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Everything posted by Bonkle

  1. 2/5 Remember the name and some posts but don't believe I've ever interacted with you
  2. Bonkle


    Last (and the first?) time I posted here in OTC, I felt I had an actually decent bit of writing to share. It's the same this time I guess, if you thought my last was okay you might like this; it's a sort of "meditation" in the same way that one was, with a similar theme. This spiraled out from the daily writing prompt "you are left a map in the will of someone you don't know" which I thought was pretty generic and edgy. * * * I knew Tom Schwarkoff the way one knows a President or an actor, through the mask they put on and only by a degree or two of separation. I didn’t know know him. But saying that I’d simply heard of him wasn’t right either. He was the protagonist in several narratives spun towards me from folks in town, and I’d seen him along the street the way you do with any old stranger. I can say with confidence he did not know me, and certainly didn’t know know me. Why I got the map from the will is beyond me. I had stopped by the funeral for a little while out of respect. It’s a small town, always will be. I got the call a couple of days later from some out-of-town court official who seemed just as confused as I was. She couldn’t tell me what the rest of the will was, but I would assume everything else went to family. The funeral proved he had one. I didn’t even know it was a map at first, just some cardboard tube with my symbolic name on it. I was apprehensive when I got it. Tom was known for his jokes and escapades, of all kinds. I couldn’t help but wonder if he might go a little too far when he was far enough himself he couldn’t get punished for it. A deadly snake passed on to some name picked from the phonebook? A last-call anthrax mail attack? I had no idea what to expect. Unfurling a tattered yellow bit of parchment was just as surprising as anything else. What was even more puzzling was that, after a little squinting at the faded ink, it wasn’t urging me on a globe-spanning trek for a buried relic. In fact it didn’t even seem to take me anywhere outside of town, for the most part. I left the thing open on the kitchen table, refusing to move it after I’d set it down. It had a power over me. I ate on the floor, or in another room. Anything to avoid disturbing the map that led nowhere I hadn’t been before. The little marks along the dotted trail belonged to places I knew. The map offered nothing, and everything. It promised significance where I could not possibly see any. And so one day, when I finally found the spare time and the courage, I approached the thing again, armed with a pad and pencil, and took down the locations, in the order they appeared from what seemed to me to be the starting point. On the one hand, carrying such a thing out on a dangerous, or familiar, journey, unsure of what laid ahead, sounded appropriate. On the other, I couldn’t bear to bring the gift from a dead stranger out in the wind, dust, and heat. I couldn’t budge my Excalibur. I set out on foot, carrying nothing but the sheet of paper folded in my pocket, and a half-filled and half-crushed bottle of water. I barely needed the list of places. I knew town. I knew home. One place led to another naturally. I was in no hurry, though. I stopped at each. Staring at the facade of each building as the wind licked at my hair and the sun razed my eyes. I tried to make sense of the order, the names, anything. It was hardly a point to say these may have been places he frequented. He lived here. Of course he knew these places, too. I never went in anywhere, it somehow just didn’t make sense. Didn’t feel right for what I was doing. I was supposed to look at these places like I was a traveler discovering a new land, wasn’t I? He knew I lived here, and yet he made it up as a map instead of the unceremonious method I’d used to recreate his work. Mysterious strangers aren’t welcome in places right away. The part I was playing, the degree of separation I was forcing on myself, like Tom had always had me at a disadvantage with, didn’t allow entrance. I’m not sure whether that made things more or less confusing. When I got to the last location I must say I was a little frustrated. It was just a tree, on the edge of town. It was a very nice tree, at least. One everyone knew about because of how big it was. People held little gatherings under its branches. It was not unusual to pass by a couple of cars parked under it, their drivers leaning against them with beer in hand. If you lived here, it was The Tree. Obviously I knew this was coming. I read the map. I made the list. It seemed just about the most trite way to end a walk through town. I thought something would have made sense along the walk that would have countered that notion. Nothing. I stared at the tree, thrashing in the wind, until my eyes watered from the dust and sun. And I thought about Tom, and the gregarious smile the old man wore, walking down the street, looking at no one and nothing in particular. The way people’s eyes lit up when they told a story about him, like he was Johnny Appleseed or Paul Bunyan. Some figure whose tale everyone knew already, but