SCP Fie-Na-Lee

Today (day 4 of the 2-week-writing challenge), I'd like to try something different. Something I've been meaning to do for a while. 

Ever heard of the SCP Foundation series?

SCP Foundation emblemsvg

I've been reading for a while now, and as with my Reddit account, I've largely been a lurker. Yet this year, I've begun venturing into helping others on Reddit, so maybe it's time for that SCP entry I've been meaning to write to make an appearance as well. One needs a registered account to post new SCP entries (or skips, as they're sometimes called), so I'm not sure just when/if this might make it on to the site. For now, it can live here. It's no bag of potatoes, but few of us are deep enough souls for 

SCP 5837 - Caveat Monetæ Emptor 

Item #: SCP-5837

Object Class: Euclid

Special Containment Procedures: SCP-5837 is to be stored at Site-32 in the small-size artifact storage lockers. The locker number designated to SCP-5837 is to be changed every 9 days and SCP-5837 is to remain in its currently-designated locker at all times when not in testing, transit, or undergoing procedure ██████. SCP-5837 is to undergo procedure ██████ at least twice every 22 days. Intervals between procedures are not to exceed 15 days, though the spacing between procedures need not be regulated to the day beyond this point. Access is limited to Level 2 personnel and all personnel handling SCP-5837 must submit to full bloodwork once each lunar cycle. Personnel assigned to SCP-5837 who do not report for duty for a period extending three (3) days in row without prior consent from their manager are to have their credentials and assets frozen immediately, with Task Force Cache-Omega deployed to track down and return SCP-5837 to Site-32. 

All testing of SCP-5837 is to take place within sub-basement four. Attempts to modify this constriction or solicit for real-world testing, regardless of intent or purpose, for the present date or future, are grounds for immediate dismissal and administration of level-5 amnestics. 

Description: SCP-5837, at present, appears to be a folded and mildly crumpled U.S. dollar bill. Testing personnel who view the printing date on SCP-5837 unanimously claim it to be of 20th-century manufacture, but are unable to name an exact date when pressed. Efforts by level-5 members of the anti-memetics division have determined the most commonly visible printing date, although technically not a distinct date of any kind, to be from the decade of the 1980's. 

SCP-5837 displays no effect when undergoing procedure ██████. When SCP-5837 changes hands without attachment to a service, product, experience or promise, and so long as it does not sit idle for a period of more than 15-22 days, SCP-5837 does not impact the individuals who exchange it, nor does it exhibit effects on the outside world or global economy. 

When SCP-5837 is exchanged as a form of commerce, however, its effects will increase exponentially with each successive "pass," in the form of adverse circumstance to the exchanger and, eventually, to human commercial exchange at large.

SCP-5837 first came to the Foundation's attention in 1997 following the collapse of the Santa Monica Pier and Midway. Foundation agents secured SCP-5837 through protracted efforts from Bobby Graham, who was found amid the wreckage of the ring-toss stand clutching SCP-5837, crouched next to his father, who had been crushed by the recently-fallen arm of one of the ferris wheel carriages. Bobby was eventually convinced to relinquish SCP-5837 on the condition that the bill be torn up or otherwise destroyed. Foundation agents were successfully able to interview Bobby regarding the circumstances of his encounter with SCP-5837 without the knowlege of SCP-5837's continued existence coming to light (see Interview log A1). 

The extent of the damage caused by SCP-5837 is directly correlated to how many "passes" take place in a given period of time. Accordingly, effects that go beyond the individual are recorded only when SCP-5837 is passed a minimum of three (3) times in a 24-hour period. Notably, this window of time is measured not by atomic units of time, but may is impacted by any human interpretation of time that might impact usual commercial operations. 

...entry to be continued tomorrow. 

Writing Box I

Today is day 3 of the write-every-day-for-2-weeks challenge. I'm not exactly scraping the bottom of the barrel yet, but it's strange how petulant a thing creativity is. Like a cat or a new hobby, it needs to be coaxed, not overworked, or else it will only come at its own calling, and not that of its progenitor.

As a young writer, I had less experience working things through than I do now, and believe me, the work ethic I've grown to date still has a whole fish tank to expand into. That's why, from a young age, I've kept a "writing box." Essentially, a tool to help me wed my brief moments of inspiration with my brief moments of writing resolve. I keep this "box" (these days, a notepad file on my phone) for exactly such occasions as these: those when I'm feeling disciplined enough to write, but with little substance to hold onto save the ill-advised perambulations of my ordinary mind. 

