JUNE 4, 2009 1:38PM

You Know What? I’m Gonna Have to Officially Call “Uncle”

Rate: 4 Flag
Night Scrape

Melissa: (moving dropped lines to deleted.txt)

Michael: Boop, boop, boop, boop, boop!

     It’s like you want to try and take all the crumbs of our words and make bread out of them later.

Melissa: (A) ”Boop, boop, boop, boop, boop!”

Michael: (A) I’m doing it like the sound of a beeper when a truck is backing up. You’re doing it with a little swoop at the end?

Melissa: (A) It’s like how you originally did it! But it was also reminiscent of the scene from 15 Storeys

Michael: (A) 15 Storeys? Which scene?

     (A) “Boop, boop, boop, boop, boop”?

Melissa: (A) At the pool. The other lifeguard is making fun of Vince or something. Oh, I know. It sounded like the “boop,” but it was actually much more slowed down. And I think it was “WooOOOoo-wooOOooo!”

Michael: (A) I thought you might be talking about that.

Melissa: (A) “WooOOOoo-wooOOooo!”

     (A) You did? Oh wow. So I wasn’t that far off.

Michael: (A) Well, you are. Because I’m not thinking of that part at all, because—

Melissa: (A) But I thought you just said—

Michael: (A) Now what?

Melissa: (A) What you were about to say.

Michael: (A) I don’t know what that was.

Melissa: (A) Maybe we should go back to what started all this in the first place.

Michael: (A) Which is what?

Melissa: (A) My taking the text we deleted and cutting and pasting it into the deleted file.

Michael: (A) You’re right! I remember now!

     (A) “Boop, boop, boop!”

     (A) So you’re right, now I can definitely tell you I did it three times. And it
was actually patterned on what that other lifeguard was doing. Now listen, it’s totally different, though. Because while what the lifeguard is doing is a long sustained note, where it starts out low, goes up high in the middle, and then goes back down low again in a kind of “What are you doing over there?” tone, I just kind of superimposed that over some beeping thing that could be one of just thousands of beeping things I’ve heard in my lifetime.

Melissa: (A) But I recognized it!

Michael: (A) Really? Whoa! What is it?

Melissa: (A) No, no. I don’t mean I recognized the mysterious beeping, I’m saying, I recognized the 15 Storeys inflection you layered over it.

     (A) “Booop, booop, booop!”

Michael: (A) What is that?

Melissa: (A) The transition back to where we started.

Michael: (A) Did I just mess it up?

Melissa: (A) Yeah, but you can do it, too.

Michael: (A) Melissa, you’ve put me in one of those places where I would have to do one of those fake things. As soon as I know someone knows ahead of time that I’m about to do something, I just—

Melissa: (A) What?

     (A) “Booop, booop, booop!”

Michael: (A) Oh, that was subtle.

     (A) I think it might be dangerous to end with a pass. I think it unravels the fabric of time or something.

Melissa: (A) Okay. Now we can get back to our other one.

Michael: (A) I thought this was the one we were posting. Isn’t this the one we were posting right here?

Melissa: (A) No, this is the one we just started while we were in the middle of finishing the other one. It’s brand-new.

Michael: (A) Oh, well then maybe these aren’t “(A)”s. But if it’s a pass, we wouldn’t really be going back and forth as we write, because each pass would have its own label, and there would be a clear delineation between passes.

Melissa: (B) Is this our first “(B)”?

Michael: (B) I don’t know. Maybe.

Melissa: (B) Well, I just want to say that I don’t think I know what you’re talking about here.

Michael: (B) Okay, I don’t know what I mean by that either. But I guess I should say, I don’t know what that means anymore. I knew what it meant at the time.

Melissa: (B) Wait, I think I might have figured it out.

Michael: (B) Really? What.

Melissa: (B) So you started by questioning whether that thread even needed to be labeled as “(A)”.

Michael: (B) Right. Because I realize this is just a continuation of an earlier piece that had a few lines at the top.

Melissa: (B) Actually, “earlier” in this case was just a few seconds. But almost immediately after I recorded those opening lines, we deviated into a meta tangent. That’s why it got labeled as “(A)”. But I also realize that means we’re not necessarily always using those to represent passes—

Michael: (B) Right! This is what I was saying earlier.

Melissa: (B) So maybe it isn’t actually passes we’re representing, but tangents.

Michael: (B) Yeah! Tangents!

Melissa: (B) “Okay, then.”

     (A) The funny thing is, so far—and in fact, I think, ever, since that original pass is already gone and can never happen again—there were only two lines at the top level this time:

     (A) “Boop, boop, boop, boop, boop!” and

     (A) “It’s like you want to try and take all the crumbs of our words and make bread out of them later.”

Michael: (A) What’re you saying now?

Melissa: (A) See, this is ridiculous. Those two lines sparked all this metaing, so now we have all these “(A)”s spread throughout this conversation—it would’ve been cleaner if we had a convention to indicate that a thread occurred prior to the original. A priori. Like (-A) or something. Maybe we can do that! Incorporate the minus symbol to indicate “before” or “earlier.”

Michael: (A) That’s how it’s done in music.

Melissa: (A) Really?

Michael: (A) Yeah. In other words, if you had to put little sharps and flats ’cuz the whole piece was played in sharps and flats, that would be a nuisance. So you indicate how sharp or how flat with little sharps or flats at the beginning of the score. So you know that you are to assume all the notes you’re playing are that sharp or flat.

     (A) I hope I’m done.

Melissa: (A) So all this time I’ve been carefully putting “(A)” in front of our lines was wasted—

Michael: (A) No! ’Cuz I still think you should do that. ’Cuz this is more true. If you did the negative (A)s—

Melissa: (A) I can’t catch up!

