Saturday, December 04, 2004
The Message is the Medium
Bill stares in horror at the glowing computer screens, each virtually shrieking the same blood-curdling message in his ears:
YOU DIDN'T WIPE YOUR FEET, DID YOU, YOU BAD BOY? YOU'RE TRACKING MUD ALL OVER MY AATCC-COMPLIANT ANTI-STATIC CARPET!
Bill is, well, paralyzed. He can feel the Mother Blog seeping up through his muddy boots, taking possession, cell by cell, of his legs, his groin, his lower belly. He wants to scream--but can't. Slowly but surely he is being pixelated into an electronic image of the Munch painting ...
At that moment Doug bursts into the sanctuary with a baseball bat and begins smashing terminals with Vikingesque abandon. Sparks fly. Bill can feel some sensation in his chest--just his imagination? No, he can feel the pixelation recede. They're going to beat this thing!
But then Doug too begins to lose headway. His motions become jerky, then sluggish. He shimmers and shudders as the pixelation effect kicks in. His resolution plunges precipitously.
But just as the boys think all is lost, one wall of the sanctuary explodes: the Mullah Billdoug blog, roaring with power, bursts through the wall in a shower of plaster dust, sound insulation, and styrofoam packing peanuts! Bill and Doug, momentarily depixelated, dash to the blog and climb in, Bill behind the wheel. He throws it into reverse and floors the blogas pedal--thankfully, the bad blogas has been processed out of the system. This ain't the Mullah Billdoug blog for nothing! The engine roars and the blog lays tracks back out through the gaping wall.
Bill is looking back to negotiate the hole and doesn't see what Doug sees: a swarm of coleopteric system administrators, converging on the fleeing car.
"Go!" Doug yells. Bill, of course, shifts badly, doesn't pull the shift lever all the way from reverse to drive, and when he hits the blogas the engine revs impotently until Doug reaches over and taps it into drive. With a ferocious thud the car lurches into gear and peels out of the church parking lot, thousands of iridescent beetles in hot pursuit.
Friday, December 03, 2004
In the Sanctuary Bleats a Heart
They pulled into the parking lot of the church. The sign out front said “First Church of the Holy Blog. Services: Blog Adoration, 10:00. Consecration of new Bloggers, 11:00.”
“You sure this is a good idea?” Bill asked, fingering the laptop computer he was holding. “I mean, the last time I went into a church, things didn’t go so good.”
“Go so well, you illiterate doofus. And, yeah, it’s a good idea.” Doug reached in the back seat and pulled out another laptop and opened it up, checking. “Wow! There's a very strong signal here. Now quit being such a baby. You just go inside, send me an email. You know the message.”
“I don’t want to. It’s spooky.”
Doug opened the door on his side, hopped out surprisingly fast for a man of his bulk, and ran around to Bill’s side. He pulled open the door and yanked Bill out by the scruff of his neck. He slapped him several times vigorously, and then shoved him toward the door of the church.
“And don’t come back until you’ve sent the message, either!” he shouted, waving his fist in the air, as he climbed back into the warm car.
“He’ll be sorry,” Bill mumbled, trudging across the icy sidewalk carefully. “If I wasn’t so drunk, I’d-a kicked his ass.” He flipped his cigarette butt into the bushes by the door of the church, and tried the handle. It turned. He opened the door and went inside slowly.
“A-anybody here?” he gurgled. It was quiet and dark. The only light seemed to be coming from the sanctuary across the hall. It was an eerie bluish light. Bill started to turn and go back out the door, but then thought better of it. He crept carefully down the hall, but the damn linoleum on the floor squeaked with each step.
When he got to the swinging doors of the sanctuary, he slowly pushed one open and peeked around the corner.
There were pews, as usual in a church, but in front of each pew was a glowing computer monitor.
He went on in. The place was filled with monitors, all on, all glowing. No screen saver. And up at the altar, where usually there’d be a crucifix or a giant cross or something, there was a huge glowing flat screen. Nothing was displayed on it.
Creeped out, Bill quickly opened the laptop and turned it on. Yes, there was a signal, a very strong one. He opened the mail program, and began writing the message. He couldn’t remember—was it antinominalism or antimonialism? Oh, well. One of those. He hit “SEND” and turned to leave.
But just then every screen in the place came to life. And they all displayed one message… a terrifying message.
Thursday, December 02, 2004
A Mighty Fortress
Bill and I climb back into the car, sliding the skillet up onto the dashboard. It was like an eschatoblogical scavenger hunt, with butter. Or, well, margarine. Bill and I had had a little tiff over that--I kept insisting that Blog had said butter, and sweet, unsalted butter means sweet, unsalted butter, but Bill said I Can't Believe It's Not Butter was so close that he for one couldn't believe it wasn't butter. Reluctantly, I'd given in, finally. I didn't want to risk our friendship over a little thing like that.
