Japanese Silly Shopping Spree – WIF Around the World

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Ways to Spend

Money in Japan

Got some money burning a hole in your pocket? Then you should definitely visit Japan. The Land of the Rising Sun offers more bang for your buck than any other country on the planet. Whether you’re looking for something unique to eat or want a crazy way to spend the day, if you’ve got enough money, Japan has got you covered.

10. Hang Out In A Cat Cafe


There are two kinds of people in the world: those who hate cats and those who love them. Fortunately for felines, Japan is one of the most cat-friendly nations on Earth. Japanese citizens love spending time with the four-legged fur-balls, but there’s one major problem: unless they’re married, have kids, and live in a condo, most folks can’t own pets. Japanese landlords are pretty darn strict and won’t allow cats in their apartments. So what’s a young animal lover to do?

Visit a cat café, of course! While the first café appeared in Taiwan in the late ‘90s, these kitten clubs have taken Japan by storm. Today, there are close to 150 cafés across the country, and they’re the perfect places for stressed-out office workers hoping to relax with their favorite animals. Cat cafés keep anywhere from twelve to twenty-four felines on staff, and while there are a few purebreds here and there, most are mixed breeds. Customers spend their time sipping coffee (which usually costs about $1.97 per cup), relaxing at tables or on sofas, and waiting for the kittens to come visit. Some people even sketch or take pictures of the cats, but flash photography is strictly forbidden (as is waking a sleeping cat, which sounds pretty wise).

Cat cafés attract people from all walks of life. Tourists, office workers, and businessmen all stop by to chill with the kitties. While most spend about an hour and a half, some spend up to six hours while others take off whole days from work to visit the cafés, hoping to escape the rigors of everyday life. Obviously, this can get pretty pricey. The Neko no mise café charges $1.50 for every ten minutes, and at the Calico, customers pay $9 for the first hour and about two dollars for every fifteen minutes after that. Still, if you yearn for feline affection and can’t own a pet, the cat cafés might be worth every penny.

9. Buy A Clone


Have you ever thought to yourself, “I wish there was a Mini-Me?”  Well, if you visit Tokyo’s Clone Factory, your Dr. Evil dreams just might come true. Of course, this new-you might be a little, well, inanimate. Unfortunately, the Factory hasn’t discovered the secret of creating an actual clone, but they’ve come up with the next best thing. If you’re willing to part with $1,300-1,750, these techno-wizards can conjure up a doll that bears your exact likeness.

The process involves a lot of digital cameras and a 3D printer. After a client sits in a chair, she has her picture taken with multiple cameras, each one positioned at a different angle. When the photo shoot is finished, the technicians whip up a digital map of the customer’s head and print it onto the plaster that soon transforms into the head of a smiling (and much too lifelike) doll. The Clone Factory’s creations are extremely popular with brides hoping to memorialize their wedding day in 3D form. Of course, if you want to release your inner geek, you can deck out your doll in anime attire or Storm Trooper armor. Afterwards, you can take your doll home and creep out your friends with the 20-inch version of you sitting up on your mantle and smiling for all eternity.

8. Send Your Stuffed Animal On Vacation


In the 2001 French hit Amelie, the eponymous heroine swipes her father’s garden gnome and sends it on a trip around the world, having a flight attendant photograph the little guy in front of famous landmarks. In Japan, Sonoe Azuma will do the exact same thing, only she charges a small fee and works with stuffed animals.

Azuma manages the crazy-yet-cute travel agency known as Unagi Travel. For $45, she’ll escort teddy bears, plush sheep and cotton-filled dogs around Tokyo, taking their snapshots in front of places like the Tokyo Tower and the Senso-ji temple in Asakusa. For $55, she’ll give toys a VIP tour of Japanese hot springs though chances are pretty good the dolls don’t spend much time in the water. And Azuma even offers her services to folks outside of Japan. She runs an English language website for clients in America and Europe where clients can consider purchasing tours of Kyoto ($95), Kumano Kodo ($55) and an enigmatic mystery tour ($35, no Beatles involved). During the trip, she keeps her clients up to date on their animals’ whereabouts via Facebook, and when the trip is over, she mails the toys and photos back home, free of charge.

