This is a wide-view from the side of the Coral Princess as we go through the Panama Canal in January 2012.

Des Informations, des Idées, et des Opinions Suspectes - rarement mises à jour et de qualité douteuse.

The 2015 Archives

Just look at all of the great stuff that I wrote in 2015

(or move onto the literary gold from 2016 or the gems from 2014)


2015 Shorts

2015 Shorts are thoughts that popped into my head during 2015 that didn't merit a post on their own. Each year, I set up this post and jot down whatever pops into my head and whatever isn't a link. (Those go into Link-O-Rama) Each time I update this post, it rises to the top of the front page; I'm sure that this throws the Google bot off during its biennial visit. At the end of the year, this post moves into the Dec 31st spot and serves as a signpost of my dementia. Let's get started!


Two psychics doing their thing.

While bored, quiet, and inconspicious in a local Tim Horton's, I closed my eyes and screamed "HELP!!" in my head as loud as I could to catch out any unsuspecting psychics. When I opened my eyes, a table of four in the corner, with two men and two women, were intently staring at me.


cover of the novel: Coma - by Robin Cooke

If you’re reading this, you’ve been in coma for almost 20 years now. We’re trying a new technique. We don’t know where this message will end up in your dream, but we hope it works. Please wake up, we miss you.

Toilet Roll.

sTEpHan hOPpE's toilet roll

Getting up at 5AM every morning is sometimes tough. This morning while going to the bathroom, I noticed that I was out of toilet paper. So, I flushed and then grabbed the empty roll, bobbled it, and it went straight into the flushing toilet. Reacting like a cat I stood stupidly staring at the roll dancing around in the water. By the time I finally reacted by plunging my hand into the toilet to get it, it had disappeared out of reach. A second flush confirmed what I expected - that the cardboard roll is stuck in the toilet’s p-trap.

Luckily an hour later I had completely forgotten about it and I used the toilet again, only remembering about the stuck cardboard roll just a fraction of a second after I flushed, overflowing the toilet completely.

So…how long does it take for toilet roll cardboard to break down in cold water?

The Egg

An interesting short-story, beautifully executed.

