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Squid #160
(published January 1, 2004)
Notes from the Giant Squid: Synopticon

Who is Poor Mojo's Giant Squid?
Dear "Giant Squid,"

How the hell do you come up with this crap?

I Am Totally Not Giving You My Name

Gentle Anonymized Reader,

I appreciate much your curiosity viz. the modes and methods of my noble work, these past three years, in service of the greater English-speaking world. I have actually enjoyed a great diversity of modus operandi throughout my tenure, although I now seem mired in a doldrumic technological low-point of my efforts.

But, to proceed chronologically (as is deemed most rational by all but the suffering timeblind, senseless to that fourth— and least easily measured— dimension), one will recall that I first was approached about this manner of work for the Almanac(k) of Poor Mojo by Fritz the Swan's Son, then working in salvage along the coasts and depths of the Michiganum Lake Superior. He arranged for my transport to the then-current offices of that fair journal, high atop a tower of steel and glass in the Cin-Cin-Atti of the Oh-High-Oh— a matter which entailed a great deal more complexity than one might imagine. At that time, I did little of the communicating, apart from signing the contracts then presented to me by dear Fritz— though yet pre-literate— and a limited sort of quasi-musical percussing along the sides of my tank, which seemed to much pleases my caretakers at that time.

Upon arrival in my but-briefly permanent home in Oh-H-Oh, I was outfitted with a great array of fiber-optically communicative cables and electro-current measuring devices, which stippled and attired my noble headsac in a manner not dissimilar from the cornrow braided hairs of Daryl Hannah in the cinematic "10", or Snoop the Dog. These served a two-way communication matter— in addition to monitoring my general health and well being— allowing me to natter out sentences and phrases directly to teletype and computer terminal, and take in serially encoded messages to be used as fodder for my advising. Of course, not only was this an alien mode of communication for ours truly (I— as all squidkind— mostly taking to communication via the variable coloration of my exogumentary membranes), but also was quite alien to your general mode of clarifying-inner-notions (that being the gabble-flapping of your eating parts), and thus resulted in less than desirable (and ofttimes quite muddled) council, and an overall intercourse that failed to fulfill the spiritual and intellectual needs of advisor and advised alike.

From there, we evolved further. Still festooned with these cables (which did, in my primitive state of info-consumption, permit me to gather and enjoy of your great datahorde electronique with facility), I was upgraded with one (and soon after, several) monochromatic cathode-ray terminals, and briefly tutored in the strange grapho-angular representation of your gruntspeak, so that I might examine my own e-mail, as well as a texty interpretation of the WorldWideDataglut. It was an enjoyable time, but I suffered of much confusion and missed understanding, as I at that time was unclear that your picto-linear word-typed language was a quixotic transcription of speakgrunt, as I had not yet been gifted of microphones without, nor aquatically-sealed speakers within, my tank.

These monodirectional intercommunicators were next installed, and then soon followed by an exterior public address system and to-voice translation software, so as to facility the caretakers' and editorial staff's interactions with me. Matters continued in this way with little change, I laboriously composing responses to your queries by concentrating upon the words a single grapho-letter at one time and watching as it appeared in the greenish murk upon the terminal screen, and then imagining the next, and so on, in serial, until composition was complete, for quite some time. There were minor improvements (a multihued computer terminal with rudimentary graphical capabilities, a large flatscreen televisual viewing set, a fine Koss subaudibal woofer for my tanks sounding system, added bass and reverberation to my exterior voice-synthesizing circuits, an array of waldos and mechanical manipulator arms, mounted without the tank and within and accessed and controlled via the network of leads, wires and monitors attached directly to my capital callosum) for quite some time. It was a tired and happy life, and though the writing was much difficult and consumptive of time, I even began to branch out into other researches and experiments.