While Azuma’s business sounds a bit, well, bizarre, it’s actually a source of comfort for many people. For example, her tours have helped people struggling with the loss of family members. Seeing their dolls traveling around Japan has actually lifted their spirits and helped them deal with their grief. Even more impressively, Azuma has inspired people to seize the day and make their lives extraordinary. She tells one story about a woman who suffered an illness that affected her ability to walk. At first, she was too depressed to go to therapy, but after she saw pictures of her toys traveling across Tokyo, she decided she’d visit those places herself and regained the use of her limbs. Ultimately, Unagi Travel is innocent fun and an inspiration for people who’ve given up hope of traveling themselves.

7. Hire A Friend For A Day


Feeling lonely? Quite a few people in Japan have the blues too. In fact, over a million citizens suffer from hikikomori, an extreme form of loneliness where people lock themselves in their bedrooms and cut off all communication with friends and family. While most Japanese aren’t that lonely, many have trouble meeting new people. And that’s where rent-a-friend agencies come in handy.

Businesses like Hagemashi Tai (I Want to Cheer You Up) hire out actors who’ll take on most any role, from boyfriend to best man. For example, fake friends will show up at weddings and pretend to be buddies with the bride or groom. One single mom hired a guy to attend sports day at her children’s school, posing as their uncle, and one envious woman rented a phony admirer to make her lover jealous.

Similarly, Ossan Rental fills a very specific niche. The company’s name translates as “Old Guy Rental” and hires out a grand total of two men: founder and fashion expert Takanobu Nishimoto (46) and retired baseball player Mikio Sendou (65). For $10 an hour, these older gents will escort clients to shops, play games, and spend the day talking and offering advice. While Ossan Rental might sound a bit strange, their services are purely platonic (you can visit the site here) and, if nothing else, they help lonely people get and about and make actual human connections.

6. Bathe In A Wine-Filled Spa


The Hakone Kowakien Yunessun isn’t your average onsen (hot spring). Located outside Tokyo, the Yunessun Spa Resort is only open twelve days a year, but it certainly draws a crowd. In addition to themed spas like the Ancient Roman Baths, the resort offers unusual pools filled with liquids that most of us usually think of as beverages.

For example, one emerald-colored pool is full of green tea which is supposedly good for your skin. Visitors who want something a bit stronger might slip into the coffee spa and relax in the biggest cup of Joe on the planet. (Employees actually brew the coffee in pots and roll it out to the pool in barrels.)  Of course, if you want an adult drink, there’s the sake spa which allegedly gets rid of wrinkles. Strangely, there’s a ramen bath which has plenty of pepper and pork broth, but no actual noodles. However, the most popular pool is the red wine spa, all of which flows from a giant Merlot bottle. And if you ever decide to visit Yunnessun, drop by on Valentine’s Day when the resort offers a sticky chocolate bath. Sweet!

5. Hire A Fake Priest


Christianity isn’t all that popular in Japan. While 77% of Americans and nearly 60% of Britons identify with the faith, only a measly 1% of Japanese believe in Jesus Christ. And that’s what makes Japanese weddings so incredibly weird. Nearly 90% of nuptials are done in traditional Christian fashion, complete with white dresses, Ave Maria and, most importantly, fake priests.

The fascination with Western weddings got started in the ‘80s, when millions of Japanese citizens watched celebrities like Princess Diana and singer Momoe Yamaguchi take their vows on TV. Since then, the number of Christian weddings has skyrocketed, only most of the priests officiating are white guys from the US and Europe. Of course, there are actual Japanese priests, but there are three reasons they don’t preside over most ceremonies. Firstly, there simply aren’t enough pastors to show up at every event. Secondly, most native priests aren’t crazy about this trend because most of these weddings don’t actually involve Christianity — couples are more concerned with image than Scripture, so religious themes are glossed over. Thirdly, most people don’t want Japanese priests, as many feel they aren’t “authentic.”  After all, if you’re going to have a Western wedding, you want a Westerner to run the show, right?