Read: The Egg by Andy Weir

The Egg
By: Andy Weir (full-story also available here in many languages)
You were on your way home when you died.
It was a car accident. Nothing particularly remarkable, but fatal nonetheless. You left behind a wife and two children. It was a painless death. The EMTs tried their best to save you, but to no avail. Your body was so utterly shattered you were better off, trust me.
And that’s when you met me.
“What… what happened?” You asked. “Where am I?”
“You died,” I said, matter-of-factly. No point in mincing words.
“There was a… a truck and it was skidding…”
“Yup,” I said.
“I… I died?”
“Yup. But don’t feel bad about it. Everyone dies,” I said.
You looked around. There was nothingness. Just you and me. “What is this place?” You asked. “Is this the afterlife?”
“More or less,” I said.
“Are you god?” You asked.
“Yup,” I replied. “I’m God.”
“My kids… my wife,” you said.
“What about them?”
“Will they be all right?”
“That’s what I like to see,” I said. “You just died and your main concern is for your family. That’s good stuff right there.”
You looked at me with fascination. To you, I didn’t look like God. I just looked like some man. Or possibly a woman. Some vague authority figure, maybe. More of a grammar school teacher than the almighty.
“Don’t worry,” I said. “They’ll be fine. Your kids will remember you as perfect in every way. They didn’t have time to grow contempt for you. Your wife will cry on the outside, but will be secretly relieved. To be fair, your marriage was falling apart. If it’s any consolation, she’ll feel very guilty for feeling relieved.”
“Oh,” you said. “So what happens now? Do I go to heaven or hell or something?”
“Neither,” I said. “You’ll be reincarnated.”
“Ah,” you said. “So the Hindus were right,”
“All religions are right in their own way,” I said. “Walk with me.”
You followed along as we strode through the void. “Where are we going?”
“Nowhere in particular,” I said. “It’s just nice to walk while we talk.”
“So what’s the point, then?” You asked. “When I get reborn, I’ll just be a blank slate, right? A baby. So all my experiences and everything I did in this life won’t matter.”
“Not so!” I said. “You have within you all the knowledge and experiences of all your past lives. You just don’t remember them right now.”
I stopped walking and took you by the shoulders. “Your soul is more magnificent, beautiful, and gigantic than you can possibly imagine. A human mind can only contain a tiny fraction of what you are. It’s like sticking your finger in a glass of water to see if it’s hot or cold. You put a tiny part of yourself into the vessel, and when you bring it back out, you’ve gained all the experiences it had.
“You’ve been in a human for the last 48 years, so you haven’t stretched out yet and felt the rest of your immense consciousness. If we hung out here for long enough, you’d start remembering everything. But there’s no point to doing that between each life.”
“How many times have I been reincarnated, then?”
“Oh lots. Lots and lots. An in to lots of different lives.” I said. “This time around, you’ll be a Chinese peasant girl in 540 AD.”
“Wait, what?” You stammered. “You’re sending me back in time?”
“Well, I guess technically. Time, as you know it, only exists in your universe. Things are different where I come from.”
“Where you come from?” You said.
“Oh sure,” I explained “I come from somewhere. Somewhere else. And there are others like me. I know you’ll want to know what it’s like there, but honestly you wouldn’t understand.”
“Oh,” you said, a little let down. “But wait. If I get reincarnated to other places in time, I could have interacted with myself at some point.”
“Sure. Happens all the time. And with both lives only aware of their own lifespan you don’t even know it’s happening.”
“So what’s the point of it all?”
“Seriously?” I asked. “Seriously? You’re asking me for the meaning of life? Isn’t that a little stereotypical?”
“Well it’s a reasonable question,” you persisted.
I looked you in the eye. “The meaning of life, the reason I made this whole universe, is for you to mature.”
“You mean mankind? You want us to mature?”
“No, just you. I made this whole universe for you. With each new life you grow and mature and become a larger and greater intellect.”
“Just me? What about everyone else?”
“There is no one else,” I said. “In this universe, there’s just you and me.”
You stared blankly at me. “But all the people on earth…”
“All you. Different incarnations of you.”
“Wait. I’m everyone!?”
“Now you’re getting it,” I said, with a congratulatory slap on the back.
“I’m every human being who ever lived?”
“Or who will ever live, yes.”
“I’m Abraham Lincoln?”
“And you’re John Wilkes Booth, too,” I added.
“I’m Hitler?” You said, appalled.
“And you’re the millions he killed.”
“I’m Jesus?”
“And you’re everyone who followed him.”
You fell silent.
“Every time you victimized someone,” I said, “you were victimizing yourself. Every act of kindness you’ve done, you’ve done to yourself. Every happy and sad moment ever experienced by any human was, or will be, experienced by you.”
You thought for a long time.
“Why?” You asked me. “Why do all this?”
“Because someday, you will become like me. Because that’s what you are. You’re one of my kind. You’re my child.”
“Whoa,” you said, incredulous. “You mean I’m a god?”
“No. Not yet. You’re a fetus. You’re still growing. Once you’ve lived every human life throughout all time, you will have grown enough to be born.”
“So the whole universe,” you said, “it’s just…”
“An egg.” I answered. “Now it’s time for you to move on to your next life.”
And I sent you on your way.

Ant Farm

An ant farm

You know, for many years I was never able to shake the feeling that I am nothing more than an ant in a huge ant farm. Do I really have free will or is my every move observed and influenced by some outside force? In addition, am I the only person who has this nagging feeling that society is manipulating me? From elementary school indoctrination into a life of carrying a briefcase to a job to provide a paycheque to support an ungrateful family ... to "environmentalists" lobbying to tax my bbq emissions in the name of saving the polar ice caps; this despite the last two summers being the coldest I've ever experienced ... all the way to the police barely resembling law and order anymore so much as being the societally approved street-gang du jour... it's pretty mind-bending when you think about it.

And then tack on some atheistic tendencies on top of that and it's easy to see why philosophers kill themselves young. Realizing that you have no choice, that you are merely a pawn in someone else's game as well as the realization that there is nothing after this, is a pretty shitty feeling. Despair is the word that comes to mind.

Sometimes when the weight of this realization exerts its full force upon me, I snap a little. Shortly after moving to Peterborough, I received a speeding ticket while on my way to a job interview. It was plainly a speed trap; I had not been living in Peterborough long enough yet to know where they were. The cop, like most sub-intellectual homophobes-with-latent-homosexual-tendencies - was surly. I'm sure I would be too if I had to compensate for my stunted genitalia with my police-issued sidearm.

