In the Superheroes’ Playground: ItsJustSomeRandomGuy’s “I’m a Marvel, I’m a DC”

I don’t remember how exactly it was I found ItsJustSomeRandomGuy. It must have been me looking for material on YouTube with regards to Watchmen or some comics related thing. You know: when I was either researching for my paper or indulging in one of my favourite past-times.

You all probably know and remember the old “I’m a Mac, I’m a PC” commercials. Well, RandomGuy did a spoof of that: with superheroes. He created “I’m a Marvel, I’m a DC”: where he animated action figures of heroes from different franchises comparing and contrasting themselves as well as bantering and even sometimes finding common ground.

The sample below is the very first skit that I came across:

What I like the most about these skits–which are highly satirical pieces that often break the fourth wall–is how JustSomeRandomGuy captures the personalities, and the voices of the superheroes that he represents through his collection of action figures. ItsJustSomeRandomGuy himself is a voice actor and teacher and it shows. Yet it is more than that. The fact of the matter is that he is also extremely well-versed in DC and Marvel story-lines, the comics franchises, and the medium itself. He also brings an incredible wit and creativity all of his own to what he has made.

As he goes on, ItsJustSomeRandomGuy actually begins to build story-lines of his own from the simple skits he began with. The arc begins with After-Hours, followed by Happy Hour and then the Zero Hour that’s still in progress. It is really fascinating to watch this evolution happen: from the usual two figure-skits–partially stop-motioned or edited–to full on interactions between figures from the Marvel and DC Universes.

It’s what a lot of us geeks did when we were children. I mean, let’s face it, a lot of us played with our doll–action figures, making voices and then new story lines for them. But JustSomeRandomGuy takes this–this same love for the superhero and villain toy-box–and does something really wonderful with it that I’d not seen too much of. He essentially, like I said earlier, creates a satire of superheroes with these figures. Yet at the same time, he keeps them in character–with a few humourous exceptions that somehow mesh well anyway–and captures their essences.

Watching these characters interact reminds me of all the Saturday morning cartoons and comic books and actually makes me feel good about myself just by watching them. They are my old friends from childhood–on my cards, in my cartoons, movies, and comics–but at the same time they have kept up with the times and have their own changes. Yet they are for the most part still fundamentally the same: while being very aware that they are actually comic book characters. I like this kind of meta-fiction and the fact that, yeah, if anyone would be intelligent and experienced enough to know that they are characters it would be these guys. Just how many universes and realities have they already been in themselves within their own stories?

ItsJustSomeRandomGuy gives back the Saturday morning and afternoon wonder, but also it also let the heroes and villains grow up with us: the slapstick accompanied by a certain degree of seriousness and the meta-fiction and fourth-wall breaking always placed under Marvel’s much lauded sense of, “Continuity! Issue #Etc.”

ItsJustSomeRandom Guy recreates and creates a golden magic that I am glad I came across. It’s nostalgia without the bitter part of the sweet. It continues to evolve with more hilarious parodies and touching messages.

The fact is, in my opinion, ItsJustSomeRandomGuy is a genius. Through the posing of these toys, he manages to cover issues from inter-character relations, different universes, the nature of and the issues surrounding comics, the effectiveness of the films around the comics, and a whole lot of popular cultural references while never making these self-reflexive heroes anything other than what they are in a series that knows exactly what it is.

If I had, say, two requests of ItsJustSomeRandomGuy–if it is in his power at all–and if you are reading this ItsJustSomeRandomGuy I’d say this. I would love to see an episode with the figurine of Animal Man in the Grant Morrison understanding of the character.

And I would love to see an exchange between Miracle/Marvelman and the rest of the Family–or even Shazam, Captain Marvel, and Superman–talking about the series that has not been published in forever. I would love to see your take on that if you have the figurines (of which I know the Miracle/Marvel Family are rare now and expensive and I do not know the legal elements involved, so I hesitate in asking this). But as a fan of yours, I simply can’t resist asking.

