And One More Thing…

As everyone’s heard, Steve Jobs passed away today.  On the astronomical odds that anyone is hearing it from me for the first time, go to a real website.  Steve Jobs was many things to many people.  It cannot be disputed that he was a visionary, and unlike any other CEO the world had ever seen.  Equal parts Jim Henson and Thomas Edison, he was one-of-a-kind and the loss of that vision and philosophy lessens the world.  Still we should count ourselves lucky and thankful that a man like Steve Jobs not only existed, but was allowed the opportunity, talent, vision, and plain old luck to accomplish all that he did.  While his death is tragic, try not to mourn for him.  Instead give thanks that he was here to do the amazing things he did to begin with.

If you’re a computer geek, remember how many “One More Things” he gave us.  Chuckle about the ubiquitous Cheering Sections at press conferences.  Remember Toy Story, and all the fantastic Pixar films that may not have been if not for him.  Watch Toy Story, and Up, and WALL-E, and let yourself cry for god’s sake, because life is equally beautiful in the sweetness and the sorrow.

I’d urge anyone reading this to donate to the American Cancer Society, pancreatic cancer has a mere five percent survival rate, and has robbed the world of far too many people.  Steve Jobs gave us technology that shames Star Trek, this is the 21st century, don’t tell me we can’t do anything to improve that.

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The Epic Legends: The Great Trial of the Sword Kings

I know I have only posted one epic legend before, but lo, another has happened during my long absence.  A force that will no doubt shape many things to come.  Read on, dear friends, and learn of the Great Trial.

Over the past two years I became a proper adult human.  I know, you’re thinking “Surely, Sword King, you could never be considered Adult or Human!” and two years ago I would have heartily agreed.  Oh how times have changed.

Before I fought with raid bosses and people taking things too seriously, I fought with women, mostly in an attempt to get them to end the, my god, nearly ten year dating hiatus.  I’ve slayed trolls and took a picture straddling the Washington Monument, as if it were the great stone phallus of freedom granted to me for my unchallenged cocksmanship.

The foes I’ve faced of late have been far different.  I’ve had to deal with problems financial, navigate the treacherous labyrinths of federal and state bureaucracy.  I’ve had to watch as my father, a great man, was broken down by the state of the world and fell into depression, bitterness, and cynicism.  I’ve watched constant pain take its toll on him, I’ve raged at The Man for doing nothing to help.  I’ve made miracles happened, made promises I can’t keep, and kept promises I thought impossible to keep.

In September of 2009 my father lost his job after over a decade of hard, honest work.  At first I found myself in a panic, and then, as days turned into months I started to find solutions.  Solutions, sometimes from the unlikeliest of places.  From World of Warcraft, a good friend of mine needed a place to live in Northern Virginia for an internship.  We had a spare room and rented it.  His help came at a time when our resources were all but spent.  It gave us nine months of precious time, time to think, time to regroup.

From the mother of a man I consider a brother, and among the best, most stalwart friends anyone could have, I learned of a government disability aid program that did not require an extensive work history.  I applied, and just as the now-Guild Master was moving back to school, I was certified disabled.  I had enough money to make up for what was lost in rent.  Once more, we had time.

Time, however, grows short quickly when you’re living hand-to-mouth, making every penny count.  My aunt Gail and, yes, even my mother provided significant financial aid and support during the Great Trial of the Magic Sword Kings.  As bureaucracies stalled, bungled paperwork, the clock was running out.  My father’s own application for Disability was taking a long time, unemployment money had run out early this year, and I was pulling miracles out of my ass on a semi-daily basis.

My greatest duty, though, was to try and be a rock.  An immovable object of belief and hope that would keep my father and I from being swallowed by the storm.  Being the nerdling I am, I took a liking to the philosophies and purpose of the Blue Lantern Corps, who wield the power of hope, to which there is no equal.  I wear a Blue Lantern ring on my finger to this day to remind me that no matter how black the night, All Will Be Well.

If I learned anything from this, any advice I can pass on to you, take your strength where you can find it, even if it seems silly to someone else.  Never be ashamed of what makes you strong.

