Metatalktail Hour: SHALL WE PLAY A GAME? February 26, 2022 3:47 AM   Subscribe

💻 How about this?: Glance at your surroundings, and jot down 5 things you see around you. The next commenter spins a story, or a poem, or a joke, or a narration, or a news item or a screenplay or a help-wanted ad or a user manual or homework essay or video game concept or award acceptance speech or PhD thesis about / using those things, or uses them to describe what's happening in their own life.

We won't worry too much about everyone being totally in sync. If more than one person in a row notes 5 things, just pick one to make into a tale. If more than one person writes about the same 5 items, that's fine! Everyone can list 5 things as often as they'd like, and make up a narrative about anyone else's 5 as many times as they'd like. It might help to name the original 5 things poster, when you write up your scenario about their items, but again, not really a big issue if you don't. We're playing fast and loose here! We're rash, we're reckless, we're unrestrained! (Well, maybe a little restrained.)

OR just talk about what's up with you, without doing the game — that's groovy, too! (but no politics, pretty please!)
posted by taz (staff) to MetaFilter-Related at 3:47 AM (92 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

A laptop, a scale, two bicycle inner tubes, a bottle of sriracha and a Teasmade.
posted by Stoneshop at 3:54 AM on February 26


Responding to Stoneshop's 5 items, taz had to look up Teasmade. Thank goodness she had her trusty laptop! And two bicycle inner tubes! Why two bicycle inner tubes, you ask? Because if there were only one, the bicycle would have one flat tire!

(On a scale of 1 to 10, I'd say this story rates a 3, maybe a 4. Nothing a little sriracha can't fix up! Also, now I want a Teasmade.)
posted by taz (staff) at 4:24 AM on February 26 [2 favorites]


A flashlight, a permanent marker, a Q-tip, a cup of coffee, a tube of Italian hand cream called Cera di Cupra
posted by taz (staff) at 4:25 AM on February 26


A flashlight, a permanent marker, a Q-tip, a cup of coffee, a tube of Italian hand cream called Cera di Cupra

A list of things one should never insert into one's ear canal.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 5:28 AM on February 26 [12 favorites]


A pair of sharp tweezers, an expired debit card, a tube of mascara, a check for $200, a bottle of ibuprofen.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 5:30 AM on February 26 [1 favorite]


The children weren't very interested in the idea of visiting the Hall Of Old Things. After all, every one knew that nothing was good and reasonable in the Old Times.

The Home Office exhibit confirmed their expectations. An ancient plastic debit card (EXP 06/34) lay on the desk. A paper check for the tiny sum of 200 OldUSDollars hung in a frame on the wall. An utterly uninteresting display of unreason and badness.

They trudged listlessly through the Hall, stopping by the ablution solution dispenser to sanitize and eliminate. The last exhibit was a painfully bright and shiny room full of spigots and basins and countertops. The Grooming Room. Gleaming, talonlike tweezers. Pots and bottles and tins. Almost all of the bottles contained pills for making pain disappear. In the Old Times, people did not recognize the many good reasons for pain. Most astonishingly, there was a fascinating bristled instrument used for painting your eyelashes. Now this was interesting.

On the way out the museum guardbot scanned foreheads and unshackled hands. A small number of children who visit the Hall are weak in spirit and vulnerable to unreason, and it is good to have a system in place to guard against curious minds and hands.
posted by RobinofFrocksley at 6:14 AM on February 26 [19 favorites]


Antibiotics, my grandmother's beer stein, painted rocks, coffee, a collection of alarm clocks.
posted by champers at 6:27 AM on February 26


Antibiotics, my grandmother's beer stein, painted rocks, coffee, a collection of alarm clocks.

One day, after the transplant, my body will:
require antibiotics
not tolerate beer
appreciate the gift of painted rocks
still love coffee,
and
need a collection of alarm clocks to yell: "Take your antibiotics!!"
posted by manageyourexpectations at 6:42 AM on February 26 [4 favorites]


An empty eight ounce bottle of 19 Crimes red wine, a replica of the Pieta, a model of the Gothic house, a box of kleenex, and a pair of nail clippers.
posted by manageyourexpectations at 6:45 AM on February 26


Bluetooth speaker, hourglass, black cat, coffee cup, amazon box
posted by irish01 at 7:02 AM on February 26


Bodhran, manual typewriter, antique dress form, iPad, exercise ball.
posted by FencingGal at 7:13 AM on February 26 [1 favorite]


Bluetooth speaker, hourglass, black cat, coffee cup, amazon box

Wanted to buy: Bluetooth speaker, hourglass, coffee cup
Free: black cat, loves to play with Amazon boxes and . . . other things
posted by FencingGal at 7:37 AM on February 26 [2 favorites]


Space heater, blanket, tiny vase of flowers with a scrunchy on it, heap of bookmarks, box of masks.
posted by blueberry monster at 7:58 AM on February 26 [1 favorite]


Three juggling beanbags, a Lego typewriter, a bottle of Lubriderm, an antique sextant, and a banjo.