2 years later, ever the obedient ant, I was driving past the very same spot with a cop behind me, and so doing 10 under the limit (because I figure that drives them nuts) when he pulls out and blows past me! I couldn't believe it! So, I gunned the engine and using my horn and with my lights flashing, I pulled the cop over.

I got out of my car and walked up to the side of his cruiser, leaving the sane little part of me floating above and slightly off to the right in order observe the whole scene and wonder what the hell I had gotten myself into ... and I put my hands on his car door and leaned down and said to him: "So, does the highway traffic act only apply to me?"

The Time: 56

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The Time: 37

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The Time: 49

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The Time: 45

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fifteen year old writes a poem

When words will wallop with
Similar sounding syllables
And an auditory aesthetic

There’s a million different types of hyperbole
Exaggeration of the most vital sentences
Without them, the poem would bore us to tears

When poems cause the Sun to smile
And the wind to dance
And the darkness to embrace us

Words that sound like what they mean
Guns go BANG! Bees go BUZZ.
Bacon SIZZLES in hot pans

When words escape our lips, they swirl around
Cascading down the backs of our minds
In effortless waves of curiosity and excitement

Running out of time
I have ten cents, we call that a dime
My poems are so rad, that I’m committing a crime

*mic drop*


The Time: 62

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The Time: 31

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The Time: 72

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The Time: 70

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The Time: 35

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The Time:40

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They're made out of meat

A piece of meat.  Steak actually.

I think the short-story is really poised to make a comeback as the preferred art form, what with the limited attention span of young people these days, mostly thanks to portable technology that begins with the letter 'i". Anyway, I recently found this little gem that I really enjoyed: They're made out of meat

"They're made out of meat."
"Meat. They're made out of meat."
"There's no doubt about it. We picked up several from different parts of the planet, took them aboard our recon vessels, and probed them all the way through. They're completely meat."

"That's impossible. What about the radio signals? The messages to the stars?"
"They use the radio waves to talk, but the signals don't come from them. The signals come from machines."
"So who made the machines? That's who we want to contact."
"They made the machines. That's what I'm trying to tell you. Meat made the machines."
"That's ridiculous. How can meat make a machine? You're asking me to believe in sentient meat."
"I'm not asking you, I'm telling you. These creatures are the only sentient race in that sector and they're made out of meat."
"Maybe they're like the orfolei. You know, a carbon-based intelligence that goes through a meat stage."
"Nope. They're born meat and they die meat. We studied them for several of their life spans, which didn't take long. Do you have any idea what's the life span of meat?"
"Spare me. Okay, maybe they're only part meat. You know, like the weddilei. A meat head with an electron plasma brain inside."
"Nope. We thought of that, since they do have meat heads, like the weddilei. But I told you, we probed them. They're meat all the way through."
"No brain?"
"Oh, there's a brain all right. It's just that the brain is made out of meat! That's what I've been trying to tell you."
"So ... what does the thinking?"

"You're not understanding, are you? You're refusing to deal with what I'm telling you. The brain does the thinking. The meat."
"Thinking meat! You're asking me to believe in thinking meat!"
"Yes, thinking meat! Conscious meat! Loving meat. Dreaming meat. The meat is the whole deal!  Are you beginning to get the picture or do I have to start all over?"
"Omigod. You're serious then. They're made out of meat."
"Thank you. Finally. Yes. They are indeed made out of meat. And they've been trying to get in touch with us for almost a hundred of their years."
"Omigod. So what does this meat have in mind?"
"First it wants to talk to us. Then I imagine it wants to explore the Universe, contact other sentiences, swap ideas and information. The usual."
"We're supposed to talk to meat."
"That's the idea. That's the message they're sending out by radio. 'Hello. Anyone out there. Anybody home.' That sort of thing."
"They actually do talk, then. They use words, ideas, concepts?"
"Oh, yes. Except they do it with meat."
"I thought you just told me they used radio."
"They do, but what do you think is on the radio? Meat sounds. You know how when you slap or flap meat, it makes a noise? They talk by flapping their meat at each other. They can even sing by squirting air through their meat."
"Omigod. Singing meat. This is altogether too much. So what do you advise?"
"Officially or unofficially?"

