The Unswung Bat

Monday, February 27, 2006
The Ass Olympics

Andra and I had a big discussion of whether "artistic merit" makes for legitimate judging criteria for Olympic events. Surprisingly, I was the one in favor of it. Well, okay, it was more complicated than me simply being "in favor" of "artisitic merit." Suffice it to say we talked at great length and drew a tremendous number of piercingly insightful conclusions. At the end of the day, however, we were left facing the fact that, no matter what sort of reasoning you use to define what is or is not "an Olympic event," someone or something will always be left out. It's like the elusive biological definition of "life." Further confounding the problem, we kept coming up with new events like "Artistic High Jump" (Andra's idea, I was intially against it, now I'm not quite sure why), and "2000-metre Arson" (which, obviously, was mine).

Fortunately, in the case of Olympic events, there's an answer to this problem: More Olympics! I don't know why we didn't think of it sooner, they already have the Special Olympics, for one thing, and the Biology Olympics (I think, though that one probably isn't run by the IOC . . . eh). At certain points in our discourse, she and I were championing the various merits of ballet (a very good suggestion), painting, sketching, and chess—and later a mobile version of touch-move chess performed on rotating platforms to increase the value of physical performance without frustrating the artistic or intellectual component—as Events. Chess and painting were hard sells for the traditional Olympics, so I have come up with a suggestion for a new Olympics, which I'm sure will be but one of many in the Precambrian explosion of competitive diversity when the new polyolympic paradigm catches on.

The Ass Olympics consist of competitive events that one spends on one's ass (with one exception). For clarity, this refers only to the human posterior and not any other sort of ass, be it equid, acronym, expletive, or otherwise. I'm sure there are more than a few A.S.S. acronyms out there, but I refuse to Google it.

So you can see, like the Winter Olympics, these Olympics encapsulate in their name the central characteristic of their events. But what are these events? Surely the Games will expand with time (shut up!) but a short list of potential "core" events would help give our nebulous Ass Olympics some much-needed definition (that one was on purpose).

Les Olympiques du Cul

  • Stationary, Seated Chess

  • The Ass Event of Kings

  • Painting / Sketching Events (Various Subjects as Separate Events)

  • Another activity often performed sitting down. I believe that events should be grouped according only to the nature of the subject to be painted, and perhaps the medium, allowing different painting styles to compete to see which is the best in evolutionary terms.

  • Justify Your Ass

  • This is the exception to the sitting-down rule, although there's no reason why you couldn't be sitting down to do it. Nevertheless, occasional standing would be tolerated, so long as it makes sense. The winner of this event is the one who most successfully represents his or her ass in a primarily verbal presentation, defending it from criticism, analyzing its superior qualities as compared to a hypothetically typical Jederarsch, and developing an argument favoring its extraordinary significance. Marks awarded for artistic merit (so damn difficult to not pun on that!) as well as technical virtuosity.

  • Swivel Chair Racing

  • No reason the AOs have to all be stationary, or for chair races to be confined to the Paralympics. Hell, we could even have car racing, although that might violate the original spirit of the Games.

  • The 4, 9, 13, 18, and 45 Inch Poem

  • Borrowing a page from Harry Potter here, but it's a convenient system for measuring the length of a poem. 45 inches equals 5 letter-size pages (the right size for paper, dammit) with 1-inch top and bottom margins—epic!

  • The Short Story

  • One of the fiercest competitions I'm sure. Some division based on length is permissible, maybe into 1-2 pgs, 3-40, and the long-distance Novella. All work to be done on acceptable typewriters, to show typographic mistakes and corrections. All stories to be read by the same number of judges, though not necessarily the same actual people, as language barriers will necessitate a very large judging pool. No matter. Judges must be fluent in no less than 2 of the represented languages.

  • Calligraphy

  • Even though it's not as cool as writing. Well, okay, it is pretty cool. It's funny how I used to associate calligraphy almost exclusively with fancy cursive writing using one of those fountain pens that have interchangeable nibs, and now I associate it almost exclusively with brush writing. Weird.

  • Competitive Sitting

  • I am sure there are already rules for this inside the Intrawebs. It may be possible to hold pairs events or even synchronized sitting.

