Saturday, November 12, 2005

View of the Floor, via the Free Market

Although it doesn't translate formatted very prettily, this gives you the scoop on the Floor. By golly, the headlines link to the site, which is very nice. And, his ubiquitousness on the Floor should tell you why I needed Doomey as a blog co-host. The guy is f'n prolific. He needs space, unfenced and unfettered. And I'm wondering, does Jesus do windows? Hmmm. Anyhow. Here's a half-assed, top-down vertical view of the Floor.

By the way, note the NUMBER OF THE BEAST under Doomey's post head: quality manufacture vs. consummate aesthetics. ... I'm just sayin'....

The Floor

Last Post

Tlon, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius ... and Doomey
2005/11/12 07:43by tqr


six more days
2005/11/11 17:05by tqr


venture capitalist mailbag
2005/11/11 15:34by tqr


DeP, where are you!
2005/11/11 03:02by doomey


quality manufacture vs. consummate aesthetics
2005/11/11 02:58by doomey


full metal jacket
2005/11/10 12:34by doomey


to venture capitalists everywhere
2005/11/09 12:31by doomey


Fire in the Kitchen
2005/11/05 14:34by doomey


Be kind to this old man
2005/11/05 14:31by doomey


2005/11/05 14:29by doomey


Boobs Sell!
2005/11/05 14:23by doomey


why i tossed the capital out the porthole
2005/11/04 12:30by doomey


out of the in-box, into the fire
2005/11/04 12:21by doomey


Speak to me
2005/11/04 12:19by doomey


oh my frickin god
2005/11/04 00:09by doomey

Friday, November 11, 2005

chore board

got this honky jesus dude coming in at noon tomorrow to clean the haunted disco, theo. thought you might want to know, seeing as how you're the boss around here.

why i hired a honky jesus dude to clean the disco: yesterday, i put up a chore board for any and all Floorites to view, i listed various chores and beside said chores i wrote down fellow floorites names, but nothing, and whoaboy i do mean nothing was getting done, sister. so i brave the deluge, walked out into it and i jumped into my cab and i sped off to the gym to hit the timing bag, loosen up my nerves, blanch. afterwards i fell into the diner round a ways from TQR's sad sad offices and ordered me up a "burger, throw away the bun, skip the tomato" and a couple of frosty PBRs, with a side of grapes, red, seedless.

in the next booth sat this pathetic vegetarian, i could tell by his colorless moist skin. he was reading lovecraft, chewing on a carrot burger or somesuch, smacking his lips as if i wasn't sitting three feet away cringing with every smack. he had long greasy hair, from lack of shampoo i'm guessing, and he was wearing this crazy crown of thorns, trickles of dark blood streaming down his face, getting all over the carrot burger. he was laughing at lines he read, and he'd point a finger at the text and say strange, quiet words. this cat really stank, too, theo. you know what i mean? like sweat and garbage and talc and old piss. looked like a normal enough guy, so i asked him if he'd be interested in a little side work. he stiffened when i spoke to him, and his upper lip started twitching. he slowly put his book down in the blood pooled around his plate. but the son of a bitch wouldn't look at at me. he kept his eyes down, his lip twitching, and his nose started to whistle as he slowly breathed in. breathed out.

i decided to make it easy on him. wrote down directions to the haunted disco on a napkin, gave him a fin and told him there was more where that came from. stuffing the directions into his front ripped pocket, i told him i was interested in having him scrub my cherry wood, which got an eyebrow-raise out of the mutha at least. i told him to come by around noon tomorrow, report to me, no one else.

someone has to clean this sty, theo. why not jesus? i just wanted to tell you, fill you in, color within the lines. hope i didn't ruin your little blog. this is so girlie. like a diary kept under your pillow. anyway, sorry if i bent your pencil, theo.

At the Mountains of Madness

I'd always had a hankering to sample some HP Lovecraft (I believe the film Hellraiser owes homage to Lovecraft and quite a few other films do, as well, In the Mouth of Madness comes to mind), so last weekend I picked up the Definitive Volume or something like that of At the Mountains of Madness and have struggled mightily throughout this whole week to stay awake whilst reading it. I mean, it starts out promising enough with half a team of Antarctic explorers being wiped out by some mysterious force or other whilst exploring in the foothills of a newly discovered mountain range that dwarfs the Himalayas in their ominous scale. But, then it just drags like hell. Lovecraft's prose is more or less clinical and not far from the madding crowd at all. I wish I had some lines to quote here, but he's fond of striking the ominous profundity without any weight of description or action behind it to allow it to strike with any dramatic force. The climactic scene has two intrepid explorers running for their lives amid a rookery of giant blind albino penguins as they try and outpace some otherworldly entity known as a shoggoth, what appears to me to be analogous to what, in D&D parlance, would be called a Gelatinous Cube. I mean, it's almost comical. I fell asleep in my La-Z Boy last night with one and a half pages left to read until the merciful ending of the tale. I mean, you'd think I could have toughed it out, right? But damn if it is not some of the most boring prose I've ever encountered in all my days. Will I finish? Is it worth it? Somebody, please tell me that this is not the best Lovecraft has to offer! Please?

