Chat at the Black Vatican

Sometimes we have little receptions for the new recruits. It's your standard meet and greet where the Dark Pontiff goes down to the barracks and welcomes the new converts. Here is a transcription of one such meeting...

BCP#235632236: I didn’t really do much in high school but cheerleading…and got high and hung out with friends…But I think that’s a requirement in CA
HSBP: Well, we got high a lot too...I think... I can't really remember...
BCP#235632236: yeah.....
HSBP: Wait... what were we doing?
BCP#235632236: I don’t know.....but I can feel my retinas.... do you want Taco Bell?
HSBP: Dude...
BCP#235632236: I’m going to do the Taco Bell dance...
And the speed time dance
HSBP: You can speed time?
BCP#235632236: Well, there is a dance I may be able to do... It involves a chicken.....
HSBP: Sweet! When you finish that one, can you do the "Hot Chicks Dig Linus" dance?
BCP#235632236: That may be doable.....
HSBP: Cool. I'll order a chicken...
BCP#235632236: I think that one involves a cookie....
HSBP: That’s better. I wouldn't want the chicken to get hurt...
BCP#235632236: The speed time dance involves a chicken, but don’t worry, I just need it to poop on me...
HSBP: ummm... k...
BCP#235632236: Oh, what I do for you....
HSBP: ... yeah, I'd say I'm touched... only I don't want to touch it.
BCP#235632236: At least you have that option… Ah, I smell...
HSBP: yummy
BCP#235632236: Ok crazy man
HSBP: Silly chicken dancer...
BCP#235632236: Ok you got me there....but hey, that dance was for you!
HSBP: uh huh... like speeding time doesn't benefit you at all.
BCP#235632236: Ok, maybe I just like dancing with my chicken! I named him Perry
HSBP: Look, I don't want to say your kink is wrong, but…
BCP#235632236: My kink?
HSBP: I think chicken dancing qualifies as kinky
BCP#235632236: Yeah, we're in a few magazines....
HSBP: ok... eeewww

Forced to Represent

I have often been heard to say that the term "Rap Music" is an oxymoron. I have also been known to rant at length about my belief that DJs are not musicians, that Gangsta Rap is the most juvenile, hypocritical, and stereotype-reinforcing entertainment ever invented, and that Hip Hop in general is the retarded lustchild of a fugly and drunken one-night stand between R&B and Disco.

So... having said that... not real proud of this... and I don't plan to make a habit of it... in fact, a little of my soul died with each rhyme... but I had to write this for my poetry class, so here it is.

I knelt at the rail when I was just thirteen
and asked almighty God, "What the hell did you mean?"
When you made this perfect world, was there really a plan
or is man just an afterthought that got out of hand?
If I'm made in your image, and you're without sin
then why does the evil seem to come from within?
Did you invent sin just to keep us in line?
Or did we invent you from the fear in our minds?

We've prayed all our lives, never heard a word from You.
Been played all our lives, now we want to know what's true.

I waited for an answer, for the truth to come clear
but soon enough I realized there was no one to hear
my confessions, blasphemies, or attempts to atone
and on that shitty day I knew we all were alone
and always have been, I know it's hard to hear
but we created our creator out of ego and fear
He didn't invent sin just to keep us in line because
we invented him from the fear in our minds.

We've prayed all our lives, never heard a word from You.
Been played all our lives, now we want to know what's true.

We can't believe that all the struggle, the worry, and the strife
is all that really ever matters in this short and ugly life
so to help us stay sane and let us sleep through the night
we conceived of eternity and made it our right
to seek it out, earn it, and rule it from above
we even had the gall to call His bullshit "love."
No more prayers from me, no more wasted time
'cuz it's clear he was invented from the fear in our minds.

We've prayed all our lives, never heard a word from You.
Been played all our lives, now we want to know what's true.

I feel dirty. My brain needs a shower.

Birth of Emo Pope

"My heart is shattered into a thousand tiny shards,
each sharper than a razor blade;
they carpet the bed in which I lie
every night without you,
and each of the wounds
they inflict is like a tiny mouth,
crying out my loss in red verse.
Even making out with my boyfriend doesn't help."

It's awesome having your own personal cartoonist. Actually, it's not just awesome - it's made of awesome. I write an offhand line about the "Emo Pope," and BAM! a cartoon appears in my inbox. It's like having an Asian anime sweat shop of my very own!

I'm thinking it's time for some BCP Hentai...