Sensing a golden opportunity to make quick cash, bridal companies started hiring out native-English speakers to work as priests, none of whom have religious training. In fact, many aren’t even Christians. All that matters is that they know Japanese, can read a few token verses and wrap things up in twenty minutes or less. For less than half an hour of acting, fake priests can make us much as $120 (according to a 2006 article). Of course, Japanese couples aren’t just paying the preachers. They’re paying for the churches as well. Quite a few hotels in Japan have Christian style chapels, and you can even find sanctuaries in strange spots like supermarkets. Without a doubt, it’s a bizarre trend, but hey, the couple gets their dream wedding, and the “priest” makes a couple of bucks. Everybody goes home happy.

4. Buy A Fake Finger (If You’re A Criminal)


The fake finger industry caters to a very unique clientele: members of the Japanese Mafia, also known as the Yakuza. Why would gangsters need fake fingers, you ask? It has to do with a bloody underworld ritual known as yubitsume. If a mobster offends his superior, there’s only way to atone: he has to chop off the last joint of his pinkie, usually the left one. If he screws up again, he’ll cut the finger off at the next joint. Hopefully the gangster will get his act together, but if not, he has to move on down the hand, lopping off appendages for every offense. It’s believed this tradition stems back to the days of the samurai, when an amputated finger meant a warrior couldn’t wield his sword properly and had to rely on his master for protection. Today, it’s a sign of criminal activity, and if a gangster leaves the mob, he’ll have a really hard time getting an honest job thanks to his stubby nubs.

That’s where people like Shintaro Hayashi and Yukako Fukushima come in. Both Hayashi and Fukushima make prosthetic body parts, usually for accident victims or breast cancer patients. However, as the government cracks down on the gangs, people like Hayashi and Fukushima are getting more and more business from Japan’s criminals. Some prosthetic makers (like Fukushima) only provide fake fingers for retired gangsters hoping to start over. Others, like Hayashi, are less choosy and will produce duplicate digits for mobsters who want to keep their identities a secret while at public events.

Fake fingers can run anywhere from $1,400 to $3,000. Sure, they might be pricey, but there’s a lot of craftsmanship involved. Made out of silicone, the fingers look one hundred percent realistic. They’re custom made, each finger specially crafted to appear as a natural extension of the hand. They also curve in such a way that the wearer can grasp items without actually moving his mock appendages. Some gangsters even buy multiple fingers to match the seasons (lighter tan for winter, dark for summer) and often come back to have their prosthesis repainted, especially when the color starts fading. It’s a lucrative business, and it’s the only time gangsters don’t mind getting the finger.

3. Dine On Dirt


Japan is home to quite a few freaky restaurants like Alcatraz ER (a hellish prison hospital) and Alice of Magic World (care to guess the theme?). However, Ne Quittez Paz stands apart from its gimmicky cousins thanks to its boxer-turned-chef Toshiro Tanabe. A Gallic gastronomist, Tanabe runs a really classy joint and has a flair for French food. Not only that, he’s constantly searching for ways to transform food into art, and that’s what inspired his craziest creation yet.

For $110 per person, Ne Quittez Paz serves a full course meal with a special ingredient: dirt. The idea of consuming soil might not sound appetizing, but rest assured — Tanabe uses only the best. It comes from a company called Protoleaf, an organization that goes to countries like Sri Lanka and India and digs ten meters below the ground to find the real primo soil. Afterwards, they heat it up, killing all the bacteria, and then ship it to Japan where Tanabe uses it to make miracles happen in his kitchen.

If you order Tanabe’s dirt special, you’ll start off with potato starch and soil soup and a side salad sprinkled with dirt dressing. Your main meal would consist of an earthy risotto and sea bass, and to end it all, you’d dine on dirt ice cream and dirt gratin. (Try not to “soil” your clothes.)  To be sure, Ne Quittez Pas is a unique restaurant and probably the only place in the world that takes “surf and turf” literally.