Good luck.
posted by bondcliff at 8:16 AM on February 26 [1 favorite]


An empty eight ounce bottle of 19 Crimes red wine, a replica of the Pieta, a model of the Gothic house, a box of kleenex, and a pair of nail clippers.
In the fifth year of making the model of the Gothic House, the nail clippers turned out to be the handiest tool in the drawer for trimming the matchsticks to size. A small pile of wine-wet kleenex showed that something else was needed to stain the flooring of the porch. This unfinished business, so many loose ends; from her niche above the clock, the Pieta looked down with unseeing compassionate eyes.
posted by BobTheScientist at 8:45 AM on February 26 [4 favorites]


Blue placemat, empty cereal bowl, almost empty coffee mug (Note: everyone needs a mug), banana peel, paperback book (Pachinko)
posted by kbar1 at 9:36 AM on February 26


blueberry monster: The girl marked the page of her book with a tiny flower, then used paper masks to cover her exposed face, hair, hands, and bare feet, in an attempt to stay warm. She lay scrunched under a heap of thin blankets in the corner of the cardboard box she called home. A space heater in need of electricity and a glass vase, useless but hopeful remnants from today’s dumpster dive, rested in the opposite corner.
posted by kbar1 at 10:00 AM on February 26 [5 favorites]


Blue placemat, empty cereal bowl, almost empty coffee mug (Note: everyone needs a mug), banana peel, paperback book (Pachinko)

She hadn't seen the banana peel, not until her foot made contact with it and she skidded, cartoon-style, across the floor of the kitchen. Her trajectory was abruptly interrupted by the edge of the breakfast table; the impact splashing cereal, milk and coffee all over the blue placemat and naturally, the outfit she'd so carefully selected for the day. She sighed, picked up the mug with the remaining coffee and headed to the sofa. Fuck it, she said. I think I'll just stay home and read.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 10:07 AM on February 26 [4 favorites]


Three juggling beanbags, a Lego typewriter, a bottle of Lubriderm, an antique sextant, and a banjo

Good luck.

That's what she said.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 10:10 AM on February 26 [1 favorite]


Bodhran, manual typewriter, antique dress form, iPad, exercise ball.

Modern meets antique

Making music by tapping on bodhran, typewriter and iPad, while sitting on a bouncing ball to an antique dress form (taking out the frustration of isolation in Covid era)
posted by SunPower at 11:52 AM on February 26 [1 favorite]


Tulips , books, coconut water, grocery bags, picture frames
posted by SunPower at 12:08 PM on February 26


She sipped her coconut water as she reviewed her craft books again. Surely there was a way to make picture frames for her pressed tulips out of grocery bags.
posted by probably not that Karen Blair at 12:49 PM on February 26 [4 favorites]


radio, candy, colored pencils, nail polish, binoculars
posted by probably not that Karen Blair at 12:54 PM on February 26


radio, candy, colored pencils, nail polish, binoculars

She didn't let herself spend the whole evening watching. She never started until 7:00 and she stopped promptly at 8:00, no matter what was happening over there. It felt important to have some limits. This was one of the nights when she found herself watching the clock. The instant it showed 7:00, she turned off the radio and picked up the binoculars for her first look. No one was in the room yet. She unwrapped a piece of candy and popped it in her mouth. Sometimes she did her nails while she was waiting. A bottle of Mint Candy Apple sat eagerly on the table next to the radio. But she wasn't in the mood. She kept thinking about what she had seen last night.

She took another chocolate, picked up a piece of paper, dumped out the colored pencils and started to draw. Another picture of her over there, in the room with them. Sometimes she drew herself as the mom, in place of Effie. Sometimes she was an aunt or a family friend. Tonight she made herself one of the kids, sitting at the table playing action figures with Sam. She drew Effie walking towards them with a plate of cookies. She kept stopping to pick up the binoculars but the room stayed empty. Could they have gone out? On a Tuesday night?
posted by Redstart at 2:27 PM on February 26 [9 favorites]


old phone with cracked screen, sweet chili pistachios, sharp scissors, ski pants, wicker basket
posted by Redstart at 2:30 PM on February 26


My life is so much more interesting when you write it, Redstart! What was I paying a therapist for?
posted by probably not that Karen Blair at 2:31 PM on February 26


A cat, cat claw trimmers, cat fur comb, a stapler, a new antibiotics prescription with just the first pill taken.
posted by fritley at 3:59 PM on February 26


Bandai Namco presents 1989's New Arcade Sensation: Fur Follies
Keep the cats away from your allergic kids, and off your desk.

This fast-paced side-scroller pits you against a flurry of furry felines intent on sharing their dander. Can you combat the cat-astrophe with your comb? Will waving your stapler save you from scattered office supplies? Do you have enough antibiotics to treat all the scratches? Or will you tame the claw trimmers before kitty strikes again? One to four players, in arcades near you.
posted by Hardcore Poser at 4:11 PM on February 26 [4 favorites]


Loose change in a pile, a stress ball in the shape of a tire, a mechanical timer, two portable hard drives, a heavy duty ice chipper.
posted by Hardcore Poser at 4:12 PM on February 26


Jesse was almost done collating when Mixter looked at him, yowled loudly, and immediately puked on the hardwood. Jesse had his priorities, and real estate wasn't #1. Salome drove while Jesse held Mix so he could see out -- kept the kitty calm and prevented motion sickness, though Jesse constantly worried they'd be in a car accident -- and they were at the emergency vet in 11.5 minutes.

Slight kitty fever, no diagnosis really, but a Baytril prescription just in case. Could it be a massive hairball blocking his GI tract? Something else? The emergency vet said he could do a bunch of tests, but it would cost over $700 and probably wouldn't make a difference over just bringing him to the regular cat vet tomorrow.

