Saturday, February 18, 2017

Cody Code Code

It was September of 1980, and Cody StandingBear was stoned immaculate.  He had taken peyote a few times, and experimented with different blending of dosages of several hallucinogens before, but this time was different.  This time he had perfected it.

He wrote at a blazing speed, slipping in and out of shorthand, his mind a whir of sensations and thoughts.  Another verse done.  Then another.   Another.   It lasted for about 7 hours, until he passed out of exhaustion.  When he woke up fourteen hours later he would discover in the pages he'd written a code that he couldn't remember how to break.  Nor could he remember the special psychedelic recipe that had put him so perfectly in the zone.

The song was lengthy, but brilliant in its lyrical perfection and the message... Cody felt like his mind would pop.   It was the most excruciating sense of tip-of-the-tongue/deja vu he'd ever felt.  It was worse than right before he'd broken the Enigma code so many years back.  All he knew for sure was that he had to hide this somehow.  He had to make this song seem like it wasn't what it was.

He had an idea, which in his drug-hung-over brain seemed reasonable.  He could subliminally feed the code to Joe, then destroy all physical copies.  "Teach" the song to him when he wasn't aware he was being taught.  But how?

After much brainstorming he decided upon reprogramming Joe's brand spanking new Pacman console with the cipher. He just needed to meet with a little boy named José, who happened to be the state's best player of Pacman-- well, the best player as a video game tester.  Being a game tester in 1980 was probably the most cool and awesome way to get paid money.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Mezzotinte: Joe Writes a TripAdvisor Review

Having been unattended to for so long, Future Joe found the boundaries of his existence beginnning to blur.

When he came to, he was a Co-creator. But rather than feeling all-powerful as he expected, he was just another weak mortal... merely living temporarily in a life that generated his own.

He found himself sitting down to a computer and visiting an Internet site, ""

He felt compelled to write a review for his favorite restaurant. Since it didn't have an entry on Tripadvisor yet, he had to create it.

Then he wrote this review.

"Title of your review:
Get there before the (other) hipsters do!

Your review:
You've read this review, but now you're not so sure.  You've just walked past a sex shop, and, because you're secretly a local and not an Erasmus student or whatever, your ears perk up when you realize that you've just passed the door into the once-notorious snakepit of U Hada, long a haunt of Brno's lamplight lowlifes.

But you press on. You're rewarded by a restaurant that was recently a bit ungemütlich, but now is just perfect... or is it? It isn't, and that's perfect. In any case, there's pho in it.

Let's talk about that.

Pho is the #1 reason why my countrymen shouldn't have been dropping bombs on the Vietnamese. Good pho is divine. The pho here is good.

Over time the friendly staff has learned to serve the pho with two napkins and not one, but pop over to the bathroom before you start and take two more. (I wish I took my own advice here.) Then plop half the insanely hot pepper you're served into your pho, and squeeze in a third of your lemon. Put in the other half of the pepper halfway in if you're not too chicken (although chicken is one of the options, alongside beef and chicken/beef), and portion out the lemon similarly. Order a beer to help put out the fire, because you're only human.

The fire is key to the pho, because spicy food makes your body release endorphins, and endorphins are drugs, and drugs are good. Enough said on that.

The reason why you are eating here and not in a crappy pho place like the new one at the foot of Masaryk street is because you've read this review and it told you to go here, and the reason it tells you to go here is heart. This place is visibly a family-and-friends affair, with a few rough edges, just how you like it. Maybe there's birthday-party decorations up; maybe loud cheesy music from the super-secret-treehouse music club is outcompeting the normal cheesy music. (Xin cam on!) Whatever's unusual this time, it's all part of your guarantee that nothing is guaranteed, and that is what you want.

Also, you're kind of poor, or just thrifty, and the 99-119 prices for food that would cost 30% more elsewhere are right up your alley.

Besides the phos, you'll find several other dishes, such as beef with rice noodles (delicious, more filling than it looks, and as spicy as the handy Sriracha bottle on your table will make it) and the ever-mysterious Thing With the Fish Sauce, whose name my mind has rejected out of the trauma surrounding it. That trauma comes from the taste (which lots of people love) and
the fact that I can never eat it in the Right Way, which always brings great concern to the face of the waitress, which makes me sad.

If the above has left you a bit  "ehhh..." and you'd like to spend somewhat more money and get treated like a king, then go to Go (Běhounská 4) instead. You'll love it.

If you want a crappy McDonalds-like Vietnamese experience, then I can strongly recommend the place at the bottom of Masarykova instead. (But seriously, what's wrong with you?)"