2. Visit An Ear Cleaning Parlor


If your ears feel a bit greasy, chances are good you’ll reach for a Q-Tip. However, things are a bit different in Japan. For a small fee, young ladies will clean your ears for you. Ear care is very important in Japanese society. In addition aiding the auditory canal, it’s believed ear cleanings improve skin health and help weight loss. In fact, clean ears are so important that some consider it a mother’s duty to keep her kids and husband wax-free. But when those kids grow up, many frequent the ear cleaning parlors that have popped up all over Japan. Since there aren’t any government regulations, anyone can start their own wax removal business, and professional ear cleaners only need seven to ten days worth of training before they can start poking around in ear canals.

If you visited an ear cleaning parlor, you’d first enter a room decorated in traditional Japanese fashion. A young woman wearing a kimono would make you a cup of tea and chat a bit before sitting on the floor. After putting your head on her lap, she’d lay a napkin over your face and whip out her mimikaki. Essentially a pick made out of bamboo, metal or plastic, the mimikaki comes equipped with a special scoop for scraping out stubborn chunks of ear wax. Services generally last for thirty to seventy minutes and can cost from $32 to $100. In addition to the cleaning, some parlors offer ear massages and even ear divinations. By examining all the folds and flaps of an ear, workers claim they can actually predict your future.

It probably won’t come as a surprise that most ear salon clients are men. Many claim they’re seeking out these peculiar parlors because having their ears cleaned reminds them of their childhoods. However, there’s often a sexual element involved, and workers are allowed to walk away if they feel threatened by the customers. Sadly, sometimes things get out of hand, like the 2009 case when a woman was stabbed to death for rejecting a client’s advances. Fortunately, these incidents are few and far between, and ear cleaning parlors continue to exist on the bizarre border of nostalgia and sex.

1. Buy Crooked Teeth


Any single ladies in the audience with crooked teeth? If so, you should buy a plane ticket and fly to Japan. Overcrowded mouths are all the rage in the Land of the Rising Sun, where snaggletoothed girls are considered super cute. In fact, they’re considered so attractive that many are intentionally wrecking their smiles in the name of beauty.

This toothy style (known as tsuke-yaeba) became fashionable thanks to celebrities like pop singer Tomomi Itano, whose naturally twisted teeth made guys go nuts. Inspired by their idol, trendy teens (and even women in their 20’s) started visiting special clinics where dental beauticians built some truly bizarre bridgework. For $400, dentists will glue fake ivories onto real teeth, giving the impression that the molars are shoving the canines forward. And if a girl is unsure about this new look, she can just buy temporary teeth. However, lots of ladies decide to go with permanent caps.

Evidently, this fanged fashion is so popular that there’s even a girl band where the members all sport tsuke-yaeba. But what is it about crooked teeth that make them so appealing? According to the guys, these multi-layered grins make girls more approachable. Their imperfections make it easier for dudes to strike up a conversation. On top of that, crooked teeth are often described as “impish” and give girls a childlike quality that some guys go for. (They must love Kirsten Dunst movies.)  While tsuke-yaeba might sound strange to Westerners, is it really any weirder than Botox injections and fake tans? Remember, beauty is in the eye in the beholder — or in this case, the mouth.

Japanese Silly Shopping Spree –

WIF Around the World

The NULL Solution = Episode 149

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The NULL Solution = Episode 149

…Have you talked to Deke about this, he is the expert on extragalactic relations you know…

Skaldic the Null is no longer considered a black sheep in these parts, even less so, now that her brother’s mate/wife has managed to integrate an entire world. ‘It works for Deke. Why not me? I think he likes me. He is so much like my father; bold not overbearing, adventurous not reckless, smart not smarmy and not too hard on the eyes either.’  She is comparing notes from the experiences related to her by Mamma Celeste, recounting the circumstances that created the person Deimostra is today – the original Earth-child-of-space.

