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Archive for October, 2006

Listen: Brand New, “Sowing Season (Yeah)”

Quote: “Hey, dem’s chocolate chips!” – Meatwad

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[Editors note: This entire post was written by Dirq, but he’s been taken off of our possible authors so this is under my name. Other than what is written in here and a slight formatting change, this is all Dirq.]

     Aaaaaand we’re back, with another thrill-packed installment of “The Last Bell.” This is where the bowel movements really start to hit the air circulator. I should warn those of you with kids in the room to send them down to their cement basement holding cells, because from here on out it’s non-stop blood, guts, and character development.

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Hips Don’t Lie

A lot of pop songs on the radio are just about sex, drugs, video games, etc…but every once in a while, a song comes out that actually is trying to make a statement.

Shakira, Shakira

“Hips Don’t Lie” by Shakira featuring Wyclef Jean is one of those songs. You may not have even caught the song’s true meaning in the thousands of times you have probably heard it on the radio, at parties, and blasting out of freshman girls dorm rooms before a Thursday, Friday, or Saturday night.

It is a little known fact that Shakira is a dedicated evolutionist, and has studied Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution extensively. The inspiration for the song clearly came from the fact that whales have vestigial hip bones, which is a factor indicating that evolution does in fact occur.

These hips don’t lie.

Wyclef Jean, who is also featured on the track, agrees with the theory of evolution, and supports Shakira throughout the song by yelling “Shakira Shakira!” after the chorus.

Shakira takes the perspective of a whale in the following lyrics: “And I’m on tonight/You know my hips don’t lie/And I’m starting to feel it’s right [theory of evolution]/All the attraction, the tension/Don’t you see baby [Charles Darwin], this is perfection [the theory of evolution].”

Isn’t it obvious?

Listen: New Found Glory, “Oxygen”

Quote: “I’d rather be really sick at Halo.” – Josh’s response to my realization that my instrument of choice is now the lap drums rather than air guitar.

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[Editors note: This entire post was written by Dirq, but he’s been taken off of our possible authors so this is under my name. Other than what is written in here and a slight formatting change, this is all Dirq.]

     Ladies and gentlemen, by popular request (literally ones and twos of people), I’m going to be presenting a story that I wrote for my AP Composition class in 12th Grade (back when I was still known as “Dirk” and not “Dirq”). It’s a bulky tale – 30 solid pages of 10-point Times New Roman, not including the title page and the table of contents. I’ll be hurling at you in smelly, sticky clumps, much like a monkey slinging its own feces.

     A little background before we get into the tale itself: I wrote some bizarre stories in High School. Most of them involved me, and almost everyone else, getting killed in some terrible manner. But people loved them. I wrote this particular tale for my aforementioned 6th Period AP Comp class. We passed around an email sign-up sheet so that I could send it out to everyone at the end of the year. From what I heard, it was a great hit. Just a few months ago, in fact, I spoke to Mr. Rob Blankenship (you’ll get to know him soon enough) on the subject of “The Last Bell.” He said that, after showing it to his father, he had been told to “not go anywhere near” me, and that I’m “the kind of person who shows up at your house with a gun.” That’s not in very good form, but still, everyone is entitled to his/her opinion.

     My good comrades Pete and Gilo seem to think that this will provide entertainment. So, enjoy it! Or else I’ll show up at your house with a gun later.

The Last Bell
By Dirq
Chapter I – The Class

     Mrs. Italiano sat at her desk in Room C 210 of the Souderton Area High School. She stared down blankly at the pile of assignments that she still had to grade, knowing that she probably should be grading them but not wanting to in the least. The end of the year always had this effect on Mrs. Italiano – the pressure of finals and AP tests and last-minute grades all started to catch up with her. She felt trapped, almost suffocated by it all. The end of the school year still seemed months away.

     Mrs. Italiano sighed and leaned back in her chair. She could always grade the papers later, she thought to herself. There would be plenty of time tonight to work on them. For now she closed her eyes and took a deep breath. Soon it would be 6th Period. She had to rest up for that.

