Thursday, September 24, 2009

Dicquain Poetry

Since it seems any idiot with any respect as a writer is allowed to do this, I’m going to introduce a new format of poetry. I call it the Dicquain, and it follows this format:

First line: 2 syllables
Second line: 3 syllables, superficially related to the first
Third line: 4 syllables, again superficially related, but with no attempt at narrative or expression
Fourth line: My dick is in a ... write what your dick is in, using as many syllables as you need at this point.

Samples below:

The Whistling Whitmore
                                By Dan Stewart

Darkly scream
Mired in blackness
My dick is in a shoe


 The Martins

                                By Dan Stewart
The Martins
Salesman and wife
My dick is in a living room

Have fun with this, send me yours. Let's make this a thing.

As I Might Have Said

For the time being, I'm putting out an open invitation for guest contributions to Long Lost Bother. Now while we're finding our focus and voice for the sheer entertainment value of the site, please email anything you think will fit to:

Now I might edit the shit out of it just to fit my idea of internet-funny, but you still get full credit as an LLB writer (which is one step above Botherer, which is one step above airline pilot, in the respect of your peers kind of sense).

Long Lost Bother's 10 Scariest Ghost Towns #1

Centralia, Pennsylvania

Coming to the conclusion of the Long Lost Bother Ghost Town World Tour, (and thanks for coming on the ride, guys, how about I start calling you Botherers? would you like that? It could be like our thing), and we’ve seen towns abandoned for all sorts of reasons. Economic downturn, excessive ghosting, radioactive supermonsters (I think, did that happen? Someone read down and report back), we’ve pretty much seen it all.

Except this. A town that closed up shop because the motherfucking gates of hell opened up underneath it and I’m only very slightly exaggerating here!

Very slightly

Where is it?

Centralia is in the US state of Pennsylvania, known mostly for the Amish and being the setting of The Office. If I had a picture of an Amish dude bashfully ogling a receptionist across his desk I’d put it right here. Incidentally, Long Lost Bother could use a staff photoshopper. I can pay a salary of exactly one awesome title (tba) and the loving devotion of about a hundred Botherers (I remembered, you’re welcome).

Hey, where did everybody go?

Well, the town cleared right out after it turned out the earth beneath it was a smoldering hellfire. See, the rich veins of black coal right beneath Centralia are burning as we speak, and have been burning for a long time, and will be burning for a very long time to come. Vents for the smoke and various toxic gasses from the subterranean furnace can and have opened up everywhere, bursting up through quiet town streets, houses, yards. In fact the incident that caused people to start really, really worrying about the foul-smelling coal-gas seeping through the floor was when a suburban backyard opened up its ghastly flaming mouth and tried to swallow a small child.

This was not unprecedented behaviour for the Centralia hellfire though, this occurred not long after the mayor and gas station owner (an enviable job, we can all agree on that) John Coddington discovered something wasn’t quite right under Centralia. See a couple of years earlier, mayor Coddington found the ground around his gas tank was a little warm, and on lowering a thermometer into the tank on a string saw the fuel was fucking near boiling. At which point I’m guessing he slowly backed away from the tank, trying not to slip on the shit undoubtably running down his trousers.

The town was evacuated 1984, probably because the US government saw the effort being far cheaper than introducing health care cover from toxic gas inhalation and the burning jaws of a fiery underground earth-devil.

Why it’s scary as hell

Seen the movie Silent Hill? It’s based on this actual, really totally real town. And maybe a little on the video game.

There are a few conflicting theories over what exactly happened to make Centralia become a burning-hot toxic waste-town.

1. The annual burning-of-the-town-garbage ceremony (this is a real thing) went badly wrong when the trash-fire ignited a coal-vein beneath the town in approximately 1962. Plausible.
2. Volcanic activity a long way beneath the Centralia set the subterranean coal deposits on fire a really, really long time ago (talking millennia here) and it’s only recently smoldered up close enough to the surface to start pouring coal gasses up into unsuspecting households. Also plausible.
3. Nash’ashthul the Foul saw a small Pennsylvanian township and thought “I shall make this den of lesser beings my fucking lunch”. Pretty much the best explanation anyone's come up with.

Whatever the explanation, the Centralia coal fire is spreading relentlessly. Nobody quite knows the extent of the vast coal deposit that continues to burn hungrily, but it’s expected to reach several other small towns in the next few decades. There’s no way to stop the Centralia devil-fire, and no reason not to expect it to lunge up under your suburb any day now.