(And there is a custom-made action figure of Miracleman. I think only the Todd McFarlane statues were made, which is a pity)

For those of you who have never watched any of these YouTube videos and just want to surf through them, here is ItsJustSomeRandomGuy’s channel. They are worth every moment.

So to properly conclude this, I would just like to thank ItsJustSomeRandomGuy for his work, and leave you with this message.

So remember kids: the moral of today’s story is that continuity is important. Thank you, and Excelsior!

Making a Receipe for a Creepy-Pasta: With Uncanny Filling

Now, I haven’t tried to make any of these yet–not seriously anyway–but I have been thinking about how to make one a lot. Consider this a follow-up to my “Horror as a Universal Power: The Function of a Creepypasta” only with more emphasis on how to potentially write an effective creepypasta.

Since I wrote my last post on that matter, I’ve been reading a lot more of these stories and coming to a few of my own conclusions. Honestly, some of them are … just not that good. I mean, some of the writing is just awkward and some of it really contrived. At worst, I’ve been confused by a lot of the stuff: with their events and details. In this case, writing something as if it is an urban legend or word of mouth situation–as though it’s the product of a distorted broken telephone–takes away from the story’s readability or worse: eliminates even some of a fun suspension of disbelief.

Then you have the other hand. If you write the story too well, then that suspension of disbelief is all but gone. What I mean by that is if you have precise sentence and even images that you can just tell a writer created, and everything is nice and orderly than you have an excellent story but not always a believable one.

Even as I write this, I’m trying to wrap my head around the entire issue: which is a hilarious image given that these stories are being called “creepypastas.” But like some pastas, there is a certain hollowness inside them as well: a darkness and mystery that can’t always be revealed or it will become something else. Of course, you can say that about the horror genre in general.

So I have been thinking of how I can make one of these. I have a few options actually. One of them is that I bastardize something from my childhood, or use enough elements from to make something reminiscent of Candle Cove. Another option is to do something with a video game: to make a game where actions in it actually have consequences like a few of the stories I’ve already read. I can actually play with a place I actually know–a restaurant in the dark–for another one and make something new from it. Then there is just that perception of something watching you from the side of your vision, or behind you, or hidden in the back of your laptop and one night having the ill-fortune to see the actual thing looking right at you all misshapen and horrible. I could do something with that.

I could even be a total smart-ass and write a story where Jeff the Killer and the Slender Man are playing haunted Pokemon games or talking to Ben online (I can imagine him saying, “You’ve met with a terrible fate, haven’t you?” when one of them loses a game) while Candle Cove and the Dead Bart Simpson episode are playing in the background on the television and computer respectively. And one of them, maybe Jeff, eats a My Little Pony Cupcake. If you type some of these on Creepypasta Wiki, you will know what I’m talking about: including the cupcake. But beware: they will be disturbing … especially the cupcake.

I am not responsible for what you might find. Remember the age-old at least Lovecraftian saying: “Do not call up that which you cannot put down.” You have been warned.

As such the thing is, in my mind, there are two kinds of creepypastas. The first is one that is clearly a story and simply there for one’s enjoyment. The second is a meme that goes around and places doubt as to whether or not this happened or someone thinks it did. Of course there is a third type where an idea just keeps getting passed around and changed by several people.

But I would definitely love to make at least some of the first two types: send them out and see if they would catch on somehow. It will be a project to put in the far corner of the dark back-burner.

So remember, if you take nothing else from these musings, “the uncanny” is the centre of a creepypasta … or a My Little Pony confection: though really that would actually be just a whole lot of “disturbing” filling.

The Galvanizing of Creative Cuttings, Writing Perfectionism, Amazon, and Art Coming Soon

It seems I’ve been writing more reviews than creative insights lately: which is fine. The fact of the matter is that everything I review on here inspires me–or informs me–in some way to become a better writer. I keep building from that.

But when all that’s all said and done, it’s always good to sit back and look at exactly what it is I’m trying to do.

There have been two or three things on my mind lately to that regard. The first is that I finished writing another Miracleman/Marvelman fanfic tribute, but I don’t quite like how it came out. There were a lot of things I wanted to say in it–as well as display with a very neat and clean narrative perspective–but it didn’t quite get there. I got all my ideas down and some really good lines but I feel like the overall story is a little blurred.

