Martha {ANEWSIN VOL. 6 — Jason Garden}

The journey continues into the cold, empty void of space. Martha’s voyage takes her far beyond the scope of what we have explored.

She leaves another mark faintly with a pencil on the metal of the cockpit wall. One for every 24 hours she is contained in this cage.

Space is a horrible place to be left alone. She started this voyage in hopes of finding someone, or something. When traveling at 95 percent the speed of light with no objects nearby, one loses track of everything: speed, direction, purpose and reason. Her metal sarcophagus continues to drift through the great beyond.

“Just remember that your mission is knowledge for the masses. Not recognition. Not praise. ‘The noblest pleasure is the joy of understanding.’ You can do this.” Martha keeps repeating this to herself under her breath. She is alone with her thoughts. It would cost the agency too much to send anyone else on such a journey.

Recon and Discovery. That was her only criteria for the mission. She knew that it sounded too easy to be a good thing. One would imagine that sitting in front of flashing lights and knobs for hours would be the furthest thing from mentally taxing, but that is far from the case. There are times when she cannot remember not staring at them. There is a disconnection between reality and dreams. Just the other day, for instance, she saw everything go wrong: lights lit up warning of hull breaches and oxygen leaks. It was just a dream. She awoke to a completely ordinary spread in front of her.

Martha took this position with the promise of discovery, she took the job in spite of her dreams of reading over ancient texts discussing the possibilities of dragons. She wanted to better everyone, or at least she thought she did. She had to keep reminding herself that this was all to better the human race.

“The noblest pleasure is the joy of understanding. You’re a fucking hero.” She was starting to question her beliefs.

It was clear at one time why she took this torch. She wanted to find something new in this vast universe. She could not believe that we are all alone. It would not make sense. She has been in the metal sarcophagus for over 100,000 hours so far, and found nothing. To assume that she would find the same in the next 100,000 hours is insanity.

She wasn’t expecting something as advanced as the human race. The idea of a civilization as developed as us in the same ways seems arrogant. The only way that could be possible is if there was some sort of agreement that we would remain ignorant on purpose, because we are a snapshot of evolution. She could not fathom that to be true for this long, unless it hasn’t been long in the grand scheme of everything.

We are just arrogant enough to think 300,000 or so years is impressive. Martha dwells on her view of the situation and realizes the irony in her declaration of arrogance.

Just then, the console lights start flashing. It is just like in her dreams. Martha feels the surge of sweat beads pouring from her brow as she scrambles to react to every warning. Then, something she was not expecting: the front window opens slowly to reveal a launch command centre.

“Martha.” A man with a name tag that reads Jacob is speaking loudly to get her attention. “Martha, you’re okay.”

The lights are bright. She is in a large metal panel room. For a moment, she wonders if this is what happens after death. Martha is faced with her own mortality for the first time that she can remember.

“Okay, she’s not calming down. We need a debriefing team here on the…” Jacob was mid sentence when Martha’s brain shut down.

When she comes to, Martha is in some sort of hospital room with only “Jacob” by her side, sitting on a white stool.

“What happened?” Martha massages her face with her hands. “Where am I?”

“That was a simulation, Martha.” Jacob starts to talk disregarding her condition. “That was the seventh one that you have been a part of. We tried something different, remember? The last one was too muddled with delusions flashing back to prior events, so you went into this with your mind blanked.” Jacob’s voice is calm and he is doing everything he can to be deliberate with his words.

“Why would I agree to that? None of this makes sense, and it seems unnecessary.” Martha could feel rage building inside of her. She felt as if she has been tricked. She felt like this “trial” was just a financial burden on the agency, and a mental burden on her.

Jacob did not say a word and swiftly pulled a recorder from his pocket and pressed play.

“This is Martha. I understand that my mind will be cleared in hopes of bettering the practice. This recording is to be presented to me if I question the practice when I wake up.”

“That was you just the other day.” Jacob said with a slight of empathy in his voice. “The idea was yours. We all thought it brilliant! We did see the flaws, however. So we asked you to make this tape to prove the procedure to yourself in the event you would need to.”