Bill's in the passenger seat, with one hand on the skillet, making sure it doesn't topple down with the weight of the breaded turtle-dove chunks; I'm behind the wheel. But when I go to turn the ignition key, something's wrong. The key slot is elongated. It hangs down like an old woman's labia. When I stick the key in, though, it turns, and apparently connects, because the engine turns over, sluggishly.
"What kind of gas did you put in this last time?" I ask Bill. He had insisted on working the pump. Bumped me away with his big ass. He can be such a baby sometimes.
"I dunno," he says. "The usual."
"Wait a second," I say. "That gas station looked strange, didn't it?"
"I don't know what you're talking about," Bill says. Face it: the guy is useless.
"Come on," I say, "think. This is Mullah Billdoug we're talking about here."
"The station?" he says, glancing over at me dully.
"No, stupid," I hiss, "not the station. The car."
"The station," I say. "Didn't it look like a--"
"I thought you said he was the car. Now you're saying he's the station."
"Wake up, you druggie," I say. "The station: didn't it look like a church?"
"I didn't notice anything," he says, and the image comes to me: the gas nozzle was shaped like a cross. The pump was shaped like a pulpit. And--
"Let's listen to the radio," Bill says, and switches it on.
Some fundamentalist preacher comes on, imploring us, practically in tears, to give our lives to Blog.
"Blog?" Bill frowns, and punches the scan button. Another fundamentalist preacher rants for two seconds before the radio scans again, bringing up yet another fundamentalist preacher, all preaching on fundamentally the same topic: the mighty power of Blog.
"What the hell?" I say, as the radio scans through half a dozen more religious stations. As the words come out of my mouth, though, the butter in the skillet on the dashboard melts suddenly and starts boiling furiously around the breaded turtle doves, which line up like chorus girls and start singing "A Mighty Fortress Is Our Blog!"
Wednesday, December 01, 2004
Blog surveyed all that It had created. And behold, it was not good.
Everywhere It looked, apostasy and disbelief and liberal scoffing. Whiners and goldbrickers everywhere sapped the strength of the blogosphere. Carpers and second-guessers everywhere refused to support the nascent blogocracy. Family sitcoms continued to deal openly with sex and masturbation, hour-long dramas showed body parts that just a few years before had been taboo on television, and reality shows (even on Blogly Fox!) competed for the dubious titles of Most Vicious and Most Salacious. Not a single one of Blog's operatives had been able to pull the plug on michaelmoore.com, so that fat hairy monster was still running around free, polluting the blogways with lies and filth.
And so, with a sigh, late Wednesday afternoon, scant weeks after the election, Blog decided to end it all. Pull down the whole charade and start over. Let the hot air out of the blogosphere: pop it like a balloon; let it fly hissing and farting around the room.
And Blog smiled, grimly.
First order of business: disrupt RSS. Cut off the blogfeeds.
Second order of business: shut down BlogExplosion. Make sure nobody goes surfing on the tidal wave of the ablogalypse.
Third order of business: bankrupt the investors on BlogShares. Fly a plane into the World Blog Center, pull the whole blogonomy down in flames.
Blog had not yet determined the ideal nature of the New Blogger, the perfected BetaBlogger 2.01. That could wait. The pressing thing for now was to destroy the old. Things could not continue as they had. Blog's ears bled, teeth ached, corns throbbed. This much discomfort was more than any blog had ever withstood without thoughts of ablogalypse.
Oh yes, fourth order of business: infiltrate the Mullah Billdoug blog. They could be trouble.
Tuesday, November 30, 2004
The blog demanded a sacrifice before the trip could continue.
“Fine. Fuckin A. Whaddya want?” they asked.
A voice spake from the tiny speakers attached to the computer, saying, “I demand an unblemished bull of two years of age, stippled and dappled in a manner pleasing to me, for a burnt offering and six turtledoves for a fried offering. You shall gather the priests and sprinkle the blood of the bull on the keyboard before placing the bull upon the monitor. The bull shall be consumed wholly without melting or burning the monitor. The turtledoves shall be killed with a Gillette razor blade, cleaned and defeathered, then chopped into pieces that can easily be fried in butter. The pieces shall be dipped in egg batter and then tossed in bread crumbs. Your priests will deliver these pieces, uncooked, along with an unblemished cast iron skillet and two pounds of sweet, unsalted butter to the dashboard, where the items shall be placed and left. At no time will your priests make eye contact with the server. They must not cough or sneeze, nor expose their body parts to the dashboard. That is all.”
What would a blog want with all that? they wondered. But they knew resistance was futile. The blog would have its way. And where the hell were they supposed to find priests way the fuck out here?
And why were there two of them now? Last week there had only been one. This is truly sloppy.
But what was to be done?
So, abandoning the vehicle at the gate, they set off to find the required items.