A page a day, day twelve: Telekinesis!

What super powers would you have and why? Part 2.

#2) Telekinesis. This is a long time fan favorite and one of those powers that can translate into so many others. The movie “Chronicle” was an excellent example of this. All of the things the characters did in Chronicle could be attributed to the super power Telekinesis.

A woman levitating a pen between her hands.

It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you’re avoiding having to do your homework.

DC did a reboot of the Superman mythos back in the nineties. Most of it was terrible, but one of the few good ideas they had was to rewrite Superman’s powers with a new Superboy who’s entire group of powers was based on telekinesis. His invulnerability was based on a telekinetic field that shielded him from harm, his ability to move things gave him flight and the illusion of super strength.

He had some unique tricks as well. For one thing, he didn’t actually have to grip anything to move it, he just had to touch it with a finger. Which solved an age old geek argument of how Superman could possibly life an entire ocean liner with just his hands. All that weight balanced on one point would punch a hole through the hull. He wouldn’t life the ship, he’d just end up sinking it. Superboy didn’t even need to be beneath the ship to move it. He could make it fly while he was standing on it.

Superboy could also cause things to explode by exerting his telekinesis from a point inside the target and pushing outward, ripping it apart. He didn’t even need to land a punch, just a finger.

I  can’t remember if he had any of the other Superman powers, though, like heat vision, super speed, or super senses.

But, honestly, who wouldn’t want to be able to move things with a simple thought? To be able to pick things up from far away and fling them around? With enough strength you could move a car. With enough finesse you could pick a lock. With even more finesse you could, potentially, strip apart atoms.

Again, though, it would only be truly useful if nobody knew you were capable of doing it. So long as the power itself remained invisible you could manipulate things in secret. Instead of winning at poker, you’d be winning at roulette. Push the little white ball into the position you want it to go to. Or you could manipulate the lottery, make sure the “random” balls came out with the numbers you needed. Of course, just like winning at poker, if you do it too much you’ll draw attention, and naturally you’d want to avoid that.

The downside of people finding out is, again, the risk of being used. Governments would dedicate entire divisions to your capture in the hopes of reproducing your ability in their soldiers. You’d never be safe. If they couldn’t figure out how it worked by working with you, they’d most likely decide to just dissect you.

Back when we used to play Champions we would try to create or define powers in new and interesting ways. The game rules only defined the overall result. The special effects were left up to us to define. We once defined a character’s telekinetic ability as being able to manipulate the air around an object to lift it. If he wasn’t in an environment with air (like in space, or underwater) his power wouldn’t work. A popular variation of this in comics is to define the telekinesis as a form of magnetism, a la Magneto and Cosmic Kid. But if the target wasn’t made of a ferrous material, your telekinesis wouldn’t work at all.

One time a roommate of mine, Brian, managed to define telekinesis in a whole new manner. While sitting at dinner I asked him to pass me the teapot. He looked at the teapot with an expression of intense concentration. I asked him again. He kept looking. After I asked him a third time another friend, fed up with the exchange, reached across the table and moved the teapot over to me.

“There,” Brian said, “I moved it with the power of my mind.”

“No you didn’t.” I said

He raised an eyebrow. “Did you see me touch it?”

“No.”

“And yet… there it is.”

I had to concede. His version of telekinesis was to get others to do the work for him. And he used it often.

A page a day, day nine

Not even into the double digits and I already almost forgot to write an entry. Luckily I remembered just in time. I blame the daylight savings time change. It has truly fucked up my day.

“Three hundred words a day” or “How I managed to procrastinate vacuuming my floors for another day.”

The secret to productivity, I’ve been told, is to rotate your avoidance techniques. Find something you’d rather not be doing and start doing it. Before you know it you’ll find yourself inspired to do that task you were previously avoiding.

For me that ultimate unwanted task is vacuuming. Well, the other one would be dusting, but if I start dusting I have to finish because I can’t leave a set of shelves half dusted. It just highlights how much dust there is. And in my home there is a lot of dust.

My boss commented on that the other day. “Man, your desk is the dustiest in the building, and you’re not even in the warehouse.”

