Archive for category Golden Gate Bridge

King of Diamonds: **** FLASH **** National Treasure Stolen From San Francisco

Kings of Diamonds reading 'You may be stopped and searched at any time' and 'Completed in 1937, in just over four years, the Golden Gate Bridge cost $35 million to build. Completed in 1930, in under one year, the Empire State Building cost just under $25 million to build.'

Lady Agatha Wayland fingered her diamond ring nervously. The engraving on it was barely noticeable next to the grapefruit-sized diamond, but never failed to help her: WWBD. What Would Buffy Do?

Buffy would be confident. Buffy wouldn’t act suspicious. Buffy would walk around with her head high despite the weight of the Golden Gate Bridge in a secret compartment in her brassiere. Buffy would not call attention to herself. Carmen “Buffy” Sandiego would ask a perfectly normal question, and fly as if on a perfectly normal holiday.

Agatha walked into the nearest store. “Excuse me, I’m looking for some travel advice.”

“Ma’am, I’m a butcher. I’m afraid I can’t help you with that. Can I interest you in a sirloin steak?”

Agatha touched her ring, and stuck out her chest as if it didn’t weigh 887 000 tons. “I’m planning a taco party. I’ll just take a few pounds of ground beef.” She took the beef and ran out of the shop before her confidence dissolved, not so much forgetting to pay as reverting to an old habit. Okay, new tactic.

She sped away in her Denghby speedster convertible, hoping the butcher wouldn’t call the police over a bit of beef. She tried to think of the least-obvious city to escape to. With any luck, ACME Detective Agency’s headquarters were on the other side of the now-bridgeless Bay, so their super sleuths would take some time to get to her, but she still had to get out of San Francisco quickly.

What would Buffy do? She’d get rid of the loot, that’s what she’d do. Agatha tried to think of places with bays or rivers in need of bridges. Hudson Bay had already been stolen by Fast Eddie B. a few years before, so that was out. Where were there rivers? Didn’t ‘Rio’ mean river? Perfect. She called a henchman to arrange a plane ticket to Rio de Janeiro and a fake passport.

Half an hour later, Agatha was browsing mystery novels in a bookstore when she caught a henchman’s eye between the shelves. He passed her a book titled ‘1001 Perfectly Legal Ways to Make $35 Million’ and shuffled off. She put the book into her secret coat pocket, and went to the counter with a novel, and a Portuguese phrasebook to help her out in Rio.

Her speedster was gone by the time Agatha left the bookstore. Surely taken away by the henchman and prepared for smuggling to Brazil. Agatha opened the book the henchman had given her, and found it had been hollowed out to make room for a passport, a plane ticket, and a pair of disguise glasses. V.I.L.E. never let her down.


Lady Agatha Wayland felt good. She had a destination. She had a plane ticket. She had a fake passport. She had the bridge hidden in her bosoms, where nobody would dare search. She had a safe way out of this place, and the police probably didn’t even have a warrant for her arrest. Compared with the native San Franciscans, she looked downright boring. To blend in a little more, she stopped at a Starbucks and ordered a frappuccino and a limousine to the airport. The only crime she needed to worry about was in the murder mystery she was reading.

Agatha felt a familiar thrill as the limo flying a green, blue and yellow flag pulled up. Soon she’d sell the bridge and live like a queen again. She should be able to live at least another twenty years before needing to pull another heist. She grew more and more confident as she checked in for her flight. Her luggage was respectably underweight, and her passport passed the security tests. Despite surprise at the new procedures, she obligingly removed her tennis shoes and cockily presented her hastily-prepared clear plastic bag of perfectly innocuous bottles of liquid — just a little shampoo and some diamond polish. She strutted through the metal detector, knowing she’d left her knives in her checked-in luggage, and the Golden Gate Bridge was safely masked within her chest TARDIS.

As she was gathering up her things from the conveyor belt, a security guard approached. “Ma’am, we’ve picked up something unusual on the millimeter wave scanner. We’re going to have to take you aside for some further screening. ”

Millimeter wave scanner? Agatha cursed her habit of rarely reading past the crossword page to the Life & Crime section of the V.I.L.E newsletters while she was out of the game.

Agatha was ushered into a small room by two female security agents. One of them patted her down, paying extra attention to her chest area. When they asked her to remove her top, Agatha was at the same time white with fear and blushing, which gave her a somewhat normal appearance.