It is frustrating to have a story stuck in your head for a while and then–when you finally get it out to free up your mind for other works–it isn’t quite as clear or “as good” as you wanted it to be. Of course, the natural solution to this would be for me to type it out and rewrite it. They say that a large part of writing is rewriting and that is true even when you write it out right the first time around.

I also wrote out an original story that I had in my head almost as long as the other one: one I wrote a great many notes for. Of course, one of the pieces of paper where I wrote out this really beautiful quote–in my own opinion anyway–got lost. Yet the story still wanted to be written down. You see, unlike that TED Lecture where Elizabeth Gilbert talks about a genius-spirit flowing through you, I think that I create my works not unlike Victor Frankenstein in a hopefully more intelligent way: I get the genius in me, but it comes in pieces sometimes and then I have to grow these “organic pieces” into something whole. Sometimes they do it almost on their own and it can be a wonderful, smooth ride, but other times I have to guide and manipulate them.

Sometimes the spark or the current is easy to translate into words on paper, or on a screen, while other times I have to do my research and add and take things away as I go. So yes, I guess in a way I fulfilled my childhood dream of being a mad scientist.

I guess that’s a nice analogy because this Blog was started as–and is still–one great experiment for me. I can see the cuttings of the things that I say and write continuing to coalesce into an overarching creature. Aside from the different energies and perspectives I put into creative works, or journal entries I make them more or less the same way.

In other news, I am still continuing this Blog experiment. I have smartened up a bit and I am now scheduling some posts in advance: just so that if I run out of things to say or think about I will have something on here for everyone to read while I figure things out or do something else in the meantime. I was told that I should pace myself out and that it is good advice and that is exactly what I am going to do.

Also, I did end up–as the title above suggests–affiliating myself with Amazon Associates. I haven’t put up any banners as of yet, but I have been linking to products being sold by Amazon. The fact is, and I will be honest, I could use the money (don’t we all): so if you want to buy one of the books or things I talk about in some of those reviews, or even want to get something else I would appreciate you getting something through one of these links. Perhaps at some point, I can even change this Blog into matthewkirshenblatt.com this way or even one day sell a book I create through Amazon. So whatever help you can give me I would greatly appreciate.

Lastly, I believe I will be part of a new creative collaboration soon. Do not be surprised if you see samples of said collaboration at some point in the future or–as I said elsewhere–I might be making Art again: sooner than you think.

Take care everyone.

The State of My Blog

At one point in Neil Gaiman’s American Gods, Mr. Wednesday states that America is the only country that worries about what it is. I do have some disagreements with that statement. You will notice it is not so much that America supposedly doesn’t know what it is, but it seems like it is concerned with what it is, where it came from, and what it might be becoming.

It isn’t uncommon for me to start off a piece of writing, or conversation, with a tangent and slowly try to lead into some kind of relevance. I know there have been many times when I’ve annoyed friends and loved ones with this roundabout way of getting to the point. But I’ll tell you.

I have forty-three Blog entries so far talking about a variety of different, but somewhat related things and it’s only after I deleted a forty-fourth one that I have actually started to get really self-conscious about what I’m writing on here. I’m concerned about what this Blog is and what I want it for. The question is not whether or not I want to continue it, because I obviously do.

The best way to explain it is that I thought I found my voice and–in fact–I sometimes still think I do. My tone and voice is a tenuous mixture of the formal and the profane: heightened diction, like my professors liked to call it, and slang. I focus on writing and the creative process while sometimes I do write a little about my feelings on those matters. It’s a strange alchemical mixture: and a lens through I feel I’m making to engage in information and issues beyond myself.

A little while ago on Facebook, I put as my status that I felt like I was playing Hermann Hesse’s Glass-Bead Game and utterly enjoying it. The Glass-Bead Game was something that was never really described except as something of a creative outline but–from what I understand–it was a game which people would take lore from different sciences and arts to create some kind of very intricate and beautiful interactive pattern. One example that Hesse’s novel likes to use is how some players combine certain kinds of music and historical lore together: to show how they relate to each other even if they are in different forms.