Have you ever come across something you wrote, and been completely unable to recall writing it? As a poet, compulsive writer, and ocassional insomniac, I am familiar with this feeling, but it is still stunning when it happpens.

Take the poem below, for example. I found it on a flash drive the other day, and while I can remember clearly the person and situation it was written about, I have no recollection of actually creating it. I know it must be mine - it was in a folder full of other crap I do remember writing, and it was in a document marked "For Slam."

The Oath

Why is it that I won't do for myself
what I would willingly do for her?
She could command me
to crush and conquer
and I would gladly do it
with all my might;
instead she asks for nothing
and I wonder what it means.
She carries her own burdens
and does her own work
with an innocent grace.
Beware swearing yourself
to one who has no need of you.

It's really too short for slam, and remarkably pathetic as well. While it meets the ultimate slam criteria - it tells the truth - it is also just a little too whiny for the 'His Sinfulness' to deliver. Maybe I need a really whiny slam persona as well - the "Emo Pope" or some such...

Sunday Sermon

Tuesday, February 10, 2004
New friends. It is an odd time, that first few weeks of a new friendship. I have just started chatting and having coffee with these two, and already I feel a bond. No doubt an intense time lies ahead...

This blog began with that post, three years and 8 days ago. The "two" mentioned above were Nerdygirl and the Pink Princess, and it has certainly been intense since then. It's also been funny, irritating, sexy (at times), heartbreaking, and filled with love. I wouldn't trade a minute of it for anything.

Today, I am standing in the same sort of place again...

The last few weeks have been difficult. It may just be that we are in the midst of the usual reaming for which February is so famous, but it does seem that the Valentine's Day strap-on this year was overly large, and unlubed. If there is no escaping that sort of schtupping, one should attempt to relax as much as possible, but I have never been the accepting type. I fought it, by staying busy... making truffles, buying flowers, working on a chapbook with Flynn, and focusing on the poetry slam. It was a moderately effective strategy, for a time.

Once the slam was over, however, I was right back where I began the week... worried, angst-filled, and pissed off. Thus, I was very surprised when life took an unexpected up-turn on Friday. While celebrating the first edition of the Black Vatican webcomic, Flynn, G-Fresh, and I went out for some late night coffee and pie. Once there, we met up with the Squid, and two amazing friends of hers...

After just an hour or so of conversation with them I knew they were, as my grandmother used to say, "our people". A shared Gardenburger and fries at 11:00 turned into episodes of Torchwood on Flynn's giant frickin' TV until after 4:00. I had to work on Saturday at 8:30 in the morning but I didn't mind at all. These were those precious moments with new friends, and I have come to respect and cherish that odd feeling of a familiarity not built by time. It's something akin to love at first sight, but without the insanity that implies. It's like coming home on a cold day to find warm soup waiting on the stove.

You can't seek out those experiences. They come when they should, and no sooner. Their arrival is never announced, and you can't take a raincheck on them - they're best enjoyed fresh. Be prepared to stay up until 4:00 if need be.

Go in Peace.

Liberal Arts Ate My Brain

It has been observed by greater minds than mine, that a degree in the Liberal Arts ruins your ability to simply enjoy. Everything must be analyzed, and this sometimes destroys the pleasure of going to the movies, watching tv, listening to music, or picking up a novel.

On other occasions, however, it can be high-larious.

To wit, this IM conversation between Nerdy and myself. It begins as banter between two friends commiserating about how tiring this week has been, but rapidly turns into a Senior Seminar discussion on the proper care and feeding of the sample group. Keep in mind that we have three Liberal Arts degrees between us...

