On Writer's Block and Gooncon
My story begins in my second year of high school. It was around that time that I realized I could use my good looks to get boys to do whatever I wanted. Once I had reached the limits of what I could accomplish by controlling boys I then became bent on destroying them; using my feminine wiles to strip them of their dignity with the same ease that a Nights player collects little blue orbs. When boys wept they made a sound similar to that of a straw being slid up and down in a Mcdonalds cup. Whenever I heard that sound I would feel completely at peace with the world as though in the tranquil eye of a great storm.
Ruining boys' lives may have been my hobby, but webcomics were my passion. In 1999 I started the popular gaming webcomic, Game Notez. I was living with Gabe from Penny Arcade at the time and it was very exciting because we were both just starting to come into our own as artists. I can't even begin to describe what it was like to be part of the webcomic scene. There was an electricity in the air that you couldn't possibly understand unless you had been there in the tiny two-room apartment where we labored over our creations. For a fatter, nerdier man, this probably would've been the defining moment of their life, but for me that moment came a few months later when I first read Something Awful. It was like the ending of Raiders of the Lost Ark; a spectacle so magnificent and awe-inspiring that I shouldn't even have been looking at it, except I totally didn't care because I had just taken a massive dose of Paxil and had my walkman blasting Ministry.
Last week I went to JCPenney to return a dress. "Why are you returning this dress?" the cashier asked.
"I bought this dress so I could wear it to an internet convention in a cynical attempt to force myself to socially interact with people when they asked me why I was wearing a dress." I replied. "Now I'm not going to the convention so I was hoping you could refund my money or at least give me a mannequin or something."
Flash backward another week. The other Something Awful writers and I were all planning on attending Gooncon. Collectively we were known as Twisted Conduit, a death metal band on a mission to rock the shit out of your face. I was a little nervous about the convention as it was going to be our first time playing together. Would my drumming be able to keep up with Livestock's blistering guitar work? Would Lowtax like the songs I had written or would he think they were too pop-y for the hardcore sound we were aiming for? These were just a few of the worries eating away at my brain like so many Star Trek insanity worms.
I have a large collection of Mcdonalds Neopets happy meal toys on my bedside table. They whisper dark, arcane secrets into my mind while I sleep. "I'm not going to Gooncon." I said to my blue Wocky. "I'm just going to lie here in bed and listen to the flies buzzing against my window, tapping out the morse code of some forgotten language."
"Why are you wearing a shirt that says "When all else fails look cute"?" Wocky said. "Do you think that gets you closer to your dream of being a woman? You aren't a woman in that shirt, you're a two-bit floozy. It's strumpets like you who are setting back the women's rights movement."
"That's not the problem. I promised Lowtax I'd have something written for thursday. I've let down my only internet friend."
"Only a human mind could invent something as insipid as internet friendship."
The two most depressing things I have come across in this world are the final episode of Sailor Moon and the save room music in Resident Evil. Through some grand planetary alignment I encountered both on the same day when I was 15. I would later make this Quake 2 level as a depiction of how I felt that day. The contrasting orange and white lighting represents the conflict between the left and right hemispheres of my brain. Sometimes my brain becomes so overloaded with thoughts that my head actually splits open like the head of the final boss in Half-Life. Then Wocky pokes me in the brain, giving me violent muscle spasms.
If my life was a tv show, then July 13th 2004 would be one of those bizarre low points that comes late in a show's run when half of the original cast is gone and the plots are becoming increasingly more mechanical. Wocky tried to comfort me. "So you screwed up." she said. "It's not the end of the world. If I was this Lowtax guy would I be upset with you? Yes. Would I wish you'd have told me sooner that you couldn't write this article? Yes. Would I wish a pox upon you for the rest of your trite and meaningless existence? Probably. Um, I can't quite remember where I was going with this but try to imagine something insightful Yoda said. It'll really put things in perspective."
"I'll never write for Something Awful again." I said. "It's the conversations with Lowtax that I'll miss the most. If my Barbie calculator could graph such things, our conversations would've been perfect sine patterns. Our words rode the crests and settled in the troughs of each wave."
"Are you on drugs?"
"No. Unless by drugs you mean hugs, in which case I'm guilty of possession with intent to distribute."
This update is dedicated to my Mcdonalds manager, Patty. I know we haven't always seen eye to eye on things, like my suggestion that we replace the drive thru panel with a replica of the talking stone head from Legends of the Hidden Temple, but it was really nice of you not to fire me when I missed work. When I talked to you last wednesday I broke down and cried. "I wanted to become a famous internet writer so my son wouldn't have to work a job like this." I sobbed, laying one hand on my pregnant belly. "I didn't want him to ever know the hardships of burger slavedom; pushing giant slabs of meat off platforms while being chased by evil condiments."
I would later find out there were roughly 300 more episodes of Sailor Moon after what I thought was the final episode. It really cheapened what I felt was a suitable conclusion to the series. It was like watching an aging drag queen who didn't know it was time to hang up his blonde wig. Somewhere I have a recording of my band covering the Sailor Moon theme song. My voice sounds like Stevie Nicks run through a flange effect in Goldwave. I can think of no better soundtrack for the emotional ordeal I went through last week.
Now I'm working at Mcdonalds. A car full of teenage girls pulls up to the drive thru window. I reach for the money but the girl pulls it back out of my reach. The other girls laugh. "Excuse me," I say, "I can't help but notice you have a "Support Our Troops" sticker on the side of your car. I'd be very interested in finding out what some of the men enlisted in our nation's armed forces would think of the way you're treating me. I think they'd be shocked. Nonplused even. Does my dignity mean nothing to you but collateral damage in your all-out war against kindness and courtesy? Or maybe this is an act of teenage rebellion. Yeah, that'll show your rich parents and their world of country clubs and ice cream socials." Disgusted, I leave the window and walk into the back room where my time machine is hidden. I could go back in time and write the update that was due last thursday, fixing the damage I have wrought, but instead I use the machine to disappear into the tides of time.
Next week: I legally adopt Thom Yorke as my son. Then the child welfare bureau breaks down the door to my room and takes pictures of the squalid conditions under which I'm keeping Thom, whose feet are rotting away from walking in his own feces.
Singles: Flirt Up or Die!
Zack "Geist Editor" Parsons here with a review of the recent Sims-esque game "Singles: Flirt Up Your Life" from our friends overseas. I use the word "friends" loosely here.
Somehow, the Department of Homeland Security failed once again and allowed copies of "Singles" to make their way to our fair and faithful shores unbidden. Initially my plan had been to buy up every copy that had snuck into the country and destroy it before it managed to corrupt some poor young child whose future would be better served by painting fences or being beaten insensate with a belt. To truly know the deadliness of the moral poison I had to experience it firsthand, so I installed it on my consecrated computer made from the bones of Saint Bartholomew and sat down to write this cautionary review.
If you have any humanity left after reading my hentai reviews, then I suggest you scrub the last of it away with this article.