So here we are at the end of this long and terrifying road. And once again I'd like to thank the small but growing number of you following alongside me. The internet ain't a lonely place with you guys around.

I have a special invitation to all my Botherers out there. I want you guys to help choose the direction Long Lost Bother takes from here on. More comics made with semi-obscure celebrities lashed together into untoward situations? More long-winded journeys through shit you want to know? More recipes? Is that want you want from me?

I'm easy. Got some bit of writing you want read by more than five people? Let's talk.


Gentleman Dan

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Long Lost Bother's 10 Scariest Ghost Towns #2

Wittenoom, Australia

Where is it?
A small city in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. In its heyday during the 1950s had over 20,000 residents, largely employed at the Wittenoom Gorge asbestos mine.

Hey, where did everybody go?
Back in the mid-20th century, nobody had yet figured out that breathing asbestos dust is really, really bad for you. Wittenoom was a help in discovering that fact when over 1,000 residents died from asbestos-related. Former residents are still dying and presumably cursing the name of that blue dust hell.
By 1966, the town had been deserted except for eight residents who evidently believe that functioning lungs are for pussies.
Officially removed from the maps in 2007

Why it’s scary as hell

Holy fuck! There’s still so much asbestos dust in the air that it settles on the ground in a toxic blue carpet! Lying on your back and making “asbestos angels” might not quite be worth the slow choking death.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Long Lost Bother's 10 Scariest Ghost Towns #3

Mayak, Russia

Where is it?

Near the town of Kyshtym, deep in the Ural mountains of Russia.

Hey, where did everybody go?

Running on a theme from last entry, here’s another cautionary tale on being really, really careful with atomic power. In this case, the Mayak facility was built to produce nuclear weapons for the Soviets to point angrily at North America in the early Cold War. And it was built to do so quickly and cheaply. Warning lights going off yet? Well initially, the Mayak complex happily dumped all its radioactive waste byproducts into the nearest river, until someone had the bright idea of putting in storage tanks. Great idea, right? Way better than risking gigantic mutant beavers storming up from downriver. Except when one of the tanks exploded, hurling the waste in a 350km radius.

10,000 people were quickly evacuated from Mayak. And by quickly, I mean after around 200 people literally melted from the insane level of radioactivity. In an actual quote from journalist Richard Pollock, “…victims were seen with skin 'sloughing off' their faces, hands and other exposed parts of their bodies”

Why it’s scary as hell

All this happened in 1957, but nobody knew about it for decades afterwards. Think about that. The Soviet government successfully covered up the close second- or worst (depending on your scale of worseness) nuclear disaster in history for almost 30 years. How awesome at secret-keeping would a government have to be to pull this shit off? The US government couldn’t even keep a blanket on their secret project at Area 51 (the Lockheed Blackbird, dumbass, not whatever you’re imagining right now) for more than a few years, and the Russians could keep Mayak under their hat for long enough that it was barely news anymore when the truth finally came out. Which begs the question, why didn’t the Russians fake a moon landing? They clearly had the balls to pull it off.

I’ll leave you with just one more chilling fact. After dissident Russian scientist Zhores Medvedev blew the whistle on the Mayak/Kyshtym disaster, the almost-complete documentation on the event wouldn’t see the light until the collapse of the Soviet empire. But even then, a few details remain classified by the Russian government, and one of those details is just what happened to the evacuees. Could this mean there are currently 10,000 radioactive zombies prowling the Urals to this day? I’ll leave that one up to you guys.

Long Lost Bother's 10 Scariest Ghost Towns #4

Pripyat, Ukraine

Where is it?

The Kiev region of Ukraine. Built under the Soviet regime in 1970 as a planned community for the workers of the nearby power station.

Hey, where did everybody go?

If you hadn’t heard of Pripyat before, but the words “power station” tipped you off, then you can guess exactly where this is going. The power station in question was the notorious Chernobyl nuclear reactor complex and Pripyat was hastily evacuated in 1986 when reactor #4 blew the fuck up, and forever linked the words “nuclear” and “meltdown” to the “pants-shitting terror” gland in the brain of almost every human being on the planet.

Why it’s scary as hell

Places with ominous names like The Zone shouldn’t exist in real life, that’s supposed to be restricted only to cheesy sci-fi horror scenarios.

