Archive for May 2011

Long weekend


Todays photo is again from It is a black and white photo that was later colored by hand. Pretty amazing effect.

Speaking of amazing things, you should watch this video of the abandoned Six-Flags New Orleans.

I am Austin for a couple of days, staying at the same hotel. This hotel was spiffy as hell when it opened, but it has a few years under its belt and it is starting to show. The computers for automated check-in/check-out are out of date, the furniture in the bar/lounge is a bit scuffed. And my favorite, the elevators have these plastic film over liquid things, like those old squishy stickers shaped like stars and dinosaurs, so they move when you step on them. But, the liquid is starting to evaporate and one has sprung a leak. So, they are really kind of decrepit and sad. That and the elevators have pads like they normally put in for move in day at the dorms. So, the spiffy hotel has these elevators that completely out of place.

Cracked my story. So, I am working on a story and had thought about telling it all as a series of reminiscences, but that way there was no real story or conflict. So, instead I am going to take the best 3 or so scenes and then have a story set in the present as a bookend that we return to between each memory. Makes the story tractable and something I could actually finish. Now all I need to do is write it.

Lola, the newest member of our family, is meshing well with the rest of us. We got the backyard fenced and now every evening we get the Lola show as our retired greyhound races around the yard, for about 30 seconds before she goes back to being a large oversized gopher. She has been digging herself holes in the back yard and loves to sit in them. This and the fact she wanders around the house with a large toy (or one of Anna-Sophia’s toys if she can get them) letting out a slight whine now and then. Yep, she is strange and fits right in.

Luke W. McCullough | lm3m @ | 06/09/2011 | the New House of Chaos, Arlington, MA

microfiction 0002

Out of a single, ultra-dense, singularity crawled what would become the universe. Would it, had it been able to see all that lay ahead, have continued down the path to creation?

Had it known that instead of being filled with brilliant moment after brilliant moment; glorious moments when fruit attacked scientists, or inspired moments when fully armed and armored poems ripped themselves of drug addled brains and escaped forever into paper, or the sparks of insight that flow while reliving one’s self up on the commode; that instead it would be filled to overflowing with mundane moment after banal moment; moments where someone decided not to get dressed, or moments when someone decided coffee or tea, or moments of banality when one meaningless choice instead of an other meaningless choice was picked; what would have it done?

Would have that proto-universe, so newly born and just starting to be, have crawled back in and waited until the thought went away?

Or would have it gone forward, not just making, but exploding into reality. Not giving in under the crushing weight of the mundane or futility of the banal, instead relishing in the brilliant and the glorious as fleeting as they are.

fyi, microfiction

strange, strange world

abandoned-wonders-of-sssr1-1297943852Had I been in NYC this would have been, interesting. Margret Atwood and DJ Spooky on the same venue.

I have a love affair with urban decay. I love seeing what happens to man’s creations when they are abandoned and left to decay. So, needless to say, the website EnglishRussia is one of my favorites. It has glorious galleries of abandoned Soviet era sites. It features buildings, military bases, even cities from the old USSR, now vacant and rusting. Today it ran a best of list for the 7 Abandoned Wonders of the USSR. Pretty images, you should go look now. But, what really caught my eye was this quote about an missile base:

now abandoned and partially occupied by tourists.

Some how the idea that the cold war is over, and the tourists have won! These tourists are now occupying decaying missile bases across Russia, like an army of tourists in bad shorts and the wrong type of shoes. Though it also, some how leaves me empty. The worst of the ugly traveler stereotypes disturbing these grave sites of a dead nation is kind of sad.

Though, the irony of it all leaves me with a smile on my face.

Some things should be sacrosanct, crosswalks, handicapped parking, HOV lanes and, a newer one, quiet car on trains. Having done a bit of traveling by train in the last year, I completely understand the need for theses cars.

When riding on the train neither I nor any other passenger care not about the girl on the phone nor Bobby nor if he liked you or that skank Rachael more.

Even less does anyone care about what your doctor had to say.

Both of those actual conversations I heard on the Acela from Boston to NYC.

In fact, I will take it one step further and say that it is not just on trains where there are problems with people abusing their cell phone privilege. I think cell phones, and especially talking on the cell phones, should be the social equivalent of taking a dump, no one wants to see it and no one really wants to hear it!

Of course being a iPhone owner, I need to work on this since I am always checking something on that pretty, pretty object.

New album by Brendan Perry formerly of Dead Can Dance. (Guess it is not that new, just new to me.) Sadly, since they broke up I have found the releases of the founding members to be a bit underwhelming. Yes, I am admitting that I just don’t like Lisa Gerrard’s solo stuff. She is an amazing talent, but I just never clicked with her solo work. Anyway this new one from Brendan Perry, mixes old DCD sound with some new sounds, a lot of electronic music, for something stronger than his last release. Not a new DCD album, but none the less a good listen.

As I was getting Anna-Sophia up this morning, I tried to sneak into her room. Needless to say the 6 and 1/2 foot tall me was not able to sneak all that well. Just after I went in the door slammed behind me, and I looked at her and said, “did ghosts just close your door?”

She looked at me wide-eyed and whispered “Daddy, are there really ghosts in the house?”

Fearing that the wrong answer would lead to months and months of nightmares and interrupted sleep for my wife and myself, I went to my go to for imaginary creatures my goblins. After I was disallowed from having imaginary princesses, like Anna-Sophia, I made up some goblins (goblins of various colors, two brown, one green and one black). And the last we played Anna-Sophia had taken my goblins away and they had been retrained as goblin police. (Her princesses used to be police, of course.)

Anyway, so I said, “maybe it was my goblin police?”