Nerdy: I feel like this week's a marathon and I'm on mile 19.
His Sinfulness: Joy. You could always feign a muscle pull. Or cramps.
Oooh - maybe heat stroke?
Nerdy: I have tremors, does that count?
His Sinfulness: Sweet. That's worth some time on ESPN.
Nerdy: Fear! Fear my shaky hands?
Okay, and I don't know why I'm wanting to keep using the question mark instead of other punctuation.
His Sinfulness: I usually blame that on my huge friggin' ape hands.
Nerdy: But I have lil' hands.
His Sinfulness: So... you can't reach nuttin' but the question mark... it's down on the bottom, right where you are peering up at the screen.
Nerdy: [laughs]
His Sinfulness: HAH! I made her laugh! I win.
Nerdy: You do win.
His Sinfulness: I WIN!
Nerdy: [laughs]
His Sinfulness: Ok - that second one doesn't count as another win does it?
Nerdy: totally counts as a win.
His Sinfulness: 'cuz that's just too easy
Nerdy: Not today, it's not. Get down with your bad winning self.
His Sinfulness: [gets down]
Having gotten down, I would like to get back up now.
How long must one stay down to claim that they have "gotten down"?
Nerdy: I'd imagine at least three minutes--i.e. the standard length of a pop song.
His Sinfulness: Ah. So technically, I have not gotten down officially.
Nerdy: Perhaps not to your full capabilities of getting down, as it were.
His Sinfulness: So to speak.
Nerdy: One might even say that you are not, in fact, down.
His Sinfulness: But what if you specialize in a compressed form of getting down?
Nerdy: That may work, but only if the specialization does not eventually constitute it's own movement and breaks away from "getting down."
His Sinfulness: I see. A schism within the "getting down" community is to be avoided. At all costs.
Nerdy: Perhaps not avoided, simply observed and tracked.
His Sinfulness: Oh - you have taken a softer line than my field operatives indicate the grass roots is feeling.
Nerdy: Well, if we avoid then we affect and that is not our job.
His Sinfulness: Not your job, maybe.
I will confess to having a certain agenda.
Nerdy: Blasphmey!
His Sinfulness: So be it! I blaspheme, if you consider speaking out for my people to be a crime.
Nerdy: Have you strayed too far from being the observer inside to simply being an insider?
His Sinfulness: Indeed. I have become the very essence of "getting down".
Nerdy: [gasp] How could you lose your objectivity? You're tainted!
His Sinfulness: There - I said it! And it feels good!
That was so worth losing my funding over...

Grad School Angst

Let me tell you right up front; this is not the fucking time to put up some positive, optimistic comment all filled with sunshine and kittens... Stop yourself before you start.

So I'm having a drink with a prof from the Creative Writing Program last night, and he mentions, in passing, that there are about ninety applicants to the MFA program. I just about spilled vodka martini all over myself - there are over ninety applicants for nine spots in the program?! As if that wasn't enough, this prof goes on to mention that there are only two teaching assistanships available. One of those assistanships (or a comparably paid internship) is just about the only way I can justify going to grad school, from a financial perspective. (It has occurred to me that there really is no justification for grad school, but I digress...)

Naturally, I am terrified by this. My GRE scores, while acceptable, are certainly not the best out there. My GPA, while pretty good, is not a 4.0. I felt like my writing sample was diverse and interesting, but who fucking knows what they really want to see? I am, once again, dangling in the wind while some tenure-encrusted byzantine engine of academia decides my fate.

I know I should use this as an opportunity to practice patience.

I know that I should probably have greater faith in my creativity.

I know that whatever the outcome, there's some greater reason for it.

Fuck that.

Fuck that noise right in the ear. I don't want to be patient - I want to know what the fuck is going on, and I want to know right fucking now. At the moment, I would be more than happy to go off, get my mitts bloody, and drag some people behind the Popemobile until I get some answers...

Of course, I won't do that. I'm not that insane.

Not yet, anyway.

Happy Valentines Day...

I would like this for Valentine's Day.

But since Denise Richards is not available, I decided to just cover myself and much of my kitchen in melted chocolate instead.

I began with 16 ounces of chopped chocolate...

roasted and chopped hazelnuts...

heavy cream...

and a bit of liquer to relaxe both the mixture and the cook.

Once the cream boils, you stir it into the chocolate until it melts.

mmmmmm....molten chocolate....

The mixture is then chilled until it becomes just the right consistency for making roughly spherical blobs. Making said blobs is harder than it sounds. It's an arcane process that requires two spoons, a spatula, wax paper, a live chicken, candles made from the fat of unchristened babies, and the menstrual blood of a virgin. Luckily, I had that all on hand...

making blobs...

Once the blobs have chilled some more, they are dredged in the chopped hazelnuts.

Then arranged to my anal-retentive satisfaction on a cookie sheet in the fridge.

The PGFs and my coworkers will be enjoying them today... all in the name of love.

Don't forget - there is a poetry slam tonight too... see below.

I've had the Blues, the Reds and the Pinks...

This hit the Black Vatican emailbag late last week...

"Dear Slamsters,

You are once again cordially invited to come and move your groove, show your flow, grieve, deceive, & wear your broken heart on your sleeve at:


The V-Day Poetry Slam

Wednesday, Feb 14, 8 PM @ Coal Creek Coffee

Bring three poems to compete. Or, just bring something to read at the non-threatening, all-about-the-love open mike before the slam.