     It was too hot that day, she decided. It was one of the hottest days she could remember, and, as luck would have it, her air conditioner had broken the day before. It would be almost impossible to read a boring play in that heat – it had been bearable in the morning, but now it was nearing noon and the heat was steadily increasing.

     Maybe, Mrs. Italiano thought, she could take the class into one of the basement rooms. Nobody used them, anyway, and they had to be very cool. She had been down there only a few times herself – it was a seldom-used section of the school. Yes, maybe she would take the class into the basement. Anything to get out of the heat…

     The teacher got up from her desk and walked over to a window, hoping to catch a cool breeze. But only hot air wafted into the room, and Mrs. Italiano wiped a hand across her forehead. She hoped that 6th Period would come faster now, so she could get to someplace cool. She looked at the clock. Still fifteen minutes to go.

     Mrs. Italiano sat back down at her desk and waited.

     Kate Rutt was worried that day.

     She didn’t quite know why – there was nothing solid, nothing tangible to worry her. But she had a feeling, all the way in the back of her brain, that told her she should be worried. Kate tried to ignore it, but it was always there, lurking in the background, preventing her from concentrating on her work.

     The heat wasn’t helping any, either, Kate thought. The heat was terrible. Didn’t the school have air conditioning? She hoped that Mrs. Italiano’s room would be cooler. Maybe she would be able to relax there.

     But something was going to happen. That worry was still there. Something was going to happen. Kate rubbed the back of her neck and closed her eyes. What could it be? She racked her brains, trying to think of something, anything, that might give her cause for worry.

     But there was nothing.

     Nothing at all.

     Kate Rutt rubbed her eyes and looked at the clock high up on the wall. It seemed as if the heat was even slowing down time. There were still twelve minutes to go. Twelve minutes, Kate thought. It seemed like forever in the heat. She closed her eyes again, tried to relax.

     But the worry was still there.

     Dan Nice sighed in contentment. While the rest of the school was boiling in the heat, he was in the one place that afforded a decent level of comfort – the Library. He had forged a pass to get down there during his study hall, and now he sat in the nice air-conditioned climate, typing away at a computer. He whistled a soft tune to himself as he surfed the Internet, looking for a good resource for a report he was writing, or at least some good pornography.

     Oops, there was the firewall. Dan guessed that the pornography option was out, so he concentrated on finding a good source.

     He glanced absently at the computer clock. Still ten minutes to go until 6th Period. Dan shook his head sadly. Time always flew when he was starting to enjoy himself. He didn’t really feel like going to 6th Period – AP Composition and Language class. They were reading some boring play or other (he hadn’t really been paying attention) and he didn’t think he could stand it in the heat of the school. You couldn’t even fall asleep in heat like that…

     Dan Nice sure was glad he was in the cool library. Nice and comfortable in the library. At that moment, he didn’t think that anything could happen that could ruin his good mood. Nothing at all…

     In another, far hotter section of the Souderton Area High School, Dirk Linthicum was daydreaming. In his daydream, he and an army of fanatically loyal followers were storming across an arid desert, heading for a fortress in the distance. He was shouting to his men, urging them on, telling them that there was water and food in the fortress. Of course, there weren’t any of those things in the fortress, but it wouldn’t hurt his men to know that. Most would be killed in the attack, and those that were left Dirk would shoot. Then he would be alone, in charge, ruler of the world…

     Dirk smiled. Ruler of the World. He very much liked the sound of that. Dirk Arthur Linthicum, Ruler of the World. No, Emperor of the World. That sounded a little better. Emperor of Earth. There, Dirk thought, perfect. Dirk Arthur Linthicum, Emperor of Earth.

     He tried to find his daydream again, but couldn’t manage it. The heat was beginning to catch up with him. Dirk glanced toward the windows, which his study hall teacher had opened in a futile attempt to let some cool air in. Didn’t he know that there was no cool air today? The teacher had turned the lights off, too – yeah, Dirk sneered, like that would help any.