She thought for a second and said, “it was my princesses, they were not keeping out your goblins, but were keeping out the aliens from outer space, we don’t want them getting in here.”

And I was worried that mentioning ghosts would cause her some concern.

Luke W. McCullough | lm3m @ | 05/26/2011 | the new House of Chaos, Arlington, MA

volcanoes of my youth


Image today is from the latest volcanic eruption in Iceland, though it could be from my childhood. You see, we moved to Oregon just after Mt. St. Helens blew it’s top. (Specifically Dayton, Oregon and we were moving from Columbus, Ohio. My dad had just finished his PhD.) And the number of mornings that looked like that are so common, I don’t think of it as anything odd. I remember going to school on the bus in ash as thick or thicker than that of this photo. Kind of the same way for some people a summer shower, a thunderstorm, or a light dusting of snow is soothing and reminiscent of childhood, volcanic ash clouds and day turned to night do that for me. Maybe, I do need help.

Moved my blog, from hosting at to a website I have more control over, does not allow me to do some plugins and other things I want (or might want) to do with this blog, so I moved all the posts I had and put them up here. Now, I really need to tell people about it, or at least tell a few people about it.

And in motivation news, I intend to enter a story into the second anthology for Machine of Death. (Heh, the submission guidelines say you can submit up to three. Yeah like I have time to write one, let alone three.)  All the stories share a concept: what if there was a machine, that from a blood test, could tell you how you were going to die. It being science fiction, usually in a ironic or in a twist sort of answer. But, the prediction is right and there is no way to avoid it. Kind of an old school science fiction idea (reminds me of Amazing Stories or Tales from the Crypt or Twilight Zone), but for what ever reason subverting it and making something interesting appealed to me. So, by July 15th my hope is to have a story in submitted. Kind of nice to have an external deadline. My story’s title is: NULL.

Got a charger for my iPhone that has an audio jack, so I can download and listen to all of my podcasts from my iPhone. The one downfall was that I had to unlock the phone and hit the pause icon, all at an odd angle on the phone. But, I found out that if I plug in my headphones and then plug the iPhone into the charger, the headphones still have control over the iPhone. So, basically if I leave my headphones plugged in, they become a short corded remote control, woot 1950’s tech.

Amazing gallery of movie posters, I could get lost in here for days:

This Saturday was Anna-Sophia’s first Ballet recital. Not that a 4-5 year-old ballet/tap combo class recital is where I expected that I would be spending my weekend, but you know, she got up there out on stage and danced her little bottom off. Though, the dance she did was unrelated to either the music or to the dances of any of the other little girls up there with her. She loved it and I was so proud she did it and had fun doing it.

<edited some words that did not flow and added some commas>

Luke W. McCullough | lm3m @ | 05.23.2011 | the new House of Chaos, Arlington, MA

Working from home

iPhone 015

Yeah, I have no idea what is up with that picture either. It is a statue in one of the subway stations in New York.

Working from home is on my mind again. Still in the honeymoon phase, so to say, and I still find different than working in an office. I have not settled on if it is better or worse. I have become more hermit like. At an office you have a mixing and amalgamating of people and habits. And, I was thinking about some of the strange things that happen to people over time at a place like Microsoft.

Such as, there is a quick way to tell how long someone has been at Microsoft: their choice of soda. Most anyone who has been at Microsoft for any length of time sees a change in their soda choice. One of the benefits of working at the big ‘M’ is free soda (and juice and coffee and tea.) Many start off at the normal or diet sodas, but too much of a good thing can suck. So, having your favorite soda every day, multiple times a day, changes your choice in soda. That, and the extra 10 lb. you gain if your choice of soda is not diet. After a few years of sucking down the same soda all day (and many nights and weekends) you just get sick of it. Most people move over time to the Talking Rain.

Talking Rain is a Seattle (actually Preston, WA. But Preston is less of a town and more of a glorified speed trap) area water bottler, they do both still and carbonated water and water/juice combos. At Microsoft there are 7 different types in the coolers, 3 carbonated waters and 4 carbonated water with flavor and artificial sweeteners.

I started off a Mt. Dew drinker, and later had dalliances with Coke and Dr. Pepper, but like many people I ended up on the Talking Rains. The carbonated waters were flavored with zest or essences of flavors, so there was just enough flavor you could taste it, but not enough to have any calories. I did the green (lemon-lime) for a bit, but eventually became a habitual orange (peach-nectarine) drinker.

Strangely, they were not referred to by flavor, but by color. Each type had the band on the can of a different color. Green, and orange, and blue (which was unflavored) were the carbonated ones, and for fun they reused some  of the same colors for the artificially sweetened ones. Nothing was quite like expecting a can of water with a hint of flavor and getting a mouthful of artificial sweeteners.

I was thinking about this, mainly because the replacement for free Talking rain from MSFT is out SodaStream Machine. Grab one of the 1 liter bottles from the fridge (tastes better cold), hit the button till it makes a loud noise (I do two buzzes, lightly carbonated) and carbonate water at home. Other than freaking out the dog, it’s pretty awesome.

Between the SodaStream and our coffee maker (which doubles as a hot team kettle) I am pretty well set in the liquid refreshment arena.


A fragment of a story or the beginning of an idea or maybe of something I saw on the T (written on the iPhone and unedited, punctuation is a flow-killer on the iPhone):

Old man not shabby at second look but counting two stacks of cash. Each about so high. Dollars in his hand twenties on the seat. Dollars go into his pocket. Twenties into the jacket pocket. All of a sudden after the doors have open and everyone gets in up he jumps off to where he needs a roll of ones in his shirt pocket a stack of twenties in his jacket.

Luke W. McCullough | lm3m @ | 05/21/2011 | from the living room of the new House of Chaos, Arlington, MA