But Pripyat and the surrounding Zone is a post-apocalyptic nightmare. As you would expect, Pripyat is incredibly radioactive. Certain areas have far more concentrated contamination than others, with strong enough radiation to kill you within minutes. Many of these are where equipment from the reactor were buried, and nobody is quite sure where all of these spots are anymore. 

Biologically, the whole area around Pripyat has gone back to the dark ages. Wolves, wild boars, feral dogs freely roam and would be more than happy to maul the shit out of would-be sightseers.
Oh, and the squatters who bravely live in The Zone and have been known to shoot intruders on site after years of being hassled by police and military to move out of the most radioactive place on Earth.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Long Lost Bother's 10 Scariest Ghost Towns #5

Kolmanskop, Namibia

Where is it?
Kolmanskop, and nearby Elizabethtown, were mining towns built by German prospectors in the Namibia. The harsh desert environment was little deterrent to the greedy eyes of investors after the reward of shiny, shiny piles of diamonds.

This was totally worth it.

Hey, where did everybody go?
After World War I, diamond prices dropped dramatically, and the companies behind the operation decided there probably were cheaper ways of getting their mitts on more precious bling. By 1956, the town was completely abandoned.

Why it’s scary as hell
Since then, the desert has been quickly taking it back. Most of the buildings are knee-deep in sand, and will eventually be swallowed entirely. Kolmanskop is a stark reminder that if humans went extinct tomorrow the planet wouldn’t give a shit, and in time wipe its ass of every trace of our existence. That’s cold.

Long Lost Bother's 10 Scariest Ghost Towns #6

San Zhi, Taiwan

Where is it?
San Zhi was a planned resort town on the North coast of Taiwan. Being right on the beach, futuristic “pod” apartments and just a short drive from Taipei, San Zhi should have been a huge hit as a holiday destination.

Hey, where did everybody go?
Nobody showed up in the first place, as the resort was never completed. Not much is known about the circumstances leading to the whole project being ditched, but it is known that there were a series of fatal accidents during construction.

Why it’s scary as hell
It just looks fucking weird. Looks kind of like gigantic biomechanical alien eggs. Looks kind of like gigantic biomechanical alien eggs that have already hatched.

The fact that little detail has ever been made public about the fatalities, the abandonment or even who the architect behind San Zhi was, there’s a pretty strong case it actually was from fucking outer space.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Long Lost Bother's 10 Scariest Ghost Towns #7

St Kilda, Scotland

Where is it?

St Kilda is a remote archipelago in the outer Hebrides off Scotland. The natives of St Kilda had lived there in style for over 2000 years. And by ‘in style’ we mean specifically ‘stone age’. Until the last few centuries, St Kilda was reachable only by several days at sea and even then only when the weather was favourable. Which was approximately never. The St Kilda lifestyle largely revolved around these guys.

So wha’ happened next Angus?

The daft bastard pulled me feathers oot, din he

The Atlantic Puffin was to the islanders a primary food source, building material and the feather was the main currency.

The ownership of the island was hereditary, and residents had for time immemorial paid their rent in said feathers.

Hey, where did everybody go?

The islanders had happily lived in obscurity up until mainlanders started seeing the place as a tourist destination, spreading disease and just being fucking pests. Then when most of the able-bodied young men of the island got drafted into World War I the whole place spiralled into decline until in the 1930s residents demanded the government fly them the fuck out of there.

Did we mention that up until that point, the owner of the island, one Reginald MacLeod, was still bat-shit crazy enough to continue demanding the long-traditional rent payment? Yes, the feathers.

Why it’s scary as hell

This guy. Imagine this guy is your landlord. Terrifying.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Long Lost Bother's 10 Scariest Ghost Towns #8

Hashima Island, Japan

Where is it?

Hashima (or “Battleship”) Island lies off the coast of Nagasaki. In the late 19th Century, the Japanese discovered a method for extracting coal from the seabed. And the seabed around the Nagasaki islands was littered with veins of coal. Hashima was set up as a base of operations. At its peak in 1959, Hashima island had the highest population density ever recorded anywhere on earth, with 835 people per hectare packed into the high-rise living quarters.

Hey, where did everybody go?