Why why WHY had he let Salome talk him into getting a long-haired cat? WHY??? Now he was totally in love, as he knew he would be, and he couldn't afford this kind of love -- the kind with massive vet bills. And he couldn't afford the pain if Mixter... because he was being _cheap_ and holding on to that $700 to, I don't know, pay rent or buy food. Jesse wanted to pray, but even if there were a God, that would be so transparently "oh you need me NOW do you?" that he figured God would just roll his or her eyes.

And if God cared about little fluffy kittens, then a plea from an ugly human would barely register over those sweet sweet eyes and tufty ears. Ach.

When they got home, Jesse took Mixter straight to the bedroom, watched him pee in the litter box (he was such a good kitten), and curled up around him on the comforter. He set an alarm on his phone, but it was hardly necessary, since he was awake all night, just in case something happened.
posted by amtho at 4:17 PM on February 26 [3 favorites]


Loose change in a pile, a stress ball in the shape of a tire, a mechanical timer, two portable hard drives, a heavy duty ice chipper.

Time was up, the tinny ringing told me. I grabbed the hard drives, stuffed them and the ice-chipper in my bag, grabbed the change, and gave my stress ball a good squeeze. It didn't work.
I left the apartment. The ice had frozen up my driveway, so I stopped to clear it off. I drove, carefully, to the last payphone remaining in the tri-state area. I couldn't risk any more modern form of communication. I put the coins in it to call my guy.
"I'm coming, I've got the info on two drives, can you decrypt it?"
"Yeah, yeah, just get here before i change my mind."
I drove for four hours, parked outside a run-down storage unit, knocked on the roll-up metal curtain.
It took him another four hours, but he did it.
I had the plain text of all the posts and comments made on Metafilter from 1999 until its demise during the third water wars in 2068. Within this data was the information to reverse climate change, cure Covid Ruotsalainen and reunite the Disjoint States of America.
Now I just had to read the whole thing, beginning to end.
It was going to be a long night.
posted by signal at 5:36 PM on February 26 [9 favorites]


An etching of a dog called 'nightmare'; a non-working television streaming dongle; a small sculpture of a goat; a multitool; a box of really good chocolate.
posted by signal at 5:42 PM on February 26


crackers, a tiny disco ball, a noisy heater, a small pile of feathers and a molting cockatiel
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 6:02 PM on February 26


Magnifying glass, broken necklace, empty paper, shadows, pen.
posted by Oyéah at 6:30 PM on February 26


A sticker from Glacier National Park, a print of Monet's Water Lilies, two heating pads, impression of a child's handprint from a kindergarten art project, and a photo of my Grandma Rose.
posted by a fish out of water at 6:44 PM on February 26


"Space heater, blanket, tiny vase of flowers with a scrunchy on it, heap of bookmarks, box of masks."

The heater in my space suit was starting to crackle along with the labored whirr. I would duck in and out of the ship's shadow as I worked, to even things out. It would be a while, maybe never before I was allowed back in. Workers breached sterility on a cargo of bioactives destined for a closed lab on Io, I am slow basting my isolation suit in the great, and I mean great outdoors.

I had brought the tiny vase of flowers to Lydia, just cut from the garden lab, only three bloomlets per bouquet, she was reading her favorite story after finishing her math, and I tied up her hair, in her ladybug scrunchy, sort of a small earth celebration, a farewell, as as Lydia would grow up on Io now, and I, would also be there, as of this morning all of that changed. I can see through the window of our quarters, the bright bookmarks are placed in a snowflake pattern on her desk, the blue sky and clouds of Earth on top, the Icelandic lava next, the beach sand under barely perceptible wavelets, and the ferns, and masks, someone has delivered Level 1 masks, and they are among her things.

Her head is drooping, she is ready for sleep. I will speak to her now as she falls asleep. This just like every other walk I take for work in space. She is crawling under her blanket now, "Lydia, I say. I followed your math lesson. You are so astute in your projections, and you tie things all together so well. Love you, sleep tite. See you tomorrow." "Mom, she says, "I love you so much, and I know about the lab. You will make it through. See you tomorrow."
posted by Oyéah at 6:53 PM on February 26 [3 favorites]


A pile of gizmos, scattered paraphernalia, a few stacked widgets, several boxes of impedimenta, and assorted junk.
posted by Greg_Ace at 6:56 PM on February 26

An etching of a dog called 'nightmare'; a non-working television streaming dongle; a small sculpture of a goat; a multitool; a box of really good chocolate.
Welcome, valued guest, to Hotel Baphomet at Station 38. Please take note of the following:

- The front desk is available 59 hours a day. Just say "call front desk" to the personal assistant. The microphone is located in the small sculpture of the goat located at the work station. It can be helpful to speak directly into it.

- In the event of emergency, isolation doors will close automatically and can only be opened by rescue personnel. Guests should shelter in place. In the event of an atmospheric disturbance in the room, the emergency oxygen panel located beside the door will automatically open. See page 12 for the appropriate use of oxygen masks.

- Television with several channels of specialty Hotel Marduk content is provided in all second, first, and executive class rooms. You are welcome to connect the television to your personal device. Please contact the front desk should you need additional connectors or if you experience any problems with the provided in-room connectors.

- The chocolates placed at the sleeping station and the bottled water which you can find in locker 5 near the toilet are complimentary. Additional items for purchase can be found in the refrigerated locker beside the door. Prices are labeled.

- For maintenance requests, please ask the personal assistant for "broken stuff." A small toolkit, bottle opener, corkscrew, multitoool, and utensil set are located in locker 3 beside the door.