“Yeah, that’s because it’s talc.”

“Talc?”

“Yeah… when you’re a big, sweaty guy stuck sitting at a desk all day the only way to avoid getting jock itch is to make sure you’re using talc.”

I have the super-power of being able to kill any conversation, and often in the most awkward way possible. A few Christmases ago a friend invited me over for a small Christmas dinner, just six or seven of us. His mother attempted to engage me in conversation. Typical tactic: ask about their family. Gives them a chance to let you know where they’re from and you can build from there. At the very least you’ll have a few topics of conversation.

“So, tell me, what does your mother do?”

“Nothing, she died in ‘93.”

“Oh, I’m so sorry. Well then, what does your father do?”

“I don’t know, I’ve never met him.”

She avoided me the rest of the entire evening.

Then there was the day before my brother in law’s wedding. We were learning a lot about the Mormon religion that we weren’t aware of before. I, of course, asked the one question everyone else knew better to avoid.

“Do Mormons allow for divorce?”

I never did get an answer. Everybody kind of started looking everywhere else.

A page a day, day five

I had some all beef wieners for supper yesterday and I swear they must have been 30% MSG because they made me Loopy as hell. I might as well have been chugging mead, except I think the mead might have tasted better. I was so dizzy that if I tilted my head to the side, even for a little bit, I damn near fell out of my chair. The only difference between that and being actually drunk is that my judgement didn’t seem to be impaired. If someone had suggest my driving somewhere I definitely would have said I was in no shape for it.

More than 12 hours later and I can still feel a slight dizziness, and every time I burp I can still taste them. I’ve already eaten breakfast, orange juice and toast with peanut butter, but it’s only the wieners I can taste. There were a few left over but I think I’m going to throw them out. Evidently these things aren’t actually food. If they’re still undigested now I worry about how I’m supposed to get them out of my system. Vomiting is starting to sound like an option.

Actually, I don’t feel ill, other than the queasy thought of why I can still taste them, but I’m definitely going to note those wieners as being “not good for me”. I’m not actually sensitive to MSG, unlike some people I know. I’ve never really had much of a reaction so I’ve never bothered to check. I think I’d better start checking now. I could feel the threat of a massive headache building but managed to forestall it with some Advil.

Okay, we’ve had lunch now and I think I may have gotten rid of the wiener taste.

The boss took us out for lunch so we could have a bit of a meeting. On our way out we had the usual random conversation but one slightly more innocent member of our crew was quite dismayed to find us all talking about the burning of witches in Papua New Guinea.

“Wait, what? How do we suddenly find ourselves talking about burning witches?”

“It’s your fault,” I said, “you brought up how much you love waffles.”

We worked it backwards until we mapped out our entire conversation and all it’s turns. M mentioned how much she loved the french toast at Cora’s, the restaurant we were going to. That got us:

Talking about sweet foods and desserts and sugar rushes. We mentioned how different a sugar rush can be from one person to the next…

Which led me to talking about R’s reaction to sugar and how she spins up so hard she vibrates, and how the crash comes so low she practically passes out…

Which led to the discussion, since L also knows R, of how intense a lot of her approaches to life are, like how she has learned to face her fears by facing them… literally. Like swimming with sharks in the ocean when years ago the slightest hint of something alive in a lake would have her walking on water back to shore…

Which then led to a discussion of the show Mythbusters and the episode where they investigated the myth of the Smell of Fear by putting their hosts through some of their worst nightmares, like being locked in a small box with dozens of scorpions or snakes…

Which lead to talking about the episode they had on water torture, with the dripping water, and how they concluded that it definitely was torture…

To which we moved on to torture techniques and how this politician down in the states had claimed water-boarding wasn’t torture… until a radio station shamed him into trying it himself, administered by a marine corps drill Sergent… and how the politician didn’t last a minute before he recanted his former statements and declared that water-boarding was definitely torture…

Which reminded someone of the recent reports of witch burnings down in Papua New Guinea …

So, really, it all started with French Toast.

After lunch the conversation inevitably turned to carnivorous fungus that infected insects and compelled them into positions of ideal pollination… like in the branches over your head… before causing the insect to explode with millions of fresh spores…

Some conversations just can’t be avoided.