From the 1960s, coal operations started shutting down all over Japan along with the rise of petroleum as the primary fuel source. Mitsubishi, who owned Hashima, closed the whole place down in 1974.
Why it’s scary as hell

The whole place is constantly raining rubble. Hashima has resisted any attempt at turning into a tourist destination because apparently, just going sightseeing turns into a level from an old platform game where you have to jump across gaps and dodge falling bricks.

Except you only get one life.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Long Lost Bother's 10 Scariest Ghost Towns #9

Now Zad, Afghanistan

Where is it?

Located in the Helmand province of Afghanistan, Now Zad was a thriving market town, boasting a population of around 10,000 and a popular bazaar. The UN deemed the town important enough to fund the building a school, until ...

Hey, where did everybody go?

The Taliban also saw Now Zad as a strategic point in their campaign to rid Afghanistan of Western infidels. Once the fighting started with British troops and their ninja allies (well, Ghurkas), the civilian population decided not to stay in the fucking middle of the shit, and got out of Dodge.

Honey, we're leaving. Start packing the car... oh

Why it’s scary as hell
When the British troops pulled out, handing over responsibility for the town to US Marines, they left some words of encouragement painted on building walls. Some motivational like “Good luck U.S!” (no double meaning there), and some a bit more to the point, “Welcome to Hell”.
And not without good reason. The insurgents had left the fucking streets paved with landmines, bombs in every shopfront, and bombs just everywhere, in a tactic known to many military strategists as the Home Alone Tactic, and to others as the If You Can Take Three Steps Without Blowing Up You Can Have The Place gambit.
Every marine on duty in Now Zad has a few additions to their standard issue gear, namely an emergency transfusion kit and two tourniquets. Stop and think about why one tourniquet isn’t enough. That’s right, you’re expected to lose both legs on any given day. Apparently going a day without losing a limb is against the norm.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Long Lost Bother's 10 Scariest Ghost Towns #10

Bhangarh, India

Where is it?
The state of Rajasthan in India. Although possibly inhabited for millennia given some of the prehistoric temples, the city itself was founded in 1573 by Raja Bhagwant Das.

Hey, where did everybody go?
As legend has it, the Raja’s younger son Madho Singh made his capital here, and local holyman Baba Balanath was fairly cool with it, only giving the one condition “If the shadow of your palace touches my feet, your whole city is fucked”. And Madho apparently decided “You know what? Fuck Baba Balanath, I’ma shadow all over that motherfucker!” and promptly built a massive palace which, as was intended, blocked some sunlight from Baba Balanath’s feet. We’re not quite sure what Baba Balanath did (besides, we assume, stand up and give a Dirty Harry glare at the palace) but the city has been abandoned ever since.
There’s a few other stories, but they all result in a sorcerer, shaman or demon slapping the crap out of the city, killing everyone and leaving the place haunted as fuck.

Why it’s scary as hell
So many ghosts they’ve virtually been included on the Indian census, that and the lingering threat of Baba Balanath getting pissy if you get your dirty fucking shadow on him.
The Indian Government’s Archeological Survey had a look at Bhangarh a few years ago and officially declared it haunted as fuck.

The official sign-post outside of town, translation: haunted as fuck.

Actually says “keep out at night”, but you know what the hell they mean.

Watch this space for the rest of this series. Gentleman Dan also writes at

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Roast Day

It's Roast Day tomorrow. Jess and I are having the Grevilles over and I'm cooking a roast. But not just any roast, a Roast Day roast.

Allow me to elaborate.

Roast Day roast, by definition, is a roast that defines and occupies the entire day. Roast Day begins, as it falls on a Saturday, at a very leisurely noon-ish. I'll start a fire in a washing-machine drum in the backyard (to set the scene, the fence around my backyard is two-metre tall rusty corrugated iron with barbed wire atop, the back wall is a patchwork of varyingly-aged steel plating and the whole thing looks like a post-apocalyptic stronghold, a place from which to weather a zombie outbreak, but today - my friends - we roast!). In the drum goes a huge, cast-iron camp oven and in the camp-oven goes a 3kg shoulder of lamb. Beers are opened and the fire is watched for a few hours. Then some chicken breast fillets are tossed in, the fire angried up, and a half-dozen more beers are downed over the next few hours. Shit-talking commences. An accoustic guitar may come out. Laughter is free and boozy cheer surrounds, mixed with the smell of the lamb that's now been pressure-cooking in its juices for a good five hours. When the arse of the lump of lamb (now already deliciously tender and alive with aroma) is starting to caramelise in its own juices, it gets lifed up and a half kilo of spuds go in to both cook in lamb/chicken juices and form a scaffold for the meat to steam without touching the pot and risking burning). Another hour later, the sun has set, everyone is nicely sozzled and start at devouring a six-hour-roasted piece of pure fucking bliss.