No doubt newer chest TARDISes were thinner and lacier than her decades-old model, but Agatha never bothered with the fashion pages of the newsletter either. The agents prodded at her rock-hard brassiere, looking for secret pockets.

Until one of them found the button.

The Golden Gate Bridge exploded out of the bra, destroying a large section of the airport and bopping a taxiing plane into the Bay. Agatha was thrown back by the force unleashed by her undergarment, and was quickly detained by unfazed security personnel without so much as an arrest warrant.

The airport bridge became San Francisco’s most famous tourist attraction. In a bid to win back some of their tourism dollars, Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary erected a particularly Carmen-Sandiego-esque statue of Agatha in one of their rooms, claiming that she had been held at the prison after the attempted heist. Carmen Sandiego started up a legal landmark-moving business with the slogan ‘Anywhere in the world’, and became richer than ever, eventually starring in a business startup reality show entitled ‘What Would Carmen Do?’ Lady Agatha Wayland spent the rest of her life conning other Guantanamo Bay detainees into giving her advance payments on the bridge they needed to cross the bay.

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Ten of Diamonds: Another Perspective

Here are some more arrow poems. Click the poems for pdf versions you can enlarge and copy the text from.

Free to take whatever's scattered along my path. To push past all the obstacles I can barely see, without a hearth to shackle me. Collectors come To recover debt as I slip away, homeless, lost to the bad guys. I have been left to enjoy life, however I wish. //  However I wish to enjoy life, I have been left to the bad guys, homeless, lost. As I slip away to recover, debt collectors come to shackle me. Without a hearth I can barely see to push past all the obstacles scattered along my path to take whatever's free.

Two of those  crowd-pleasing folks to counteract the depressing quiet. Now they'll go. Fairly soon: funny songs that they're pretending we all like (at first) on monkeys philosophising, performed by the main act. // The main act performed by philosophising on monkeys. At first, we all like pretending that they're funny songs. Fairly soon they'll go quiet, now depressing folks to counteract the crowd-pleasing of those two.

As promised, I got Jonathan Coulton and Paul and Storm to pick the cards this week. Jonathan chose Richard Stockton, and Paul chose first the European shorthair cat, and then the Golden Gate National Parks card on behalf of Storm, who had just gone to do something else at the time. I’m fairly sure Paul and Storm are entangled, so I accept this as a valid Storm choice.

I read that there’s a large homeless population in Golden Gate Park, and also that European shorthairs are not popular outside of Scandinavia because they resemble a lot of homeless cats. Richard Stockton died a pauper, maybe not homeless, but close enough. Given that it’s a natural state for a cat to roam, and the idea of owning a human family or two might seem strange and restrictive to one who hasn’t previously tasted cat food, I wondered what would happen if a sad, newly-homeless Stockton had encountered a happily ‘homeless’ cat in the then-nonexistent Golden Gate Park. Probably some hissing, a rift in space time, and either a nourishing kitty stew or a very scratched-up politician. I couldn’t think of a storyline that wouldn’t be trite and generally the worst fable of all time, so I fell back on the arrow poem form I invented previously. It’s easier than it looks.

If you like, you can think of the up arrow as being from the perspective of a cat and the down arrow from that of Richard Stockton. Perhaps Jonathan subconsciously chose this card for the same reason he writes so many sad songs.

And on the subject of Jonathan writing sad songs (some of which are funny because they’re about monkeys and cephalopods and vampires) he’s also the down arrow in the second poem. Opening band Paul and Storm are the up arrow, because they’ve only written one sad song that I know of. That’s not to say that Jonathan is a downer; plenty of his songs are funny without being sad, and I love funny sad songs (and non-funny sad songs) anyway.

In case you were wondering, following the tour was awesome as always. I met a lot of nice people, caught up with several I already knew, discovered a new sciency songwriter when she gave her CDs to Jonathan, and also visited Bath. I’m uploading videos of the Union Chapel show now, and will put up the rest over the next few weeks, and in the mean time you could watch the Susie Asado videos I’ve put up. Next stops: Wax Mannequin at my favourite venue on land, and Marian Call at CERN (which will probably become my new favourite venue on land once I have reason to call it a venue. But then again, it already has Hardronic.) Would you believe I’d never been to a concert of my own volition until December 2008?

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King of Spades (Moxy Früvous parody)

This is a parody of King of Spain by Moxy Früvous, written by me and sung by my not-so-top-secret collaborator, whom some of you recognised as Hello, The Future! She was sick for a while, which is why this is a week later than promised. There’s an mp3, but it probably makes more sense with the video.