The decisions you have to make

I’ve had a visitor in my flat for the past week, my lovely companion and life coach Dianne has been in town getting some work done… literally. She has been doing contract work for a large consulting company over the past six months or so which affords her the marvelous opportunity and excuse to visit me on a more regular basis.

On the other hand, it also provides her with more opportunity to energetically rearrange my environment.

The latest adventure has involved her and I debating over curtains versus area rugs. We both agree my flat needs more fabric in it’s environment to reduce the amount of echo from the floors and doors. What we couldn’t agree on was which would work and/or work better. Her argument was for curtains. Mine was for area rugs.

We looked at area rugs. We looked at curtains. I conceded to curtains and we found a set that matched the linen in my bedroom so we decided we’d dress up my bedroom window first.

She asked me what kind of curtain rod I would like and my first choice was for a dark wood. She grabbed a six foot rod from a selection of dark red wood and I raised an eyebrow.

“What?”

“It’s a little long, isn’t it? My bedroom window isn’t that wide.”

“I’m sure it is. It’s a two paned window.”

“Two panes, yes, but I don’t think they’re that wide.”

Dianne moved over to a bin of metal curtain rods that were adjustable.

“Well, you could go for one of these. They’re black metal, and adjustable from 84 inches down to 56. You’d be guaranteed to get the right size.”

She then turned to me, wood curtain rod in one hand and metal one in the other.

“So… you can be right, or you can have wood.”

I blinked.

“You just defined marriage.”

I got wood, but it did turn out to be a bit long…

Things I wish I could say

Customer: “Where is my package!? Why haven’t you delivered it yet!?”

Yes, people actually ask this, as if we were personally responsible for the delivery of their order and simply haven’t been walking quite fast enough. We also get customers who, I kid you not, assume “next day delivery” actually means “this afternoon”.

I often daydream of the responses I would like to give:

“Well, sir, despite my best efforts I have yet to establish control of the postal system. I did try, though, just for you. I closed my eyes and thought really hard. Unfortunately all I managed was a fart and, while personally satisfying, it didn’t do much to speed up your package. Sorry about the smell.”

I’d like to … smoke a bowl

Bought myself an indulgence on Saturday. I went down to Epicure and purchased a fine bag of tobacco leaf. Two bags, actually. I bought my usual Royal Coachman, a good standard, and then I took a risk on an amusing name: “Bilbo’s Leaf”. As if that wasn’t enough I was also tempted by a jar labeled “Answer 42”.

I kid you not.

But then as I didn’t want my understanding of the Universe to be completely shattered I resisted the urge to smoke the answer to Life, The Universe, and Everything. My head’s already far too big as it is.

As I made my purchase I was distracted by the noise of battle and the unmistakable strains of movie soundtrack. I looked around but couldn’t quite place where it was coming from.

“Am I hearing… movie sounds?” I asked.

“Yep.”

Then I thought about it. Epicure is in a basement just two or three doors down from one of Calgary’s art house theaters, and it was mid afternoon.

“Ah,” I said, expounding on my sudden insight, “your shop must be right up against the theater.”

“Nope.” The very young proprietor nodded towards a gleaming sliding door at the back of the shop. It appeared to be made out of stainless steel and had the words “Private” emblazoned just beneath the electric eye glowing red and menacing at it’s top.

I looked back at him.

“Private party.”

“Ah.” I said. The shop played host to a large private theater in which a person was alowed to smoke, not something available in public anymore.

As I finished up the purchase the strains of muffled dialog blurred through the wall along with a gentle swell of dramatic music.

“I feel like I should know the film.” I said, trying to place the oddly familiar tone and music.

“Mortal Kombat.” The clerk said, handing me my bag and my receipt.

Some small part of my admiration for the private theater died right then. If you’re going to rent a private space to watch a movie specifically so you and your friends can smoke somewhere larger and presumeably more ornate than your common living room, wouldn’t you want something a little more… classy, to watch?

Like Lord of the Rings, complete with your own pipe of Bilbo’s Leaf.

The geeks, it seems, truly are old enough to be running the show.