Today, then, instead of rambling further, I shall reach into the box and pull out my magic phrase of inspiration...

Image result for felix reaching into magic bag of tricks*

which is...

                    heart noise.          


This is actually a phrase I came across only today. The expression stuck out in a passage of Coleson Whitehead's The Underground Railroad which was describing how Cora, the protagonist, kept track of time. She did so by her "heart noise;" the thumping was a kind of clock. 

He (she?) described the sense of the term better than I could, without resorting to precisely physical terminology (as I have above with thumping). Instead, Cora's 'heart noise' is beautifully unattached and open to interpretation. It's an individual kind of phrase, yet something we all understand. We've all heard our own hearts, one way or another. 

I think Cora meant the pounding in her ears -- more of a blood noise than a heart noise. Then again, saying it was a 'blood noise' carries only the body with it; not the soul. 

A heart noise that keeps time is more than a metronome. Not just a steady, unfeeling tempo. It's a pace that quickens and slows and courses through the body in waves or parcels, but always building over time, always in everything. 

What else could a heart noise be? 

If our consciences and consciousnesses are said to be voices of some kind, then the wisdom and sorrows of the heart could be noise, too. A heart noise, in despair and fear and dread and pain, its deep and wrenching caterwaul its only voice, the whole of what it knows: that's a kind of timekeeping, yes, but one nearer to lunacy than to the measured radii of a sundial. That bucket in the chest bailing out life's torrential waves. Take the damage to the hull; spare the breathing sacks within to gasp another day. Yes. Yes. I cannot say that drum-beat language is not a heart noise, too. 

How often are our hearts silent, now, I wonder. 

Why is the truth of a what a heart noise is so obvious in my gut if I almost never hear it?    

Realistic Heart Silhouette by GDJ

*photo credit to Amanda Wood. 

The Nature of Betting (Part II)

Day 2 of posting, or my 2nd attempt to keep the bet that I can write every day and -- shudder -- post the results on Twitter. For those of you readers in a betting spirit, you too can get in on the fun! The bet inherent in this project is whether it all remains serious-ish in tone (like the Verbatim blog thus far) or whether everything I produce is such utter tosh that one must conclude that it's all a big joke --which would be consistent with the Joke-a-Day nature of the @LindseyPipesUp account up til now.

For day 2, I'd like to continue the conversation on betting -- but this time, to talk a little about a personal interest I've been developing. A nascent one. The stock market. 

Image result for stock market newbies

For many, many years, the stock market to me was some amorphous, evil, magic nonsense. People threw money in it to generate more money, but you could only learn to harness that money-making power by memorizing and following a carefully-proscribed set of instructions that involved dicking people over, and also you only got to learn the rules if you were part of the old boy's club. With enough money to consider buying a yacht instead.  

I was lucky enough to gain some experience that started to demystify a bit of that. In a way, it was my own pass to the old boy's club. I got a job in tech by growing my social circle, then I got into operations. The way money in the tech industry is thrown around is its own circle of betting hell, but seeing how it rose and fell got me over my terror of risk. It turns out there's some neat stuff on the other side. 

As a caveat to whatever follows in and from this post, I've noticed in my research that it's not a good sign I'm getting interest in the stock market. Those who know more than most say that a large number of novices entering and speculating in the stock market is a sign of bad times ahead. Whether that is because none of us know what we're doing, or because we give the market false promises in the form of short-vs-long term investing, or because of--most likely--a collection of confusing and unprovable other factors, it seems to be the case. Self-identifying that should keep a sane person out of the market. Perhaps my persistence and those of others like me is mixed into the grand plan in some foreseeable way. Regardless, we're here, and some of us hope to keep at it. 

A quick rundown of some things I'm learning:

  • capital gains tax is a bitch, but could be worse
  • a bear is a bad thing, while a bull is a good thing. Yay for tauruses! Ursa, major disappointment. 
  • individual stocks cost more than you'd think for anything decent
  • still, some of the biggest companies' stock costs way less than you'd think
  • you will always, always regret not buying something sooner

Image result for young girl doing a business stock market

Because this week past has been a bit draining and the week ahead promises to follow suit, I'm going to finish off here for the night. To wrap everything up: remember to place your bets now on the nature of this project -- whether it's a serious or a humorous endeavor-- so you can reap all that sweet, tweet validation for a bet of the longest duration. 

Good luck to all players! Except you, short sellers. 