- Please note that the hotel's dog, Nightmare, pictured below, is free to move throughout the hotel. You are welcome to let her into your room if you wish. She can be hostile to children and people with long hair.

- We hope you enjoy your stay. And we hope you will take advantage of our customized excursions and partner dining experiences which can be found on pages 13-240 of this book. Don't hesitate to contact us if we can help make your experience more enjoyable.
posted by eotvos at 7:24 PM on February 26 [4 favorites]


[The mention of an antique dress form, at least currently, is the only thing that convinces me I'm not currently living in the same home with FencingGal.]
posted by eotvos at 7:32 PM on February 26

Bodhran, manual typewriter, antique dress form, iPad, exercise ball.

"I haven't used the typewriter in 8 years," Sam thought as she applied the moving company sticker to its side. But, it was really cheap and fun and it worked, except for the sticky P and the caps lock that you had to lift up with a screwdriver to unlock. And the expensive ribbon that you can barely buy any more and the old ones now in box #17 are all dried out. Why did she keep it? Probably because keeping it was easier than deciding to do anything else. As usual.

Johnny's Bodhran was harder to explain. He didn't played it for more than two hours, combined, before she kicked him out and he left it behind. It was useless. Just like the stupid fucking bass guitar. But, going to the thrift store meant renting a car, and throwing it away seemed like a waste. And then there was the dress form and the excise ball, which she really intended to use one of these days. Maybe things would be different in Toronto. Maybe she'd actually do the fun things she always put off. Have hobbies. Friends.

Sam checked off box 18 on her ipad, filling in the label, "random stuff."

[I know the list has already been covered, and I hope that's not too horribly depressing a riff on the list. I don't mean to imply anything about the list itself or the person who wrote it. I'm thinking about myself and relationship to objects, including four of the same ones.]
posted by eotvos at 7:50 PM on February 26 [1 favorite]


A pile of gizmos, scattered paraphernalia, a few stacked widgets, several boxes of impedimenta, and assorted junk.

A spokesperson for the department said the origin of the fast-moving conflagration appears to have been a spark of joy.
posted by aws17576 at 7:59 PM on February 26 [4 favorites]


Can of coke zero, dyed red yarrow (dry), foggy deciduous forest, high beams, meditation candle
posted by firstdaffodils at 8:00 PM on February 26


A plastic polar bear figure, a chunk of unfinished knapped jade, a dragon fruit plant, a microphone, a fish-shaped cat toy.
posted by eotvos at 8:04 PM on February 26


... the origin of the fast-moving conflagration appears to have been a spark of joy.

Aaaaand the plan to fund my retirement via Ebay goes up in smoke.
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:18 PM on February 26

Magnifying glass, broken necklace, empty paper, shadows, pen.
He followed Jessica through the broken window, trying to place his hands on the folded newspaper the way she had in order not to cut himself. Nobody lived here any more. He knew that. They hadn't for years. But it still felt wrong, somehow, to enter another person's home. He had to still himself not to jump at the shadows that sped across the wall as she used the flashlight to explore the space. There was a desk, covered in dust and pigeon shit. A full ream of unused printer paper. A pen. The printer was on the floor and had clearly been thrown against the wall. The smell of urine and the burned mattress in the corner made it clear they weren't the first visitors. They climbed the creaking stairs to the second floor. The first room was decorated for a small child. On the shelf was a magnifying glass, a broken necklace, an small fish tank crusted with something flakey and beige, folded clothing. Posters of Disney princesses were tacked to the walls with spiderwebs hanging from them.

[This is really fun. I hope my dystopian contributions aren't ruining it for others.]
posted by eotvos at 8:26 PM on February 26 [4 favorites]


Budgie. Vacuum cleaner. Toothbrush. Washing machine. Human foot.

[and now I have that the Clash song stuck in my head]
posted by Zumbador at 8:33 PM on February 26


A Halloween plastic skull on a pedestal staring at me.
A spirit possessed wooden geisha doll.
A purloined stapler.
A 'candy cane' shaped tube full of bite sized Snickers.
A UV flashlight.
posted by zengargoyle at 9:12 PM on February 26 [1 favorite]


A plaster skull with medical grade glass eyeballs with a corona of bicycle spokes, a large polished slab of petrified wood, a pink Himalayan salt lamp, a Victorian tintype and a large plastic T-Rex. (photos available upon request)
posted by a humble nudibranch at 9:43 PM on February 26


Budgie. Vacuum cleaner.

Ooh. bad combo...
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:47 PM on February 26 [1 favorite]


crackers, a tiny disco ball, a noisy heater, a small pile of feathers and a molting cockatiel

Nick poked at the pile of gray and yellow feathers. “Why are they on the table and not the bird?”

“She’s molting.”

“Like the wicked witch?”

“No, molting. Her old feathers are falling out and she’s growing new ones.”

He stared at Tilly, who was pecking at her little disco ball, then sank into the armchair with a sigh and a frown.

“Do you want something to eat? I have bananas and crackers. No, wait, I ate the last banana. It’s just crackers.”

He shook his head. “How can you stand the noise?”

“The what?

“The noise!” He pointed to the heater.

“Sorry, I didn’t catch that, the heater’s making too much noise.” I laughed, but Nick didn’t. “I actually don’t even hear it anymore.”

“It doesn’t even work. It’s like fifty degrees in here.” He looked at me despondently. “This is terrible. I didn’t think it would be this awful. You don’t have any heat or any real food. Even your bird is all sad and molding.”