Martha leaned back into the pillow and locked her eyes to the ceiling.
“If we’re done for now, I’d like to sleep.”

“Of course.” Jacob got out of the chair, nodded his head, and turned towards the door. He stopped. “I just want to tell you, because you may not remember me saying it before, but I am honoured to be working with you.”

Jacob shut the door behind him. Martha’s head started to fill with ideas and worries that were not answered so far.

I know of this time, but is this the first time? How many times have I been in through that procedure? What is the mission even about?

Martha’s eyes welled with tears as she thought of the most daunting of all of the ideas.

Did any of that happen? Or was I just told that it happened?

I am proud to announce that this was edited by the amazing Luka Riot! Because of fantastic donors over at Patreon, I am able to employ her for ansP editing. I hope her and I work together for a long time.

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~”New” Video

The other day my parents sent me a rather unnerving question. They had found an old video recorder, it was full, but had one video. There was no further information than that.

I was not a bad kid. I would not have recorded anything damning. Not usually, anyway. Still, my blood ran cold at the thought of what I found interesting enough to record.

Turns out, it was me drumming for just over three minuets.

It didn’t suck.

I use the quotations to emphasize the video is new TO THE INTERNET! It was recorded several years ago, and it cuts off randomly. Sound quality is shit, but I was near the top of what I could do musically. Judging by the recording and how it randomly cuts off, I think the really impressive stuff was played just after the end. That does not excuse that the video is still kind of neat, and contains a being not massively explored.

Give it a watch! Let me know what you think.

Just a reminder that Martha comes out on Friday. I am super proud of it, and excited to see what everyone thinks. This also means there will not be a “plain text.” update on Sunday, but I will return the week after with more information and, hopefully, Good News!

At the risk of being hated…

I am writing this paragraph to reiterate that I am, in no capacity, a medical professional. What I wrote below is in the same vein as opinion, and points are speculation at worst, and loose unsubstantiated conversation bits at best. That goes for any medical opinions I have given on this site. There have been many questions regarding my credentials and sources over the years, and I would just like to remind you that I don’t have either.

I am writing this even though there is a great risk of me being labeled more harshly than is necessary. As much as I am going to make this statement in a blunt fashion, the intent is not to offend, but to squash assumptions and set records straight.

I got the meningitis vaccine. If you did not, and got the sickness (and wear that fact as pride), I have little sympathy for you.

I am not saying that I am pro-vaccine. I am far from an anti-vaccer. For instance, I have every shot, but I refuse to get the flu vaccine. I don’t trust it, I get the importance of what they are trying to do, but I cannot see it as necessary right now. Maybe in a few years I will have my mind changed, but for the time being, that is my stance. 

With the meningitis vaccine, I know my position is precarious and seems backwards. It is steeped in half research and questions that no one asked. I realize that I am far from a professional, but hear me out.

Apparently, the vaccine that is given in high schools across Canada is specifically against bacterial menengitis. The assumption is that I was stricken with a viral strain, and the vaccine will not work. Therefore, my attempts to pre-emptively deal with things were thwarted by unfortunate chance. 

What is my point? I just want, maybe even need, to express the importance of mitigating damages. I tried, and was unsuccessful. When I hear someone complaining even though they never tried in the first place, I get very frustrated.

I should not use this platform as a soap box.

I felt like I had to get this out. If you took that risk and didn’t get that shot, that’s okay. I still love you, and I wish you the best of health. If something does go wrong, reacting with surprise is not the proper way to go about things.

Classic Album Review :: Matthew Good Band — Beautiful Midnight

I have not written one of these in a while, but the last one keeps getting new readers! If this is something you want me to do more of, let me know in the comments! I have a few albums I can think of that I feel everyone should remember or experience for the first time.

Oh, Canada! You make such good music!

I know that I keep doing retrospectives in Canadian music of albums from the ’90’s, but that was my bread and butter. I was a huge alternative nerd back then, and some of the best music came from Canada. I am sure, if this article does well, I will hit on Our Lady Peace.