Those of you short-selling this journey may kindly stick your shorts where the sun don't shine. 


@LindseyPipesUp, verbatim  

The Nature of Betting

What distinguishes a bet from a simple agreement? The thrill, probably. Or the stupidity. Or, just possibly, the optimism. 

One or all of those or more was at play today when my friend Rue challenged me to write one entry every day for 2 weeks. If I manage it, I get to experience an exquisite dinner at a lofty establishment. The steaks, and possibly vegetables, are high. 

I don't know exactly what will result from this effort, but the attempt will be documented here. And because I have a 2nd deadline to meet tonight, I'll save my 2nd betting topic for another time. 

Image result for writing embarrassed

Oh, goodness. I forgot the 2nd part of the bet. The embarrassing part. The part I've been avoiding at all costs until I was pushed by my very well meaning friend to actually try to *alert* people in some way to come read what I've written. I've got no clue what I'm doing, so good luck to you. However, if you're here from Twitter wondering why the Joke a Day account has suddenly become, well, something else: herein partake of thine reasoning and be sated.

If I bumble this up, or it falls to threads, or it becomes something so outrageously obscene that even the liberal decadents petition it scrubbed from history--haha, just kidding! This was all part of a massive, 2-week Twitter Joke for the joke account! 

If we, instead, all find out I'm a genius, you heard it here first. 

[Day 1, Week 1]

Script [1]

Something new today. I may or may not develop this further, but I call 'trademark' on the idea. Here's the write-up I put together for a potential episode of Last Man on Earth.


Image result for last man on earth mexico

Spec script

Last Man on Earth

“Mano y mano” – joke revolves around Tod’s misuse and attempt to understand the term for hand-to-hand fighting vs. fighting man to man vs. fighting monkey to monkey (which is what he actually winds up saying).

Synopsis: This episode has the group encountering yet another survivor while gathering supplies in southern Mexico. Picturing Oscar Nunez for the role. The newcomer, Ted, is a self-proclaimed native, and as he shows the group around the land, how and what plants to gather as food and when to stay out of the sun and such, Tod starts feeling threatened and unsure over his own background, about exactly how much “machismo” he has and whether he’s a good representative of his culture. He wants to be. Tandy and Melissa both give their own perspective. (potentially: near the end of the episode, everyone has their say (Erika feels like her culture overtakes who she is because of stereotypes; Carol recounts some odd specific tradition and genetic marker that her people fail to measure up to; Ted thanks Tod for being so vulnerable, and says he wishes he could be as aware of his heritage and open as Tod has shown himself to be). The group splits with the men going off to get supplies in the city, a trip worth making despite potential danger according to Ted's 'secret insider knowledge.' They travel in an area of downtown that looks rusted falling apart, dangerously so, to what is supposedly a centralized building that has everything a city seed would need to get growing. While walking, in an aside to Tod, Ted reveals that he’s not a native, as he claimed. He is instead a longtime New Yorker and stock trader who just happened to be on a business trip in the country northernmost to Mexico when the virus hit. He had been making his way up toward the States, but had encountered people who hadn’t been friendly—people? Tod asks?!? What people? Ted resumes—so he had lied about being a native to appear more useful to our group, fearing reprisal otherwise. Then he realized the group was nice and felt like he couldn't take it back. Ted claps Tod on the back before jogging off to join the group leaving Tod alone with the secret. We catch up with Tod joining the group as Tandy, Ted and [Jasper] stop outside a skyscraper. Ted smiles at everyone. After claiming all episode to feel as though something were about to happen to him, at the end of the episode TED says, here, with this group, he finally feels safe. Just after he pronounces this, a safe falls from above and crushes him. Episode ends.

Image result for mel rodriguez tough

A plot: Ted shows everyone around the area, including details on how to survive off the land as well as how to scavenge the cities taking advantage of the local architecture, customs, etc. Important themes: Tod’s Hispanic identity, what it means to represent a people (well/poorly/as a survivor). The rest of the group, in the light of Ted’s arrival and seemingly flawless ability to live with the land, question their own place now that they’re seriously considering “living off the land” instead of out of a jar.

 Image result for carol gardening last man on earth

B plot: Carol, who always tried to be self-sufficient before the virus, finds that she isn’t able to cut it out in the rough as well as she’d thought, especially with the babies. She begins to worry about getting the girls (and potential offspring) alive to the future, outfitting them with Davey (Daisy) Crocket gear and “getting back to her roots” by making new food delicacies – notably, made of roots.