Molting. They’re supposed to molt. And I don’t live on crackers. I just only have crackers right at this moment. Why do you care anyway?”

“You know why.”
posted by Redstart at 9:50 PM on February 26 [4 favorites]


Fun! Pendleton blanket that is a topographic map of Mt. Rainier, small blank notebook with drawings of jars of pickles on the cover, tiny bottle of Cocoa Bomb Whiskey, pyritized ammonite, shop vac.
posted by centrifugal at 10:48 PM on February 26 [1 favorite]


plaster skull with medical grade glass eyeballs with a corona of bicycle spokes, a large polished slab of petrified wood, a pink Himalayan salt lamp, a Victorian tintype and a large plastic T-Rex


It had been 3 months since I last saw Holmes, the only word I recieved was from our old page Billy confirming his arrival from America. I took a hansom to Baker Street.

"My gracious, hello doctor,.."
"Hello Mrs Hudson, when he ah"
"Oh last Tuesday, came in with his travel bag and a Bakelite statue of a gargoyle, no Dino-saur..."

It was then that three shots rang, upon entering Holmes rooms, we found him seated by the fire place, Persian slipper emptry, examining would appeared to be a piece of shiny wood.

"MRS HUDSON, have you seen...this room"

Holmes Ieaned into the wood sheilding what appeared to be flaked cocaine, something Holmes had not done before.

"COME IN, IN DOCTOR, THANK YOU MRS. HUDSON..."

The Pink salts are by the gasogene"

"Surly Holmes, is that cocaine?

"NO-YES...this case Watson, it is driving me to...that tintype Watson, ring any bells?

Holmes put aside the gleamy wood and packed a Mercham.

"No, no who is it"

"Pascal C. Breicker jr. Canadian lumber Baron who was just provided me with a most unusual case involving the Swiss bicycle racer, one Louis Chevrolet and the electric carriage consortium. It seems our cyclist received this Skull...

"That's my skull Holmes"

"I assure you dear Watson, your skull was used in the Case of the missing Craw, no if you look closely..."

"Those are spokes, from the eye, like a..."

"... Corpusconia of Sports world Jappery"

"Holmes, those are my eyes"

posted by clavdivs at 10:49 PM on February 26 [4 favorites]


The Case of the Swiss Spokes.
posted by clavdivs at 10:53 PM on February 26 [3 favorites]


Admirable, my dear fellow!
posted by a humble nudibranch at 12:12 AM on February 27 [1 favorite]


Earlier: radio, candy, colored pencils, nail polish, binoculars
The Anagrammata Therapy Lunchbot whispers:
cold clannish Adrian oils nice lad by precious pool
posted by BobTheScientist at 12:30 AM on February 27 [2 favorites]


A Halloween plastic skull on a pedestal staring at me.
A spirit possessed wooden geisha doll.
A purloined stapler.
A 'candy cane' shaped tube full of bite sized Snickers.
A UV flashlight.


The geisha doll switched on the UV flashlight and confronted the skull on the pedestal. "You took his stapler?" she asked, with an expression of disapproval on her face. The skull said nothing, just grinned, his white face glowing an eerie purple in the florescent light. It was a rather guilty grin. The geisha doll sighed. "Well, I wouldn't eat any guacamole for a while, if I were you. You know how he is." The skull thought this wise advice, although to be honest he'd actually been eyeing the tube of mini Snickers as his next score. The geisha sensed an evil gleam in his empty eye sockets, and rightly guessed his intentions. "Your funeral," she said with a shrug.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 8:04 AM on February 27 [3 favorites]


A sleeping dog, bookshelves stuffed with books, mail, an empty coffee mug, and a pair of drum sticks.
posted by cooker girl at 9:43 AM on February 27 [2 favorites]


glued to social mediated war and otherwise impotent
among half-read stacks of books too tall to fit the warping shelves
(and unopened bills i should pay before long)
i try to tap out a wawako on the desk, the clatter
echoing back inept from the coffee deposits lining my empty mug

i am not a dog person, but that adoring animal's head on my leg
sleeping as i fret and fritter and scan liveccams a world away would be a comfort

probably there is time for another cup of joe
before i go see the cats kenneling at parents' place
and little lurk and mama returned.


what a charming idea, taz!

monitor, coffee cup, tobacco pouch, handkerchief, turtle souvenir from jacksonville
posted by 20 year lurk at 11:01 AM on February 27 [1 favorite]


Goldendoodle puppy, cranky black cat, several empty cans of monster energy drink, portable lithium 500W generator, kitchen scale.

Please don't harm the animals!
posted by cgg at 11:14 AM on February 27

monitor, coffee cup, tobacco pouch, handkerchief, turtle souvenir from jacksonville
She leaned forward to peer into the monitor, always looking for an advantage to be found among her competitors' surroundings. Zoom auctions were so much harder. You couldn't really see a person's body language, or even sync their facial expressions in time to understand exactly what they were reacting to. Her skills were all but useless.

Her primary opponent's office was dense with stuff. There was a coffee cup in the foreground. It had something written on it and a triangular symbol. It was hard to read. Maybe a charity donation reward? There was a tobacco pouch on the shelf. Was it for display, or use? The bead work was cool, but obviously contemporary. And it looked cheap. So he both smoked and went out of his way to buy indigenous-styled artifacts. Any way to use that? Not in this case.