  • Webcomic Reading

  • Points awarded for accurate and artful summations of plotlines and major events in specially prepared and sanctioned original comics. Why webcomics and not print? Reading webcomics is generally lazier than reading books, and therefore more pro-ass.

  • Not Eating

  • Food, ingeniously crafted in hypermodern laboratories to be scientifically delicious, will be cooked in a kitchen adjoining the competitive space, so that its aroma will waft into the arena where contestants sit on couches, being so hungry but refusing to get up for food that is all the way over there. Competitions will be long, and the delicious food will be provided as dinner for the audience, in insultingly clear view of the competitors.

  • Sit-Ups

  • Ass on floor at all times.

  • Cannonball Diving

  • Ass must enter the water first. Only Cannonball dives are acceptable. Size of splash, as reflected in height, average diameter at base, circular regularity, and estimated volume of water, as well as other measurements yet to be determined, is the only judging criterion.

  • Staring Contest

  • I wonder what the long-term effects will be.

  • 24-Hour Blog

  • No mobile blogging or cellphone shit, no audioblog nonsense, no gratuitous photos (in fact there'll be strict rules about picture use) no bullshit links, and no blogging equipment with a clean white, mac-style interface is permitted. Absolutely no poetry, that is a separate event. Coffee may or may not be disallowed. Competitors in violation of these rules will not be disqualified, they will simply lose, and can and will be physically flogged by judges or spectators during the event. Judges will be extraordinarily arbitrary, arcane, and capricious, but no questioning of their decision is allowed. Ever. Bitches.

  • Knitting

  • The main idea is speed.

  • Sliding In To Second Base

  • On a track accurately simulating the stretch on a baseball diamond between first and second base, competitors will attempt to slide the greatest distance into second base. There will be strict rules concerning acceptable pants.

That's enough to give the AO Games conceptual room to develop in, I think. Been doing a lot of this list stuff these past days. I'd worry, if I hadn't also written 10 pages. Lists, after all, are the lazy man's short fiction. Then again, blogging is the lazy man's procrastination. I could at least be cleaning the house right now. Ah, that's crazy talk.

Nifty though, that's also 16 items in the list, the same as my uses for labret piercings one from yesterday, even though I wasn't counting these ones as I went along. 16 seems to be the magic number as far as my write-something-anything lists go. Hm.

Anywise, if you feel like learning about dimensions, start at the highlighted text of this article and read the next six paragraphs or so. Or read the whole article, it's nifty. If you're not familiar with the "Coastline of England" bit here's a good rundown of the famous example. I did a ridiculously pointless project on fractals in grade 12 (pointless because our teacher left halfway through the school year and her replacement didn't do shit so our projects—as well as the rest of our mathematical education—basically ceased to exist for the rest of the year. I bet I still have some of the programs I wrote then, I should see if I can find 'em.

There was one where a line of dots broke up into a series of rotating interlocked snowflakes, collapsed into a branch of feathery leaves, and finally returned to the original line. It looked pretty cool. I didn't actually do most of the writing, I just dug up fractal formulae and had the idea of animating them by increasing one of the variables. The sad thing is, I thought that I therefore could not claim credit for it. I realize now that, in math presentations at my highschool, I could have thrust a gumball in front of the class, proclaimed "Behold the Sphere! Mightiest And Roundest Of Platonic Forms And In This Case Delicious!" and gotten about an 85%.

Blast! Oh well.

What the hell is this? It looks cool.

Saturday, February 25, 2006
La Montréalisation!

Fie on they what say Montreal is not the fun. But O, though frosty, fun it is! Not only were the days packed with cool times, but I also got a fair bit of writing and story stuff done. In the meantime we saw monkeys and things, visted some bunch of great museums, and I beat modern art in a double-flawless victory and performed the fatality.

I said I got some story stuff done. In fact, in addition to writing more of the story I'm working on now, and getting a better idea of how it's going, I came up with another, very little story that I like very much and is almost done, and this next thing, which is not a story but I am counting it as the fiction requirement for this entry. Interestingly, both it and the "real" piece can be expressed in the form of a field guide.

