide the true victor as they dance about in the rafters of Stamford Bridge. The precise overhead location has not yet been determined, though reports suggest that it must be overly precarious and not at all practical for a lightsaber battle.

At one point, Arsene is expected to lose his footing and barely catch hold of a metal girding, narrowly avoiding a plummet to the bleachers below. This will allow him to have a heated exchange with Jose, in which a surprise plot twist will be revealed.

What they may be is anyone’s guess.

Mourinho elected not to respond to our interview requests, sending a message through an intern stating that he only talked to “real” news outlets, because he’s a twag. Word has it he will be using a double-bladed lightsaber, despite having publicly blasted opposing managers for doing the same at the start of the season.

Mourinho

Mourinho.

Mourinho’s blade colour will be red, obviously, despite the fact that he manages Chelsea; Arsene, as the unanimously-agreed good guy, received the sky blue sabre by default.

Wenger, because he cares about those of us in the honest press, kindly agreed to a brief interview.

“Jose, and his teams, they’re always a real tough test,” he explained, never one to underestimate his opponents. “However, when it comes to our lightsaber duel this weekend, I think you’re going to see that it’s us who have the upper hand.”

He declined to complain about the unfairness of the dual-bladed weapon chosen by his opponent, and despite our trying to egg him on into saying something somewhat inflammatory, or even just plain mean, like Jose would have done, Wenger would only confirm that he thought Jose had a ‘great parry’, and a left swing that could really ‘do some damage’.

This weekend, while Arsenal and Chelsea are battling it out for Premier League supremacy (if you’re Arsenal) or battling relegation (if you’re Chelsea), look to the rafters – that’s where the real fight will be going on.

As to the outcome? From this point on, we’re just as in the dark as you are.

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ARSENAL POSTS

wenger close to fulfilling ambition of fielding eleven midfielders

wenger searches to fill hole at winger

wenger quenches latest transfer rumour

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New curtains first step in apartment’s aesthetic revolution

It has been several weeks since the Lofty Garden roommates met to determine the artistic direction of their apartment, and the first visible change has just been completed. Many thanks can be thrown in the direction of their newly-hired live-in aesthetic consultant, which, apparently, is an actual thing. I can tell you more about her later; for now, let’s get straight to the action.

Freddy, Yoon, Darryl, and the live-in aesthetic consultant are standing in the living room, beholding the new curtains, which billow softly in the mild October breeze coming through the open windows.

“Yoon,” Freddy said, in that voice that tells you he’s getting emotional.

“Yes, Freddy?”

“This thing that I do now, it is a far, far better thing than any other I have done.”

“Are you quoting Les Mis? Like, comparing that to these curtains?”

“It’s not Les Mis. It’s A Tale of Two Cities. Dickens.”

“But the curtains thing.”

“…Yes.”

“….” To emphasize the ellipses, which signify judgmental silence, Yoon gave Freddy a heavy, you’re-ridiculous stare which was wasted on oblivious Freddy, lost in the dizzying mist of emotion.

“This will be my crowning achievement, Yoon. When my term is up, this is what they will look back upon. No matter what happens from here on out…”

Freddy paused, evidently attempting to avoid choking up.

“…no matter what, I’ll know I made a difference.”

The live-in aesthetic consultant stood awkwardly next to the two men while a splayed-out Darryl texted on the couch. She cleared her throat, attempting to put an end to one of the most uncomfortable exchanges she had ever witnessed, which is impressive, if you think about it, because as a live-in aesthetic consultant, you really get to see a weird side of your clients, which may or may not be due to the fact that anyone who hires a live-in aesthetic consultant is probably not exactly living in the fat, bulgy area of a standard deviation graph called Relative Sanity. Freddy, for his part, interpreted this as a request for the payment of credit due.

“All thanks to you, of course, live-in aesthetic consultant. As they say,” he continued in his Addressing the Crowd voice, “behind all great endeavors, there is a great team of support; behind every masterpiece, there is an… assistant, or an intern, or something like that, you know, someone to assist artistic geniuses and such.”

She shook her head, which Freddy assumed meant she was just as overcome by emotion as him. He continued.

“You know, some people might think it’s a bit over-indulgent for us to hire a live-in aesthetic consultant. Here we are, three grown men – surely we ought to be doing our own aesthetic consulting!

“But you get busy. You start to need an extra hand around. Life, clumsy, oafish life, gets in the way, doesn’t it?”