The man blew his nose. A cloth handkerchief? Is that real lace? That was unusual. This guy wasn't just an agent. He was clearly a collector. Or a crackpot. What was the barely recognizable thing in the background? Some kind of tortoise figurine? More roadside "native artifacts" perhaps? But it didn't look like that. It was something you'd find in a museum gift store. But, what did caring about turtles have to do with the price he'd pay for a diplodocus skull? Even Sherlock Holmes couldn't have worked out a connection there. Except that he payed attention to objects. That wasn't exactly surprising. (She briefly cringed at her college nickname.) "Fuck it," she decided. "He's weird enough that I can't possibly predict what he'll do. We'll play it buy the book this time. Nice and slow."
posted by eotvos at 11:41 AM on February 27 [2 favorites]


The plastic Halloween skull has a destiny I hope. I want to throw a NUC or Pi in it and a few USB ports and create a Neuromancer like kiosk/ghost to leave to family once I'm gone as a sort of autobiography. Maybe even put in some speech recognition and output and a battery. Some GPT like thing as well. Let's turn on Uncle for story time. The whole idea just makes me chuckle. Hope I get around to it someday. It's still at the moment a good memento mori.

The geisha doll was a gift from a friend I never met. We were both in the ICU at the same time and then out, both playing down the real possibility of being dead the next day. I made it, she didn't. I like to think she's still in that geisha doll.

The stapler was "flip table rage quit, I'm taking the stapler", and a box of staples. Before that I made bespoke staples out of copper wire and a pair of needle nose pliers. Doubt the IRS noticed that my W2 was attatched with handmade copper staples.

Candy cane Snickers... I'm like 52 and my mother is like 80 something... still sends me Christmas boxes and a stocking. Gave up on trying to get her to stop.

UV flashlight... random cool thing to have.
posted by zengargoyle at 2:44 PM on February 27


Goldendoodle puppy, cranky black cat, several empty cans of monster energy drink, portable lithium 500W generator, kitchen scale.
Well, Shit.
The cat ran off the counter, along with the spoon and plate and the dish of char siu sauce.
The puppy freaked out and dove under the kitchen work table, where he didn't fit, and I could see he'd been at the appetizers and probably the plastic wrap as well.
I'm tired, despite downing a bunch of you-know-what. I'm not even supposed to drink that stuff, but this dinner party has got to go well.
Ok. We'll make chili pork noodles instead, with a cucumber side; even if the power goes out there's the generator, we'll do it tableside, that always wows 'em.
Get out the scale, start measuring out shrimp portions.
I thought I had retired?

Tape measure, coffee cup, gold eye shadow powder, pencil sharpener, stack of post-its.
posted by winesong at 3:40 PM on February 27 [2 favorites]


Tape measure, coffee cup, gold eye shadow powder, pencil sharpener, stack of post-its.

The stack of post-its teetered above me, reaching higher than the eye could follow. I sharpened my only weapon, the tape measure, with great difficulty as I only had a pencil sharpener, then, with a quick swallow of the gold eye shadow, hopped on the coffee cup and ascended to my final battle.
posted by signal at 5:35 PM on February 27 [1 favorite]


Fan, maneki-neko, fluffy pillow, spray alcohol, Opinel folding knife.
posted by signal at 5:47 PM on February 27

Three juggling beanbags, a Lego typewriter, a bottle of Lubriderm, an antique sextant, and a banjo.
Upon a chain, an old sextent,
while he juggled beanbags three.
'By thy skin so smooth and glittering eye,
Now wherefore stopp'st though me?

The bridegroom's doors are open wide,
And the banjo I will play;
The guests are met, the stage is set:
May'st hear the disarray.'

He holds him with his lovely, soft hand,
'There was a some Lego,' quoth he.
Hold off! You smell like Lubriderm!'
Eftsoons beanbags dropped he.

He holds him with his glittering eye—
The banjor player stood still,
And listened like a three year's child:
to the typewriter story he'd tell.
posted by eotvos at 5:59 PM on February 27 [2 favorites]


Budgie. Vacuum cleaner. Toothbrush. Washing machine. Human foot.


This Is Just To Say

I accidentally vacuumed
The budgie
That was in the cage
Which you were probably
Hoping to see again.

I tried cleaning
the head with
A toothbrush, used the
Washing machine for
The rags, I needed
To clean the splut
From my foot,

Forgive me, my sweet
Liife can be so cold.
posted by Oyéah at 6:11 PM on February 27 [5 favorites]


G̶r̶i̶g̶g̶s̶y̶ o̶n̶c̶e̶ a̶g̶a̶i̶n̶ l̶o̶s̶t̶ t̶h̶e̶
I WAS AT PARAPRAPH TWO: washing machine
posted by clavdivs at 6:16 PM on February 27 [1 favorite]


Fan, maneki-neko, fluffy pillow, spray alcohol, Opinel folding knife.

Fan
Maneki-neko
feath
ered's (
clipped/care
down
pillow
wi
so) Mist of
iso
propyl opine
Al knife tether
earth
air force reels
upon
posted by clavdivs at 6:43 PM on February 27 [1 favorite]


PARAPRAPH TWO: washing machine

Rated R. Coming soon to a theater near you!
posted by Greg_Ace at 7:49 PM on February 27 [2 favorites]

A sleeping dog, bookshelves stuffed with books, mail, an empty coffee mug, and a pair of drum sticks.
"Be a dear and refill this cup. There's hot coffee in the kitchen. Two lumps and cream. Oh, and see if the mail has come while you're downstairs," didn't sound like a challenge. After a wrong turn that took her into a library brimming with bookshelves stuffed with books, she found her way to the front door. There was mail, alright. A pile of it on the floor.