I digress. I lovingly call this album “The Soundtrack for Nihilism” to no one ever.

(I need friends.)

This album has some of the bleakest outlooks on life ever put to lyrics. From the bombastic opening of Giant right through to the somber ending of Running For Home. Every song croons about “everything is fucked is and we’re all going to die so make the best of what you’ve got.”

I love it so much.

Giant is probably one of the best intro songs ever. It opens with a cheerleading group spelling ‘KICKASS’ with no backtrack what-so-ever. Then, with piercing squeals preceding it, the drum line comes crashing over everything. It’s beautiful.

From that point on, the lyrics and music paint a picture of how great it is that everything is the way it is in the most sarcastic, unfeeling way. The music reminds me of the epic crescendo’s of the ’80’s metal scene mixed with the independent movement in the early 2000’s. Leads and little more than jangles placed perfectly over steady rhythms laid out by a steady bass line. This, of course, is punctuated by the slap of crushing swells and pounding drones. The strings sound like they would be simple in execution, but they are covered in flairs you might not notice unless you were looking for them. The drums accentuate the standard pop song structure then vier wildly into the realm of progressive meters and timing without the listener even noticing.

To put it simply, this album should not work in the mainstream archetype, but does so beautifully. The bleak lyrics help along this feeling of ambiguity that the album contrives. Metaphors abound and the similes used illustrate the mind of someone defeated by society, but they do not celebrate it. They are used more to illustrate how messed up everything is, but drive home the hopeless emotion that permeated the ’90’s.

I think my ravings have proved how much I love this album. In fact, I am having a hard time picking a favourite song to share with everyone. When you have massive tracks like the aforementioned Giant and piano ballads like Strange Days with only one song between the two, to find a standout track that dictates the general feeling is really difficult. It would actually be a lot of fun to break the album down, song by song, and write a piece about each one. There is enough content in each song individually that doing so would be interesting. Even taking what they sound like they mean and comparing what they are actually about would be interesting.

I, however, am far from the right person to do such a task.

If I had to make a generalization as to what states-of-mind the album elicits, I would have to say crushing realization combined with an acceptance of just how wrong everything can be.

SO, I TOLD MYSELF I WOULD NOT PICK GIANT.
I found a really good version of Giant live.
The first guitar solo is ignored by the camera operator. Epilepsy warning, though I was okay.

Enjoy.

That Guy.

(Okay. Last change of this post. You got this.)

Ironic that a post I have scrapped due to being too open and too distant turned out to be a rant on forgiving yourself, but these appear to be the times we live in.

I have spent the last five years battling with the demons that we hoisted upon me when I died.

I read pages, literal pages, of comments talking about what I meant to people throughout the time we knew each other. I was toted as being amazing by someone who, before I came out of the coma, decided that I was no longer worthy of knowing them at all. I have let my wife down just because I am who I am, and she sticks around because apparently I am worth it.

All of these things keep circling in my mind while I try to decide whether I am or not the person I strive to be, or if I am just an avatar cloaking the body of a monster. I have done some horrible things in my 30 years on the earth. Should I keep dwelling on those, or should I accept that I might not be a halfway bad human?

I am very curious if my attachment to what I have done in the past is actually even normal. My mind is stuck on the idea that I, and I alone, realize that I am capable of the dumb-shittery that I have done in the past. I guess, in a way, you can describe me as haunted by my decisions. One thing I will bow to is my arrogance in trying to do this publication bullshit on my own. All of my endeavours in the arts have all been independent. Not by complete choice, but I wonder if because I half know how to do it alone (kind of) I create a kind of false-bravado and tricks me into thinking “I can do it if I just do one more thing oh God I can do it just let me do it this time…”

Fill me in, internet! Tell me if you also experience this loop of self-doubt and self-loathing. Fill me in if you second-guess everything you do, as well! I am in need of vindication that this is normal. I would also like the heads-up if I need to seek a psychiatrist.