"Officially, we are required to contact, welcome and log in any and all sentient races or multibeings in this quadrant of the Universe, without prejudice, fear or favor. Unofficially, I advise that we erase the records and forget the whole thing."
"I was hoping you would say that."
"It seems harsh, but there is a limit. Do we really want to make contact with meat?"
"I agree one hundred percent. What's there to say? 'Hello, meat. How's it going?' But will this work? How many planets are we dealing with here?"
"Just one. They can travel to other planets in special meat containers, but they can't live on them. And being meat, they can only travel through C space. Which limits them to the speed of light and makes the possibility of their ever making contact pretty slim. Infinitesimal, in fact."
"So we just pretend there's no one home in the Universe."
"That's it."

"Cruel. But you said it yourself, who wants to meet meat? And the ones who have been aboard our vessels, the ones you probed? You're sure they won't remember?"
"They'll be considered crackpots if they do. We went into their heads and smoothed out their meat so that we're just a dream to them."
"A dream to meat! How strangely appropriate, that we should be meat's dream."

"And we marked the entire sector unoccupied."
"Good. Agreed, officially and unofficially. Case closed. Any others? Anyone interesting on that side of the galaxy?"
"Yes, a rather shy but sweet hydrogen core cluster intelligence in a class nine star in G445 zone. Was in contact two galactic rotations ago, wants to be friendly again."

"They always come around."
"And why not? Imagine how unbearably, how unutterably cold the Universe would be if one were all alone ..."

Fantastically bad.

Snoopy types out: It was a dark and stormy night.
Finally after ninety-seven long days adrift Captain Pertwee was rescued, mercifully ending his miserable diet of rainwater and strips of sun dried Haddock which was actually far ghastlier than it sounded what with George Haddock being his former first mate. — Phillip Davies, Cardiff, U.K.
Whew Phillip, that was fantastically bad, which is good! That was Phillip Davies winning entry into the 2012 Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, an annual tongue-in-cheek competition sponsored by the English Department of San Jose University where each year, entrants are invited to “compose the opening sentence to the worst of all possible novels.” The prize? A 'pittance', whatever that is.
Seriously, any writer worth his salt knows and loves this thing.

The Time:50

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The Time:101

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The Time:30

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The Time:10

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The Time:01

Cover of: The Time, sTEpHan hOPpE's thrilling new novel.

National Novel Writing Month (Nanowrimo) was this past 2104. It's a competition with very few rules; the objective is to write a 50,000 word novel in just 30 days. For the fifth time since 2006, I competed, and for the second time (the other being in 2009) I "won", that is to say, I knocked out a 50k word novel, somewhat coherent and totally un-spellchecked, in just 21 days.

It's a horrible bit of prose with almost no redeeming qualities. I change tense and I change perspective and I break the fourth wall literally hundreds of times but all that said, it's still much better than my 2006 effort, which was little more than a drunken rant against my 5 ex-wives.

It's called: "The Time", and because it's so awful, I've decided to put it up here, for all (both) of you loyal readers to see.

I could say that I hope you enjoy it, but ultimately I really could care less. Here are the details:

The Time (working title) was: Unititled

Author: shoppe

Genre: Thriller/Suspense


Partly out of revenge and partly out of a sense of outrage, out-of-work Etienne (Steve) LaMonde starts an investigation to expose the wrong-doings of the nation's largest charity organization. But almost as soon as he starts digging, the local police start an investigation of their own to find a prowler terrorizing Steve's small community, and Steve is the prime suspect.

(cover design by Nik Hoppe)

Read: The Time 

Happy New Year! My Resolutions

A beautiful woman.

  1. Take a walk every day or at least briefly consider it.
  2. Don't spend too much time wearing pants.
  3. Maybe gain 5 lbs.
  4. Something something saving money.
  5. Take every disappointment as a reason to give up.
  6. Don't let anything get in the way of eating an entire pint of ice cream in one sitting.
  7. Stop being afraid of what could go wrong and just focus on butts.
  8. See the world with the magic of Internet.
  9. Spend more time doing what really matters - watching Netflix. (and get Netflix)
  10. Don't waste time learning.
  11. Forget a foreign language the French I only vaguely learned in highschool.
  12. Forget past mistakes and press on to greater mistakes.
  13. Read more book...take out menus.
  14. Stop making resolutions and just get out there and start eating cheese.


See the newer gold from 2016 or the literary classics from 2014

This background is: gplaypattern.jpg. It has an average lumosity of: 191.966666667 and came from:
Maybe read No Big Deal, a story I consider to be the very best thing I ever wrote.