Of course she has that “talk” with her mother. “In case you don’t remember the story, I met your father back at the Space Academy. I always thought he was a bit arrogant, one of those hotshot pilots who think they are the bulletproof. So here I am, space-sick to the max, in a lift-off simulator and this joker is pretending to be a doctor of all things. He takes me to the infirmary… very convincing, but I knew who he really was. He was just trying to get to know me at the time but that didn’t matter. I could never get that guy out of my mind.

“To snip what is a much longer story, when the Space Colony 1 project was being staffed, we got to spend more time together and not long after that we were married. As it

World Space Consortium

turned out the Space Colony Global Coalition or World Space Consortium or INDEPENDENT FOUNDATION FOR THE OCCUPATION OF SPACE or whatever they call it now, was looking for a married couple to go to Mars… and you know the rest of the story.”

“Yeah you couldn’t keep your hands off each other and here I am!”

“I was marooned, pregnant and hijacked, not necessarily in that order. How’s that for a merry 2030?” Celeste can tell her daughter is serious about a “boy”. “Does Skaldic know… Related imageit is Skaldic right… does he know that you have the hots for him?”


“Well you wouldn’t be grilling me about the love of my life unless you were having similar notions. Have you talked to Deke about this? He is the expert on extragalactic relations you know.”

“He still considers me his kid sister. I am not going to ask him if he knows anything about Skaldic’s physiology.”

“He and Cerella figured it out, honey. I suggest that you let nature run its course; Que sera, sera.”

The NULL Solution =

Episode 149

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The NULL Solution = Episode 148

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The NULL Solution = Episode 148

…When it comes down to it, Deimostra is not spoiled for choice…

Illustration by Byron Eggenschwiler

Speaking of simplistic, that is the very essence of Skaldic the Null. With all the changes coming about on Eridanus, among, about and in between the populated towers with all their social shuffling, the man behind it all matriculates still, in the original Null Tower, albeit in the lofty penthouse.

He also remains a true friend to the other outcasts, namely the Space Family McKinney. While Gifted Cerella works on the nuts & bolts, he remains properly concerned for the earthly visitors and the dark cloud that approaches their true home.

Skaldic has grown particularly close to Deimostra McKinney. It began with him noticing her rapid maturation into an incredible woman and has accelerated at light speed once he solicited her help in solving the Harmonia Query.

With age being a relative term on Eridanus that she became a viable target for his potential affection is not so farfetched. Here is the way aging works on a planet where immortality is a near reality:

  • An individual comes into biological existence
  • 95% of physical growth takes place in 20 Cycles
  • The final 5%+ takes place in the mind
  • The finished product continues with only marginal aging

In the case of Deimostra, she has grown to the equivalent of an adult in her prime, in her own time. She will remain just so, just as it is with the rest of her family. There is something about the excessive humidity that preserves the organic. It slows the metabolism for all. Deimostra is definitely organic and Skaldic has noticed.

Turn around. A chronologically, but not all that emotionally advanced Eridanian is “falling” into that something-something which defies all sense of time/space. When it comes down to it, the Earth woman is not spoiled for choice. Certain erudite mature men have let their curiosity slip out from time to time, but nothing that particularly tickles a girl’s fancy.

As a tag-team problem solving tandem, the divergent pair simply works at every level. They are equals in intelligence and social stature. They have spent one cycle after another attempting to unlock the door to a planet, that neither Skaldic has been to or even care about. He has long viewed Collapsar Axis as the greater issue in theory, but now he cannot minimize the riddle.

The human heart is not nearly as complex. The female protagonist in this tale is impressed with the Null beyond the bounds of logic. She had always doubted the devotion of his friend Offingga even when she {herself} did not factor into the immediate equation. Unable to explain her envy, Deimostra did ignore her… and him for that matter. He was a chum of daddy’s after all. That was then. This is now.