~Help?

My friend Hannah is looking for contacts who know anything about the Grandview Training School based out of Cambridge, Ontario. If you think you know of something, or know of someone who knows something, her information can be four here.

She is a long-time friend of the family. Grew up with my brother, and therefore, grew up with me. The article has all relevant information put way better than I could pretend, so I will post the link here again.

And again.

PATREON SUPPORTER TALE :: Chrissy & Adam

I have this tendency, which I consider an excellent one to have, where I keep friends close for a very long time. Chrissy is far from an exception, and Adam and I have a very long history.

I dated her cousin in grade nine for a while. Chrissy, because of the mutual person between us, started talking. We continued to talk long after her cousin and I had broken up. We just shared a strange sense of humour and took great amusement in the stranger things in life.

Adam and I were in the same grade and hung around with a few of the same people. In high school, we were not all that close. Not for any reason in particular. He grew up in a very different way to me. It took me a long time to catch up to his maturity. Not that I was particularly immature, but more we got to the same place taking very different paths.

I can hear the questions now why I seem to be doing yet another two patreon updates at once. Chrissy and Adam got married a couple of years ago. The account used was for Chrissy, but I know that Adam is sending his love, as well.

If I am wrong, I will let you know. I will write something special up for Chrissy and probably one for Adam as well. However, I think that I am right.

OH! Fun tidbit of information. Chrissy’s mom works for Friesen Press and they did the run of my book! I probably would not have had the confidence if it was not for that strange connection.

…and for the last note, this marks 100$ worth of donations on my Patreon! I am beyond honoured! I had no idea that I would have such support and I thank and love every person who has taken the time to look it over!

Hi! I’m back!

The last two months were some of the most difficult things for me. I found myself wanting to write all the words and give all the news!

I wanted to write, but I refused to not let myself have a break! You probably did notice at least one (or more) pieces of writing, but that was because I was stewing about it and had to get it out!

Otherwise, there was little to report on. There was one personal matter, but I always feel awkward talking about things that heavily impact my life, but also impacts those around me. So, somehow, I kept quiet about it!

I’m proud of me!

ANYWAY! New tier on Patreon that rewards people donating $8+ monthly! If you decide to do this, you get to dictate the major plot points and overall theme of an original story! The first one goes up on the first of next month from the amazing Martha. Mother of Katie, she has always been someone I look up to and highly respect. I just hope she likes what I wrote…

NowIAmDwellingOnThatAndTheAirIsGettingHeavy

ANYWAY!

Updates back to the usual. Thank you for still being there!

SOMETHING I SHOULD EXPLAIN!
I am removing the obligation to release a new ansP every month from the collective Patreon goals. I find it difficult enough to get a piece to a point that I am comfortable enough to release it as it is. I am not going to give myself such strict deadlines. Hopefully, this will keep the stories GOOD as opposed to plentiful.

My relationship with PodCasts

I was on a PodCast. You should listen to it.

I have this thing where I am on a PodCast, listen to it far too much, and figure out areas I wish I had elaborated. It is NEVER on the shoulders of who is producing the vessel because no one knows what I want to shed light onto and I NEVER push in the directions I want to.

What pulls me into this pattern of self destruction and criticism? Why is it that I cannot just be happy with what I am saying? I answer everything I can with clarity and honesty, so the idea of the me not saying something else in the narrative is unfair. If I really want to talk about these things that I feel people need to know, I need to push the conversation in that direction. I need to acknowledge that only I have the power to say what I want to say.

That brings me to why I have this blog. This is the medium where I can put whatever I want down, and the only arm of censorship that I have to worry about is my own and, MAYBE, the police.

I digress. I really wanted to ask if I avoided something accidentally that you wish I spoke about in the PodCast. Leave a note in the comments and I will respond with incredible haste.

I would like to take an opportunity to talk “Tell the Bartender” for having me on, as well as extend a massive thank you to Katherine Heller for having me on her who. I also have to say thank you to Katie Maz for the push to contact Katherine with my story.