There was also very large, mean looking dog sleeping on the pile. Nobody told her there was a dog! Should she try to gently wake the dog and hope it would react kindly to a stranger in the house? She didn't know much about dogs, but that seemed risky. Should she go back upstairs and explain that there was mail but that she hadn't retrieved it because she was afraid of the old woman's beloved pet? That wasn't exactly the way she hoped things would go during the first fifteen minutes of her first day on the job.

She tiptoed up to the dog and very gently tried to slide the mail, one letter at a time, from beneath its hind legs. One. Two. Three letters. One to go. She stood up to approach from the other side and stumbled backwards into the cluttered hallway table. It rocked dangerously, but the lamp and the candy dish and the clay figurines and the wooden mask and the brightly painted souvenir drum all stayed in place. The dog didn't stir. She was safe!

She noticed sound of the rolling pair of drum sticks just as they reached the table's edge.
posted by eotvos at 8:08 PM on February 27 [2 favorites]


we
need
five
more
things
posted by clavdivs at 8:23 PM on February 27


five
more
things
you
have

Hail Eris!
posted by zengargoyle at 8:27 PM on February 27 [2 favorites]


A flute, an empty can of pumpkin puree, a suitcase, fairy lights, a guide to field epidemiology
posted by Comet Bug at 8:48 PM on February 27 [2 favorites]


Your
having
five
more
things

five
more
things having
yore

extrapolated version, sorry Taz.
-Dwarven Lock picks and tools
-ring of detect magic (69 charges)
-negate magic scroll (6) ((same scroll))
-short sword, rations, lighting in a pack
-a map to a huge corn flower blue sapphire.
posted by clavdivs at 8:49 PM on February 27


can a paper with shadows on it truly
be said to be empty? chew the pencap
and let the nib, ever so light, trace
an edge, a curve
not empty now
under the the magnifying glass
the riot of fibers wick the ink
in grasping tendrils curve
away from the line, slash back
links of a herringbone necklace
twisted beyond repair.
posted by 20 year lurk at 8:49 PM on February 27 [3 favorites]


an 8 port USB hub with flashing lights

covered with a doily

pot of black nail polish

a mini-bottle of White Flower oil

a disused key that fits no lock
posted by a humble nudibranch at 8:55 PM on February 27

Can of coke zero, dyed red yarrow (dry), foggy deciduous forest, high beams, meditation candle
"I hate the fucking forest, and I hate fog, and I these goddamn what-do-you-call-ems," Detective Fenster muttered.
"Prayer flags," Eugene said.
"Right. Those."
"Thank you again for coming so quickly."
Fenster grunted.

They entered through through the wooden gate and began hiking up the long winding path. Eugene fished in his pocket for a key and opened the door to the main building. Nothing had changed since the morning. In the entry, an artistic arrangement of local prickly elder branches and dyed red yarrow. A cheerful sign with a short list of rules with the conclusion, "assume good will." A shoe rack. Fenster glanced at the list and snorted quietly. Eugene pretended not to notice.

In the main room with its high beams, the meditation candles had all burned to the end. The one without a coaster had left a scorch mark on the table. A half-empty can of coke zero sat precipitously on the edge of a mat. Nothing else was out of place.

"You haven't touched anything?"
"No sir. I walked through it once this morning when nobody came to breakfast."
"That coke can seems weird."
"Not really, sir."
"If you say so. What do you think happened here. 38 people don't just disappear without a trace."
posted by eotvos at 9:05 PM on February 27 [3 favorites]

an 8 port USB hub with flashing lights, covered with a doily, pot of black nail polish, a mini-bottle of White Flower oil, a disused key that fits no lock
Flashing and flashing in the widening gyre
The hub-owner cannot see the LEDs;
Things fall to disuse; the key fits no lock.
Mere apathy is loosed upon the world,
The mini-bottle of White Flower oil is loosed, and everywhere
The nail polish is black, not red, nor brown;
Lights are covered by a doily, and they
Are always too bright and also too blue.

[I'm not entirely proud of how much I enjoy the old-timey poetry riffs. They feel like cheating. But, also, they're really fun, both to read and to write. This game is also really fun. Nice idea!]
posted by eotvos at 9:36 PM on February 27 [3 favorites]

A flute, an empty can of pumpkin puree, a suitcase, fairy lights, a guide to field epidemiology
[Warner Herzog voice]

“Understanding how the disease spread between wild dogs was a trying endeavor. We sat for many cloudy nights, seeing each other only dimly in our blind, occasionally playing vole calls on a special flute, in the hopes that a dog would investigate and take the bait. The scientists brought a suitcase of food, a dizzying array of caloric wealth. After carefully testing more cans than I wished to count, it was found that pumpkin purée would attract the dogs into the sampling tent. I will never forget the keening of the tranquilized dogs. It haunted the space, under the darkened eaves, the eerie fairy lights glimmering. But we had set out to follow the epidemiology field guide’s protocols, which demanded the absence of light, the darkness near absolute. I felt a kinship with the dogs in that night.”
posted by Callisto Prime at 9:57 PM on February 27 [8 favorites]


thing about a disused key that fits no lock is
to what use was it once put before being disused?
the pot holds the black nail polish
the vial contains the white flower oil
the doily, subverting expectations too, is atop the hub
festively diffusing the blinkenlights below and keeping dust
from collecting on the contacts in the unused ports.
each doing its thing, purpose and form (more or less).
the key remains mystery, cut for a lock that never was
idle now after what inconceivable use?
is it maybe some lost pythagorean tonality?
does it wind the alarm clock of cthulhu?
i shall lie awake wondering.
posted by 20 year lurk at 10:10 PM on February 27 [2 favorites]


