Taking my phone for a spin.

I’ve been experimenting with a unique approach to taking pictures with my phone’s camera. I set the shutter delay for two seconds before sending it spinning high overhead. The pictures usually turn out like these:

Sometimes I try not to spin the phone so much and just throw it high in the air and hope for the best. If I’m lucky I get a shot that turns out like this.

A one of a kind aerial phone camera shot.

Of course, it helps to do this outside in grassy areas to assure soft landings for your phone should your hand-eye coordination run amiss.

The Hallucinator.

While on break at my job, I was browsing the app store for something interesting when I came across an app called the Hallucinator. I went to its page and found out that it induces brief but intense hallucinations using nothing but colors and sound. Interesting. Before I knew it I downloaded the app and had it ready to run. When I launched it I got this disclaimer screen:

WARNING! This app induces hallucinatory effects typically lasting 10 to 15 minutes, but in rare cases can last up to an hour. Do not drive, vote, operate heavy machinery or make important decisions when using this app. By proceeding you agree to hold the developer of this app harmless and not responsible for any damage or loss of life resulting from the hallucinatory effects you are about to experience.

Below the text was an onscreen button reading “Let’s Do This”. Chuckling, I pressed it and up came some more text:

Pick a quiet spot where you will not be disturbed for the next few minutes. A comfortable chair is preferred. For best and safe results, please remain seated throughout your hallucinatory phase.

When you press the GO button, you will have 10 seconds to place the screen a few inches away from your eyes, and then close your eyes. The hallucination induction process will only take a few seconds, after which you will hear a beep. Open your eyes and experience the warped, unusual and the terrifying, but keep in mind what you are about to see is coming entirely from you. Stay safe.

At the bottom of the screen was the GO button mentioned in the text. After I pressed it, I held the phone up to my eyes and could see the countdown timer as it inched towards zero. After closing my eyes I could sense the screen was flashing a bright red color in rapid sequence while the app produced some strange sounds. A few seconds later I heard the beep and slowly opened my eyes.

Whoah.

The floor of the break room was rising and falling in rapid succession, much like waves at the beach. I could also see the tables, chairs and coworkers rise and fall with the waves. A few minutes later the effect dissipated as my vision returned to normal.

I lifted my phone and pressed the red box labeled “Let’s Do It Again”. Then another message box appeared.

So soon? It is recommended that you wait an hour before starting another hallucinatory session to give your mind a chance to heal. The effect is still dissipating and starting a new session prematurely will disrupt the dissipation with possible brain damage and permanent mental impairment. Again, by proceeding you agree to release the author of this app from all liability from any medical issues caused by excessive use of this app. You have been warned.

I was too excited about starting the new session that I didn’t bother reading the entire screen. I pressed the red button on the screen to initiate another session and then another one on top of that. Heck, I decided to put in one more session on top of that to give my otherwise tedious day at work a much needed twist.

Then I got up to put my phone away in my locker and immediately realized I may have made a mistake. Instead of seeing the floor. I saw a dark, forbidding abyss spanned by the tightrope I was standing on. As I looked around the break room I could see my fellow employees plunging into the abyss, most of them still seated at their tables while eating.

After somehow managing to put my phone away, I walked back into the store and was greeted with a horrifying sight. All the colors were reversed as if I had walked into a film negative. Customers and fellow employees had blue skin and spoke in a strange language that sounded like their speech was reversed. Overhead flew empty shopping carts with giant wings flapping to keep them airborne. The main aisle resembled a highway with cars speeding directly at me but they went through my body as if they were ghost cars.

“Excuse me,” a nearby customer asked me, “do you know where the air conditioner filters are?”

“DAAAAAAAAAAH!” was my reply. As the lady spoke her head appeared to float above her shoulders, yet her expression was one of pure bewilderment.

I staggered onward past customers who resembled oversized cockroaches wearing baseball caps, all of them staring at me. I finally made it to the stockroom where I worked, dizzy and out of breath.

“Are you all right, Mike?” asked my boss.

“AIEEEEEEEEEEE!” I replied, shocked at his oversized head growing larger and larger before it exploded into tiny clones running in all directions across the floor.

“Mike,” my boss said firmly, “you’ve been using the Hallucinator again, haven’t you?”

I closed my eyes and nodded.

“Figures,” he retorted, “go over there and have a seat with the other guys until your hallucinations go away. And no more using the Hallucinator on company time, got it?”

And so I sat on a couch in the stockroom with two other guys trying to ride out the rest of our hallucinations. It would be a long time before I would ever try the Hallucinator again.

Regarding runaway forklifts.

Team,

This past week we lost two more of our forklifts when our operators failed to follow appropriate protocol and left them running and in gear. As a result they ran away across the street and disappeared into the canal along with the other 24 forklifts that have similarly disappeared over the past year.