     What period was next? Dirk glanced at the clock and saw that there was still a good ten minutes left before 6th Period. He wondered what they were going to do – probably read some more of that stupid play. Lousy Frenchmen, Dirk thought, smiling. Everything that was gay on the planet Earth had come out of France. When he ruled the world, he would get rid of the French… except for French Fries, of course. They were pretty good. But everything else French would have to go.

     Dirk Arthur Linthicum, Emperor of Earth.

     Still nine minutes to go. Dirk put his head down on his desk and closed his eyes.

     Jill Henning looked behind her, and there he was. He was always right behind her. He was staring right at her, so Jill was forced to nod, smile, and turn back around. God, she thought, couldn’t he ever leave her alone?

     She took a breath and told herself to calm down. It was just the heat, she told herself. Steve Beneke wasn’t all that bad – in fact, he was nice. Why was she feeling so angry with him? It had to be the heat. It was setting everyone’s nerves on edge and causing tempers to flare. Even in Chorus, where normally everyone got along so well. Jill hoped that things would cool off, but somehow she knew that they wouldn’t. It was going to be hot all day long.

     Jill didn’t want to sit still – the heat was killing her. She wanted to get up and move around, but then she would have to say something to Steve, and she didn’t want to, not right now. She wondered if he was still behind her.

     How much longer did she have to sit there? There were still eight minutes left in class, eight unbearable, interminable minutes. And then she would be going to AP Comp. And Steve would be going, too.

     Jill fanned herself with both hands. It was far too hot that day, she decided. Far too hot…

     Josh Yerk didn’t mind the heat all that much. As long as he told himself that it wasn’t that bad, it didn’t affect him as it did other people. He knew that he would have to take more than heat if he was going to join the Air Force.

     That was Josh’s dream – to join the Air Force. There was nothing he wanted more than to fly, to pilot a jet plane and launch a wave of destruction against an unsuspecting target. He wanted to slip through the clouds like a falcon and rain destruction like a hurricane. The heat wasn’t that bad, Josh told himself. If he just ignored it, it wouldn’t be that bad at all.

     Seven minutes until AP Comp, Josh thought as he glanced at his watch. Not bad at all. He scanned the classroom, searching for those who would be accompanying him to his next class. There were Ashley Harbon, Matt Landis and Pat Metz. They all looked like they were suffering from the climate. Josh smiled, realizing that he was probably the most comfortable person in that room right now. That made Josh feel good. He was the coolest man there.

     Josh sank back into his dreams of flight, forgetting about the heat completely.

     The fact that there were only four minutes until the start of 6th Period made Steve Obeng a very happy man. It wasn’t that he liked 6th Period all that much (he couldn’t stand the play they were reading), but looking at a picture of Bill Cosby always made Steve Obeng feel good. There he was, that great entertainer, smiling up at Steve from the cover of one of his notebooks.

     Steve wondered what it would be like to meet Bill Cosby. He was probably just as nice as he was on television – maybe even nicer. How could a guy who wore so many sweaters not be nice? Look at Mr. Rogers! But Bill Cosby was better than Mr. Rogers – Steve always suspected that Bill Cosby could take Mr. Rogers in a fight. In fact, Bill Cosby was better than everyone. He was like a living God.

     Steve wished that life could be more like the Cosby Show. For one thing, he would see a whole lot more of Bill Cosby. For another, it wouldn’t be so darn hot. The heat was threatening to interfere with his enjoyment of the grinning picture of Bill Cosby.

     Was everyone else hot? Steve Obeng looked around and noted several people who were also in his AP Comp class. Dave Moyer, Liz Craig, Kim Mellon. They were all right people, Steve decided.

     But they weren’t as good as Bill Cosby.

     Bill Cosby smiled up at Steve from the cover of his notebook.

     Steve smiled back.

     Kim Nguyn almost bounced out of her seat when she saw that there were only two minutes before the start of 6th Period. For some reason, that knowledge filled her with joy. She had to suppress a sharp laugh of euphoria. Only two minutes left… it was great to have only two minutes left!