I wish I could explain it more, but basically this is how I feel when I write an entry here. I feel like I am engaging the massive amount of human knowledge that the Internet has, while knowing it comes in different forms of experience, and somehow trying to express their relations and differences in an entry. I obviously choose things that interest me or make me feel passionate. At the same time, I feel sometimes that each entry builds on a theme or an overall structure that I can’t really explain beyond that.

This Blog is important to me. The issue I had with the Blog entry that I deleted–the first entry I deleted–is that I tried to combine two general and personal ideas like I usually do and it didn’t … fit into this Blog. It just stood out in a jarring sort of way. In my review of Craig Thompson’s graphic novel Habibi, I mention how the rhythm was just off and this was a similar situation. I tried editing it, but I realized that it just didn’t fit and–worse–to me it just sounded asinine. I saved it for myself–because I do think there is some personal value in it that might come back here again in some way or form–but it was the wrong way of trying to communicate something. Really, it was a result of me trying to be too damned clever: something that you certainly need to watch out for when you are a writer of any kind because the temptation is definitely there.

Of course, I also realized that–for me–deleting a post would set a precedent for myself here and I began to wonder where to draw the line. Should I delete every post that has an emotion in it? Would anyone read something is simply information? Where do you draw that line?

Of course there are other considerations like thinking about how many times I repeat myself without thinking about it. I think what really bothered me about the post I deleted–which my attempt to combine an examination of money as an extension of the human ritual of exchange, and my decision to eventually affiliate this Blog with Amazon Associates–is that it did sound asinine and I tried to make the fact that I need money more grandiose than it is.

The fact is, I am going to get personal to a degree here. That is a fact. The title of this Blog says as much. The question is: what is the purpose of this Blog? And I will say this right now. It is to get me out there. It is for people to notice what I can do as a writer of fiction and articles. I also want it to supplement my ultimate goal: which is to get paid for my work and to do something that I frankly love. I also want this Blog to point people out to books, films, comics, video games and other things that I like and maybe even encourage them to get them as well.

One thing I was concerned with is that by affiliating myself with Amazon–even though I’ve written reviews for them many times and love their services–is that somehow I’d be selling out: even for a very small amount of income. But the thing is I want to get to the point where I can support myself with what I do and I feel that this is the beginning of that process. So I will make my affiliation with Amazon. Getting money or the potential of that is a bonus to what I want to do here for me and that is exactly what I am going to do in the way that best suits me.

In fact, one of the major reasons I started this Blog was because I know now–and I’ve always known–is that I have to do things in my own way. This obviously not the “be all, end all” for what I want to do, but I really look forward to seeing what I can do with this Blog, with what I write in it, with the connections I can make with it, and beyond all of that. So right now, that is what this Blog is: a companion and aide in discovering what it is I can do after years of studying and writing things here and there.

I’m also going to try to pace myself in what I write here, but just keep writing because I enjoy it and I am so glad that there are people out there that are interested in what I have to say. Sometimes it does feel like the Glass-Bead Game the way I see it in my head: like writing here is one great interactive game of information-shifting, manipulation, and combination.

I said that this Blog and the premise behind it was a promise to myself to keep going and that is exactly what I am going to do. So I hope that you will continue to Follow me, that more of you will Follow me, that maybe sometimes you will click on a highlighted link on a book, film, or video game title here to see if you might want to read or play them, and that you can watch what I do to the best of my ability. Take care everyone.

Horror as a Universal Power: The Function of a Creepypasta

So in my previous Blog entry, “Horror as a Universal Power,” I talked about how I believe horror is a slow-growing epiphany or realization of just how beautiful and terrifying the seemingly normal reality around us truly is: how it is a feeling we are both repulsed by and attracted to in a kind of feedback loop. It’s this kind of perverse fascination with something very strange and uncanny right in front of us.

