Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Just Type Something

Every once in a while I'll be in the mood to write something but I have no idea what to write about. Recently I decided that the best way to deal with this was to just open a blank text file and write whatever came into my mind. The results make me think that I could make a living as an inspirational speaker. I mean, these are some pretty deep, philosophical quandaries, wouldn't you agree?

From Monday, December 2nd, 2013

The finding of the things was incredible indeed. They seemed to be tribbles but yet they were not. Redundancy is repetitive and overrated. Yellow Texas mascots are endearing and troublesome. Whitewashed cacti in beds of snowflakes take leaves of brown and transform them into jewels of sunshine.
To go is to leave and to be headed somewhere but to stay is to eat pizza and find your inner Jew and make it do a funny dance.
Justin Timberlake eats boy bands for breakfast and murders evildoers in the dark of night under the guise of a giant French chicken named Max.
Yellow purgatories are the high castles of maharajas of time and space imported from west Eritrea.
Your inner Jew must eat a sandwich every five minutes or face the perils of witchcraft on a mountaintop with yellow roses of Texas and trashy green picnic baskets.
To gain a friendship from the netherworlds of yesteryear is similar to the face of destruction by which all men must eat grass on a Tuesday morning.
Grass is the substance which reads a comic and tells itself that the majority of philosophical opinions are complete and utter bullshit.
Comics are books in third form of image and parallel washout of grassroots nations.
Trying too hard to be difficult in a man's world by the fireside is the bane of all existence of grass in all its forms.
Grass is what cows eat.
Grass is what cows eat when the soul of the fire inside the great oven of life shudders at the thunderstorm by the prairie.
The elevators of the Doom Tower are speedy but easy to fill.

I don't know what I'm doing with my life.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Please Be Impressed Mr. Oancitizen

I seem to have this recurring dream where I'm back in college and I'm very confused about my class schedule and constantly forgetting to do work so I seem to be in a constant state of panic. Last night my brain decided to make it a little more interesting by putting me in a theater class where Doug Walker of was teaching, with the help of many others from Channel Awesome. His assignment for the weekend was to find a song to sing for the class on Monday, and I decided that my song would be De Strangers' Jantje Zag Eens Pruimen Hangen because I already have the lyrics memorized and I thought it would be a good humorous addition to all the songs my classmates would be choosing, plus I really wanted to impress Kyle Kallgren of Brows Held High with my Flemish heritage and consequent knowledge of Dutch music. The dream ended in a panic because I couldn't find any Lederhosen or even a regular ol' pair of suspenders (I own neither in real life but I was convinced that I had suspenders somewhere), because I might as well go all out, right?

I have no idea how the performance went since I woke up before it happened, but I'm assuming it was fantastic.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Storytelling Is Hard

A thoughtful little piece from Kieran*. Enjoy.

Every once in a while, it occurs to me that my life is essentially one big, massive train wreck, and I'm not really sure how to feel about that.

It's hard to talk about my life, not because it pains me, but because the people I talk to either can't be told the full story or they stare at me in horror throughout the whole process and when I notice I start feeling really uncomfortable and I can't bring myself to talk about it anymore. It's weird to think that almost everything I've experienced is so terrifying to other people. I mean, yeah, I know it's bad and all, but it's my life. I got through it. I'm okay now. Mostly. I don't see why everybody around me has to have a more dramatic reaction to the stories of my childhood than I had while actually living through those stories. I suppose that's just how things are in the world, but I wish that people would stop making me feel like I'm not traumatized enough by what happened to me. So, I end up talking about the events in my life that other people can relate to, like the time I went camping and a hobo spider bit me while I was sleeping and I panicked when I saw the rotting skin near my elbow the next morning and cut out a huge chunk of my arm. That scar is actually bigger than the one on my neck, and I'm grateful for it because it's usually the first one people notice, and it's an easier story to tell than the one about my mother's head getting blown off right in front of me and being trapped under her corpse for several hours with soiled pants and a couple of bullet wounds.

The thing is, I know that a lot of what happened to me is horrible. I still can't shake the feeling of being perpetually alone and ignored that came from those first few weeks in the lab. It's just that when you spend ten years of your life being constantly observed and tested by scientists, some of whom had a severe case of head-perpetually-stuck-in-anal-cavity, it tends to warp your sense of humor a bit. I honestly can't tell half the time whether the story I'm about to tell is funny or disturbing or both. So, I've started prefacing my stories with that, which doesn't make things less awkward, but at least it's a funny awkward and not a painful awkward most of the time.