“Oh, life,” Freddy mused, as he continued to gaze at the curtains, rippling whispers of joy into the living room, each small wave a promise of coming beauty – raw, gritty, domestic, apartmental beauty, bought with the perseverance of a handful of brave pioneers.

 

 

LOFTY GARDENS APARTMENT SERIES

roommate meeting called to discuss artistic direction of apartment

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Roommate meeting called to discuss artistic direction

“I’ve called this Apartment Meeting to discuss something I’m sure you’ve been noticing over the past few weeks. This is not a recent trend – they never really are, are they? Today’s topic is something that has been growing for years, and it is only now beginning to rear its ugly head.”

“The data has begun to trend in a worryingly negative direction,” Freddy continued, as he began to flick through a slideshow presentation of mostly blurry iPhone photos showing different parts of the apartment.

“Mismatched curtains; noisily disorganised bookshelves; uncoordinated chair and ottoman combinations; a nonsensical couch configuration; a total lack of throw pillows; offensively inane artwork; wine with ugly labels; pots that are just gaudily coloured; hangers that aren’t even close to cohesive…”

He paused for dramatic emphasis.

“Who can live in a place like this? With the chaos of Shanghai outside, how can we return to an abode that is not a sanctuary? A habitation that is not a home? A place of noise and sound, with no music; a place of colour and lines, but no art?

“I believe it is clear to everyone present – ” he looked pointedly at both roommates in turn, holding the eyes of Yoon for two full seconds and the blue-screenlit forehead of Darryl for another two – “that the status quo is not an option. To do nothing, to choose inaction, is to choose demise.”

Freddy smiled despite himself. He loved getting all worked up and eloquent. This was going better than planned.

“It is time to ACT!” he said, kicking a cushiony ottoman nearby for emphasis, which was somewhat anticlimactic, as the doughy thing just absorbed the blow unmoving, sighing his kick away with a soft thump.

“The vibe of this apartment is what has us gathered here today, and the vibe of the apartment is what we are gathered here to change.” Yoon nodded grimly. He was catching on. He was also prone to affirm whatever happened to be the point of discussion at any given point in time. Darryl was giggling silently as he texted his girlfriend, doing that shaky-shoulders and hissing thing that people do, something that incidentally annoyed Freddy so, so very much, and especially when Darryl did it, because it was almost always during Roommate Meetings, and he was still doing it –

“Darryl!” Freddy shouted.

Darryl looked up for a moment and then resumed texting.

“DARRYL!”

Darryl looked up for a moment and then resumed texting.

“Freddy.”

Yoon’s voice thwarted the righteous tumult of Darryl-directed indignation that had gathered on the edges of Freddy’s lips. “WHAT, Yoon? What?”

“I appreciate what you’re trying to do here.”

That was unexpected. Freddy knew Yoon couldn’t tell maroon from crimson, mauve from lavender, cerulean from french blue. He’d assumed Yoon would be the most difficult to convince.

“You do?”

“Yes. I get it. We need more beauty in our home. We’re three dudes trying to survive on the surf edge of chaos.”

“That’s… yeah. I guess that’s exactly how I feel,” Freddy said, stunned by Yoon’s simple poetry.

“Well, Freddy, I’m behind you, 100%. Let’s do what needs to be done. Let’s make this place a home!”

Yoon stood from one of the nonsensically-configured couches and in two paces had crossed the room, placing a hand on Freddy’s shoulder. Darryl looked up for a moment and was on the verge of resuming texting, but he absolutely hates to miss a hug, and he could feel hugs approaching like a bird feels a storm. He stood and had his hand on Freddy’s other shoulder in a moment.

“Brothers till the end!” shouted Freddy as they embraced, and then did jumping high-fives.

“Huzzah!” they shouted in unison, as the apartment called out “Freeze Frame!” and snapped a quick Roommate Selfie. This being done, they quickly dispersed as Yoon went back to reading stock reports, Freddy went to fret over the curtains, and Darryl resumed texting.

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In Response to your Kind, if Expected, Promotion

Dear Mrs. M (and relevant team members),

While I am personally not surprised to receive an immediate promotion in your recent offer, considering that I was initially applying for a Mail Room Assistant Attendancy position, I understand that it may come as a somewhat unprecedented move for your department and/or company. I want to take a moment to set your mind and heart at ease, and to provide you with reassurances which I hope you can pass along to our coworkers. I aim to bolster their morale, seeing as how they are likely being buffeted by the bitter winds of inconstancy and change, hopelessly unaware that I will soon arrive to anchor them in stormy seas.