Hope and willpower and luck will only last so long, though, and the reality was that August was going to be my final month in D.C.  There was no avoiding it, the lease was up, the money would either be utterly depleted, or reinvigorated.  I hope for your sake you never have to live through a month, knowing that you stand on the precipice, and your fate is no longer within your hands.

In July, my life, and the lives of my entire family were at a great crossroads.  We waited breathlessly for word on a disability determination.  It is a very strange thing indeed to hope with all your being that the government agrees that things are, in fact, as painful as you think they are.

Two paths lay before me. If the money were to come through, I would be able to move away from DC, preferably to New England, and know I had succeeded in my task.  I would know that I had kept my promise to stand by my father through the dark and the light until we emerged triumphant.  We had no idea if it would happen, but day after day I would look my father in the eyes and tell him “I have no doubt.  We will succeed in this.  We will make it through.  We will survive.”  I believed it, harder than I believed anything.  I would, at times, recite the Blue Lantern oath as a sort of mantra, to keep me focused on giving hope, and holding hope.

Down the other path, the path of least resistance, waited catastrophe.  My father would have been utterly crushed, and I, for all my effort, would have followed suit.  No doubt I would have eventually made my way into the care of my mother’s family.  My father, though, my father had nowhere to go.  No one to turn to.  His family all but abandoned him long ago, and he abandoned them in turn.  If this had indeed been the outcome, I would not be writing a blog post.  I fear I would be writing a eulogy.

I’ve never faced an existential threat that didn’t come from the darkness within me before.  Like many who suffer from mental illness I’ve done horribly stupid things.  Over the past two years I’ve overcome addiction, I’ve found treatment for what turns out to be a supremely rare circadian rhythm disorder that is found most often in the blind.  I’ve made my peace with love lost and chances missed.  After twenty-four years, I have left Washington, D.C.  Reading my own blog (which I do think is a form of intellectual masturbation, but sometimes a man’s gotta do, you know) I remark often about how I “gotta get out of this place”.  Well I did.

The outcome was not ideal, nothing ever truly is.  We were victorious, though.  I was victorious.  I was right.  I remember sitting outside on that fateful September day when this long trial began, thinking I would never survive it.  To grow up is something people do in different ways.  Most go to college, or get jobs.  I fought my way through the dark to save my family.  And I kept my promise.  I never lost hope, I never lost faith, and I stood by my father as he has stood for me time and again.  I fought the world and won.

I do not write this from the forests and rivers of New England, rather the foothills of the Appalachians, four hours southwest of Washington.  It is peaceful here.  There is a tranquility that over time, I hope will heal many of the battle scars that I endured.  I know now that I can resume my life having survived the dark, and emerged the stronger.  Sure, Jerry Falwell’s megachurch and “university” are five miles down the road, and there is a church next to the local dildo shop, but that’s fine, after what I’ve been through I can deal with this.  I am happy to be able to look out on a clear night and see the sky filled with stars.

I’m a different man now, than the one I was when I started this blog.  A more proper man in some ways.  A wiser Sword King, to be sure.  And sitting here, at the dawn of a new day in my life I am reminded.  As Scott Mosier said, and as I echoed in my very first post here at The Chaos Fold, “Not every moment rules.”

But then again, some moments do.

This is one of them.

in fearful day, in raging night, with strong hearts full our souls ignite, when all seems lost in the war of light, look to the stars – for hope burns bright

 

Finding My Mind

I’ve recently realized that I have a blog with some pretty good shit on it that I have systematically neglected for far too long. Yes, the Lost Posts from when I had private hosting are forever gone, and they do fill a page or so, but it shames me to both want to say so much, and actually say so little.

It may be the worst case of chronic writers’ block to ever exist, but more likely it is the result of the great trials from which I have just emerged. The past two years, in many ways the past ten, have been transformative and revelatory beyond what I had previously thought possible. Time has seemed to speed up, I never quite lost myself in the storm of change, but now, in my new home, I am having trouble reconnecting with my mind, my writerly ways. Still, now is the time.

