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Writing a Short Story and/or Brewing Beer:

Books-BeerWriting and brewing beer are two of my favorite activities. I’d like to share these with you, but I simply do now have time to write two whole how-to guides. Therefore, I’ve decided to condense them into one simple list.

  1. Take some time to gather the various components. If you want your final product to be rich and complex, then this is the stage where you’re going to need to do some extra legwork. Research! Seriously, crack a book or two. Use the internet machine. There’s lots of fascinating stuff out there that others have used very successfully. There might even be some unique elements that nobody else has tried. Mix and match, but don’t go too crazy, okay? Take some time to think about what you’re doing and for God’s sake take notes.
  2. The next step is where everyone thinks the magic happens. It doesn’t. This is just the part where you mix it all together. Block off an afternoon, crack open a beverage, and get it done. Throw all those ingredients into the pot and boil them. Here’s the kicker. You gotta get them in there in the right order and in the correct proportions. This is when you get all that flavor, all that character, all that aroma in. When you’re done it’s going to be a gross, vile sludge that stinks like the bitter dregs of something gone horribly wrong. That’s ok. We call this either wort or a first draft, depending on what you’re hoping to get for a final product.
  3. Put that thing in a bucket. For a week. With yeast. Unless it’s a short story. Then yeast is optional.
  4. It’s had time to think about what it’s become. Now pick it up, get it into a new form, leaving behind the most vile non-poop substance you have ever witnessed. Never think of that stuff again. Just get it out of the final product. Don’t spend a ton of time here. Just get the nasty out and get the good stuff ready to sit.
  5. Let it sit. Magic. Like real magic, this can only happen in complete darkness. Don’t touch it. Don’t look at it. Try not to even think about it. I’m serious. This can take three to six weeks. I said don’t think about it.
  6. It’s time to look again and oh dear lord can it possibly be as bad as you remember? Likely not. You’ve probably got something good, but there’s more nastiness in there than you’d care to think about. Take only what is good and get it into a final format. A presentable format. Bottles, keg, standard manuscript format. You know, whatever’s appropriate.
  7. Drink heavily.

Congratulations. You’ve produced a beer and/or short story. Remember not to use either in conjunction with heavy machinery or motor vehicles.

Now do it again.

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How to Know That You Live in a Cyberpunk Dystopia

Have you ever uploaded your brain to a compuer? Did you ever have to fight to the death against your classmates? Have you ever had to determine whether or not someone you love is an android?

No?

Yeah, me neither. So that leaves the obvious question.

How do we know that we live in a cyberpunk dystopia?

  • Self driving cars.
  • Remember that time when we didn’t have handheld brains to augment the thinking that we do with our regular brains? Me neither. Let me look it up. Nope, that never happened.
  • Corporations are people. One of the main precepts of cyberpunk is that big, evil corporations control, manipulate, or outright own the government. They run society and they don’t do a very good job of it. Well, shit.
  • This thing. Because, of course, computers need their own weird blood. Ew.
  • Drones are everywhere now. They’re always watching you, you know. Why not wave at the sky and let them know that you’re OK with it? No, wait, don’t do that. If they think you know, they’ll just, well, never mind.
  • 4k flatscreen TVs. They’re awesome, but what’s the point of all those extra pixels? You can’t even get a 4k signal from anything. DYSTOPIA!
  • A significant human-caused alteration of the climate and…
  • A corporate-led denial of those alterations. Which is widely believed.
  • No, I won’t link to evidence of those last two. It’s ok to make broad statements such as these and link to absolutely no evidence. That is, in fact, how we prefer to get most of our information.robot-garrison-keillor
  • When I was a kid Garrison Keillor was some old guy my grandma listened to on the radio. Now? Thirty years later and he’s still on the radio doing the same show. The only answer: Robot Garrison Keillor. The Prairie Home Companion is propaganda, everyone. It’s there to convince us of the wholesome nature of our overlords at NPR.
  • I’m willing to admit that last one hasn’t been fully vetted.
  • Digital books. That’s so cyberpunk, man. We are SO living in the future. We don’t even have anything to do with all those rainforests we’re chopping down. I mean, we still chop them down, but still.
  • Bitcoins are a real thing. We might as well call them creds and exchange them by knocking our phones together. Maybe we do that. I don’t know.
  • Everything that the totally non-evil super benevolent Google Corporation (or Alphabet, I guess?) produces.

I think it’s pretty clear that we live in a cyberpunk world. Our society will now slowly slip into ruin and decay. Our best choice is to–wait, we don’t have any choices. That’s the idea.

Wait a second… Hold on.

*checks gas prices*

No, actually, never mind. We’re fine.

Make sure you share this in the social media hive-brain of your choice.