whose magic was in the telling alone. You could figure out a Tom exploit, even one you’d never heard before, by the first couple sentences. And you relished every word along the way. You’d think the man was a war hero from the way people talked about him, and all he ever did was have a little fun along the backroads of his life. My favorite was the one about the snake and the raccoon. Tom lived a little outside of town, in a quiet little neighborhood of older folks. Mostly women. One morning he got a call from a neighbor. She’d been having trouble with a raccoon that kept coming into her yard, harassing her cat. No matter what she tried, she couldn’t get rid of the thing. Broom handle. Sharp tone of voice. Some cat treats flung as hard as she could muster. Nothing worked. And now it was back again, and today it had scratched her poor old cat. Just after Tom hung up, saying he’d be glad to come over and take a look, he got another call, from a woman further down the other side of the street. She was a little worked up. Just a few minutes ago, she’d stepped out into her garage and was greeted with a loud hiss, which she soon matched with the large reptile gliding across the concrete towards her. She didn’t know what to do. Tom asked her to just reach her arm out her door real quick, and press the button to open the garage. That’s all. This is the part everyone loves, where Tom marches down the street at 7:00 in the morning in his bathrobe and slippers and promptly into the first lucky caller’s backyard. No one ever locked their gates out there. And then he marches right up to the raccoon, and just grabs it off the ground like it’s a misbehaving dog. Holds it tight to him as it writhes around. Nods to the woman and the poor old cat she’s clutching. And then he marches right back out, down the other way, past his own house again, up our second lucky caller’s driveway. The snake is out in the sun now, and it’s maybe five or six feet long. Certainly not garden variety. Tom just throws the raccoon at it. Not too hard, mind you. He knows animals can handle a little toss. They can land on their feet. And as soon as that thing does, it and the snake go at each other. You’d think they were a couple. They slash and hiss and snap and get all tangled up. For a moment there it looks like the raccoon’s got a really long tail. If this were a Looney Tunes bit, now is the part where they go up in a cloud of smoke while limbs and little stars come out at regular intervals. And just as fast as it started, it’s over. Snake makes a beeline for the bushes, raccoon darts up the road and out of the neighborhood. Tom marches back to his house, grabs the newspaper he missed on his way out, and sits back down with his coffee before the clock says 7:05. Neither combatant ever appeared on that street again. I stood there, rooted to my spot in front of the tree, trying to figure out what this meant. I turned things over in my mind in every way possible. I couldn’t find a connection between each location. The names of the stores didn’t each contribute their first letter to some obscene word. It was just some places everyone in town went to. Some quiet spots. Some nice things to look at. But nothing that stood out to anyone who lived here already, like me. Finally a particularly bad bout of dust kicked up and found its way to my eyes, and when blinking like my life depended on it, and then rubbing them with my hands didn’t work, I decided that was as good a time as any to head home. Another volley of sand found its way down my throat and as I hacked and my eyes ran I reached into my pocket, balled up the list and threw it into the wind. It slapped against my face before disappearing somewhere behind me. As soon as I got back I put my head under the kitchen faucet, swallowing gulps of cold water and letting it run into all the crevices of my face. When I’d had my fill I wanted to let the water drip off me, fed up, but then realized I needed another look at the map. So I dried off and then sat down at the kitchen table. I pored over every detail. I looked for faint writing I’d missed. A certain pattern to the letters, or the shape of the line drawn through town. The style of the marks at each location. Nothing. Was this the final joke, the final grand scheme? That there was nothing? That he’d gotten me to waste my time entirely because of his reputation alone? It wasn’t very funny. There had to be something here. The gnarled old thing taunted me. I wanted to crumple it like my knockoff version, but I knew I could never bring myself to do that. I let out a long-held breath and then slowly brought my hands to the paper, the way I might try to handle a raccoon. I had no idea what Tom’s laugh sounded like but I felt like it was ringing in the back of my skull. I finally grabbed the thing, and as a last-ditch effort held it up to the light from the window, as if he had somehow put a watermark into it. And while that was not the case, my efforts did prove to be very… illuminating. Brow furrowed, I gingerly turned the map over, revealing fully the words written on the back that I had glimpsed, in a faint, spidery hand. I set the paper back down this way. The words were barely legible, it seemed the pen had barely been