I guess I'll have to share some of those stories at some point in time. Maybe I will, but only after I've gotten a better idea of whether or not they're stories that I can share without traumatizing everybody who reads them. We'll see.

*Kieran is a fictional character. More will be revealed about him over time.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Sometimes OCD is Funny

...And sometimes it's not. The trick is figuring out when it's okay to laugh and when it's best to keep your mouth shut. This actually applies to ADHD, too, only I feel the need to put a lot more emphasis on the whole "sometimes it's not funny" bit because DAMN.

So let's talk about the Simpsons. There was once an episode about Bart.

...Oh, do I need to be a little more specific? Fine...

Anyway, this episode was about Bart's inability to concentrate, or something like that. It's been forever since I watched it last so I'm a little shaky on the details, but here's the basic premise: Bart gets diagnosed with ADHD and put on a drug called "Focusyn" or something. He then proceeds to become a jittery, paranoid wreck and starts doing some really strange things. It ends with him destroying a satellite that was spying on people or something and the family deciding that he doesn't need to be on drugs anymore. He'll just take Ritalin and that'll solve everything.

And then there was the King of the Hill episode where Bobby gets sent to the doctor's office, gets a half-assed diagnosis of ADHD, and gets put on drugs that make him act all wonky. Hilarity ensues! LOL!

So, I saw both of these episodes when I was in middle school, I think. That's not too long after I got diagnosed with ADHD and started on Ritalin. And you know what? As much as the Simpsons have a reputation for 'making fun of everybody' and generally being good (at least in the beginning) at tackling social issues and being a pretty well-done satire of stuff in general, and King of the Hill is... uh, a show about stuff, I wish these episodes had never seen the light of day.

See, here's the thing. You can make jokes about mental illness. You can even make tasteful jokes about mental illness. You can make jokes about the misinformation that gets thrown around and the mindset that Drugs Fix Everything and My Kid Isn't Stupid or Misbehaving, He's Just ~S~P~E~C~I~A~L~! But when you do this, you owe it to the rest of us, particularly those of us who HAVE a mental illness that is looked down upon as being made up or a pathetic excuse for lazy children or thought of as being severely over-diagnosed even though the people in the scientific community most involved with said diagnoses are generally in agreement about the diagnostic criteria and the accuracy of properly-made diagnoses, to do some god-damn research about it. It's hard enough getting people to take me seriously about having severe social anxiety, you don't need to make my other disorder into a walking punchline on top of it.

Because that's what's happened. You try to explain ADHD to somebody, you end up hitting a wall most of the time. It's either 'you just need to work harder' or 'are you sure that's really the problem here' and it's just about impossible to find someone who really understands it who hasn't actually been diagnosed with it. It's hard to make ADHD sound like a serious issue that has an impact on your ability to take care of yourself, like the fact that I literally go hungry on an almost daily basis because I can't make myself stop what I'm doing and go eat a sandwich or something even when my stomach is growling and I'm starting to feel nauseous because the meds I'm on make me feel nauseous when I'm hungry.

Of course, I would be the biggest hypocrite in the world if I said that mental disorders should be off-limits to comedians. I make jokes about my disorders all the time. If I didn't joke about it, if I didn't laugh about it, I would go into an ever-deeper spiral of depression and self-loathing. And really, there's plenty to laugh about. All I ask is that the jokes at least accurately reflect the realities of the disorder, and more importantly don't make it more difficult for the average person to get help and support for their mental illness. Because in the end, fffffffffffFFFFFFFFFUCK YOU BART SIMPSON 5T%&*$#@^YTVT ERGJKF%^&DN GSJLD GFJL( Y^*&%Q403 95UTY89*^$^&*(

Wednesday, October 9, 2013


I was told by one of my friends on twitter that I should write about cleaning stuff today, and so I did my best to do that. Here is my very, very accurate account of how cleaning stuff works in my house.

Every time I start thinking about cleaning I get the urge to do like fifty other projects that I suddenly had some kind of inspirational revelation for. I never get very far with the cleaning when that happens, but it does boost my productivity in several other areas of life.