Team, we cannot stress this enough. When you are finished using the forklift, put it in neutral gear, engage the parking brake and turn the engine off. If you unboard the forklift while it is running and in gear, it will run away. Frankly, we’re surprised you didn’t pick up on that from our safety video featuring Dickhead the Clown.

Had you all been more mindful of securing the forklift after each use, we wouldn’t have blown our annual budget just to keep replacing them. But since we have no more money in our budget, we will have no choice but to start taking money out of your paychecks and our monthly party fund. If worst comes to worst we may have to usurp funds from your annual raises and lottery pool winnings.

You are all a bunch of morons, you know that?

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter.

The Management

Happy 2022, I think.

mjbdiver> hello room!
ghost> oh no hes back
ralph> what does hes mean
dragon> hes, lol
mjbdiver> i think you meant he’s
ralph> aaggh, hes using punctation
ghost> what does punctation mean
dragon> punctation, lol
mjbdiver> i think you meant punctuation
ralph> oh divers a good spellar too
ghost> spellar, lol
dragon> spellar, lol
ralph> OOPS I MENT SPELLER
*** ralph has been kicked off channel #chat by dragon (BAD SPELLAR)
*** ralph has joined channel #chat
ralph> why did u do that
** ralph has been kicked off channel #chat by dragon (BECAUSE I CAN)
*** ralph has joined channel #chat
ghost> lol
*** ghost has been kicked off channel #chat by dragon (LOL)
*** ghost has joined channel #chat
ghost> dragon you hurt my feelings
ralph> anyone notice that we didnt get kicked without diver here
ghost> omg
ralph> divers a real trublemaaker
ralph> trobblemaker
ralph> truobblemaker
** ralph has been kicked off channel #chat by dragon (TROUBLEMAKER)
*** ralph has joined channel #chat
ralph> thank you
** ralph has been kicked off channel #chat by dragon (YOUR WELCOME)
*** ralph has joined channel #chat
ghost> gonna start counting down diver?
ralph> ghost, dont start
mjbdiver> here we go!
ralph> GHOST WHY DID U DO THAT
ghost> I DONT KNOW
** ralph has been kicked off channel #chat by dragon (U ALREADY KNOW)
** ghost has been kicked off channel #chat by dragon (THAT GOES FOR YOU TOO)
*** ralph has joined channel #chat
*** ghost has joined channel #chat
ghost> dragon you hurt my feelings
mjbdiver> 10!
ghost> 10 what
ralph> dragon kick diver please
mjbdiver> 9!
ghost> 9 what
ralph> DRAGON KICK DIVER PLEASE
** ralph has been kicked off channel #chat by dragon (DONT YELLING)
*** ralph has joined channel #chat
** ralph has been kicked off channel #chat by dragon (NO YELLING)
*** ralph has joined channel #chat
ralph> dragon????
mjbdiver> 8!
ghost> i give up
ralph> dragon do the honors please
dragon> im watching him
mjbdiver> 7!
ghost> why are you counting down diver
ralph> what are you waiting for dragon
** ralph has been kicked off channel #chat by dragon (I SAID IM WATCHING HIM)
*** ralph has joined channel #chat
mjbdiver> 6!
ghost> 5!
ralph> ghost dont encuraje him
ralph> enkoraj
mjbdiver> 4!
ralph> incorage
***ralph has been kicked off channel #chat by dragon (ENCOURAGE)
*** ralph has joined channel #chat
ralph> thanks
** ralph has been kicked off channel #chat by dragon (NO PROB)
*** ralph has joined channel #chat
mjbdiver> 3!
ghost> 2!
mjbdiver> 1!
*** You has been kicked off channel #chat by dragon (SEE YOU NEXT YEAR)

The art of eulogy writing.

When my father passed away a few months ago, I was faced with the task of delivering the eulogy at his funeral. I had never done a eulogy before and started looking around online for some pointers as I was clueless as to where to start. Even after all the information I found, I was still clueless.

Then my luck changed one day when my mother asked me what my eulogy was going to be about. Right away the task seemed a little easier knowing that I could have the eulogy focus on one aspect of my father’s life. Just like when writing posts for this blog, I find it easier when I have a single topic in mind. In fact I approached writing the eulogy as writing a blog post, except I would be reading it out loud in a more somber setting. As for what my eulogy would be about, I decided to focus on my father’s wisdom and his role as a teacher. The words gently started flowing as numerous lessons came to mind and the eulogy finally began to materialize.

At one point I began to wonder if it’s appropriate to add some humor in the eulogy. If the deceased was known for their sense of humor, then by all means emphasize that. In fact my sister’s eulogy focused on my father’s sense of humor that featured a few of his many jokes. There’s nothing wrong with a little laughter during a funeral service. I recall attending a memorial service for a man who happened to be a stand-up comedian, so what better way to honor his memory than having his fellow comedians do their routines for an evening of laughter with room for some tears.