Speaking of being at the brink of madness, my TQR experience is driving me a bit nuts of late.

Everyone on the Floor is doing an admirable job evaluating capital. But only two are actively using the Free Market to voice their opinions and peeves and wants. I think the other two are very busy, or they just might think the whole affair is a waste of keyboard. But I shouldn't complain; Boligard and Gabby are doing their best to keep things lively.

H3K posted his debate starter on Variations in the Terminal a week or three ago and there it sits, still without comment. Yes. It's frustrating, but the official start for the Terminal is not until Nov. 15. Perhaps H3K was premature in posting so early. I hope the level of activity picks up in there or TQR is in trouble.

Look. We've only just begun. I understand those editors I've recruited may see the performance/transparent aspect of the site off putting. Editorially they are all doing more than I have asked of them. The possibility exists that they will follow the leads of those who are more vocal in the Free Market once they get into their groove. That's what I'm hoping for anyhow. Plus, I know that I am impatient and megalomaniacal at times, so I'm trying to hold on loosely because I know if I hold too tightly, I'm gonna lose control.

My apologies to .38 Special.

This weeks dynamic content new on site includes 1) a short essay: In Defense... of Transparency, which is also posted here, and 2) Insider Trading undergone with a Mr. Fogg of some security outfit in Portland, Oregon, who is a major-minor character (though not the protagonist) in the latest Capital Gain, These Good Days. As well as 3) the new CG, the just mentioned, These Good Days. Please, go and check out the site.

PS, Doomey is tearing it up in the Free Market on the Floor. You can't help but entertain some of his thoughts.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Capital Characters Probed in Insider Trading

Here is a sample of the innovative practice we at TQR have come to call 'Insider Trading' wherein a character (usually not the protagonist) from one of the quarter's pieces is interviewed outside of the frame of his or her respective Capital Gain.


Though not the central character in this quarter's featured Capital Gain -- As The Flavor Runs Out -- the older brother (cryptically referred to in the piece as 'Agent Orange') plays an important role in the psychological detioration of his younger sibling. Plus, he gets the fat girl in the tree house, which is a whole lot more fun than keeping watch from a bedroom window. So, without further ado...

DISCLAIMER: TQR is not responsible for AO's liberal dropping of the 'F' bomb.

TQR: Did you share in your brother's fixation with Bazooka bubble gum?

Agent Orange: Fuck no. Bazooka tastes like boiled soap. If I'd'a seen Joey was so hooked on gum I woulda knocked his teeth in. 'Tstuffs bad for you.

TQR: What's with your brother and your mother?

Agent Orange: Fuck if I know. Joey always was a little weird. And Mom's kind of a bitch, but don't print that, 'cause maybe she reads TQR.

TQR: Was what you got in the treehouse worth it?

Agent Orange: Dude, is it ever NOT worth it?

TQR: Did the girl die?

Agent Orange: Maybe, who cares? I think she just twisted her neck a little. I think I saw her again once at the mall, but it might have been someone else who had the same thighs. I mean it was twenty years ago, who remembers these things? Whatever happened it was her own fuckin' fault.

TQR: What are you doing now?

Agent Orange: I went to school for a couple months but I didn't see the point so I dropped out and moved home again. I started my own online business selling my brother's collectibles. Assholes'll pay hard cash for fucking vintage GI-Joes like they can rekindle their childhood. Total tools. I got twenty-five bucks for one of them. I sell about one every month. Mom says she might throw me out if I don't get a 9-to-5 but she ain't got the guts.

TQR: Do you keep in contact with your family? Your brother in particular? Agent Orange: Well yeah, stupidass, I live at home. Joey's a bigshot now with some trading stock banker thing in Washington city. I kinda don't like talking to him anymore, it's like he's got something to prove so he has to spend all his money on fancy cars an' trophy models an' shit. Don't tell anyone I said this but he's probably switched to something harder than Bazooka by now, at least if all those movies about bankers are true.

TQR: Why did you give yourself the moniker Agent Orange?