Here are the lyrics (forgive the spacing; if I could have a superpower, it would be to always be able to make WordPress space lines the way I want):

Once I was the King of Spades              now I’m just a playing card

Oh, how I planted that naked lady          now I’m just a playing card

I’m telling you I was the King of Spades   now I’m just a playing card

And now it takes lady luck to play me

Wan, 2 3 4!

Chicks dug me, spades really suited me

digging up bones from the late Cretaceous or planting downy birch trees

Now I eat humble pie whenever the ace is high

Caught in a flush for a poker cheater, plotting to crush the other guy

Once I was the King of Spades             now I’m just a playing card

A pirate’s deckhand, burying lucre        now I’m just a playing card

I’m telling you I was the King of Spades  now I’m just a playing card

And now my hand sweeps the deck at Euchre

Once this was the King of Spades

Folks would rave, they’d die so I’d dig their grave, the people said:

“King, how are you such a genius?”

“Your mounds are convex”

“and holes are concave!”

Kill chafer grubs so I would have safer shrubs

I’d do yardwork all through the weekend

and dig diamonds to give the lonely hearts clubs

Once I was the King of Spades                             now I’m just a playing card

Old tree falls, new sea walls, you sat back, I’d hack that.   now I’m just a playing card

I’m telling you I was the King of Spades                     now I’m just a playing card

Now the Ace hits me up to save you at blackjack.

Once this was the King of Spades

Ladies and Gentlemen, make your bids for the instrumental bridge!

Now some of you might be wondering how I came to be a playing card

after being a real life king of spades. Should I lay my cards on the table?


Deal me in!

You see late one day, I’d just dug a wishing well

Clearly I had to test it, I’ve pride in the service I sell.

And I thought, well this number’s fun, but I should be in the pictures

Next thing my heads are pounding, I’m upside down,

and I’m too legless for britches.

Ship and flatfish, banquet and cat dish

How I wish I’d never made that wish.

Counter to all intentions, I only have two dimensions.

If you’ve felt you’re bored with the cards life dealt

Remember, real life beats royal flushes

so dig your way to gold rushes!

Once I was the King of Spades                      now I’m just a playing card

I was dealing out gem stones from pyroclastic      now I’m just a playing card

I’m telling you I was the King of Spades           now I’m just a playing card

And now my dealer is Angelastic.

Once this was the King of Spades

It was obvious I should parody this song for the King of Spades. I assumed I’d end up writing a nonsense song describing all the Kings of Spades I have in rhyme, and that it wouldn’t make any sense at all without a video showing the cards. Sort of like Jonathan Coulton’s Flickr. But to make a video, I’d need someone to sing it. Naturally, I thought of Hello, The Future! since she has already written one King of Spain parody, and when I first met her she was wearing a ‘Hello, The Future! is the name of my Moxy Früvous cover band’ T-shirt. Also, I knew she had a fez and had experience wearing a fake moustache. I commissioned her to do it even before I’d written anything. Once the lyrics were written, I sent her my shouting parts, some noises I made with my rainstick (which I am determined to use in everything now) and a plastic box full of kings of spades, and the one line which I realised, to my horror, would only make sense if I sang it myself, and she mixed it all in. It ended up being some kind of story about a real-life spade maven who turns into a playing card, and it might make some kind of sense without the video, but it’s still more fun with it.

One thing I hoped I could make clear in the video was that the ‘naked lady’ line was referring to amaryllis bulbs; I’m not sure how widespread that name is. But alas, amaryllis is out of season here.

One of these days, I should put this and several other things on my podcast. Unfortunately, I chose a podcast hosting platform which is a real hassle to use, so I’ve been lax in adding things to it.

I used cards from several new decks of cards this week. Obi-Wan Kenobi from a Star Wars Heroes & Villains deck I got in Sweden made an appearance (he’s a King of Spades, but was the ‘Wan’ as I shouted ‘1 2 3 4’), as did a Queen of Hearts (in the lonely hearts club) from the Vasa Museum in Stockholm. Also in the lonely hearts club is a King of Spades from a Kama Sutra deck I found while searching for panties to throw at Paul and Storm. Underneath the ship card, you can see some information from a Golden Gate Bridge deck I was given on JoCo Cruise Crazy 2, and somewhere in there is a King of Spades from a pirate deck I bought in Aruba (the same place I got the rainstick) during that cruise.

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