Over the course of the week that followed I continued working on my eulogy, constantly sculpting and polishing it to its finished form. I made sure to express my gratitude for a life well lived, for eulogies tend to be memorable when they speak from the heart. As a result, my eulogy blew everyone away when I delivered it at the funeral, earning me countless compliments on my writing and my delivery. My mother-in-law summed it up best when she asked me, “What planet are you from?”

Unfortunately, a few months later I had to prepare another eulogy when my sister-in-law passed away. This time my wife and I both worked together to write her a parting letter to thank her for a lifetime of memories and good times. I also decided to emphasize the lessons she taught me and didn’t hesitate to work in a little humor as well. That eulogy was also well-received and earned me endless compliments. Even after all that, I’d very much prefer to continue my way as an amateur writer rather than a professional eulogist.

By the way, Simplenote really came in handy for preparing the eulogies. I used the app on my phone to write them and when I was ready to print them I simply logged on my account at the web site from my desktop computer and copied the text to a Word document. Nothing to it.

My sister-in-law’s journals.

My late sister-in-law left behind dozens of personal journals that my family swore will never be read by anyone in order to comply with her final wishes. Instead the journals will be burned in a bonfire in the near future. However, I couldn’t resist taking a peek at her first journal and from what I read, this stuff is too good not to post. I snuck the journals to my house and will be posting them on this blog over time.

Here we go…

Journal One

I've decided to start keeping a personal journal to document everyday events in my life. Some days will be uneventful while others will be significant enough to alter the course of my life. I hear that keeping a personal journal makes for good therapy, allowing me to bare my innermost feelings and thoughts I wouldn't dare tell anyone in person. And by personal, I mean PERSONAL. No one else should be reading this, including my nosy brother in law Mike. I know how much he likes to post stuff in his blog, so I will start off with a warning. Mike, if you dare read this journal or post one word of it in your blog, I assure you that you'll be receiving a visit from Shamryn, who happens to be my imaginary friend but won't hesitate to venture into the real world on my behalf to defend me at your grave expense.

Funny, I never saw that paragraph before.

Suddenly I felt a tapping on my shoulder. Before I could turn to see who was behind me, a huge hand grabbed my head and gave it one full turn before separating it from the rest of my body. I at least hope to finish this sentence befor

Freaks: The Soundtrack Album.

The 1932 cult classic film Freaks finally has its own soundtrack album. At first I was expecting the vintage orchestral music heard throughout the film but it actually gets better than that. Some band called The Unknown Orkestra has pieced together nine tasty tunes played on acoustic instruments that have a vintage jazz flavor while blending in electronic effects and dialogue from the film. Much like the freaks themselves, some may find the music bizarre and frightening but others like myself will find it irresistible and oddly satisfying. You can download the album here, and if you haven’t seen the movie already, you can watch or download it here.

A sad week for radio.

It’s been a sad week for us here at TeqTalk, Tequesta’s own talk station as we mourn the loss of three of our own.

First, Mike, affectionately known as the Retard, passed away after years of declining health and deteriorating mental conditions. As you all know, he was the subject of our legendary show Retard Radio, in which our own Jason and Robert played countless pranks on the him, which many saw as cruel, but it was too often overlooked that the Retard himself was a good sport about it and at times was even secretly in on the pranks. Nevertheless the loss of the Retard was a huge loss for our TeqTalk family.

Just last week Jason expressed an interest in bringing Retard Radio back as reruns but much to his annoyance (and ours) Robert had thrown away the tapes containing all 156 episodes just because Jason hadn’t been talking about the show and assumed that he had forgotten about it. But during the heated final few minutes of The Jason Show, Jason proclaimed that he thinks about Retard Radio every time he sits down behind the microphone, the very show that launched his radio career. Robert got defensive and a fight broke out in the studio. When the two were separated, Robert shouted, “We’ll continue this discussion when we get home, and mark my words, there will only be one of us left standing when we’re finished!”

Moments later, Jason and Robert were both home at their apartment complex where they stood outside their apartments on the second floor continuing their argument when suddenly Robert picked Jason up and threw him over the railing. In a shocking moment witnessed by dozens of security cameras, Jason fell to the parking lot below and split his head open upon slamming into the pavement. That’s when a viral video of Jason’s demise began its heavy circulation across the Internet. Oh yeah, Robert did the one thing any coward would do, run away from the scene.

Three days later Robert was found sitting on the railing at the top of the Blue Heron Bridge, curiously wearing a large overcoat while holding a gun. Police attempted to persuade him to surrender but he instead jumped off the bridge, shooting himself in the head before disintegrating when the hidden belt of explosives detonated. That’s when a second viral video began its heavy circulation on the Internet. Following Robert’s noisy, messy suicide, the entire underside of the bridge had to be pressure cleaned to clear off the minuscule remains.

So there you have it, three people gone in one week. I don’t know about you but Jason and Mike are going to be sorely missed as they were genuinely good guys to have around but Robert, as he has proven time and time again, has demonstrated why he was known around the building as a genuine pain in the ass.