fatman Find the clues!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Welcome To My Underground Lay-or

I recently heard that there was a Titan Class intercontinental ballistic missile base from the '50s, located near Moses Lake (Washington State, U.S.A.) for sale on eBay.

Yes, a nuclear base.

The asking price, according to the article in the London Telegraph, was a measly $1.5 million dollars U.S. Hell, all I'd need to do is round up 15 of my closest friends to chip in and we'd have our own place of business.

For someone like myself - who is secretly convinced that a genetically-engineered plague designed by an aristocrat vampire will one day wipe out most of humanity (except for the lucky few who will survive only to turn into some form of flesh-eating, homicidal, mutant albinos) - this is an ideal place to purchase. I will no longer have to live in fear of zombie invasions, the Four Horsemen, rain of frogs or an attack by crazed vegetable-eating killbots.

What surprised me about the article is that this is only one of many nuclear bases for sale. Although the bases (sadly) do not come with any ICBMs all it would take is a few bribes to a corrupt Chechnyan general and baby we'd be in a position to make ludicrous demands on an unsuspecting world.

Now, to start preparing for a lava-filled moat around the parameters...

Monday, October 15, 2007

Brief Lives

The phone conversation was unexpected. It was like getting slapped in the face with a fish- it stung my eyes and left a bad taste in my mouth.

'He did what?', I ask, befuddled.

Rupert repeats the story, slowly so that I can digest the information.

The phone call started innocently enough. I'd got hold of Rupert to inform him of when the Deadliest Catch was on. Also, I hadn't spoken to him since the birth of his child a few months back. We ranted on for a while, pleasantly banal tales exchanged like football cards, when he mentioned Shaun Kratzer, from school.

A blink. A pause. A blurry face in the recesses of my brain coming slowly into focus.

'Sure. Kratz. What's happening with him these days?'

'He...died earlier this year. In February.'

The last I'd seen of Kratz was at school and, since I was in the year grade above him, I had taken it upon myself to shove him into walls and trip him over when we passed each other in the corridor.



'Wow,' I said again, for emphasis.

'I know,' agreed Rupert.

'How did he die?'

Rupert then sums up the last decade of Shaun Kratzer's life. He changed a lot, informs Rupert. He had a lot more facial hair for starters. This was because he was too busy doing real things that mattered. He was a photographer, he skied, was an avid climber and was loved by all who met him. Shaving didn't fit into his busy schedule.

On the 7th of February fate - in the form of an avalanche on Gulmarg mountain in the Himalayas - killed him.

My mind wanders.

Morbidly obese people feel that they are trapped in their own lives. For some this is a literal thing since their ample frames will physically not fit through the door frames of their own apartments and these sacks of organs will not leave their filthy rooms littered with chip packets and empty drums of root beer until several weeks after their death, when Emergency Services will have to knock down a wall in order to remove the bloated carcass from the premises. Others blame bad luck, unloving parents, misleading burger commercials, a tragic reincarnation that landed their souls in the body of a slob and not into Matthew Mcconaughey's.

I can only imagine at how scared Kratz would have been in his final moments on this planet of ours. How helpless and lost and utterly fucked he would have felt before being engulfed by a white fist belonging to some mountain god, terrible and without an ounce of passion. Still. No matter how sad it was that he left the stage so early he is truly one of the lucky ones since he probably lived more in a single day than many of us do in our lifetimes.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Sailors Who Get Crabs

To reach the port of heaven, we must sail sometimes with the wind and sometimes against it,--but we must sail, and not drift, nor lie at anchor.
- Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

"You go through a couple marriages, smoke cigarettes like it's going out of style, your body aches from the time you get up to the time you go to bed, and you wake up in the middle of the night thinking about where you're going to put the next pot. Yeah, it's a great lifestyle."
- Phil from the Cornelia Marie ,The Deadliest Catch

One day out from Dutch Harbour, Unlasaka. The Bering Sea is unrelenting and vicious like a restaurant critic or a high-powered divorce lawyer. The crew of the ship are being thrown about, stumbling back-and-forwards like actors in a Charlie Chaplain film. The winds scream like banshees. It's a typical day in the life of an Alaskan crab fisherman. The show is the Deadliest Catch and my eyes are nailed to the screen.

It has taken us worthless peons a long time to get it on free-to-air but we finally get to see this amazing documentary from the Discovery Channel. How frickin' insane is this? Why not base a show about THE deadliest profession in the world (besides "suicide bomber")? It's captivating viewing. I'm captivated.

For those who don't share my addictions, or know what I'm talking about, the Deadliest Catch is a show about Alaskan crab fishermen aboard a few of the ships (around ten or so) during the four-day crab fishing season in 2005. Now the sleep-deprived crew spend their time cussing at the "greenhorns" (n00bs) to get out of the goddamn way while trying not to fall overboard themselves. In a hazardous occupation where the death rate is roughly one a week (according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics over 300 fatalities per 100,000 fishermen) and hypothermia is constantly lurking around the corner this behaviours is not only to be expected, but sensible.

By the time the show finishes, I'm drenched in sweat.