pressed at all. That was no excuse, really. Somehow in my own obsession with understanding why I was so important to this machination, I hadn’t even seen the words on the back while unfolding the thing in the first place. I could just barely make out, after a few trials: “You who have heard me in the eyes of others will walk in my steps, and know what has been lost to presumption.” I stood up almost immediately after feeling certain in what words I’d read, and walked away. Again the map was left as it was for many days. It still taunted me whenever I passed through the kitchen. Before it had dared me to find an answer. Now it dared me to comprehend the one it had so graciously handed me. The words turned over in my mind constantly. I laid awake at night, wondering what cosmic secrets were just beyond my grasp. One day I even walked the path laid out on the map a second time, now ingrained in my skull, wondering if I was supposed to have read the words before I started. Finally I rolled the thing back up and put it back in its tube and shoved it away in a closet. I felt like the protagonist of some Gothic novel. I had to stop this before I was driven mad by some arcane force. I tried not to think about it. I watched TV, I devoured books. I spent time under The Tree with friends, to whom I never spoke a word of my plight. And then one night, when I was sitting in the lonely diner along the edge of town, no longer caring that it was one of Tom’s prescribed destinations, I drifted into the conversation happening at the booth behind mine. I dangled on words half-heard over the cacophony of pots and pans and plates clinking against tables, phrases pitted against the intoxicating smell of the soup waiting on the placemat in front of me, and the only sentence I heard fully was “I just realized, I’ve been looking around this whole time because I felt someone was missing. It was Tom,” and then the two of them laughed lightly and moved on from the interjection as everything fell into place. I ate quickly as if I were possessed, paid and tipped absentmindedly, Barely answered the waitress asking if I felt alright, and then headed out into the cool night air. In a way I had been right in my initial assessment. The joke was that there was no joke. The significance was that everything about the map and its destinations was utterly insignificant. I had been seeking to understand some missing facet of Tom as a central figure, a protagonist. His simplicity had soared ridiculously far over my head. I was picked from the phonebook, essentially. And Tom may as well have scribbled all over the map indiscriminately. What he needed me to understand was that everyone slots into the corner of a diner, set dressing for someone else’s evening. That sometimes the most important things in a person’s life are shared, things understood by anyone else at a glance. No one really is a titan or a force of nature. Uniqueness does not correlate to significance, nor the ordinary to meaningless flotsam and jetsam passing through our existence without a second thought. He wanted to remind me that distinct things are only recognized because of the indistinct. That no matter how we seem to anyone else, we all live our own lives in the silent little dark spot between lightning and thunder.
  3. Absolutely agreed, the reliance on licensed themes has completely changed design philosophy for the worse among other things. Stagnation is rampant in Lego's offerings at this point.
  4. Bonkle

    Knock knock

    Who's there? It's the man who doesn't know he has multiple personalities. What? That's a stupid joke. Who came up with that?
  5. Social Distortion - Story of My Life
  6. 1/5, never seen you before but the username and profile pic give an air of familiarity from days long past
  7. Bonkle


    That's a fair point, but to me, the appeal of the Bionicle story is how well put together it was despite being centered around toys. It never gets so good that you forget it's all to sell toys (except maybe towards the end with some of the serials, but then those aren't the best in terms of storyline always...) It's impressive what the writers did to make it feel real even though it does get a little thin at times. (Collect all the Krana because... it uh... stops the Bohrok. It just does. We totally don't want your money...) So for franchises like this, half the enjoyment I get from the story is being able to have physical representations of the characters, because again the story never gets so deep that it's totally self-sufficient. I can enjoy the exploits of the Toa while also knowing to some degree everything they do is driven by a need to sell toys, so if that's the case might as well have some of those toys. I cannot see a fiction-only Bionicle working that isn't incredibly edgy and self-important or one that doesn't completely lose all the charm that made the original so awesome. Similarly, very, very few of the sets would interest me at all without knowing the stories behind the characters. Brutaka may look cool but what really drives me to that set is his interesting character. This is a franchise that's co-dependent on toys and stories and I cannot see myself getting interested with just one or the other involved.