This can also be said of many activities in my life, and is especially true for that one episode of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic where Rarity makes dresses for everyone and sings about it and some drama happens but then everyone realizes their mistakes and things get wrapped up nicely in the end because all the ponies are REASONABLE F@#$ING PEOPL- PONIES and are capable of realizing (and admitting) their mistakes and doing what they can to make up for any hurt they've caused, which made me realize that it would be really fun to take the sewing machine that's been sitting in a corner of my room since the Christmas before last, when my sister came home and tried to sort through everything she'd acquired from her many, many voyages and endeavors throughout her life and gave me a bunch of crap* that she didn't want to try to lug around all over the country with her anymore, and make something fun with it. And, of course, it just so happens that Halloween is coming up and I use any chance I can get to dress up in a costume, so...

This year I am Owain.

Who is Owain, you might ask? He is the Scion of Legend. He is the greatest Myrmidon who ever lived EVER. He is a character from Fire Emblem Awakening and I love him to death because he is awesome and hilarious and awesome and also awesome. I am about halfway done with this endeavor, and I have been documenting my progress so that I might share it with you at a later date. Look forward to it.

*Nice crap, of course - my sister is a collector of only the finest assortment of memorabilia and frivolities.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Pondering the Merit of Group Work

So. Group Work.  ...Why does this exist?

It's almost as if every teacher on the planet thinks that the one thing that's more important than the subject they teach is the ability to work in groups. Not only that, but they must feel like they're the one who has to teach this valuable, impossible-to-learn-anywhere-else skill to their students because there's absolutely no way that they could possibly learn that skill anywhere else ever. At all.

Or maybe they think that the only way that anybody could possibly learn anything about the subject they're trying to teach is to force them to cooperate with other students so that they don't have any distractions keeping them away from that valuable learning. Because that's totally what happens whenever anyone assigns group work.

What lessons do you really learn from group work, though? I mean, I guess there's the lesson that trying to coordinate with other students is a pain in the ass, and there's the valuable skill of learning to deal with the disappointment that comes when somebody else can't fucking pull it together and get some fucking work done and you're the one who has to pay for it.

There's also the lesson that when you split up work into parts and have each student do their share, you don't learn anything about what they focus on because you're too busy trying to learn your own stuff. Oh, and you do learn how to bullshit your way through a presentation with pretty pictures and roundabout explanations. You also learn how to shift the focus onto your partners when you can't answer a question, which can always be helpful.

But what all do you learn about the subject you're supposed to be presenting about?


To be honest, I'm not entirely sure.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Kieran's Demon Horse

Another Kieran story. This one's all dialogue so let me know if it's a little too confusing and I'll add some indicators as to who's talking and all that.

"Why is there a horse by the window?"
"Huh?  You mean in the hallway or something?"
"No, right there."
"There's not a horse in here, Kieran."
"Yeah, there is."
"No, there's not."
"Yeah- Look, it's right in front of you!  How can you not see it?"
"…Okay, um, what does it look like?"
"It looks like a horse."
"Oh.  Um, it's dark brown… no, it's got some red in its fur, and… really creepy red eyes…"
"Why don't you go up and touch it?"
"No! I'm not going to touch it!"
"Why not?"
"Because it's creepy!"
"Okay, fine, I'll go up to it-"
"Kieran, are you being serious?"
"Of course I'm being serious!  It's right fucking there!"
"Well, I'm not seeing it, so unless it can somehow make itself invisible to everybody but you, I'm pretty sure it's not there."
"But it is!"
"Oh, yeah?  Then what's it doing?"
"It's just kind of standing there.  It keeps staring at me and it's got this creepy look on its face.  I think it wants to kill me."
"Why would a horse want to kill you?"
"I don't know, but it sure as hell looks ready for it!"
"Okay, Kieran, think about this.  You're in a top-secret underground facility with cameras, heat sensors, about a dozen different security systems designed to keep intruders out, and there isn't a single trace of damage to be seen in this room.  How the hell could a horse have gotten in here?"
"It's a demon horse."
"All right, look… have you ever hallucinated before?"
"Have you ever had any sort of visual hallucinations before today?"
"Um… wait, you think I'm hallucinating?"
"But… wait, now it looks pissed."
"Kieran, calm down.  Your mind is just playing tricks on you."
"I really don't think so."
"Of course you don't think so.  Your mind doesn't want to acknowledge that what you're seeing isn't real."
"But… oh, shit, it's coming towards us.  Wait, don't walk towards it!"
"It's fine, Kieran.  There's nothing there."
"Yes, there is!  It- oh, wait, it's gone now."
"See?  I told you."
"It's probably just retreated to plan its next move."
"What?  I know I'm crazy, but- oh.  Wait."
"Yeah.  So, you ready to get back to what we were doing?"

