Saturday, September 24, 2011

"If you're telling me how great Transformers is… the fact of the matter is, it's horrible. It's almost unfathomably horrible. You see it—it expands your brain, how terrible it is."

Jesse Thorn, America's Radio Sweetheart

So, 13 miles is as many miles as someone should run, in my opinion. Now, 26 miles—at 26 miles, I think you're no longer an athlete, you're just kind of willful. At 26 miles, it starts to turn for me, where I don't like people running marathons. I'm not ready to oppose it, but I don't like it. … Half-marathon is a number of miles where, at the end of it, you're exhausted, and you feel like you've run too far, but you're not thinking that you're gonna die. It's not a distance that people were designed to run, and so the whole point of it is to prove that you are better than God. … Now, an ultra-marathon runner will run for 36 hours straight. And, to me, there comes a point where you're no longer participating in a sport, you're just taunting God. It's no longer about any kind of athletic achievement—it's no longer about stretching your body or making yourself the ultimate expression of your body, it's about telling your body, "Hey, fuck you. Look what I'm gonna do." … One of the top ultra-marathoners had written a book about ultra-marathoning, and they pitched this book to me, and I said, "No, sir. I'm not participating in this. I'm not encouraging this. It's wrong." To me, a marathon is kind of distasteful, and I don't like it; ultra-marathon is simply wrong.

—Jesse Thorn, America's Radio Sweetheart

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Dream Archive 11: "The Secret of Chronos"

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Dreamed I was reading a Lovecraft story called “The Secret of Chronos” to my dad and my brother. I was reading it out of a huge Tales of Lovecraft omnibus that I had bought two months earlier. Apparently, in the 1920s, artists would make paintings of scenes from popular stories and publish them as little sticky trading cards. I had found some of these, and had pasted them into the book on various pages.

The Secret of Chronos” was the one story in the volume that someone had turned into an elaborate pop-up book. The title page showed a great dark mansion with tentacles coming out of the doors and windows, and cultists running around worshipping things. The story was about a professor of arcane knowledge who was teaching his students about the Mysteries of the Deep. He described the time when Gojira had emerged from the sea, but said Gojira was actually a rather small specimen. There was a black-and-white pop-up picture of Gojira swimming the ocean. Then he described the legends of the Kraken, and there was a picture of the Kraken that looked far more sinister than usual. Finally, he told his students about the island of Chronos, which was hidden from men, but which they could find if they used the right charts and outwitted the cultists trying to protect it.

At the point where they found the island, my dad, my brother, and I found ourselves transported there through a quirk of dream logic. The island turned out to be off the southern coast of Manhattan, and it was bizarrely decorated to resemble someone's whimsical conception of a Greek island. There were little plastic temples everywhere, and fish ponds, and stone benches, and life-size plastic statues of gods and goddesses, and carefully-trimmed hedges, and well-tended patches of grass and gravel. In the center of the long promenade that ran down the middle of the island, there was a reflecting pool with a tower rising out of it.

As the story came to a close, the professor and his students found some discarded masks, gloves, and cloaks in one of the service tunnels beneath the island. Apparently, the cultists had tricked them into coming there, and then fled. This was the end of the professor's narrative, and the end of the pop-up book, but there was a folded letter pasted into the book on the last page, Griffin-and-Sabine-style. The letter was from one of the professor's students, and it detailed what really happened on Chronos after they found the discarded clothes. The tower in the center of the island began to rise into the air, and it became clear that the tower was only an unlit torch, and that the torch was being held by a colossal hand, which continued to rise into the air until the creature's entire body was revealed!