When I was a kid I had asthma. Growing up largely fixed that, but I still got attacks when I went running in cold weather; since running is the only exercise I enjoy or have ever been good at, I got into the habit of slacking off as the weather got colder. In late fall, for many years, I’d slip into a comfortable lethargy, stop caring about what I ate or how much I moved, and gain a bunch of weight that I’d then try to work off in the spring.
After I started recognizing this pattern I wanted to change it. Because the only motivation I understand is self-mockery on the Internet, last September I made a new Twitter account, WinterBrendan. I’d post as him when I caught myself in moments of sloth, gluttony and self-loathing. He hasn’t actually written that much, which is a good thing! It kind of worked, and I ate a lot better and worked out more (aided by the fact that I figured out how to run without asthma, which deserves its own post).
But WinterBrendan was only the beginning.
Within two weeks of his appearance, SOMEONE WHO SHALL NOT BE NAMED created SpringBrendan, which is the worst thing that has ever happened. SpringBrendan is a machine gun of incredibly lewd jokes, which, well, fine, except all those jokes have my face on them and people instinctively believe I am writing them. The worst part is that he’s fucking hilarious. The only thing worse than people scolding you for coming up with horrible things is people praising you for coming up with horrible things when you did not, and indeed could not.
There are apparently people who still don’t believe I don’t write SpringBrendan. Look! Here! I AM NOT SPRINGBRENDAN. YOU CAN TELL BECAUSE HE IS FUNNY, AND LIKES HIMSELF.
Unfortunately everyone else likes him too. Around the time this was going on, I realized I was coming up on my ten thousandth tweet. Because my friends (and their friends, and total strangers) seemed to enjoy seeing my face plastered on any old garbage, I took a grumpy few hours and wrote my first Twitter client, RealBrendan. It was pretty simple: a text box that hooked up to my actual account and posted whatever you typed. My 9,999th tweet was a link to it, and my 10,000th was “Go.” Then I went to lunch with a friend.
When I got back I was in Twitter jail.
As soon as people realized it was legit, they had unleashed a hideous torrent of raw, anonymous Internet. I once thought of my followers as a carefully curated selection of clever, thoughtful people with taste; now I know better. RealBrendan only went silent when it hit the ceiling for allowable-tweets-per-hour, which turns out to be 128. I got a lot of texts along the lines of “are you okay???” and “WHAT ARE DOING, TURN OFF,” and one person even figured out how to send DMs as me. Exciting! (If you authorize the Exquisite Tweets app, you can read a complete archive of the horror.)
I revoked the app and was allowed back on Twitter the following morning. I did feel a certain sick fascination with what had happened the day before, so I tinkered with the machinery so that it would maintain a queue and post at a more reasonable rate, then hooked it up to its own new account. Once people figured out there was no more immediate gratification, the torrent dropped to a trickle, but now there’s this kind of anonymous group-fiction thing going and it’s kind of fun.
Because ideas are unkillable, there are other accounts as well, and once again I DO NOT CONTROL ANY OF THEM. Summer called them Brendan-shards, which prompted me to start thinking of them as my Horcruxes, because it would be awfully hard to track them all down and also each one represents a horrific murder. They are GrampaBrendan, JoelBrendan and BrendansMcdald, and I strongly encourage you not to follow any them. Or the other ones. Or the actual BrendanAdkins, really.
This is linked on his guest post but it needs additional emphasis! After years of my pestering him about it, Bill O’Neil has FUCKING FINALLY gotten around to setting up a dedicated story blog. Bill/William/whoever was making me want to shred everything I ever wrote and set it on fire in a toilet while he was still in high school, so I’m (mostly) glad to finally be able to slot him into Google Reader. If you don’t do the same then you’ll just have to accept that you and I have different tastes!
Hey, I’ve talked about her pseudonymously before, but Hillary Eason is an old friend (whom I haven’t actually seen in person since 2002) and one of my favorite writers and thinkers. Now that she’s operating under her own name, you should go see why she’s a perennial pick for my Internet All-Star team.