"Um… sure, I guess."

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Giving Back


If you haven't read my review of Hollow Earth then you should really consider doing so before you read this. Go do that now. Done? Good.

Anyway, as I said at the end of that review, I thought it was only fair to give back to something that gave me so much joy and excitement this summer, but seeing as I live in the middle of nowhere and trying to return the favor to the authors would be difficult without resorting to being a creepy stalker or just really annoying and spammy on twitter, I decided to go a different route. After all, authors get thanked for their books all the time, but what about the actual books? What do they get? Not nearly enough, that's what, and I want to change that. So, I did the most sensible thing imaginable: I took my copy of Hollow Earth on an adventure*.

But what kind of adventure can one take a book on? Well... hell if I know, but I did it anyway. And it just so happens that I live someplace where adventures aren't all that difficult to find, so let's get this party started!

Exploring the valley!

Walking the dog!


(Watching the dog) going for a swim!

Reading up on the local history!


Walking down the main street!


Realizing how hard it is to take photos with the dog on a leash!


Enjoying the sights (with the dog)!


Admiring the wildflowers!

 Browsing the local Arts Festival!

Watching the annual Rubber Duckie Race (with the proper waterproof gear, of course)!

And since I did read the whole thing above an art gallery (and art is such a big part of the plot in general)...

Admiring the artwork!

Selecting from our gallery's extensive selection of Larson-Juhl® frames!

Doing inventory!

Working on a puzzle!

Staring longingly out the kitchen window!

Working on a puzzle... on a puzzle!


Staring longingly at the kitchen window!


Working on a puzzle on a puzzle on a puzzle!


Working on a puzzle on a puzzle on a puzzle on a puzzle!


Working on a... oh, forget it.


And finally, taking a nice, refreshing nap in the shade.

And thus concludes the adventures of my copy of Hollow Earth. For now, at least (dun dun dunnnn).

*Since I did this before I got my copy of Bone Quill I didn't get to take BQ on an adventure yet. Hopefully this will change at some point in the near future.

Junodog's Thoughts on Hollow Earth

Back when I was a sophomore at Montana State University, I got the chance to take a very enlightening class on film, theater, and media and how to spot what inspired a film. It was probably one of the best classes I ever took, and when I went to the theater-classroom to take the final exam, I was ready. Up until the point when they started handing out the final and I noticed that it had something to do with the French Revolution or something, I was so totally ready. ...Except that I was about two hours late.  Turns out I had mixed up the time of this exam with the exam time for a different class, and I then made my way to the film department in a panic to explain the situation and hope that my professor would take pity on me and let me take the exam at another time.

He did, and he was very nice about it in the email he sent, saying that these things happen and not to worry. I did pretty well on the exam when I actually did take it, and everything worked out nicely, but there was still a slight problem: I was going to have to train myself to double-check things better. I mean, he had said the date for the final several times in class and it was written pretty clearly on the syllabus, but somehow I had gotten the time for my other class's final in my head (which wasn't even at that time; it was moved to some other random time for some reason that I can't remember) and it was so deeply set in my brain that I didn't even think to check it.

Well, it's been four years since then and I think it's safe to say that that part of me hasn't changed one single f&#*ing bit bit. Only this time, instead of mixing up exam times, I got the Hollow Earth series by John and Carole Barrowman mixed up with Exodus code and, up until I finished reading Hollow Earth a few months ago, was under the impression that it was going to be a Torchwood novel. It was only when I was about halfway through the book that I began to suspect that I had gotten confused again.

On the bright side, I can't say I was disappointed about this little realization. On the contrary, I was relieved, because as much as I loved the book, it would have made for a really bad Torchwood side-story. It definitely belongs in a universe of its own, and I wish I'd realized a lot sooner that it was, in fact, in its own universe (and a pretty kick-arse universe at that), because that had been one of my biggest concerns about the novel, and it literally wasn't going to be a problem AT ALL.

Anyway, that being said, here is my review of the first two books in the series: Hollow Earth and Bone Quill. Not going into detail in this post to avoid spoilers, but I'm sure I'll get into a more detailed, spoilerrific review at some point.

