Author Archive | Mark A. Rayner

Selected Media Fads Through the Ages

Von Willendorf venus statue, circa 24,000 bce

24,000-22,000 BC: chunky fertility goddess statues (pictured at right: notice the prominent and large brains.)

10,000 BC: cave painting

4,000 BC: ziggurat construction

3,000-1,250 BC: pyramid raising (later revived by Mesoamericans and I.M. Pei)

1480-1700: Witch burning

1500s: homoerotic sonnet writing

1600s: pirate singing

1700s: pamphleteering

1760-1762: spreading syphilis

1790s: opera

1800s: novel-writing

1900-1914: being optimistic about the future

1919-1922: cutting up pieces of paper and pulling them out of a hat, also, painting

1925: jazz music

1927: soap-based radio

1933: burning books (mostly in Germany)

1951: find-the-commie (kind of like peek-a-boo, but with Senators)

1964: screaming (usually Beatle-related)

1966: TV

1976: disco

1977: DIY pet rocks

1982-1988: taking odds on Reagan-related nuclear holocaust

1987-1997: making answering machine messages (see below)

1998: web sites about your cat

1999: cappuccino drinking (related to dot-com bubble)

2000: looking forward to the future (this didn’t last as long as the previous fad in this genre)

2003: Friendster

2004-2005: blogging

2006: MySpace

2007: Facebook

April 2008: Twitter

2009 (Jan.-Aug): talking/writing/broadcasting about Twitter in MSM.

2009, Sep. 15: Blogging (again, briefly, but only about Dan Brown’s latest “masterstroke of storytelling”

2010 (Jan.-Feb.):getting really excited about the release of the iPad.

2010 (Mar.): trying to remember what all the fuss about the iPad was all about.

2010: “winning

2011: pretending the British Royal family is important

2012: posting pictures of every frickin’ meal on Instagram

2013: twerking

2014: “binge-watching” TV

2015: laughing about Donald Trump’s presidential run

Jan-May, 2016: crying about Donald Trump’s presidential run

Some old-fashioned media here — satirical novels and flash fiction to keep you from the fads!

And yes, Answering machine messages were the most important creative outlet of the nineties!

YouTube Preview Image

Video here if it doesn’t beep.

Alltop and enjoys their Bebo. From my collection, Pirate Therapy and Other Cures. Originally published in 2010, and updated every once in a while.

Dr. Tundra admits he has a problem

bloodshot eyes

Once again, Dr. Tundra woke with a splitting headache, the feeling that he’d fallen asleep with a mouthful of half-masticated rat, and a pain in his lower back that could only be called apocalyptic.

He opened his eyes; it felt as though a demented carpenter had been at his eyelids with coarse grit sandpaper all night.

The walls were swimming a bit, and he could just barely focus on the floor, where he could see the empty pizza boxes, Coke cans, and what … was that a pair of panties?

He sat up in bed, and realized that at the tender age of 37, perhaps it was time to admit he had a problem. This was worse than his days of pretending he was Carlos Castaneda — the peyote days. He’d fallen under the thrall of a new mistress, and not the nice kind decked out in leather and handling a whip either. No, he’d sunk into a new addiction. One that could ruin him — ruin his relationships, his work, his life.

At the far end of the bedroom was the TV, and sitting underneath, the device. And within it, the software that caused his cravings:

Fallout 4.

Put down the controller and mess up your eyes with some of my addictive long fiction!

It is wise to consider if you are an addictive personality before you load up any form of electronic crack on your gaming console or computer: Gaming fanatics show hallmarks of drug addiction. Thanks to maxf for the eye. Alltop also has a series of addictions. Originally published in 2008, when the punchline was Civilization IV.

The dream of flight

Fly away (from) home. by Kera Robson

It seemed impossible, but it was happening. Glen was flying!

The geese had flown higher and higher, above the clouds, so he could now take in the glorious early morning sunlight — Glen guessed about eight or nine-thousand feet. It was spectacular. He whooped and hollered with delight. The geese honked back at him. Glen thought he may have been projecting his own elation onto the geese, but it seemed like they were actually excited about their feat too. It was an achievement for both species!

But more than anything, Glen was filled with pure joy. He’d never felt more alive, at one with the immensity and power of the universe. He laughed aloud, over the sound of the the geese beating their powerful wings, louder than the rush of wind in his ears.

Then the 747 hit him.

Looking for your own escape? Read some of my high-flying long fiction!

Alltop misses in-flight meals. Fly away (from) home., a photo by Kera Robson on Flickr.

How I Spent the Ice Age

Mountains, snow, and glacier -- Chile

The new arms weren’t as much fun as I hoped they’d be, but they were sure useful during the crisis.

As you know I’m not really into the bodmod community, but I’d always thought it would be cool to be able to swing from tree to tree, the way we saw the Reclaimed Gibbons do in the preserve, when we were in high school. Yeah, the one down in Souwesto, near the ruins of Toronto, remember? That was a great trip.

I got the new arms a few weeks before it started. They weren’t actual Gibbon arms, of course, but a beautiful bit of work by a friend of mine, who dabbles in bio-enhancement. She mostly works with nano, but I keep telling her she has a real flare for the genetic arts too, so she did a combination. The plan was to spend my vacation swinging with my simian friends in Souwesto. Tree swinging that is.

Of course I got the hair on them; I’m not totally fake!

My musculature had just finished healing — even with the latest developments, flesh bodies adapt slowly to nano — but I don’t need to tell you that do I? Duh. I sometimes forget that we’re all real time now, even you guys on Big Red.

Anyway, the worst happened. Multiple eruptions, right when we were at our peek seeding of the atmosphere. Temps dropped. The snow started falling. Piling up. And bam. Ice age.

In miniature, anyway. Of course, it couldn’t last, but the damage. Wiped out my Gibbon buddies in Souwesto. And nearly got all of us here in Nunavut too.

But these babies were awesome. You know how much easier it is to ski and snowshoe if your arms can provide half the power? The hair was useful too — an extra layer for warmth. And I’ve been told they’re awesome in zero-G, so I think I’ll keep them until after I visit you.

Though I’m sure it still won’t be as weird as your green skin, man. That I have to see with my own eyes.

Enjoy this? There’s more like it in my longer works.

Alltop swings with the yuks. Photo by Stuck in Customs.