Michael: (A) Oh, sorry. I forgot what I was gonna say.

Melissa: (A) But the thing is, we’ve always done that in past posts. If we introduce a new convention, we apply it retroactively to the post itself, so it reflects the decisions that were made during the course of writing it.

     (A) Okay, but we still have to get back to our other one.

Michael: (A) What other one?

     (A) You know what? I’m gonna have to officially call “Uncle”—

Melissa: (A) Wait. Okay, go ahead.

Michael: (A) Because I had this little momentary wave of nausea pass over me, saying, “If you don’t get some sleep soon, I’m gonna make you sick. . . . Remember, thou art mortal.”

Melissa: (A) I know!

Michael: (A) What?

Melissa: (A) We can post this one instead.

Michael: (A) What one? I thought we—

     (A) Oh my.

     (A) To enter metaness is to become personal friends with confusion, because I feel like I am constantly in a state of confusion.

Melissa: (A) So should we keep the “(A)”s or not? Should we introduce—

Michael: (A) I think we should—if you started reading this and seeing “(-A)” and “(-B)”, you could probably conclude that we’ve officially lost it, and we have become so submerged into our system that it’s like we’ve become the inventor who’s blind to the complete impracticality of their invention. Because it is just simply too complicated.

Melissa: (A) This is hardly too complicated.

Michael: (A) I know, Melissa, but you can’t suggest that someone reading this and seeing “(-A)” would intuitively know, “Ah, this was text that was said before the body of this text, and the body of this text was always just where the bulk of the writing was done.” But the truth is, sometimes we just do a sprinkling of writing here, a sprinkling of writing there. It’s very variable.

Melissa: (A) Yes, but they would know by the time they finish reading this. If they finish reading this.

Michael: (A) Well, either way—

Melissa: (A) No, because all these fecking superfluous “(A)”s are totally unnecessary in front of every one of these lines.

Michael: (A) I see your point and believe me, I love to refactor. But the truth of the matter is, that first bit of text could still be considered the first pass, in which we did very little work. So, this would at least record that. You would see that now, the bulk of this was written on the second pass, which was (A).

Melissa: (A) I don’t know if “second pass” really describes it properly. I’m beginning to wonder about “pass.”

Michael: (A) Pass? Noooo.

     (A) Well then, it’s just whether it was said at a different time or not. Yes or no? Things that were said at the same time. Things that were said at a different time. They are assumed to be said at a later time if they are a later letter. Text that is unadorned is what was originally said before any metaing had occurred.

     (A) And then each letter shows how much later and later each thing was said. So if you had three lines that were labeled “(A)”, “(B)”, “(C)”—

Melissa: (A) I’m so far behind.

Michael: (A) Oh, I’m sorry. Feck! Okay, where are you at?

Melissa: (A) “So if you had three lines that were labeled ‘(A)’, ‘(B)’, ‘(C)’”—

Michael: (A) Mm-hmm. I don’t know what that means.

     (A) Oh yeah!

     (long pause)

     (A) We’re not gonna finish tonight. Let’s just stop.

Author tags:

pass, -a, 15 stories, lifeguard, boop

Your tags:


Enter the amount, and click "Tip" to submit!
Recipient's email address:
Personal message (optional):

Your email address:


Type your comment below:
Thanks for letting us in on the Genesis of what I feel in my heart will be a fine, fine system for you. Meta-ness ain't for sissies, tell ol' Mike there, Melissa...

I love the way you bring music in on this....and I thought to myself: they have put an overlay on sound itself, haven't they. Then I thought, in one of my improbable leaps of logic or intuition or fancy (not un-Hegelian, if I do say so) ,

that I, Jim , am a biological sac of Music....I move & sway & roc & roll & have my being, as they say, in the Sound Environment. Then I started studying my movements & how they unconsciously reflect or amplify perhaps the "music" of my environs...etc...

Everytime I read yr posts, I tend to go all "meta" on...myself...hm

(A) (B) (C) (D) (E) This was meta-licious!
I must agree with Melissa: "Yes, but they would know by the time they finish reading this."

Although they might think it should have been (-D), but they would be wrong ... They 'know' but, alas, they always know the wrong thing...
so what is it to know the reasons that your seasons decide to use -A and A over just A and B?

Melissa is so so spring and Mic-ha-el is so January... yeah, not fall like you thought! :)

fully enjoy your experiment - heck - I don't mind the rat fur costume much anymore ;)

Peace and love and stuff and ... unknown connections.


“Thanks for letting us in on the Genesis of what I feel in my heart will be a fine, fine system for you.”

We’re glad somebody has faith that we’ll actually arrive at a satisfactory system! As perfectionists, we are constantly seeking the most perfect system possible, but the problem is, perfection isn’t really possible.

We especially enjoyed your metatation on the language of music in everyday life. Thanks for sharing the sparks as they fly off your rapidfire mind.


A pleasure, as always! Now we have a new term to add to our metalexicon. Mmmmm . . . metalicious!


“They 'know' but, alas, they always know the wrong thing.”

Well-put! This is a useful phrase to keep on hand for self-righteous bigots.

Thanks again for cruising your spaceship through our neighborhood.


Your comments are getting increasingly cryptic, albeit intriguing and thoughtful as ever :-)

As for the reasons behind the seasons, you’re not far off. Yes, one of us is January—the dead of winter, but also the crucible of new beginnings. The other may appear to be spring but actually gravitates toward autumn. Raindrops on snapdragons. The golden tint of the setting sun. Burnt Norton.

Glad you’ve gotten used to the rat costume—and thanks for running the maze with us!