After something of a Blogging dry-spell, I was watching a few horror movies such as Insidious and Don’t be Afraid of the Dark: you can, in part, blame these films for today’s horror craze on “Mythic Bios,” but it was also due to finding a unique “creepypasta” that I also began this.

When I first saw the term “creepypasta,” I had no idea what the hell it even meant. What first came to mind was a strange of twisted pasta with a pale hollow-eyed doll’s face on the end of it, or a malignant white spiral-worm with a single blood-shot eye. So after I really read a definition of what a creepypasta is, I realized it is derived from a term called “copypasta”  in which someone supposedly copy and pastes a body of text over and over again onto different websites and message-boards. So basically, the pasta is taken from the word “paste,” while the “creepy” part is pretty self-explanatory.

The link I provided above pretty much lists different kinds of formulas or tropes that creepypastas fall under, but that is not why I want to write this article about. I want to look at just how the creepypasta is such an effective medium of communicating the essence of the horror genre.

My first experience with a creepypasta was when I was sent the “message-board transcript” Candle Cove. I actually didn’t know that this was a work of fiction because the person who created it, Kris Straub, did a superb job in crafting the narrative aesthetic. It actually looked like a message board conversation would: complete with screen names and typos in discussion. He also tapped into that place of barely recalled memory and nostalgia–into the zeitgeist or spirit–of 70s children shows to great effect: along with an incredibly effective sense of pacing and different voices for each “poster.” The element of television static and white noise within the story was even more inspired because it plays on the depths of the imagination and just how far someone–particularly a child–can fall into it.

I really liked “Candle Cove” because you don’t know that it is a story and it is written that way. It is also written in a way which taps hard on that collective unconsciousness we all have and actually in some ways made it real. And that is the thing right there. Candle Cove, though fiction, made itself real.

This is what I really want to talk about. Other creepypastas have managed to do something similar based on the characteristics I listed above from “Candle Cove.” The thing that actually influenced me to write these two recent Blog entries was a creepypasta called Ben (or the Haunted Majora’s Mask Game). I came across an account of it on Youtube purely by coincidence. You can read a very long written account of it here or watch the video “footage” that the creator made to complement it here. What we have here is a mixed-media story: a combination of message board posts, a text file, a Nintendo 64 game-hack and video recordings by a user named Jadusable. But look at what he does here.

First, he turns a game made twelve years ago–a Nintendo work firmly entrenched into this generation’s or at least this gaming generation’s collective unconscious–into a medium for his story. He purposefully glitches parts of this hacked game and uses elements of the game itself to add to this story. Bear in mind, Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask is a very unsettling but wonderful game to begin with taking place in an alternate dimension from the usual world of Hyrule with various characters and elements to work with: not the least of which being the graphics, soundtrack and some of the dialogue.

Some parts of this creepypasta are, however, somewhat stereotypical and cliche: such as the protagonist and creator Jadusable buying “a haunted bootleg” from a “creepy old man” but that is a trope part and parcel with urban legends in general. Most people would have a lot of trouble suspending disbelief for this–especially gamers–but it does have some very creepy moments: especially for me given that one of the text messages on one of the videos associated with the piece referred directly to a person named “Matt.”

I think the reason I find this creepypasta fascinating is because it uses elements of our generation–specifically video games and the medium of the Internet–to attempt to relate to us in a way might not have affected other generations. Other creepypastas that have utilized Nintendo such as Pokemon Black and Pokemon Lost Silver really tap into that shared popular cultural consciousness, but they do more than that. You’ll find that if you Google or even click on the above links (pardon the unintentional pun), that after these stories became memes–cultural information that spreads to different people–people started creating works based on these pastas to make them more real. Candle Cove now has surviving televised scenes on Youtube. The haunted Majora’s Mask game has many imitators and parodies. Even the Pokemon games I mentioned have been made into actual bootleg games by readers of the things. Basically, they are not only Internet memes, but they become living stories. They become alive inside the people that want them, and I think that is an incredibly bad-ass concept.

