Thursday, July 28, 2005

Art Project VI / Poetry Project II

You will need:

a small, clean glass container (e.g. a cleaned baby food jar)
rubber gloves
an X-Acto blade, metal file, flathead screwdriver, or other metal implement with a scraping surface
fountain pen
smallish paper or plastic bag
heavy, good-quality paper (like you would use for a resume, e.g.)
working knowledge of how to hotwire cars
a bad poet who owns his/r own home
source of ignition (Zippo lighter, cigarette lighter, matches, etc.)
accelerant (gasoline, nail polish remover, lighter fluid, kerosene, Everclear, etc.; should be in its own container)
glue (optional)
mortar and pestle (optional)

1. Put on the rubber gloves.
2. Place the ignition source and accelerant into the paper or plastic bag and close up the top. If you have a cell phone, leave it at home. Also leave behind your driver's license, or any other identification: you may choose to bring a small amount of change for public transportation if you like (dimes and Susan B. Anthony dollars are ideal, from a weight-to-value standpoint; avoid nickels and pennies).
3. Steal a parked car and place the flammables in its back seat.
4. Drive to the home of the bad poet.
5. If the home is occupied, pour accelerant around the outside of the home (or in bushes, garage, etc., as flammability permits) and ignite it with your ignition source. Be careful not to get the accelerant on your gloves: some rubber gloves will dissolve in accelerants. If home is unoccupied, break into the house and set it on fire from within.
6. Leave the property quickly. You should bring containers, lighters, etc., with you in the vehicle. For best results, do not drive directly home; drive around for a while first, discarding the ignition source and accelerant container in as many different places as is feasible. Only once these have been disposed of should you discard the gloves.
7. When the ignition source, accelerant container, and gloves have all been disposed of, you may stop and abandon the car, using whatever means present themselves to return home (taxi, bus, hitchhiking, etc.). Do NOT have someone you know pick you up.
8. Throw away the clothing you were wearing, preferably in several different towns, none of which are to be the town in which your poet's home is located, and none of which are to be the town in which your own home is located. Convenience store restrooms, fast food restrooms, university buildings (student union buildings, dormitory dumpsters, etc.), and Wal-Mart dumpsters are all good places.
9. Upon your return home, wait for thirty-six to seventy-two hours before proceeding to the next step.
10. Using your own vehicle, bring your small glass container to the remains of your poet's home, along with your metal implement. (If the building is not significantly burned, abandon the project or return home, locate another poet-homeowner, and try again from step 1).
11. Find a part of the house with significant damage and use your metal tool to scrape soot into the baby food jar. This may take a long time, as you will need to retrieve a substantial amount of soot. In a pinch, you may simply take a large chunk of a severely charred piece of wood, if available. In either case, take care to minimize the amount of non-charred material in your sample.
12. When you have a substantial amount of soot/char in your container (ideally about 3/4 of a baby food jar), cap or cover the jar and return home.
13. If your char sample contains a significant amount of solid, use the mortar and pestle to grind it into a fine powder.
14. Suspend the powdered soot/char in water. You may find it helpful, in the end, to add a small amount of glue, though this is not strictly necessary. (If glue is used, stir the solution well to distribute the glue thoroughly.)
15. Draw a small amount of the suspended soot/char into your fountain pen and test it on a piece of ordinary paper. If it is too thin (spreads too easily), heat the suspension gently to evaporate some water and then test it again. If it is too thick, add a small amount of water, stir, and test again.
16. When you have achieved the desired consistency, use the ink you have created to write a poem on the high-quality paper. One possibility is to do a rewrite of one of the bad poet's poems, though credit will be given for wholly original works as well. For best results, you should have a poem already written elsewhere, which you can copy onto the sheet.

SEMI-OBLIGATORY DISCLAIMER: Neither Krill, Numinous Krill, nor its originator, Jessica M. Guilford, nor any affiliated persons, blogs, organizations, or employers advocate carjacking, arson, B&E, murder, or other activities which are presently illegal in the United States, its protectorates, territories, or other space presently regarded as belonging to the United States by treaty or other international agreement.

KNK and JMG are in no way to be held responsible if you or someone you know thinks that reading something in a blog gives them license to act on the instructions therein. Any actual instances of someone performing the instructions herein, whether in total or in part, is clearly the result of their own mental instability and should not be excused by the appearance of the above instructions on this blog. KNK/JMG's preferred method of dealing with bad poetry is to mock it behind the author's back.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Ethics Worksheet II

You work in a small very low-tech grocery store in a state which has a bottle and can deposit law (as in Michigan, California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New York, Vermont, Hawaii, Iowa, or Oregon). One of your responsibilities is to count up cans and bottles and return people's deposits to them.

In practice, the deposit law serves mainly as a source of income for the homeless people of your state, who go through dumpsters and ditches looking for cans to return.

One day, a man who looks (and smells) homeless comes into the store with a large black garbage bag full of bottles and cans and wants the attendant deposits for these. When asked, he says he does not know how many there are in the bag, so you can't take his word for it. Most of the bag contains beer cans, some of which have been used for chewing tobacco (which has leaked out of the cans and gotten all over the outsides of everything, and the inside of the bag), and the whole bag is incredibly ripe-smelling because it has been out in the sun on a very hot summer day, while the homeless guy was walking it over to your store.

Your store is not obligated to take these, as they are for products you do not sell. Also, you would not have to take these even if they were from your store, because they are dirty and sticky and smelly and covered with tobacco spit, and you are legally allowed to refuse to take back anything that nobody in the store is willing to touch. Your co-workers have previously counseled you to refuse any such bottles and cans as the spirit moves you.

The homeless guy smells like alcohol already, and is presumably only collecting cans in order to get together enough money to buy more. However, if he's as alcoholic as he looks, he may well require the alcohol in order to function, and who are you to judge what he does with his body anyway; if he wants you to take his cans and give him money so he can get drunk again (or continue to be drunk, whatever), what business is it of yours?

There's nothing illegal about what he's asking you to do, and your store is probably the only one which would take them anyway -- other stores are more high-tech and have machines which collect the cans, but the cans in question have to be in fairly pristine condition, or at least not all crunched-up (as a quick glance into the bag reveals that most of the cans inside are). In other words, you are probably the guy's only shot at can redemption within walking distance.

But the cans smell really bad, and are coated with the germs of whoever drank out of them, and spat tobacco into them, and there are enough of them that it's going to mean a pretty substantial amount of time, if you take them.

Do you:

A) accept the cans, smell the smells, enable the alcoholism, and incur the wrinkled noses of your co-workers, or

B) deny the cans, leaving the homeless guy fundless and possibly D.T.-ing, for no good reason beyond your own prissiness about not, literally, wanting to get your hands dirty?

Defend your answers.