  8. Bonkle


    Gotta say, I LOVE G1's story but I can't make myself care if there are no sets involved.
  9. Taria Pakari... it means no worries for the rest of your days
  10. Bonkle writes a chapter after reading Faulkner; the formatting errors strike back
  11. VII. “Why do you hate Corvec Ma?” He stands before me across the void arms impatiently folded across his chest and there is silence for what feels like a very long time “I only ask because it’s something we have in common.” I strain and pull and feel like something is going to snap somewhere I’m not sure where and then I learn how to speak “I don’t.” “Oh come on, Halak. Don’t insult me by lying. Memories alone might not tell the story, but I know emotion. Passion. I’m a Toa of Fire. It’s written all over you: You’re physically aggressive, you belittle him every chance you get. You torture him with your feigned ignorance.” The void between us narrows and he seems to loom over me and he smiles a smile like the one Corvec did in Rar-Kor that infuriated me so much and he says “You hate him.” “What if I do?” “Then we might have just become the best of friends.” I am silent he sighs but does not look irritated “Do you have a dream, Halak?” “You’ve been digging around my head like there’s a prize at the bottom, right? Shouldn’t you know?” He chuckles “No. You see, that right there is why I don’t know. I can see your memories in your head, but while I’m here I have no idea of what you’re feeling. Each scene remains as insignificant as the last. For a Matoran, your mind has a remarkable spirit and resistance.” “Thanks. I’ll remember that next time I’m in this sort of situation.” A pause “Do you have a dream, Halak?” “Do you?” “I do. One I will share in exchange for yours.” Before anything the cold black empty is gone and we are in the desert Arhet still standing in front of me watching me intently arms still crossed The Matoran around us pay no mind Rar-Kor goes on like it should like it always does here “Why did you bring me here?” “I didn’t do anything,” he says “You took us here.” This is not what Rar-Kor looks like now This is Rar-Kor before the fall right before I can already hear the slinking and chittering of their segmented hideous deformed black bodies I don’t know if it’s in my head in my head or in my memory in my head I close my eyes but I can still see everything every detail I know exactly how it goes and then the screams start in my head and then they start again I fall on my knees my head is pounding I feel the sand and it feels real I hear something break and then we are back in the void and something is rumbling ringing off the wall Arhet is silent but he moves closer and then sits next to me A red dawn on a ruined tower Halak What I know you’re getting tired of hearing me say this I know Davik I don’t have to do this But you want to But I need to There are others What gives me the right to walk away Then a day in the sun empty white clouds above So what is it you want to do Halak What do you mean For the future We can’t all become carvers I don’t know You do Fine I guess I wouldn’t mind chronicling Really Yes I’d like to visit Jen’lan and learn from them and then go everywhere I can maybe someday I’ll be the first to get to the other side of the canyons Very interesting for someone who just said she doesn’t know Shut up you won’t be making fun when I come back from Qital or somewhere and you’re still playing with rocks Screaming and the rattling of segmented bodies Where’s the Toa They were killed remember But where is the last one I don’t know Why won’t he help us now Halak It’s okay Ryban you’re going to be okay don’t Halak Don’t leave me okay everyone is going to make it out fine Halak please I’ll get you help friend don’t move Don’t take your eyes off the inner light you Rare predator bird knifes silently through the sky overhead violently red You don’t owe anyone anything Who would I be if I left now Davik No less than who you are now And who is that Void it’s ringing in my ears again but there’s nothing on my eyelids now Arhet turns and looks at me “That was your dream? Seemed more like a recurring nightmare to me. I meant a ‘dream’ as in an aspiration, a goal…” My eyes flare with hatred I stare him down and don’t stop “I was going to leave. I was going to be a writer. I dared to dream without being one of destiny’s children who can afford to, who are supposed to. Someone like you. I stepped out of line and when tragedy came looking for Matoran like it always does, because it seems that’s all we’re good for, it wasn’t just another day in the life for me. It was punishment. I tried to be something more, and so loss became something more than just a fact of life. I found something to hold on to, and after the Westings came what could I do but let it go?” “And this is why you hate Corvec Ma?” "He left