I will assure you that I am not unaccustomed to rapidly moving up corporate ladders. If anyone enquires, physical ladders are also no problem. I am an ascender thrice over, in a metaphorical, symbolic, and literal sense, and where I ascend, I leave a blazing trail for others to follow. (You will notice that I am not unaware of a key rule when climbing literal ladders, i.e. that one should generally avoid setting them alight; the ‘blazing trails’ bit is therefore intended to be understood solely from the metaphorical and symbolic angles.)

When aspiring, and seeking to kindle aspiration in others, the key is first impressions, really. To me, it is critically important to set out on the right foot. (My left has never been quite so talented as my right.) To take the right steps first has historically led to greater stability and more promise.

In light of this, I want to ensure that I will not be creating undue levels of jealousy and/or envy in the department which I will soon be leading. I understand how it can seem to the incumbents – who’s this outsider coming in and rocketing up the ladder, making changes, throwing their weight around, forging dreams, et cetera – and while it is true that most will have little experience around a Da Qi, or a Great Talent, as the Chinese say, I want to be sure that they know they can relate to me, even if they are Regular People.

Please prepare my way, if you will, with a kind and uplifting word to them from me. Options for the word you could distribute may include Aspire, or Ascend, both of which are heartening and carry ‘lift’ imagery; Take Heart, which is two words, but just as cheering as the first two; or Aurora Borealis, another two-word option, alluring because it sounds really nice, though I expect none of them will be familiar with it. The latter option may be the most suitable, as during my reign I do fully intend to take a department that currently resembles an icy landscape of darkness and infuse it with symphonic explosions of ethereal, burning light.

As I am sure you have noted in our correspondence, I am a Man of Letters, after all; it is only fitting that I take charge of the Hall of Words. (I trust you do not mind the rebranding of my business unit.) I am confident the locals will come around to see things from our perspective.

In sincere gratitude,

Director of the Hall of Words (formerly known as the mail room)

 

 

HALL OF WORDS SERIES POSTS

find part one here

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My Narrative CV

Dear Mrs. M,

I know you are reviewing somewhere between twelve and fifteen thousand CVs for this position.

If you do not mind, I would like to save you a little time.

My name is not important. That is, it is not important now, relative to how important it will be in a couple of decades. You would have heard of me then, if, for whatever reason, you had not decided to invite me to join your company in the coming weeks. Time will show your decision to be a masterstroke, and I’m pleased to give you an early chance to make my acquaintance. I hope you will value the immensely lucrative name-dropping you will be enabled to do as a result in just a few years’ time.

I realise that I have begun my Narrative CV with ‘I’, which is generally a no-no, but I need you to recognize quickly that I am not somebody who plays by the rules. That will be important in the role that you have prepared for me, and I am sure it will continue to be important as I rapidly advance through your business landscapes, carrying us to the greener lands which your (and soon to be our) organisation seeks.

I also feel that it is important to explain the heartbeat behind this Narrative CV. I believe that I am not just a list of bullet points and percentage marks and dates and text, you see; I am a story, just like each other soul. To be fair, most people do not carry the weight of destiny, as I do, but you will see that I carry it with grace and aplomb. It is not easy, really, to prepare to be a best-selling author, an acclaimed playwright, and, in all likelihood, a future President, but I pull it off. Normal humans also have their struggles, I am sure, and I can empathise.

You will find that I am quite meticulous when it comes to details. I can give you one example. Being the young embodiment of a future societal hero and sage, as I am, I am disciplined in recording every detail of my personal life, to save time for the people who will someday rake my past for detailed advice and wisdom. Every restaurant where I eat, every hotel in which I stay, every bookstore from which I source my personal library; you will find that my paper trail is every bit as long as my list of qualifications for this position.

Finally, I am informed that you think it is very important that candidates for my position understand ‘feelings’ and exhibit high levels of empathy for clients and coworkers. I do have emotions, and I have cried, once before, so I am more than qualified in that respect. It was a good cry I had, with sobbings and heavings and all that. It was thorough enough that afterward I was pretty much sorted out. I haven’t had to cry since.

If you need to cry when I accept your offer – the accepting being a formal matter of ceremony, of course, as the offer itself is a foregone conclusion – I would understand. I wouldn’t join, but I would understand. (I also write poetry, as any scholar-statesman must. If you don’t cry when I accept the offer, you most definitely will when you read the words I have heart-bled onto paper.)

It is with the utmost gratitude that I thank you for this offer, which I imagine you are just on the point of sending over. I have most of my email accounts, all of my personal websites, and my LinkedIn profiles ready for your message, and I look forward to impressing you in person. I appreciate your opening of this offer to other applicants, in order to preclude charges of preferential treatment, which are generally thrown about by unfortunates with below average levels of talent, ability, and intelligence.