The NULL Solution =

Episode 148

page 146

The NULL Solution = Episode 147

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The NULL Solution = Episode 147

…Once upon a time, he moved Heaven and Earth to warn a then pre-President Roy Crippen that his Talibanistani and the United Korean Peninsula governments were up to no good…

“Lorgan is back,” Fletcher Fitch has found a reason to live after the death of his wife, above the love of his daughters and beyond the purview of just about anybody else on planet Earth. He has been assigned the task of tracking activity around Mars. Just as when he designed the Sang-Ashi Probe for supposedly peaceful purposes, he keeps a vigilant watch.

Once upon a time, he moved Heaven and Earth to warn a pre-President Roy Crippen that his Talibanistani and the United Korean Peninsula governments were up to no good. He watched in horror as Space Colony 1 was erased from its high Martian orbit. He has been an essential part of all things Mars ever since.

“It showed up about an hour ago, smack dab over Harmonia,” he relates the latest news from Milky Way’s hotspot-with-a-bullet.

The building {not the innocuous “structure” as they would like you to believe} is not getting shorter, nor does it stand vacant of improvements. To anyone who will listen, he declares, “There is a portal forming, approx. ¼ of a mile in diameter directly onto the top of the spire.”

In the absence of hydroelectric or coal-fired plants or nuclear reactors, energy is flowing into the imposing, yet fascinating edifice. A lighthouse-like topper appears. What is the purpose?

“Ten thousand megawatts/hr.!” Fitch is measuring crazy-mad numbers.

“That is enough to run NYC for a year,” Crippen marvels, “for what, Fitch… a planet, without a single soul on it?”

“It appears Lorgan is expecting guests.”

“… With a stupid riddle to keep everybody out?  We just had two astronauts there. At least have the courtesy to have Gus McKinney pull the switch!” Roy has resorted to a simplistic approach.

The NULL Solution =

Simplicity by kuzy62 – deviantart.com

Episode 147

page 145

The NULL Solution = Episode 146

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The NULL Solution = Episode 146

…The world-wide public cannot get enough; so intriguing, so foreign to those with the least bit of an astronomical leaning…

Astronomy Picture of the Day – NASA

“If I can interrupt, my favorite moment was when we drove Solution into a river. What a kick to see how she handles underwater!”

It certainly was a kick, just not quite for the reasons he described. He leaves out the juicy parts, like the actual force field enforced by a riddle-master; a two-way closed door that is stuck shut. AND that, in everyone’s qualified opinion, he is back with his family and Rick is back tending to his nuts, is a flat-out miracle.

“Let’s take a look at the pictures your drone took, after you men were safely inside the drone and on your way back to Earth. I hear you named it the Martian Mule.

While she speaks, the director in the control room is showing file footage. That “structure” is visible in the distance, as will be the ash plume that rises just as high, without strong prevailing winds to spread it out.

“We were happy to have Mars in our rearview mirror,”… that and an alien behemoth {Collapsar Axis}. No footage of that though. This is a time for celebration not worry.

Pistachio Growers Association Incorporated. PGAI

“Lt. Commander Stanley, Prez Roy tells me you have officially retired?”  People want details and Randi Gilbert II delivers.

“Yes, I bought a little pistachio grove in California. A few cattle, some chickens and a small herd of quarter horses too.”

“Sounds like that will keep you busy.” She turns, “What about your plans Gus McKinney… with your time off, I mean?”

“Well, my daughter Marscie is growing like a weed. I think I’ll watch her develop, teach her about space stuff, maybe do a little sky watching on the side.”

“Aren’t you tired of looking at stars?”

“There’s more out there than stars and planets Randi …”

Bzztt… Fresh pictures of the Green {formerly red} Planet abruptly pop onto the broadcast. The public cannot get enough; so intriguing, so foreign to those with the least bit of an astronomical leaning. It seems someone in the studio control room was afraid that Gus may be referring to approaching unmentionable alien fortress.

RG II thanks her all-star guests and signs off from this exciting and informative new episode of Good Morning Mission Control.

The NULL Solution =

Episode 146

page 144

The NULL Solution = Episode 145

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The NULL Solution = Episode 145

…Rick Stanley digs deep for a way to frame his description about really happened on Mars…

Good Morning Mission Control’s current purpose is to direct attention to the recent homecoming of two heroes of space and their incredible story of riding the plume of a volcano to break free from Martian gravity.