me as less than a footnote, another face in the crowd in the background of someone else’s tale- and then he just disappeared.” My voice quakes and the walls rumble again “Why did he get to give up?” A long silence Arhet watches me closely but I can’t bear to look at him He’s thinking of what to say next “For a Matoran, you’re surprisingly bright, so I’m not going to insult your intelligence and say that you and I are not so different. But I must say, parts of your story sound remarkably similar to my own. As does your burning question. Why did he get to give up?” “In case it wasn’t clear earlier, I’m not really interested in hearing about your dreams.” My voice is sharp and harsh and biting I am in control again “Well that’s just too bad, then, because I’m the one who decides when we ship out of here. Anything else you want to show me in the meantime?” “I already told you, I’m not showing you anything.” “But you already have, my friend. I can say, ‘show me your memory of the desert’,” we’re in the sand “or your house,” we’re there “but I cannot string together a cogent narrative while we’re like this. That wonderful, if sloppy, presentation was all you.” I say nothing He stands “Come on, say something. I can tell you’re not a big fan of my work. But you have to admit, it felt good to tell, or show, someone all that, didn’t it?” I say nothing but I know he’s right this time “Okay. Captive audience, that’s fine. I will say, though, I truly did appreciate you sharing that with me, even if it was on some subconscious level. You’re about the closest thing I have to a friend, my friend,” and his voice is somber and I know deep down he is being honest right now “I apologize, was that strange of me? We’ve only just met. But I feel like I know you so well.” I strain against myself trying anything I can imagine to break out of this and wake up in the cave so I don’t have to hear him prattle on any longer I begin to miss Corvec’s stoic silence Nothing I get back on my feet “Hurry up and tell me your story, then.” He claps his hands together “Oh, I’ve been waiting for a chance like this. Corvec wasn’t particularly willing to listen.” “I thought you said the Matoran you’ve corrupted were listeners enough.” This time it’s him that meets my gaze and there is again a deep genuine sorrow in his eyes that baffles and frightens me “Do me a favor,” he says “Imagine, if you will, a pot of water.” I blink and then almost involuntarily before us in the void is a clay pot red and brown like the walls of the canyons it is simple no more than a hollow cylinder with a hole at one end the water line near the top “A little more simple than I was thinking myself, but it works.” I scoff and stare at it “This part I’ll do for you,” he says and the water rises until the pot overflows, spilling its contents down the sides He looks at me expectantly I throw my hands up in frustration “Okay, you win. I don’t understand your brilliant tale.” “I’m the water,” he says it like that should make sense to me and it just irritates me more “...Okay. Then what’s the pot?” “I am.” I kick it over and it shatters and the fragments disappear the breaking sound echoing “Rather, what you see before you is the pot. Inside I am the water.” “Just get to the point before I imagine a hammer to hit you with.” “Fair enough. I was simply trying to illustrate that every vessel has its limit.” “And?” “And I have found a way to reach mine. Or, I suppose I’ve been gifted with the knowledge.” “To what end?” “You mentioned destiny when explaining your distaste for life, Halak. I believe in destiny too, and that we all have one. Why are we here if not to fulfill some purpose laid out for us? The notion of providence is too compelling for me to believe the world is governed by blind chance.” “Am I supposed to clap? There’s only one person I know who doesn’t seem to believe in fate, and you just talked to him.” “Yes, that’s alright. But how would you define fate? You seemed to characterize it as vengeful, or spiteful.” “...I don’t know. It’s the driving force behind our lives. Sets us on a path we can’t break from.” “But it is simply a force acting on the universe? If I were to set the empty pot out in the rain, what is its fate?” “To fill, and eventually overflow. That’s your master plan? To stand out in the rain once you leave the desert?” “No! Because I think you’re wrong here. Without intelligent design, fate is just a fancy word for organized and highly predictable forms of chaos, and if so there’s no point in making a distinction anyways. True fate has an author.” He is pacing now, gesticulating wildly “So you’re saying that beyond any sort of deity that might affect our lives through action like any normal person can, just on a bigger scale, there is a being whose will is implicitly carried out through us.” “Yes! Why does someone set a