Signed,

The Carrier of Grandeur

 

 

HALL OF WORDS SERIES POSTS

find part 2 here

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A Visit To The Publisher

I squirm in my chair as the woman across from me reads my excerpt. I call it my pilot, which is normally what you call the first episode of TV shows, the vast majority of which get rejected before the reviewer even finishes the episode. They schedule five reviews an hour. For twenty-minute episodes. Of course, this occurs to me right now. I know my face is washed a hue of eager, with a touch of anxiety, and the mildest hint of crippling fear.

She looks up. My world, in this moment, will either end, or be given wings. I’ll be given wings in it. Or something. Whatever.

“Look. It’s never easy, coming in here. I know you must be nervous.”

I giggle. It isn’t the appropriate response.

“The best thing I can give you is honesty.”

I see where this is going. I want to kindly ask her not to give me any of that. She’s already talking. She’s pretty set on it.

“Your tense switches from second person to third person to first person flash back narrative, within two thousand words.”

“Pretty breakneck pace, hey? Engaging?”

She’s not impressed. I can tell she’s uncomfortable, which happens to many people when they encounter great talent. She fumbles a bit and continues.

“I’m not sure you know what plot actually means…”

“It’s true… I don’t have much experience with farming.”

That was definitely the wrong thing to say. I’ll try a different tack.

“Plot, though, really, don’t you think that’s a bit… outdated? Do you think readers still expect it? I think they’re looking for something different.”

“That… perspective… notwithstanding, from the dialogue you’ve included, I must admit that I’d be surprised if you know how humans actually talk.”

This isn’t going how I’d expected. I don’t think she understands.

“I don’t think you understand.”

She cocks an eyebrow. Pretty sure I can safely interpret that as a sign we’re getting somewhere.

“My auntie reads all my stuff. She thinks it’s delightful.”

“That’s…that’s not to be ignored. Have you had any others review your work?”

Alright. She wants to talk business. Numbers.

“I’ve reached double digit views on my blog. Multiple times.”

“I don’t… I don’t think that is quite the calibre of reference I was hoping for.”

I see where she’s going with this. I had hoped to avoid bringing in the cavalry so soon.

“I see where you’re going with this,” I nod slyly. “Maybe Chairman Mao is a more… lucrative…  reference for you?”

I struggle to get my wallet out of my pocket, which probably builds suspense. Once I get it unsnagged, I lay out three crumpled pink Maos and a couple greens for good measure.

“Maybe… four hundred Maos would change your mind?”

She looks at me in disbelief. I shouldn’t have put so much on the table at once. You have to do these things bit by bit, I’ve been told.

“You do understand that we are an international publishing house.”

“Yes ma’am.”

“You do realize that if you are asking me to take even a second look at your trash attempt at a choose-your-own-adventure romantic memoir, let alone recommend it for review, you’ll have to give me a helluva lot more than four hundred Maos. In fact, that’s not even half the hourly rate I’d charge to cover the spa and meditation treatments I will need to purge your drivel from my system.”

“It’s a choose-your-own-memoir adventure romance.”

“That’s not a real thing.”

“Yes. Yes it is.”

“It’s really not. Did you hear anything I said after that? Look, I don’t mean to be rude, but it’s been a long day, your writing is subpar at best, you’ve tried to bribe me with your pocket money, which is really not cool, and if you know what’s good for you, you’ll just drop this attempt to force fiction of worth out of your delusions-of-grandeur addled brain and just go for something easy, one of the low arts.”

She better not ask me –

“Literature, serious fiction, it’s not for everyone – ”

I can feel it coming –

“Have you tried humour writing?”

Never. Never in my life had I been so offended. The lack of professionalism in publishing these days is appalling. To be spoken to so! To even insinuate that I would dally in the world of cheap laughs and wooden punchlines! The world waiting to be impacted by me, to take my words into the threads of its garments, and she would dare to peg me for a jester; so little time to be true to my gift, and here my pearls lay scattered and sullied before the gaze of this mean lady. I gathered up my insulted Maos, put them back in my wallet, and stormed out as animatedly as I could.

Being rejected by the system. It’s all just part of being an artist, you know. I hear her sigh behind me – an indignant glance backward reveals her massaging her temples, behind which lays her frontal lobe, the house of reason, in whose halls I’m sure she has already begun to consider how she’ll come to rue this day.

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