The Cunning Ninja's Guide To: 16 Uses of a Labret Piercing

  1. Remove the stud and shoot water out of the hole, startling your foes. Cunning!

  2. Fashion a colorful false goatee out of feathers affixed to the labret stud. You are now snappily incognito.

  3. Thread fishing wire through the hole and dangle a small shiny object on the end. You may use this to distract your opponents or to lure especially tiny opponents until they are close enough to eat. It also allows you to play the cup and ball game with your mouth. Do not pull too hard on the string.

  4. Slipping a dog whistle into the socket will let you inaudibly summon hounds to your side. Other possibilities include a bear whistle (for scaring bears), or a duck-call, as useful in hunting as it is in confounding your opponents with the demonic cackling of unseen malards.

  5. Insert a drinking-straw through the hole and drink through it, keeping your hands and mouth free for killing or self-defence.

  6. As a cunning ninja twist on the drinking-straw option, instead insert a blowgun. You can even conceal the darts inside of the feather-goatee. Cunning!

  7. The drinking straw can also be used as a snorkel, conferring instant amphibious capability.

  8. Carefully thread a long handled, small bowled spoon through the hole. This will of course be useless for eating, but allows a behind-the-head catapult attack that will catch your enemies flat-footed.

  9. Another rodlike attachment, a specially prepared elongated pointy stick, can be used to poke people ahead of you in various lines that you will wait in.

  10. Affix a thin chain to the labret stud. This chain can now be used to perform various pulling tasks. Example: mount a crossbow to your shoulder. With the chain attached, you can pull the trigger with a deft twist of the jaw.

  11. As an unforeseeable twist, why not apply the labret piercing to your disabled foe? You may now insert a tracking device, a chain to secure them to a dungeon wall, or, in conjunction with earrings, wire their jaw shut.

  12. Consider embedding a tiny bomb in the hole, that you can expel with sudden pressure to create a distracting explosion.

  13. In Mexico, a certain species of beetle that does not eat or fly as an adult is made into a piece of living jewelery by gluing gems to its carapace. Impressively, the jewelery beetle can live 8-18 months, but must be held on by a ribbon and safety pin to prevent it from wandering off. Tethering one to your labret stud may enhance your image and status in certain parts of the world, projecting an aura of prosperity and command. Cunning!

  14. Research has shown that octopi are highly intelligent. It may be possible to train a small octopus to respond to tactile commands delivered via the tongue, and then thread its tentacles through one or more specially enlarged labret piercings, to perform various tasks including manipulating objects or assisting you in a grapple, as well as creating an intimidating, Cthulhuesque visage that will unnerve your foes. Do not eat the octopus, as it is unconscionable to kill such an intelligent being for food and unhygenic to eat an animal that has died of natural causes.

  15. A small pinwheel may be inserted through the piercing and spun using either the tongue or air blown through a pipe. Combining this with a whistle makes for a delightful spectacle!

  16. There is no number 16, this was all a cunning trick to distract you whilst a ninja maneuvered himself into position. He could now strike at any instant, or simply vanish with the next breeze. This demonstrates that the best use of a labret piercing, like any other tool in the ninja's field kit, is to furnish the element of surprise.

So yes, clearly that was not a story by any stretch of the imagination, but as I understand it, Christ sacrificed Himself to ensure my democratic right to free speech and I intent to use that right. For ninja lists. Originally there were no ninjas involved. In fact I think use #1 was thought up by Dawn many a year ago, and though she is a Tricky one, I don't believe she had apprenticed herself to the art of invisibility. But I didn't have any other particular theme to focus my labret meditation, and examples using ninjas seem to be one of the default modes of communicating on the internet, so I went with the flow and made it ninjas.

What else happened in Montreal? Oh plenty, but that is a story for another day.

Qu'es-ce qui else est passé? Well, apparently me and Michael-Bergmann, whom I've not met but gather is some type of beau, concur on precisely 40% of Gigi's personality. Shnifty. Though I must say "Johari" sounds like the title of one of those dumb movies about board games taking over the real world, à la Jumanji, Zathura, and Super Mario Bros. Man that last one was an awesome dumb movie, though. Trust the fungus!

Also, continuing my practical education, I have learned that according to Article 2, Paragraph 4 of the Berne Copyright convention, a law can be copyrighted. Did you know that? But news articles can't. It's all here in this pamphlet.

original site + text contents ©2004 twenty oh four by me called it

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