     For Kim, everything was great. Life itself was the greatest thing of all. She would often think on what a wonder it was to be alive – to be able to experience the world. That was the greatest pleasure of life, Kim thought. To do things. Sometimes she had to restrain herself from her enjoyment of life or people would think she was crazy. But she wasn’t crazy – the people who sat around and did nothing, they were the crazy ones.

     Kim Nguyn’s friends Abigail Brice, Emily Williams and Erin Gotwals sat close to her, waiting for the period to end. None of them really wanted to move – the heat was incredible that day – but they had a hope that wherever they were going would be slightly less hot than where they were at that moment.

     Actually, Kim thought, moving would be fun. Maybe she would go a different way to class that day. That would be an experience. She couldn’t wait until the period was over. But she had to wait, she supposed – she couldn’t leave until the bell rang.

     She looked at the clock again – still one minute left! Kim didn’t know if she could wait that long. She stared at the clock and willed time to go faster.

     Adrienne Krum stood up as soon as the bell rang at the end of 5th Period. She walked out of her classroom and into the hallway, the hot, crowded hallway where throngs of students bumped and jostled each other on their way to class. Adrienne joined that human flood and was carried along with it, cutting across stream to reach side hallways that would take her to her AP Comp class.

     It had been a bad day so far for Adrienne Krum. First of all, in the morning, she had put on long pants on what had to be the hottest day of the year so far. She had been making mistakes like that all day, and she knew exactly why.

     Adrienne was angry. The anger had been building inside her for weeks, and now it had swelled up out of her chest and into her brain, pumping and pounding. She couldn’t hold it back for much longer, she knew – she could hear her pulse in her ears. But she would hold it back, keep it hidden until just the right moment.

     And so, hot and angry, Adrienne entered her 6th Period AP Comp class.

     They all entered C 210 slowly, stunned by the incredible heat in the room. They had been expecting something a bit cooler than the rest of the school, or at least the same heat they found elsewhere. The climate in Mrs. Italiano’s room threatened to suffocate them a they moved in and took their seats.

     Kate, Dan, Dirk, Jill, Josh, Steve Obeng, Steve Beneke, Kim, Adrienne, and all the rest of the students sat down in the intolerable heat. Mrs. Italiano walked wearily down an isle toward the front of the room as the bell signaling the beginning of class rang harshly.

     “All right my little scholars,” Mrs. Italiano began. Usually she had to struggle to make herself heard over the chatter of the students. Today everyone was silent. “It’s a hot one today, isn’t it?” There was weak nodding in response. “How would you like to go some place cooler?”

     Now heads rose and eyes widened, excited at the prospect of somewhere comfortable to spend the period. Mrs. Italiano nodded affirmatively. “I was thinking that, since the heat is so intense today and since your little minds don’t function very well in a climate like this, we could go into one of the old classrooms in the basement of the C Wing.”

     “God bless you Mrs. Italiano!” Pat Metz called out. Several other students burst into polite applause. Mrs. Italiano smiled, showing a row of white, shiny teeth, and nodded.

     “The people have spoken. Let’s go.”

     She led the way to the door and opened it, allowing her students to file through. Now there was some chatter between them.

     “Dan.” Dirk nodded a greeting up to his friend. “How’s it going?”

     Dan nodded down at Dirk. “Not bad. How about you?”

     Dirk nodded up at Dan. “Not bad.”

     Behind those two came the more rowdy members of the class – Pat Metz, Dave Moyer, Matt Landis, Bill Porter – followed. Next came one group of girls – Kim, Abigail Brice, Emily Williams, Erin Gotwals, Shannon Kulp – and then another – Jill, Adrienne, Liz Craig. Behind them followed the rest of the class – Steve Beneke and Steve Obeng, Kim Mellon, Gerry Hess, Rob Blankenship, Jess Raslowsky, Ashley Muir.

     “Bringing up the rear, Christy?” Mrs. Italiano asked to the last student leaving the room. Christy Slingluff nodded in the affirmative and exited the room. Mrs. Italiano herself stepped out into the hallway last and closed the door.