1. Premise
This one's pretty easy. The basic idea behind Hollow Earth is that some artists are capable of more than just making beautiful pictures - some (known as Animare) can use their imaginations to literally bring their paintings to life, and there are others (known as Guardians) who can use their imaginations to do... well, the kind of telepathic stuff that Professor Xavier does, except I don't think there's telekinesis involved. As with a lot of other super-awesome-mind-blowing abilities that people have in a modern-day setting, there's a society that exists to protect these people from the world (and in some cases, protect the world from these people), and of course, there are a bunch of bad guys who want to take this wonderful ability and use it for their Purposes of Nefarious Evil or something like that, and so we have the opportunity to experience action, adventure, drama, suspense, humor, and all that other stuff that people like in their books. Definitely a solid premise in my opinion.

2. Plot
So, we have a premise, but what about the actual story that happens in the book(s)? Hollow Earth focuses on a set of preteen twins named Matt and Emily who, unlike anyone who came before them, have the abilities of both Animare and Guardians, and this is a matter of concern for a lot of people because nobody really knows what could happen with these two. Let's just call them the Harry Potter Jesus figures of the story - the children who are Special and who have Magical Abilities That Nobody Else Has and maybe throw something about destiny in there for good measure, I dunno. They are at the center of the story, and they have people trying to protect them, some other people trying to protect the world from them, and yet another group of people who want to use them for their Purposes of Nefarious Evil. Not the most original plot in the world, but then again what is? Besides, there are plenty of original elements in this story and the way the story unfolds makes it stand out so all in all, the focus on our Harry Potter Jesus twins works out pretty well, especially since...

3. Characters
...The characters in this series are realistic. A couple of them do come off as two-dimensional at times, but I think this can be largely attributed to the fact that they're not the focus of the series and there isn't really enough space for them to develop without distracting from the main story, so it doesn't really detract anything from the series as a whole. The ones that do get developed are just... damn. I particularly like the way the twins develop through the first two books. Matt especially grows a lot, and while I definitely like Emily better as a character, Matt goes through some realistic changes and, by the end of the second book, redeems himself by going from a gratingly obnoxious little numbskull (though I do cut him a little slack because he is only twelve at the start of the series and let's face it, kids do some really f*&^ing stupid sh*t sometimes) to learning from his mistakes, expressing genuine remorse, and essentially reforming into a better human being, while still retaining all the aspects of his personality that make him who he is. He is definitely somebody I can see existing in real life. Emily, on the other hand, reminds me of what I was like as a kid - cautious, easily worried, and not always sure of how to balance that with the urge to be, well, a kid. The two balance each other out pretty well and their relationship with each other reflects that. I'll go into detail on the other characters some other time, but let's just say that the characters make the story one that's more than worth reading.

4. Other Random Things That Aren't Really Reflective of the Quality of the Series But Did Affect How Much I Enjoyed Reading It

  • This story takes place in the UK. Which isn't at all surprising when you consider that the authors are siblings who spent the first part of their lives in Scotland, but I'm an American and I got pretty annoyed with myself when, about 40 pages into Hollow Earth, I realized I was reading all the dialogue in an American accent. Sure, it doesn't affect the story at all, but I WANT MY BRAIN TO APPLY THE PROPER ACCENTS TO ANYTHING I READ GOD DAMN IT. *cough* Moving on...
  • I read the entirety of Hollow Earth, and the second half of Bone Quill, upstairs from my family's art gallery/framing shop. The first half of Bone Quill I read in the gallery (waiting for someone to stop by after hours to pick something up, but still). Pretty fitting when you consider what the story's about.
  • I am still awesome at reading things really quickly while still absorbing what's being read. I finished both books within 24 hours of starting them, and I've gotta admit I'm feeling pretty smug about that.
  • The cover art's pretty sweet for the American hardcover editions. Illustrator Nigel Quarless deserves a lot of credit for his work.
And I think that covers the basics. All in all, I enjoyed both Hollow Earth and Bone Quill and I look forward to the continuation of the series. More importantly, I loved being taken on an adventure this summer. So much so, in fact, that I thought I'd return the favor.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Sneezy Death

After thinking about it for a while, I've decided to just go ahead and start posting some of my fictional stories on here. Most of them will be about Kieran, the character I've been working on the most recently, and with that said here's a little teaser/intro/thingy. Enjoy.