OR just talk about what's up with you

I am safe, elsewhere and experiencing waves of shock knowing it is grief. My old home town of Lismore, NSW has been substantially destroyed today by floods that are expected to top 16m tonight, nearly 4m above the highest flood level since records began around 140 years ago. A whole suburb is submerged beneath the water, roofs unseen in the murk. Many friends will have lost houses and businesses, pets, possibly their lives we just don't know.

Brisbane to the north is also suffering extensive flooding and damage, and Grafton to the south is about to be inundated by a rain bomb. It too could lose its CBD underwater. This is climate change - sudden and devastating.

I am glad to have this place as somewhere to express myself outward, away from the directly traumatised.
posted by Thella at 12:19 AM on February 28 [5 favorites]


My heart goes out to you and your friends, Thella. I hope you are staying safe.
posted by Hardcore Poser at 2:53 AM on February 28 [1 favorite]


The only thing in my head when I read any of these item lists is: your kink is not my kink, but that's okay.
posted by Literaryhero at 6:26 AM on February 28


so much depends
upon

the red-dyed
yarrow

dampened by forest
fog

illuminated by bright
high beams and flickering candle

beside the coke
zero
posted by Redstart at 6:47 AM on February 28 [3 favorites]


beside the coke
Zero

I can't like this enough!
posted by Oyéah at 9:32 AM on February 28


Thella ♡♡♡♡
posted by Oyéah at 9:33 AM on February 28


Sympathy and best wishes, Thella.

Switching between heartbreaking things and fun things is hard. But, so is life. In case anyone wants more things to riff on, here's a weird office five: a Teacher In Space (Christa McAuliffe) commemorative mug, dead batteries, an Ace 102 Standard stapler, a hot glue gun with no glue sticks, a stack of new terra cotta pots for plants.
posted by eotvos at 10:50 AM on February 28


[This thread makes me realize just how weird all the random stuff I live and work among actually is. And how different some of yours are. I can't begin to explain why I keep a plastic polar bear figurine that cost $2 at a zoo in view and also keep some genuinely historic and interesting artifacts (e.g., an original "I've seen the future" pin from the 1939 world's fair) hidden away in drawers. It's really quite random.]
posted by eotvos at 11:02 AM on February 28 [1 favorite]


It was really interesting trying to reverse engineer a plausible story out of artifacts! I have no idea what anyone will do with mine. Much more boring than a field epi guide, but:

Dental floss, fountain pen, hot chocolate powder, Brillo pads, a board game
posted by Callisto Prime at 1:14 PM on February 28

Dental floss, fountain pen, hot chocolate powder, Brillo pads, a board game
There's nothing worse than trying to work at altitude. Except trying to work at altitude on a cryostat that won't cool down when you've got observing time coming up in three days and the tool boxes and supply cabinets haven't been properly maintained in eight years.

"Okay, it's not clear what's wrong. But, let's double-check the thermal contact to the fridge and find a way to make sure these wires can't possibly touch the 4K shield," Jess said. They searched the shop. They searched the receiver cabin. They searched the control room. They searched the weird little bunk room. Nothing useful. No nitric acid. No abrasives. There wasn't even a roll of kapton tape. Why the hell didn't they ship a crate of tools? She'd have to remember to argue with the observatory director later.

José emerged from the small galley with a brillo pad. "Let's use it on every copper or aluminum contact." Arman, who had come directly from the airport this morning, had dental floss in his bag. "tie everything down tight. Remember, this cryostat is going to be sitting upside down."

Four hours later, they were closed up and cooling. Now there was nothing left to do but wait. But, they'd have to watch it manually. The compressor kept overheating, and there wasn't even a working GPIB cable! They had no choice but to wait in person until they were sure the cooldown was working. There wasn't even a sharpie. They found some printer paper and Arman had a fountain pen in his bag, so they set up a temperature-recording duty schedule.

Now what? It's too cold outside to hike. Going back to town would leave someone stranded. José found some powdered hot chocolate in the kitchen. It wasn't great with the high-altitude temperature water, but it was better than the coffee or the ten year old bagged tea. In the bunk room they found a few board games. That would have to do. "Who wants to play goofy high-altitude RISK," Jess asked.

[This is not a true story. But, it is assembled from true stories, except for the board games and fountain pen.]

[edit: though, I have played found board games at observatories under happier circumstances.]
posted by eotvos at 4:03 PM on February 28 [3 favorites]


Thella, I'm on the GC, so we've had our share of flooding over the last few days, but nothing compared to what has hit Lismore. While Lismore has always been a magnet for floodwaters, the extent of this flooding is unheard of and mind-boggling. I don't know how the town is going to come back from this - they have a long history of rebuilding and doing things better and better to manage the flooding, but the future of Lismore has to be in doubt.

I hope you and yours are safe.
posted by dg at 11:21 PM on February 28


the zero is the tao.


I'm tired.
posted by firstdaffodils at 5:14 PM on March 7


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