Have I ever mentioned that I love Warehouse 13? Sure it isn’t the greatest Sci-Fi show ever made, but it is fun, and it has some wonderful human character moments. I found myself watching this video of the one-of-a-kind treasure that is Allison Scagliotti, performing The Pixies’ “Where Is My Mind” on the show. Her character has had her troubles, to say the least. The preface to this video has her character, Claudia Donovan talking about how she needs to get out of her comfort zone. I concur. I think its time to get out of my comfort zone, and back to my mind.

Thanks, Scags.

P.S. Allison, if you’re ever reading this, you’re pretty awesome. I’m pretty awesome too. We should totally get together and be awesome sometime.

A Bit of Seriousness

When I last updated this version of The Chaos Fold (unfortunately all the posts on the independently-hosted website are lost to the sands of time), it was 2008.  Barack Obama was not yet President of the United States of America.  I didn’t have a roommate and I was barely old enough to buy alcohol.  Time’s passed, people mature.  I would explain my tremendous lack of writing, but honestly it is a very sad story with bad things happening to good people and while I may come off as crass and cynical from time to time I’m not going to inflict that particular story on anyone who might read it.

A long time ago, an entire age of the world by internet standards I had a traffic explosion because of a wonderfully interesting pastor and blogger by the name of Carlos Whittaker.  At the time I felt a little silly, the staunch atheist allied firmly with a wide array of practicing Christians to unseat the word “cocksucking” from the number one spot on my referrals list.  Reading back I see a great variety of people who stopped in to comment, and especially in this day and age, with extremism running roughshod over everything in its path my cynicism cracked more than it had during those heady days of “Yes We Can”.

I may be something of a lewd court jester of the internet but I do pride myself on my intelligence and my tolerance.  I will admit that in the last six months, I’ve been losing a lot of tolerance for my fellow man, as it were.  At times I’ve thought “why me?” and cursed the people who I found responsible for the situation I found myself in.  I took solace in the wonderful friends I’ve made, many through World of Warcraft of all things.  Now, reading those posts that Los and I wrote, and the comments on each other’s blogs, I find that tolerance returning with a new found pride.

Too often we lose sight of the big things, the important things.  Too often those important things are each other.  In those comments and posts I latched back on to the ideal.  A quantum of peace within the storms of the world that we get swept up in all too often.

So I’m setting down my sword as it were.  The world is too precious a place to wrap yourself in intolerance and excuses.  Even now, while such horrible things are happening in the Gulf of Mexico, Iraq, Afghanistan, I am reminded of the words of one of my heroes, words that have given me hope through the ages.

“If we cannot end now our differences, at least we can make the world safe for diversity. For, in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s future. And we are all mortal.” – President John F. Kennedy

That’s all.

The Return

June 21, 2010.  It seems like a date that never should have happened.  Some science fiction land where the aliens have landed to meet with the robot overlords on the nuclear-charred wastes that once were home to the human race.  While our current dystopia is wildly different than those imagined by Arthur C. Heinlein K. Dick, et al, it seems as good a time as ever, even at this late hour, to write once more.

The story of my world, this corner of planet Earth, just outside Washington D.C. continues to be one of absolute insanity.  The populace seems to be barely holding back their personal Deepwater Horizons of madness, rage, and sadness.  In fairness, that could be me projecting.  I continue to live in a truly ironic fashion, penniless yet owning no end of treasures.  Lonely but less physically alone I as a sapient being have ever been.  So it should come as no surprise that I was watching stand-up comedy when the panic struck.

Allow me to rewind the clocks to earlier in the day.  My life of quiet contemplation mixed with brief interruptions of gunfire from video games continued this day much as it had the prior.  I was playing a game, (Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic if you must know) for the umpteenth time, having just created a character,  I saddled him with a horribly offensive name as that is the only way I can be evil in a video game, to create something so obviously not myself that I have no problem acting like the violent, impulsive cockend that defines the bad guy end of the Manichean morality systems that have been in vogue for oh so long.