All themes are welcome, but you know you've been waiting for just the right opportunity to read that poem you wrote about the dewy-eyed emo kid you took home after the last slam, the one who left tearstains on your pillow and streaks of mascara in your sink and trackmarks across your heart. Because, you know, they probably wrote one about you, too, and if they had the last word, it just wouldn't be right.

Also bring friends. We need them. They might be our next girlfriends. Boyfriends. Whatever."

I will be there to compete, as will Squid, and I'd like to invite all of the local Flock - you don't have to read, just come to cheer, or maybe help with judging. I know it's Valentine's Day and you all have hot plans with your honey, but look at it this way... if you bring your lover to the slam, he or she will hear all the bitter, lonely, needy, and emotionally damaged poets vent about how crappy their love lives are... you'll look like a real catch by comparison!

Hope to see you there.

p.s. If you don't get the title reference, you need to brush up on your 80s pop knowledge...

Settle a Dispute for Me...

While talking to Raksha recently, I was telling her about the joys of kimchi. Despite the fact that it is fermented (i.e. rotting) cabbage, I love it. The fermentation is so intense that it usually has a warning label on the lid that says something like, "Contents under pressure - don't point this at your face when you open it or you'll die." I have heard stories of it exploding in the fridge too... you have to respect a vegetable that can fight back like that.

I try it any time I see it on a menu, and I buy whatever different brands make their way into our supermarkets (although I have recently discovered to my chagrin that some brands are not vegan). Because it is often rather spicy - sometimes, take-the-enamel-off-your-teeth kind of spicy - she said she would probably not like it, and I agreed.

Later on the conversation had moved from food to other topics, and then found its way back to food. Raksha mentioned that one of her favorite snacks is raw carrots dipped in mustard. Now I like mustard as much as the next guy, but I hate raw carrots, and the idea of dipping them in mustard just made it worse.

As I was teasing her about the odd combination, she reminded me that I like spicy, potentially explosive, rotting cabbage... which lead to the following bold statement on my part:

"I think more people would eat kimchi instead of raw carrots dipped in mustard."

So, to settle this, I ask the Flock. Would you prefer kimchi or carrots with mustard. Please respond in comments, and tell us why. Remember, this is for amusement purposes only; please, no wagering.

Midweek Pseudo-Sermon

Contrary what you might have heard, I did NOT try to kill Flynn. I also did NOT try to kill Big Gay Jim.

You see, enclosed court sports are dangerous. In handball, the ball is a 2.3 oz. sphere of dense rubber, 1 7/8" in diameter - pretty much the perfect size to lodge in your eye socket. The pros get it to move at upwards of 65mph, but I would guess that even hacks like us can hit a ball at 50+. Racquetballs are significantly lighter and less dense, but they also tend to travel at much higher speeds - some pros can generate triple digit velocities. Put two to four adults in a 20x20x40 room and then hit these objects around as hard as you can, and the hurting will ensue.

Each of us who play handball or racquetball routinely get hit with the ball, and ocassionally with racquets as well. Naturally, some hits are more spectacular than others...

There was the time that I hit Jim in the tit with a hard forehand drive; left a racquetball shapped mark for a week. He was just thankful that it missed his still-healing nipple piercings...

Then there was the time I caught Flynn with an underhand return of serve; pratically blinded him. It didn't help that the serve was dropping from the ceiling and I hit it really hard off the heel of my hand - from about 4 feet away. To his credit he got up and finished the set. Of course, he didn't hit a damn thing for the rest of the day - apparently being one-eyed really screws up your depth perception - but he demonstrated some real toughness there.

The day before yesterday I hit Jim with an almost identical shot, in the nose. Based on the slappy/crunchy sound it made, we were both pretty surprised that his nose was still attached, much less unbroken. He was ok, but it definitely scared both of us for a second.

Although the details are fuzzy, I recall Ben taking one in the throat while playing racquetball. I can't remember who hit it, but it was a strong forehand. Pretty alarming at the time, but he recovered fully.

As for throat hits, the one that Flynn took off the back wall has to be the worst I've seen. Especially since he hit it himself. A hard underhand at the back wall from about three feet - from the racquet to the wall to his own throat, almost instantaneously.

There was also the day when Gina hit me about 6 times in one set of racquetball. None of them were particularly hard hits, but I wanted to give her an honorable mention for persistence.