It makes me really want to create a creepypasta of my own. I’ve had ideas for some, but I never really followed through with them. You have to get that mixture of intentional typos that look unintentional, a compelling and readable but realistic-looking narrative aesthetic and revealing the horror but not revealing the full origin of the horror down pat because not only do you have to contend with a reader’s disbelief, but also the myriad of other creepypastas out there that share so many–and in some ways too many–characteristics to make yours unique. I tend to get very elaborate in my works and that would definitely count against me in creating such a potent literary hoax.

Still, I know I can’t help thinking about it. It is no coincidence that a loved one chose to give me the strange and wonderful gift of an old newspaper article talking about the effects of the legendary War of the Worlds radio broadcast on its audience at the time.

A creepypasta functions as a horror story pretending to be real and yet even when revealed as fiction, readers make it real by believing in it and paying homage to it. In other words, we make our nightmares real and we actually seem to enjoy doing so which leads me back to my original question of why?

The Internet allows creepypastas to exist: to replicate and spread across not merely servers, message boards, and chat-rooms but imaginations as well. Where is that line between the machine and the human mind these days? What happens when we interact with an increasing body of knowledge that we can manipulate and shape to our whims (technology permitting)? I believe that, in the end, creepypastas exist for three reasons: the first being entertainment, the second being that they are a form of oral storytelling around a pixelated campfire, and the third because we want to believe and make real and manifest the idea that the wondrous and the terrifying can exist in a world where we all live: where something like the Internet exists and not only contains the growing sum of all knowledge and information of what we think exists in our supposed certainty, but also human experience and its less concrete intuitions as well.

I also believe that in light of all of this creepypastas–along with their verbal and written urban legend and folktale predecessors–demonstrate that horror is not only the fear of the unknown. Rather, horror is the love for the unknown–for an unknown–and the sheer limits of human understanding.

A Work in Progress and Site Updates

Which is exactly what I am calling this Blog. After spending an afternoon yesterday toggling around with WordPress, I have managed to add what I think will be automatic posting to my Facebook and LinkedIn accounts as well as allowing other people using the two applications, along with tumblr and such to follow me and even post comments. I am not sure if this is the case, but that is the assumption that I’m working on. I do wish I could make this compatible with BlogSpot links (because I know a lot of people on there) and such, but I am technologically challenged and I have to deal with one thing at a time.  I am still confused about the Publicize option to gain more traffic here (WordPress explains Sharing more easily and it is supposed to be a little more involved), but I might still be able to do something with that with my future posts.

One thing that I know I did, however, was allow the creation of an Email Subscription Button on here. So if anyone wants to follow me by email, the button is on the lower right side of the screen under the other buttons. I would definitely–and always do–appreciate the visit.

Doing these things yesterday has hit home the fact that there is still a lot I have to do with this Blog: particularly with regards to its aesthetic. I have, at this time, no idea how to approach making my Blog either more fancier or making a simple and elegant style of my own. I do want to customize it a bit, but like I said I am still trying to figure out how to go about it. Also, to be honest, I am more interested in writing things on here than I am about working on appearances, but I also know that tailoring my Blog’s appearance to suit its personality (whatever that is) is also more key in making more my own. And look at this way: you get to watch me learn with this application too along with my writing.

I had planned to do some writing on here today, but stuff has come up and we will have to see if that will still happen. In the meantime, let’s see if I can further this experiment a little more.

ETA: I am also considering fully completing my Twitter account, though I am still up in the air about it as well as revising my About section or my profile. We shall see.

Mini-Opera Contest: Words on a Screen: A 16-Bit Opera on an 8-Bit Track

Notes: The aesthetic of this script as looking like an online chat forum is more than intentional. I visualize two Soloists. This can be an animated 16-bit cartoon with pixelated sprites or even an interactive basic video game. I can see a male and a female character sitting in front of their computers: with their heads to us, but we can see their faces as icons on each other’s screens. For example, the boy’s face would be on her screen and her face would be on his.

I can also see them playing a video game RPG with basic pixel characters: especially when they talk about “epics of epicness.” I also see their dialogue appearing in blue boxes over their heads when they sing.