pot out in the rain, or fill it with water at a river? They have a use in mind for it. We are all destiny’s vessels, set on a path that will fill us with knowledge and experience appropriate to fulfill whatever is required of us.” I let this settle for a moment “And what does this have to do with anything?” “Halak, what are you if not a sum of your memories and experiences? You would still be a Matoran named Halak, but that is nebulous and pedantic. A pot filled twice contains different water, with different flavor and trace elements however subtle or noticeable, each time. Your body is the inconsequential element with regard to who you are.” “Get to the point and get out of my head.” “To put it simply, I want out of here. Of this world. I am sick of the noise, the smell, especially the people. It’s nauseating, overpowers and dulls the senses. There is nothing here for me.” His face and tone darken in an instant “I intended to make myself useless to destiny. I will assimilate every single consciousness in this world into my own if that’s what it takes for this vessel to overflow. I will find the total sum of knowledge and experience in this world, and when I try to go beyond, there will be no choice but for me to spill over, out of this body and beyond this plane. I will pool on the ground fate treads. It will not pour me back in the river of being when it’s done with me.” Ears ringing again and I feel something I haven’t felt in a long time disgust not like the disdainful contempt I have for Corvec but utter revulsion that masks something deeper a primal fear that doesn’t understand how something like this could ever exist I try to shrug it off “Then that’s why all the Matoran acting strangely are mutilated in some way? A connection to your Westing grafts?” “Yes! Once again Halak you set yourself apart from the rest. I’m sorry to say I found no reason to be gentle in my operations. Small minds yield small thoughts and little experience, hardly goods worth handling with care. Beyond a certain threshold, I even stopped learning new things from them. But I have to be thorough! Wouldn’t want to miss something important!” He chuckles like we’re talking about the weather Walls rumbling now I am shaking too “Why only some of the Matoran, then? Why not take the whole city while you’re at it?” He gives me an incredulous and patronizing look “You think I have no plans to? I simply started with the ones who welcomed it, who had nothing left to live for in this broken place.” “And then?” “Do you think the sum of all experience is to be found only in this wasteland?” I follow up on my earlier promise He was so kind to make me aware I can just think things up There is a hammer in my hand before I know it I aim for his face But he grows and grows until he towers over me Again I see the sorrowful tinge in his features “Hate to say it, but that was stupid, my friend. You may know yourself better than I do, but I know my way around a head.” “What does any of this have to do with Corvec?!” I growl seeking an end to this torture He returns to his normal height “I hate him because I cannot understand him. Your hatred of him is personal, justified, but offers no answers. No Matoran’s mind has given me anything more about him than the basics that set me on his trail in the first place. I hate him because he is a zero sum that refuses to cancel. He is waterlogged with despair, saturated with cynicism and defeat inside and out. He persists when there is no reason to. I have plumbed the depths of his mind and found nothing. His experiences are nothing new to me. I need him because I must know why he is still here.” I think about the pain I saw in his eyes and what he said through Ratuk My head is throbbing and I’m shaking in a violent rage I muster all the venom I can and then in a tone that scares me I say “He’s you.” He falters for a half second and then I dreamed a dream I won’t pretend it was special but it was mine We wake up in the cave, recoiling from each other and gasping for air. Corvec’s mask clatters to the floor. Review Topic
  12. Bionicle is gone, Minions have arrived, pretty sure that's two of the three signals of the LEGO apocalypse.
  13. 1/5, metal really isn't my thing especially that kind of brooding stuff. I can respect it's apparently based on a true story though (although I believe the lyrics of that would break the site rules, lol...)
  14. Bonkle

    Dino Attack

    A long time ago I got it into my head that Dino Attack is just the Lego embodiment of one of those light gun arcade cabinets from the late 90's and early 00's and it keeps coming to the front of my mind every few months, share this post with 5 friends or you will be cursed with this knowledge as well and condemned to buy only the lame European Dino 2010 versions
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