- Holly presents Towards a Critical Framework for High School Musical, which comes perilously close to accomplishing the formidable task of making HSM interesting to me. (As the author notes in the comments, though, it may already be too late.)
- Leonard is creating an free, online-only speculative fiction anthology called Thoughtcrime Experiments and he’s paying big bucks for stories! I can’t submit because I’m a first-degree acquaintance, but other people can, cough ahem guys.
- Oh, right, and MY SISTER’S GETTING MARRIED
The main side effect of the Penny Arcade bump for Ommatidia has been a notification avalanche–via email or Technorati–of other people who have started (or were already doing) tiny story blogs in a similar vein. I think this is awesome, but honestly I lose track of which site is which, and even I can only read so much blink fiction in a day.
So here’s an offer: if you’re doing tiny stories on some sort of schedule, email me with a link and a little summary and I’ll add you to the directory page I’m putting together now. I am not promising to subscribe to all of them, for the aforementioned reasons, but I will go through once a month to check them all, maybe make a recommendation, and clean out the dead ones. (If you have emailed me about your story blog, and it’s still going, and you want it to be on the list, I would appreciate it if you’d email me again.)
Besides the obvious, I’ll start it off with just such a recommendation: The Two Minutes Project, comprising Two Minutes Less a Third and Chasing Concordia. Very short stories and very short songs! Read The Eternal Question if you need convincing, which you shouldn’t, dammit you have got to start TRUSTING me someday.
After nearly two months in one sort of transition or another, I have achieved something like a temporary stability: I even bought a flat hard bed, manufactured (I am given to understand) by svirfneblin. All of which is to say my name is on a lease, my belongings no longer fit in the Fit and I like it here very much. I live with the very droll Kara, at least until she discovers I used to play Warcraft and kicks me out, and I’m slowly coming around to the idea of a bike.
I promise I’ll get the rest of the Hugner pictures up soon.
Tarnished as it is, the dirty chrome armour of the Heliocrashers shines as they blast through the wall: Erythrophobia zaps at a guard, but canon says that sonoluminescence doesn’t cause bubble fusion. So she punches him through a wall.
The other ‘crashers are covering her while she sets a charge against the generator’s critical weak point when canon oozes out of a grate and tears Erythrophobia in half. The charge doesn’t detonate because canon says they use fusion to fly, not fight: instead, her top half flies into a duct and her suit’s failing containment does the job just as well.
And then there’s stuff like Sumana’s MC Masala, which… you know about MC Masala, right? And Leonard is getting the kind of rejection letters most of us would kill for, for a story you will (when you get to see it) kill to have come up with.
There’s no unifying characteristic between the amazing writers with whom I associate, no New School or Movement, even though I keep trying to assign one. I guess I’m just going to have to publish all you guys?
I only found out by way of Jon and Amanda that my second cousin Dawn blogs. Her writing is frank, observant, self-deprecating and frequently caustic. It’s also really, really funny:
“Does this say something about my friend group?
I lost my virginity in room 116 of the Economy Inn in Danville, KY. Centre College students called it the pink hotel, in reference to the color of the neon lights decorating its roof. Oh, and immediately after the completion of the act my loving then-boyfriend (also a virgin) looked at me and said, ‘You know, that was alright, but I’m definitely glad I didn’t wait to get married.’
After taking Heather’s virginity, her boyfriend said, ‘Well, you had to pay for your dinner somehow.’
An anonymous friend lost her virginity to her 31-year-old manager at the Honey-Baked Ham store.
Katherine lost her virginity to a boy nick-named ‘Soup Can’. She cried the whole time.
My personal consolation is that the Pink Hotel has since been bull-dozed to the ground.”
She and I went to Centre together, and we were always friendly, but also a few degrees of network-separation apart. If you read this, Dawn, I’d like to state that I officially regret not hanging out with you more.