In addition, I can hear the music as being synthetic and electronic like the soundtracks one would find in old Nintendo video games or old-style arcade games.

These are obviously just suggestions though and live-performers and stagecraft can be used as well.

<<Him>> They say this isn’t real.

<<Her>> They tell me not

to waste my time.

<<Them>> She/he’s not flesh or bone enough

to hold me.

<<Him>> A keyboard is not the texture

of her skin.

<<Her>>  My headphones aren’t his lips at my ear.

<<Him>> But I can look at her text and feel her grin.

<<Her>> I can hear his voice

both deep and

clear.

<<Them>> These are the games we play

when the medium is the message

of connection.

<<Him>> Words on a screen.

<<Her>> Touch on a phone.

<<Him>> Our love can be seen.

<<Her>> But we are forever alone.

<<Him>> But are we?

<<Her>> Are we really?

<<Him>> We live trapped in our

blood and bone.

<<Her>> We put on our social

masks, our created

walls.

<<Him>> You can walk among people

all alone.

<<Her>> We live personal space

where only silence falls.

<<Them>> Background chatter

white noise

to lose yourself in

a distance of static.

<<Him>> So I played the game of life

where you can’t beat your bosses

<<Her>> because you work for them.

<<Him>> Where you can’t find coins

from floating boxes or the bushes

<<Her>>  The money runs out.

<<Him>> And your princess is never in another castle.

<<Her>> There are no extra lives

and few second chances.

<<Him>> Each day lags.

<<Her>> Each day an epic battle of

fail.

<<Them>> Until we played the games we play

where the medium is the message

of connection.

<<Him>> Words on a screen

<<Her>> Touch on a phone

<<Him>> Our love can be seen

<<Her>> But we are forever

alone.

<<Him>> But are we?

<<Her>> Are we really?

<<Him>> I used to hate two-player games.

<<Her>> I’d not be some fanboy’s

“girl-gamer” trophy.

<<Him>> Devolving into

player vs. player

<<Her>> Disgusting words and

harassment

<<Him>> But just when the Flame Wars

seemed to never end

<< Her>> I’d just about given up …

<<Him>> We met on a Fan Site

<< Her>> Looking for an 8-Bit

Convention Flight.

<<Him>> And on the Internet

<< Her>>  something

<<Him>> was

<<Her>> finally

<<Them>> Right.

<<Him>> We planned to share a room

with friends as our cash

was tight.

<<Her>>  We talked on the forum

about our 8-Bit tracks

<<Him>> exchanged e-mails

<<Her>> chatting deep into the

night.

<<Him>> We got to talk

about martial arts.

<<Her>> I got to pick his brain.

<<Him>> I told her in the Matrix

I’d side with the Machines.

<<Her>> I told him about my art

in different fanzines.

<<Him>> Until the glass of the screen became

a permeable thing

<<Her>> As we Skyped

our voices rang with

smiles

<<Him>> Until

<<Her>> After exchanging pictures

<<Him>> wireless electricity crackled

<<Her>> just as Tesla had intended

<<Them>>  And we

exhaled …

pixelations ….

For we played the games we play

where the medium is the message

of connection.

<<Him>> Offline they still say this

isn’t real.

<<Her>> That passion and pain

are just words on a

screen

<<Him>> Sound and fury flying across

digital space,

signifying nothing.

<<Them>> On our 8-Bit Convention Day

we plan to meet

<<Him>> Face-to-face

<<Her>> Flesh-to-flesh

<<Him>> Text-to-text

<<Her>> and brain-to-brain

<<Them>> Even if they think we’re insane.

<<Her>> Perhaps it could be a

mistake.

<< Them>> For words on a screen

connect pure and clean

and Offline can be messy.

<<Him>> I think

<<Her>> Yet I believe

<<Them>> Yet we know

in this 8-Bit Theatre

this 16-Bit Opera

our epics of epicness

will unite past blood,

bone, sex and continents

to make the greatest

multi-player role-playing

game of all!

For words on a screen

and touch on a phone

make love visible

and we are not alone.

Our medium is our message.

We are our medium,

and we are … real.