“We didn’t have enough fuel achieve escape velocity,” is Rick Stanley’s explanation.

“Not if we wanted to get back home,” adds Gus to this already flawed storyline. “We came back with 2 tons worth of samples; vegetation, soil, water, you know, for our boys in the Lab. They wouldn’t let us land if we came back empty handed.”

“That’s right Commander McKinney! We needed the heat thermals to get our butts out of the atmosphere.”

“And yet you didn’t bring any pictures back to share?” RG II goes off-script to ask the question most viewers would ask if they had the chance.

“We were so busy doing the calculations required for liftoff that I guess we forgot.” Stanley is the most convincing of the pair.

“Then could you describe the Martian landscape to our viewers?  We are receiving that very question from a million people across the world.”

Rick Stanley digs deep for a way to frame his description.

“In one of my favorite author Robert Heinlein’s book Farnham’s Freehold, a family already in their bomb shelter, is bombed into the future. Not to a different spot, but one where there are no roads or buildings near where their house once stood. Only the hills and trees and rivers are there, barely recognizable to the keenest observer. The rest of the book is about pretty graphic social interaction, so I won’t bother you with that.

“In our case, Commander McKinney had us land on the other side of Mars… from that structure… not sure it is manmade or not. We managed to traverse the full ½ of the planet circumference…

“…and back.”

“Good thing, right Gus? We weaved and climbed and dodged our way on some of the same ground covered by Spirit and Opportunity, except back then the rivers were dry and we’re not sure anything was ever green and growing. So are maps were mostly Image result for tap dance gifuseless.”

“And not a single hydrogen station to stop and ask directions from.”

“We could only travel by day, even though Solution was equipped with a virtual star map.”

“Just like the ancient mariners we were!” Gus tries to keep things light. The public has seen nothing but press releases and publicity photos ever since the 1st SOL test flights. All that served to do was enhance his legendary family’s space lore. “If I can interrupt, my favorite moment was when we drove Solution into a river. What a kick to see how she handles underwater!”

The NULL Solution =

Episode 145

page 143

The NULL Solution = Episode 144

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The NULL Solution = Episode 144

Good Morning Mission Control is a space agency production. As Chief Media Relations Czarina, Francine Bouchette-Crippen sets the scene for a firsthand account of the newest biggest story…


 Tall Tales

On the ocean liner Titanic, after the ship hit an iceberg and began to sink, Bandmaster Wallace Hartley and his fellow band members started playing music to help keep the passengers calm as the crew loaded the lifeboats. Many of the survivors said that Hartley and the band continued to play until the very end…

… With Collapsar Axis bearing down on a quasi-unsuspecting planet Earth, Gus McKinney and Rick Stanley are encouraged to recount a censored version of their adventure on Mars. Taking a cue from the Holy Roman Catholic Church, NASA endeavors to control the message, even after some pretty amazing images of that tall building {only NASA knows the name of} bleed into the intrusive inter-web world.

Good Morning Mission Control is a space agency production. As Chief Media Relations Czarina, Francine Bouchette-Crippen sets the scene for a firsthand account of the biggest story about space since the SOL program produced results.

GMMC hostess Randi Gilbert II is the daughter of Randi Gilbert and niece of Sandi Gilbert. Both Gilbert women were KHST TV reporter/experts in the days of Space Colony 1.  RG II is a spacenuts’ best friend. She has the knowledge of a genuine geek, with the look of everyone’s girl-next-door. Her sole current purpose is to direct attention to the recent homecoming of two heroes of space and their incredible story of riding the plume of a volcano to break free from Martian gravity.

“We didn’t have enough fuel achieve escape velocity,” is Rick Stanley’s explanation.

“Not if we wanted to get back home,” adds Gus to this already flawed storyline. “We came back with 2 tons worth of samples; vegetation, soil, water, you know, for our boys in the Lab. They wouldn’t let us land if we came back empty handed.”

The NULL Solution =

Episode 144

page 142