It was about ten in the morning in Munich when Travis Braun got a frantic text message from his good friend and charge, Kieran White. By the time Travis had gone to the nearest U-Bahn station, taken the U-4 to Boehmerwaldplatz and sprinted to the front door of Kieran's apartment building, it was around ten-thirty. He was relieved when Kieran buzzed him in - a sure sign that the young man was still able to move around and control his actions - but he still walked briskly up the three flights of stairs to the front door of the studio apartment Travis had found for Kieran six months before. The door was open.

"Kieran, you okay?" Travis asked as he entered the apartment, shutting the door quietly but firmly behind him. His query was not answered immediately by the small bundle of blankets on the bed in the corner, but when Travis did get his answer, it was loud and dramatic.

"ACHOO! Do you really think I-" Kieran sneezed. "-would have texted-" He sneezed again. "'I think I'm dying' if I was-" Another sneeze. "-okay?"

Travis bit his lip to keep from laughing. He was still concerned, but considering he'd never heard Kieran sneeze this much in the seventeen years they'd known each other, whatever had sent the adolescent into a panic was not without its comical merits. "What's up with the sneezing fit?"

"I don't know," Kieran said before letting out another sneeze that caused him to hit his forehead on his knees, which he had pulled up to his chest shortly after Travis arrived. "Motherfucker! I just know that-" He sneezed. "I feel like shit and I'm scared."

"How exactly do you feel like shit?" Travis asked, picking up the small trash can on the floor and using his sleeve to shove a massive pile of dirty tissues into it. "I mean, besides the obvious."

"I just... I can't really breathe, and I know this place has never exactly been a sauna but it feels way too cold in here, and..."

Travis waited patiently as Kieran went through another sneezing fit. He was still waiting for whatever it was that made Kieran think that he was dying, because so far it sounded like the kid just had a cold.
"I've gone through about twenty packs of tissue since I woke up this morning, and I feel like... I feel like shit, Travis, and I'm really, really scared."

Travis frowned and held up the trash can for Kieran to throw away the newest wad of dirty tissues. "Could you give me a little more to go on here, bud? Because right now it sounds like you've got a cold."

"But it's not- I mean, I've never felt this bad before, how could it just be a cold when I'm this- Achoo!"
Travis let out an irritated huff. He was used to Kieran being, well, strange, but to have the kid go into a panic about a cold was just a little too ridiculous for him. "Kieran, you're not going to die from a cold. Calm down, buddy."

"It's not a cold! It feels so much worse than that that-"

Travis sighed as he waited for the latest sneezing fit to end. "Come on, I've had worse colds than this and I'm still around. You'll be fine."

Kieran looked up at Travis with incredulity. "You... you've seriously had worse than this?"

"Sure. Haven't you?" Travis asked.

Kieran shook his head.

"Well, how's this compare to the last time you had a cold?"

Kieran was quiet. Travis waited patiently for the pre-pubescent young adult to answer, but after a couple of minutes he let out a groan and said, "Don't tell me you've never had a cold before."
Kieran shook his head. "I can't remember ever getting one before. I mean, maybe I did when I was little, but-"

"How the hell could you have made it this long without catching a cold?" Travis asked incredulously.

"I don't know! I- um, hm. Come to think of it, I can't remember ever getting sick, period."

Travis blinked. "Seriously?"

Kieran looked up at him. "Well, yeah. I mean, sure, I've felt sick before, like when Mr. Shithead tried to see what constituted as poison for... well, whatever my species is, but I don't think there was ever a time when I couldn't trace my physical state directly to something the lab people did to me."

Travis was dumbfounded, but only for a moment. He had been warned about something like this, after all. "Okay, look, I think what's happening here is that you just caught a cold for the first time in your life. You're panicking because it's a new experience, but I promise you it won't kill you as long as you just take it easy and take care of yourself."

"But, but why now?" Kieran asked. "I mean, I know the lab was sterile and all, but I did get to go outside and-"

"You've probably just got a really damn good immune system," Travis said. "I'll check with Jethrow on that and see what he thinks, but I'm guessing this is a result of the meds."

Kieran frowned. "I really don't get this."

Travis patted the boy on the back, stood, and headed for the door. "Don't worry, you're just experiencing the same feeling I've gotten every time I talk to you. You get used to it eventually."

He exited the apartment and closed the door just in time to avoid being hit by whatever Kieran had decided to throw at him. It looked like he was in for a long day...