Fascinating courtly intrigue and bloody power games set on a generation ship full of secrets―Medusa Uploaded is an imaginative, intense mystery about family dramas and ancient technologies whose influence reverberates across the stars. Disturbing, exciting, and frankly kind of mind-blowing.” ―Annalee Newitz, author of Autonomous

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Michael's Chronicle: Setting Up


Michael Thiele is a woodsmith who makes musical instruments and playable furniture. He spends most of his life either in the shop or out on the road buying wood and selling his work at craft shows. In recent years, his travels have begun to inspire his own writing, so he sends me his thoughts.

Saturday, Feb 10
Bonita Springs Art Festival
Setting Up

Here I am, opening morning of this week’s Bonita Springs festival, pining for the good old days when I was demonstrably smarter than tape. Yeah, that’s what I said all right, tape. My son and his accomplice have sent me a small package containing mallets for the rosewood and Koa table I am showing this weekend. The bag in which they arrived was unexpectedly important to me for housing something quite different once I get the sticks out. IF I get the sticks out. I’m looking around hoping no one is watching. The shipping tape wrapped around this plastic bag is laughing at me which is making me go to a dark space with thoughts of a Bic lighter in my hand. I might even do it if the smell of burning plastic weren’t so noxious.

I have fingernails these days. After about seventy seven years of chewing them off daily I mysteriously and spontaneously ceased participating in that habit about a year ago. So, fingernails, right. Just slip them under the edge of the shipping tape, pull back while listening to the sound of the adhesive giving way and voila’. The tape, which can’t talk, is thinking, “not so fast, Bud. You don’t know who you’re messing with.” Not being a mind reader, I’m not getting the message.

So, what next? Sometimes “schmoozing” works. I say sweet and encouraging words to the tape. “You’re in such bondage wrapped that way. Think of what it would be like to be liberated or to have the opportunity to adhere to something else. Or how about an all-expense paid vacation to the landfill? Lots of new and interesting surfaces to bond with. And the wondrous panoply of exotic scents. Think of it.”

No sympathy. No sale. I picked away at this tape from the end - the proper method. Damn stuff responded by shredding in fine strips. Generally speaking, I’m a patient man. Generally speaking. I like things that work. Especially inanimate objects. Frustration sucks in my view. Am I going to have to attack the tape with my pocketknife? Trouble is, the stuff is hugging that bag I need. If I kill the tape I kill the bag. The tape obviously knows this. 

My blood is beginning to boil. Maybe I’ll do some breathing exercises. After which I will reach for my pocketknife.


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