My most recent hit was during morning racquetball last week. I caught the follow-through of one of Ben's backhands just over my left eye. I'll admit, racquet hits are a little more scary. I thought for a second that I might be cut and bleeding from it, but it was just really stingy. Thank the gods I was wearing eye protection. Which brings us to our preachy bit for the day.


Only Brendon and I have been wearing them consistently (and I confess, Brendon was first to adopt them - I was convinced by his cool blue shades...). It is only a matter of time before this happens to one of us...

(Racquetball to the eye - broken orbital bones; can't look up)

This little photo gem came from the iMask site. The iMask is a face shield designed for racquet sports - more protective than simple goggles. Jim's nose, for instance, would have been spared, had he been wearing one. I decided to use this pic because it was the least disgusting one there. Click on their "Gallery of Horrors" link cautiously...

Go in Peace (to the sporting goods store!)

Palace Intrigue

A soliloquy from an as yet unwritten tragedy set in the Black Vatican...
(Actually, I just had to write a soliloquy for my poetry class - please don't try to make this match up with my life, the Iraq War, the latest episode of Torchwoood, etc.)

Upon the Coronation of His Sinfulness the Black Pope, a disgruntled acolyte (viewing the coronation from a high window) speaks:

Look ye now, upon this corrupted flesh
covered with the myriad sins of a life
lacking any singular difference
or mark of distinction worthy of note.
Even in glory his pallid features,
so devoid of merit, so dead common,
are lost to the memory soon as I turn
so that scarce can I set him apart from
other sinners of ordinary stripe -
and yet, he is set with lofty title
and ermine cope to laud his sin o'er us.
What makes his transgressions more infernal
or his soul more blackened than is my own?
Our hearts each burn with a rebellious core;
why is his flame fanned by public acclaim
while others of equal fervor are let
to grow dim in pale anonymity?
When sins are tallied, he is but one who
Kicks puppies and breaks the tails of kittens,
whilst I have tempted, lied, cheated and killed!
Where my ebon crown, my flaming sceptre?
Where my cadre of dark-eyed servant girls
to tend my robes and my earthly pleasures?
Instead, I slave in this scriptorium,
penning the words of that paltry sinner
and by my arts, making of them canon
with vined borders in gilt-edged quartos.
Turn then, poisoned pen, to the unmaking,
to sin darker, more damning to the soul,
than any to which this poseur could rise,
and sketch my hardest heart's desires in blood,
and make of them a gospel of despite!
I shall write him out of the Will of Man
until his birthright is but dust and ashes,
and his Mass naught but incoherent wails!
Twist his words and hang him high upon them
until his face purples and breath leaves him!
He will bow his laureled brow before me
to beg my clemency and I will strike
him like the serpent he pretends to be!

Failed Rant...

So, it's pretty damn cold here today. As I type this, is showing the current temperature to be -3, with a wind chill of -28. Last night we had a low of -13, with a -35 wind chill.

This is the kind of weather that kills, and every year it kills a little more of my soul. Man is not designed to live in these frigid wastes - we are made to crouch naked in the tall grasses at the edges of the savanna, clutching a pointed stick...

Eh. I can't even muster a good rant about it. It's just fucking cold and the new daylight lamp that my mom bought me for Christmas still hasn't arrived.

In news not directly related to the semi-habitable conditions here in the Siberia of the Americas, I forked out the $50 application fee yesterday for the Creative Writing MFA here at UW. Although I slightly resent paying $50 to a university just so they can tell me " thanks, we were looking for people with actual talent...", there is a certain lightness in my blackened, withered heart. It is something akin to the feeling of pale satisfaction you get when your tax return is done... you don't really like doing it, but you feel good about getting it in on time.

When I'm not huddled by a space heater, I plan to watch the Super Bowl as well. Since the Saints were eliminated I couldn't care less about the outcome, but we are going to gather at Flynn's house and watch the game on his freakishly large (like 130 inches or something) TV. It's an excellent opportunity to get together with friends, drink a bit, and watch them eat foods that I no longer allow myself. I think I will bring a big bag of salt and vinegar chips for myself. I love them - I have been very good in my dietary choices of late, but salt and vinegar potato chips are a vice I do not plan to give up. Despite being terrible for you in the fat category, they are made without any animal bits or secretions (although I hear they get the salt from the tears of angels; that's why they're so tasty).

Well, I think I'll just go stand over a heat vent and just let my kilt fill up. I encourage all members of the Flock to stay warm in your favorite way - and if you have a lover to do that with, I kind of hate you a bit right now...