Then the phone rang.  Rather, it buzzed with an odd sort of swooping sound, denoting receipt of a text message.  I was glad to receive it, as it had been sent by one of my very favorite people in the world.  I never got text messages often; I don’t know why I do now.  It strikes me as positive momentum, though.  Perhaps soon I’ll be a real boy.  The message was short and sweet, and I do emphasize sweet.  I was oddly touched by it, enough for the sudden uptick in my opinion of humanity to cause Double Hitler (my intrepid dark Jedi) to be nice to approximately three people before the force-choking of adorable animals began anew.  June 21, 2010 continued its unremarkable trajectory.

Several hours later, possibly, time gets fuzzy when you’re building a megalomaniac, I receive another message.  My great friend would be visiting!  Visiting soon no less!  In a week or two, they would be here! In my world!  Not their world, which to me always strikes me as far more appealing, and indeed I am far more appealing when I exit the orbit of this one to visit the other.  The reality didn’t sink in at first.  In fact I’m reasonably certain I committed at least ten more digital atrocities before it struck me.

I am not only uncomfortable in my world, I am embarrassed by it.

I sit, typing this in a room that has, over the course of twelve years, been engineered specifically to distract me from the fact that I have spent the majority of my life in the same room.  A room, which I must add, that is roughly 100 meters from the previous room I occupied, for the prior five years.  And an equal distance from the room that I first occupied, when I burst screaming into the world on August 24, 1987.

Spend twelve years in any one place and it will begin to reflect certain details of one’s life that you would rather leave behind you.  There is an inconceivable amount of garbage that has accrued in the dresser drawers, spaces behind and under objects, and closet space over the course of the occupation.  To remove it all would be impossible under present circumstances.  Indeed, objects exist in these areas that predate my own existence.  There are marks on the ceiling telling the tales of when I discovered that a pool cue for an overpriced games table I once owned could quite easily make small craters in the drywall.  Uneven paint shows where a large NASA sticker once covered a portion of the door for far too long, being possessed of some hell-adhesive that anchored it long past the point of novelty’s failure.  Most embarrassingly, a carpet stained with substances ranging from the bright pink remnants of spilled strawberry milk as a much younger creature, the not-quite-erased spot where 32 oz. of vodka and bourbon were jettisoned by my body.  Bits of snot that I concluded belonged on the walls, floor, or carpet for preservation through the aeons of the world.

Twelve years has shown a clear portrait of a messy tornado of a human who is obsessed with shiny things, and not terribly worried about being an unhygienic mess.  The results of my anthropological study prove stunningly accurate.

Yet twelve years is a long time by anyone’s count.  Has my carefully constructed world become a prison of my own design?  What will my friend think when they leave the fresh, polished world of the promised land behind to visit the wasteland?  She is far too nice to cast her judgment publicly.  Still, what sort of adult would continue to exist in this place?  Can I even allow her to see it?  Just how much can I clean this hellhole up before she arrives?  Will the strawberry milk stains finally come out?  Have I finally turned pro?

At 11:30 PM, on June 21, 2010, I turned over in my bed as I attempted sleep, tormented by the questions that now flooded my mind.

“Fuck.” I muttered aloud.

And then I wrote it down.  Welcome back Andrew.  This is the story of your life.

Happy Anniversary, or perhaps more appropriately, This Was A Triumph

Doesn’t seem that long ago that I started this project.  I suppose it isn’t in the grand scheme of things, but on August 15, 2007, The Chaos Fold was born.  By some minor miracle I’ve managed to accrue 103 published posts, and while I’ve dropped off the blogosphere a couple of times, I’ve more or less stuck with it.

I’ve turned 21, I can legally drink.  That may or may not improve the quality of my bullshit here.  Some fun self-indulgent blag facts.

My top post of all time is “Thinking with Portals”, written shortly after I’d first played through the now ubiquitous game and internet-meme factory.  It was a quick one-off post about how Portal mechanics could make other games better and still make sense.  I thought it was interesting, but it has since accrued 1,104 reads.

I’m somewhat less proud of the others in the 100+ crowd, the second and third places going to posts with the “Dick Jokes” tag, proving once more that is an ever-fertile ground.  Interestingly, I get more hits to Thinking with Portals from Google than anywhere else.