     Then the entire class filed through the hallways, down a few flights of stairs, and into the cool basement of the C Wing.

Chapter II – The Disaster

     Unbeknownst to Mrs. Italiano’s AP Comp class, events that would affect their lives even more drastically than the heat were rapidly spiraling out of control.

     High above the Souderton area, a military bomber carrying a nuclear missile hit a pocket of turbulence, loosing its deadly load, which had not been properly secured at the airbase. The missile rocked, rolled, broke free of its restraints and rolled toward the bomb bay doors. In the cockpit, the pilot (who had been picking his nose when his plane had entered the turbulence) jerked forward, accidentally slamming the bomb bay doors with his elbow.

     “Uh-oh,” the pilot said to his co-pilot. “You think anyone will notice?”

     The co-pilot craned his neck out of his side window and spotted the missile falling away. “Maybe,” he said. “Can we make it to a non-extradition country?”

     In the main office of the Souderton Area High School, Dr. Beerman leapt up from her desk and issued out into the outer office. “All right, folks!” she exclaimed with barely contained enthusiasm. “Time for a fire drill!” Knowing that their fearless leader would not take no for an answer, even in weather like this, the office staff handed her the fire alarm key.

     Just as Mrs. Italiano’s class entered the basement and shut the heavy doors behind them, the fire bells rang out in the school above. The fire alarms in the C Wing basement, long out of date, had not even been connected to the school’s new fire alarm system. So the class never heard the bells ringing, never heard the rest of the school walk out into the boiling heat of the May afternoon.

     “Do we still have to read that stupid play?” Steve Obeng asked.

     “You don’t like Tartuffe?” cried Mrs. Italiano, aghast.

     “Everyone hates Tartuffe,” Dan Nice informed her. Mrs. Italiano shook her head, disappointed in her class.

     “And here I thought you were…” the teacher trailed off, frowning. “Did you kids just hear something?”

     “Like what?” Jill asked.

     “Like a deep rumble in the ground,” Mrs. Italiano elaborated.

     Jill shrugged. “I didn’t hear anything.” The rest of the class hadn’t heard anything, either. So Mrs. Italiano continued, trying to convince the class that Tartuffe was a gut-bustingly funny comedy, even though it was French.

     In the world up above, the students of the Souderton Area High School turned as they heard a deep rumble a mile or so off. Most who looked in that direction were instantly blinded by the brilliant ball of light that was leaping up toward the sky. A second later, before any of them had a chance to scream, they were blasted from the earth, smashed by incredible winds or burned by scorching flames or disintegrated by a heat even more intense than that of the day.

     The nuclear blast swept over the Souderton Area High School, shaking it to its foundations but not breaking it, and on into the town. Within moments, the town of Souderton had been blasted off the map, reduced to a glowing, radioactive rubble.

     A mushroom cloud rose up into the sky, casting a reddish cloud over the carnage spreading rapidly below. The explosion caught up with the fleeing plane that had dropped the missile, swatting it out of the air like a fly. The pilot and co-pilot died on impact. They joined the thousands of others who had died in the last minute alone.

     Down under the school, the AP Comp class cowered as the building shook around them. It was like an earthquake, but somehow it was more violent than they ever imagined an earthquake could be. Most of them were screaming, except for Kim, who sounded like a kid on a roller coaster.

     “Bill Cosby preserve us!” Steve Obeng howled over the noise.

     The horrible quaking went on for a minute, at least, and then it ceased. The building was still and, it appeared, secure once more. The only noise they could hear now was an ominous rumble receding into the distance, like a tractor trailer moving past on the highway.

     “What just happened?” Kate asked shakily, getting to her feet. She turned to Mrs. Italiano, expecting some kind of explanation.

     The teacher merely shrugged numbly. “I don’t know. I’ve never felt anything like that.”

     “Neither have I!” Kim exclaimed in a very different tone of voice.

     “The electricity is still on,” Dirk noted. “It couldn’t have been that bad.”