Then there was the great change: I embarked upon my Big American Adventure, necessitating the complete removal of my leads and wires (which, in the interregnum, seemed of little purpose to ever restore, and thus remain not of use), as well as much of my laboratory and offices, so that I might be shifted to my glorious cross-country conveyance, the much-modified Cadillac Escaladè. As such, there was a great deal of downgrading of my equipments (although I did indulge in a brand new and much "trickied-out" velocitator— for, must one not give the treat to oneself on the occasion?) I shifted entirely to communicating through the listening-devices and a clever public address system actuated through subtle tentacular movements, much akin to that utilized by the great and powerful Stephen Hawking

Our return to Cin-Cin-Atti— one short and triumphal-yet-bedraggled— as you doubtless well recall was but brief, just an interval long enough to pack up the lab, report Tom as a missing person, and then prepare and actuate our movement to the great Motor City of Detroit by the River!

Of course, here in the Centre della Renaissance, matters have progressed from the badly to the worse yet. Despite nigh unto several year's promises of Sang's, my manipulators and waldos (internal and external to the tank) have yet to be mounted and made functional. My electrodes were never restored (which is a pleasure, as they made the too itchy in a terrible and distracting way), and although this tank is far more pleasant (much the larger, a superior rock and auto-body collection, terrific viewing opportunities of the river below and Canada— oh cryptic mistress— across), a far finer audio intercommunicator and high fidelity stereophonic listening apparatus, and a little pneumo-hydrolic shute through which can be sent crayons, puzzles and similar baubles (in addition to the larger shute through which my dogs come for their brief and delectable visitations) and I am now possessed of a computer-typing keyboard (much the faster in the matters of composing correspondence,) the curious laying out of the lab leaves me as of yet lacking even the simple amenity of a televisual screen or computer terminal in consistent line-of-sight-of-my-terrible-eye. In order to examine your correspondences, I am forced to have them printed upon paper and pressed up to my tank glass by Rob or a chimp, or alternately, a computer monitor laboriously hauled to fore and held aloft so that I might quickly scan of the information. It is indeed vexing in its inconvenience, although I must restate that the typing-board-of-keys is a small miracle, and quite the pleasant. Perhaps a musical-board-of-keys shall be my next demand . . .

But that, she is a matter unrelated.

This then, Anonymigo, is how I have and now come up with this crap, and in its many transmutations over time, leaves us much to speculate upon how I might come up with such crap in the future. Surgery, perhaps, to allow me to make with my clacking, rapacious mouthbits the sound of the man-grunts? Unlikely it seems, but have I not much learned how the unlikely becomes the likely and likable likelihood which shuttles our lives forward?

Finally, and indeed on a truly unrelated, though nonetheless much important, note, I include these two intelligences:

One, I wish to take this moment to more formally (if much belatedly) recognize the award-worthy efforts of my readership and submitorios. As you are no doubt all well aware, every 50 issues (or, more-to-the-less once-yearly) I randomly select a piece that was displayed upon my fair Almanac(k) within the preceeding 50 issues, and award its author $100 of American tender, good for all debts public and private. This windfall we call "The Poor Mojo's Almanac(k) Bonanza." It is an exceeding pleasure of mine to announce that the first such award (for pieces published between issues #100 and #150) has been awarded to r.wade for her "Your Librarian Hates You!" (PMjA Issue #146) Hearty congratulations ring the globe, and their destination is r.wade!

Secondly, I would like to re-iterate that my dear lab intern, Molly Reynolds, has accepted my invitation to be my running mate in the upcoming presidentialle election of 2004. Soon we shall embark on our long, arduous, and doubtlessly success-destined journey down the Campaign Trail. Stay of the tuned! Vote Squid!

Fondest Regards,
Your Giant Squid

Post-Scriptorum: To my dear and anonymous interlocutor: My network of researchers indicate that your name is James Ketch, of Newton Falls in the Oh-High-Oh. Ha. Doubt not the sagacity of this thoroughly modern squid.

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see other pieces by this author | Who is Poor Mojo's Giant Squid? Read his blog posts and enjoy his anthem (and the post-ironic mid-1990s Japanese cover of same)

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