My recent Pettrout posts are also in the 100+ club, apparently people are as confused as I was about them, and a lot of them have started coming here for the answer to the mystery.  Traffic has surged lately due to this.

The all-time record-holder for page referrals is the WordPress tag for “Cocksucking” which I am not proud of, but I thought that was a pretty funny post so I’ll take it and leave it.  In something that amuses me to no end, the rapidly-rising second place for most referrals goes to Ragamuffin Soul, home to a “Musician, Blogger, and Pastor” from Atlanta, Georgia.  Seeing as we’re in the grips of the first of many Epic Legends, the Atlanta Saga, and that I’m a staunch (though tolerant) atheist, it amuses me that this, admittedly rather interesting pastor is second to “Cocksucking” on the all-time greatest referrers list.  A few more hits and he’ll surpass that.  Personally, I’m pulling for him on this one.  I’ve read his blog and he seems to do what few Christians do these days, that is to say a lot of good.

As for search engines, the undisputed #1 champion is “portal gun” which has brought me a grand total of 367 views.  Other luminaries of the top ten include “portal glados”, “thinking with portals”, “glados portal” and of course “now you’re thinking with portals”.

My humble blog has been viewed a total of 4,598 times.  The all-time daily record was set one week ago today, when my Too Human editorial and the PetTrout pages brought in 112 unique views.

When I started, I never expected to get more than a couple dozen hits a week, and honestly expected to give up not more than a couple months into the whole thing.  Various catalysms, events, and medically-induced bouts of writers block have kept me from doing as much as I’ve wanted to do, but I’ve surpassed my own expectations.

Most of all, while I could have become the Portal Blog or the Dick Jokes blog and drowned in traffic, I’ve done my own thing and done it pretty well.

The conclusion and Epilogue of the Atlanta Saga should go up later today, and though I haven’t yet decided on the next story in the series, I’m nearing a decision, and that one should follow hot on the heels of Atlanta.

So to everyone who’s dropped by my corner of the blagoblags, thank you for your time, thank you for your feedback, and most of all, thanks to one Karen Chu, a great friend and semi-mentor, for inspiring me to go all copycat after she started her second blog and make a new one for myself.

Love, Luck, and Lollipops,

Andrew “MagicSwordKing” Zimmer

Late breaking edit: In an odd turn of events, this post has recieved over 150 hits since it went up and my all-time one-day record has doubled, with no signs of slowing.  Also, Los has overtaken Cocksucking as the #1 referrer to The Chaos Fold.  I believe this officially ushers in a new age of peace and love across the world.  Uncanny!

Latest breaking edit: While I love all the new readers, there was something of a change-up in the works for the site.  So it’s moved!  Because of the tremendous influx of readers I’ll be cross-posting everything to both blogs for a while, but The Chaos Fold has a new home!  http://thechaosfold.com!  Update your bookmarks and feeds!

What I’m going to miss

I’ve lived in Washington D.C. all my life. For the first time in twenty years (my birthday is next friday) I will be not just removed from that, but removed from the entire east coast.

I’ve often said that living here makes you insane by default. I think there’s some sort of brain-ray generator at the top of the Washington Monument that makes everyone go batshit crazy. How else do you explain American politics? For all its flaws, which I could easily spend days enumerating, I will miss certain things that I’ve always just taken for granted.

There’s the parks, for one. Rock Creek Park is one of the best places to hike that I’ve ever been to. I’d go there all the time during periods of stress just to even myself out. Then there’s the museums, all of them free, all of them filled with amazing stuff that you just don’t see elsewhere. I’ll even miss the politics. It’s a thinking man’s game, and I tend to think a lot.

I’ll miss the crazy protesters, not the anti-war ones, who have a good cause, but the anti-circumcision ones. Or the anti-spelling ones. The best picket sign I have ever seen read “Enuf is Enuf – Enough is Too Much!”

I’ll miss the music, and the history. I’ll miss the run down record shop on the corner that Dave Grohl used to work at before he was in, and I do believe this is the proper terminology, “Fucking Nirvana

They say around here that DC is Hollywood for ugly people. I wonder what happens when one of us goes to Hollywood?