     “The school has its own generator, though,” Mrs. Italiano explained. “With a tremor like that, probably half the town has lost power!”

     Ashley Harbon asked, “Shouldn’t Dr. Beerman be making some kind of announcement about this?”

     The entire class gazed up at the overhead speakers, expecting them to crackle to life any minute with an update on just what the heck that tremor had been. But no message came. After a few moments, Bill Porter said, “Well… shouldn’t we get up into the main part of the school and see what happened?” The motion was seconded by the entire class, and slowly, somewhat dazedly, they started toward the doors of the basement.

     “What do you think that was?” Dirk asked Dan quietly.

     Dan shrugged. “Earthquake?” he suggested. Dirk didn’t answer. Everyone had their own ideas as to what the tremor had been. None of them even suspected what had really happened.

     The doors at the top of the stairs leading down to the basement opened, and the class filed through. Everything was silent, dead silent. Mrs. Italiano looked around curiously. There was no one to be seen – no one in the classrooms, no one in the offices. They walked into the main lobby – empty, silent.

     Rob Blankenship pointed at the main doors. “Look,” he said. Everyone looked.

     The doors had been fused shut, as if by some incredible heat. The glass had been blackened so that nothing could be seen of the outside world.

     “What happened?” Kate asked softly.

     The class walked through the silent hallways of the school. There was no one there – no one but them. The entire school was deserted. Not even a janitor prowled the halls, and they all knew what that meant – janitors were like cockroaches. They were everywhere in the school. Sometimes you didn’t see them, but they were there. And now there was not a janitor in sight.

     Something was definitely wrong.

     Nothing definite was discovered, however, until they passed by a window that was sheltered from the wind by a curve in the building. As Jill passed by it, she turned and looked out.

     She screamed. The whole class whirled around and saw Jill, horror-stricken, backing away from the window, still screaming.

     Steve Beneke stepped forward bravely. “I’ll calm her down!” he proclaimed, and slapped her across the face (just like he had seen people do in the movies).

     Jill responded by kneeing Steve in the groin. Steve let out a whimper and dropped like a sack of potatoes. Jill took a deep breath and released it slowly. There, she thought. Much better. Then the memory of what she had seen came back to her, and she screamed again.

     Josh, man’s man that he was, reached the window first. He didn’t scream, but he very much felt like it.

     Outside, the entire world was gone. Everything – trees, grass, buildings – had been leveled by some incredible force. There was nothing standing for as far as the eye could see – except, by some miracle, the high school. Josh squinted. The whole world (or what was left of it) seemed to be tinted red. He stepped away from the window and put a hand over his face.

     One by one, the class looked out of that window and saw what had happened. The last to look was Mrs. Italiano, who stared out at the barren, desolated landscape for quite some time before turning back to the class.

     “Do you kids know what happened?” she asked quietly.

     “I got kneed in the groin,” Steve moaned from his position on the floor.

     “No, I mean outside,” Mrs. Italiano amended. “Do you realize what this means?”

     Josh nodded. “Obviously a nuclear weapon.”

     “Yes. And if someone fired a nuclear weapon into the United States, do you know what our reaction would be?”

     They had all learned about this kind of thing in school, so no one answered. It would mean that the United States would fire its nuclear weapons at whoever had attacked us. An all-out nuclear war would follow. The world would die. Radiation would kill everything. For all they knew, it could already have killed everything.

     Except them.

     “Oh, God,” Adrienne said as the realization dawned on her. “We could be some of the last people alive on Earth.”

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Update!

Listen: Senses Fail, “Still Searching”

Quote: “I’m schvitzing.” – Cletus Mergitroid

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     When living in a rental house, it is common to recive mail that is addressed to previous residents of the house. Normally I just throw it away, of if it looks important I’ll keep it around and we try to get in contact with the person for which it is meant. A few days back, however, I recived one that warrented me opening it and finding out what the hell it was about. It said Bitch on the return address so I felt an exploratory comittee was called for. Upon opening the envelope, I found the following letter:

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