Agent Orange: I don't fuckin' know, why does anybody do anything? Maybe 'cause of all those news stories about Vietnamian kids what got brain damage, or something. It sounds awesome actually, maybe I should make it my new seller name on eBay. Can I go now?


Afterword: I decided to grant the miscreant's wish, and, as it were: let him go. It was all I could do to restrain myself from engaging the brigand in a bout of fisticuffs, such was the offensiveness of the proximity of his person upon my higher sensibilities. My secretary, Ms. Murdock was tasked with fumigating the office in which this interview was conducted, bless her soul. So. No harm, no foul, I suppose. And it just goes to prove that the reprehensability (is that a word, dear investor?) of a character does not mean the capital he or she inhabits can not be an admirable example of capital gain. So please, turn your attention to this quarter's CG: As The Flavor Runs Out, and enjoy.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

In Defense of Transparency

Empty flattery is the scourge of the creative process. There is no value in coddling, or swaddling artist’s egos like newborn babes. Serious writers are constantly on the lookout for readers who will give them honest feedback before they send their wares out into the submissions grinder.

TQR is an extension of this ideology. Though part of the ‘submissions grinder’, its transparent vetting process – exemplified most by the Terminal – is meant to show the venture capitalists and the investors the thought processes of those entrusted to read and evaluate their capital, give them insight into the ways in which their capital might be improved, and let the investors know that the process of finding that quarter’s capital gains is in good hands.

Some VCs, lacking the courage of their convictions, will characterize this transparency as an invasion of privacy and will shun TQR. Since TQR is in search of those VCs confident their capital will stand the test of time, let alone Terminal scrutiny, the loss of those subs mentioned in the last sentence is no loss at all, but understood to be the true first level in the TQR vetting process, phantom though it be.

Sincerely, TQR

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Weekly progress report: TQR

Dear Investors,

Three weeks in to the first quarter, and all is well, mostly. The submissions continue to trickle in at about an average of one per day now. Not blistering by any means, but we seem to have enough terminaled stories right now to be able to get 3 good enough to be called Capital Gains.

The Rorschalk Group went off without a hitch. Stephen Crane, the next 'Big Thing' and Hemingway's The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber were all given a thorough going over by msyelf, Gabby D and Boligard. Some ad lib riffing on the state of staff participation in the process was thrown in for good measure. You may read all about it in Transcript.

I have started a blog to supplement the inside views of the processes and faux pas going on within these hallowed walls. Please visit and drop a line: Please visit and make your presence known.

TQR recently made its presence known on the short story discussion board of the fine online writer's workshop at One poster questioned the sincerity and aptitude of TQR and its staff. However, Margaret Lonsdale came to TQR's defense with a brilliant synopsis of the TQR ethos. You may reference her reply at The Rorschalk Test blog mentioned in the former paragraph, under the post heading 'There is no such thing as bad publicity'.

In the near future, the Terminali will come awake and alive and fill the Terminal with enlightening and energetic capital discussions. This is my surefire tip of the week. Hear me now! Believe me later.

Sincerely, Theodore Q. Rorschalk

Monday, November 07, 2005

Oh Rah! One MF'ing motivated VC!

Here is the transcript of a gmail conversation I recently had with Mark Gunnells concerning th status of his terminaled story 'Variations'. I started the conversation because I was concerned with the lack of attention his story was receiving from the Terminali:

Dear Mr. Gunnells,
As you've probably noticed, your piece 'Variations' has made it into the Terminal, where H3K has started a thread meant to spur discussion about it. Well, the other Terminali are not quite as quick, I guess. Please be patient with them. TQR is a new concept in the e-zine genrefor everyone involved, and that includes staff. I foresee that the process in the Terminal and elsewhere on the site will run smoother as we all get used to our places therein. So... please realize I am monitoring the situation and hope that 'Variations' will get its fullTerminal treatment soon.

Sincerely, TQR

Mon, Nov 7, 2005 at 8:23 AM
To: Theodore Rorschalk
Just out of curiosity, what happens if no one responds to the story in the Terminal...automatic rejection? Just a worrywart writer here, lol.

Mark Allan Gunnells

From: Theodore Rorschalk Date: 2005/11/02 Wed AM 10:16:19 EST To: Subject: Variations

Dear Mr. Gunnells,
I feel your pain. Thing is, not only is this concept (transparent editorial) new to the public, but to those commenting on the pieces as well. So... I don't think those in the Terminal have quite bought into the process just yet. Believe me, I'm trying to cajole them as bestI can. Plus, another thing is that the Terminal's operational date isNov 15th, just when submissions to the Floor are closed. So, many in the Terminal are probably holding off until then. At least, that's one theory. Meantime, thanks for your patience and your comments. As to your specific question, the Terminali are to share their capital among themselves, so Variations is owed some discussion up there no matter if it makes the grade or not. All I can say is just be patient, and things should start moving.

Sincerely, TQR

Mon, Nov 7, 2005 at 9:16 AM
To: Theodore Rorschalk
Thanks for your prompt reply. I'm not trying to be a pest, I just crave feed back on my writing, be it positive or negative(of course, I'd be lying if I didn't say I preferred positive). I will be patient and thank you for your time.

Mark Allan Gunnells

From: Theodore Rorschalk Date: 2005/11/07 Mon AM 10:51:07 EST
Mon, Nov 7, 2005 at 9:40 AM
To: Mark Gunnells
You're not being a pest at all. In fact, may I have your permission to use these gmails to show to my Terminal staff in hopes it may get them going?

Mon, Nov 7, 2005 at 10:29 AM
To: Theodore
Please, by all means feel free to use these gmails. I crave hearing what others think of my work, even if it sometimes puts a dent in the old ego. I want to continuously improve my craft, and one of the best ways to do that is to have your work reviewed by others. Of course, I'd love to actually have my story accepted, but if not, I'd love to hear the reasonings behind a rejection so that I can improve as a writer and stand a better shot the next time I submitted to you.

Mark Allan Gunnells

From: Theodore Rorschalk Date: 2005/11/07 Mon AM 11:40:39 EST
Mon, Nov 7, 2005 at 10:50 AM
To: maggie.murdock, Pinckney Guevara and Guy LaFloor
Hi you all,
Here's a series of gmails I had with Mark Gunnels I hope will inspire you to comment on H3K's discussion starter in the Terminal. This guy(Gunnells) is exactly the kind of VC we want to satisfy, don't you know!

Mon, Nov 7, 2005 at 11:01 AM
To: "markgunnells"
Thank you, Mr. Gunnells. Your admirable attitude toward the art and craft is very refreshing to hear. I have forwarded our conversation to the Terminali. I'm sure it will inspire them.

Best, Theo

Mon, Nov 7, 2005 at 11:21 AM
To: Theodore Rorschalk
Thank you for your kind words. Although writing has long been my passion, I wasted too many years not seriously pursuing it. Now that I am, in my own small way, I am eager to learn and grow as a writer. I look forward to hearing the debate over "Variations" merits or flaws.

So. Let the record show, I'm one reasonable some bitch. And remember, if the capital fit, you must submit. My apologies to the late Johnny Cochran.

There is no such thing as bad publicity

A person who submitted a fine story to TQR a while back recently said the TQR format was 'alienating' and he said it on the main discussion boards of Zoetrope Online Writer's Workshop. His post was understandable since TQR is to put it nicely 'a different kind of son of a bitchin' story site.' So. My point is, we've got 3 submissions today, more than in a long while. Thanks to the bemused poster and past VC, who I hold no grudge against whatsoever. None whatso-fucking-ever. Really.

Margaret Lonsdale of said online site came back with a stunningly insightful and pithy reiteration of what TQR is all a'be:

I guess one person's gobbydegook is another's source of laughter and fun.

TQR is, I think, a kind of post-modern concept of what an e-zine can be. In its multi-facetedness [is that a word?], it allows us to watch the editing process as it unfolds, identifying the elements of a decent piece of writing [aka 'capital']. The transparency is for those with a voyeuristic curiosity I suppose. And an interest in detail and process rather than only the end result: a published work. TQR fans want to know how and why a piece is worthy of publication.

Concurrently, we get to know a little about the personalities of the editorial team and how each of them views the pieces he or she reads. What is it about the piece that makes it so damn good? They share this information with each other and, in the process, share with those who care to watch what is really great about a piece of writing and why I should read it.

As a voracious reader of all things, I, for one, want to know. Then there's the pure entertainment, a little bent perhaps albeit hopefully not without some wit and intelligence in its content. In the process, what might be revealed is some idea of what it's like inside the offices of all these literary bums. What do they talk about amongst themselves? What motivates them? Why do they do it? TQR is a lot to take in as it is not purely about submission, then acceptance or rejection, then publication. It's a lot more involved and hence, probably a lot more work to take in. Not for everyone, for sure. But for those with a penchant for adventure, a bit of a sense of humour, and an open mind for new ideas, it's worth a look.

per Margaret Lonsdale

I couldn't have put it better!