The world may be a terrifying place, and life speeds by at a terrifying pace, but on Roast Day we slow down and enjoy. Because the next Roast Day might be a fortnight away.

Science Time

So in the most noble of gentlemanly pursuits (besides ravaging the female house staff, firing an over-powered rifle into heritage-listed walls and sampling Holst from a Laserphone - a gramophone with a laser in it ), namely that of SCIENCE, I am handing over to my peers the results of my research. My SCIENCE research.

The most explosive compound in all creation is none other than red barrel paint. This startling conclusion, from a long career of video games, most specifically of the First Person Shooter persuasion, but creeping nefariously into any genre, is that the pigment used to colour a 44-gallon drum to any shade of red is bewilderingly volatile.

Now, if you've played any video game at all, you will surely and instinctively know that shooting a red barrel with any manner of projectile will cause it to explode. Since the bitmap graphic days this truism has been hammered into the psyche of every gamer of every level of the Mohs scare of core-hardness. Even your dear mother, having only played Tetris, will know on her first foray into Half-Life that shooting a red barrel requires a radius of safety. It simply goes without saying. Even in settings purportedly more realistic than others, such as the fake-acronym S.T.A.L.K.E.R (realism makes the monsters scarier, yo), you will find any cylindrical crimson container will detonate when disturbed as if it is filled with a gunpowder suspension in nitroglycerine. In short, it will go fucking BANG!

But regardless of setting and what possible purpose the container could have, the same degree of volatility is apparent. A shootout in a meat packing plant where the only reasonable explanation for the barrel is to house pig offcuts too foul for even dogfood, it will still go fucking BANG!

The only logical conclusion is the paint used to colour the barrels red. Which only leads to further questions.
Where is the red paint made? What insane level of Occupational Health and Safety Code of Practice could cover a facility responsible for the production of such a substance.
Why is there yet to be a video game gun battle scenario located in said facility.
But most direly important -

What the fuck would happen if you shot a red barrel filled with red barrel paint?

I propose, as did early opponents of atomic weapons research, that the resulting explosion would be sufficient to spark a chain reaction igniting all the oxygen in the entire atmosphere and irrevocably end all life on Earth.

So lets not do that, unless of course it is done in the hallowed cause of SCIENCE.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Nuclear Death Tentacle

Chicken Allemande

This is a dead fancy fucker of a meal. Do it to impress someone who isn't expecting anything more elaborate than a Spag Nap.

Chicken Allemande

This makes up good three chicken breasts worth.

Sear chicken in olive oil, toss around until just starting to brown on the outside and well coated in oil. Pop into oven, bake gently until cooked and crisping up a bit on the outer.
The allemande sauce is based on a veloute sauce, which is based on a white roux.
To make the roux, combine equal parts butter and plain flour (for this we want about a ½ cup of each) and heat gently in a saucepan. Cook, stirring constantly for about seven minutes. The texture should be smooth and slightly sticky. A good way to test if the roux is done is by tasting it, when it’s done it will have lost the floury taste and be a little sugary. The purpose of cooking a roux is to break down the starch in flour to release glucose, which gives it the flavour and thickening properties.

Add 4 cups of fresh chicken stock and stir together on a low flame. What you’ve got now is veloute sauce.

Separate the eggs. Whisk the egg yolks and cream together. Add a ladle of veloute and mix. Add another ladle of veloute and mix. Then pour the whole lot into the pot with the veloute. Squeeze a couple wedges of lemon into the sauce and set aside. The completed allemande sauce should be thick and smooth with a delicate richness and slight tang.

You want to time this so the sauce is done at the same time as the chicken, as allemande sauce doesn’t really like being reheated. Cut the chicken breasts in halves crosswise. Put on warmed plates and coat with allemande sauce, like icing a cake. Garnish the top with a sprinkle of sage or a pinch of nutmeg.

Serve with some vegetables. You probably want to go with something acidic, like tomato, or other vegetables with vinegar. The sharpness will contrast well with the richness of the main. I do ratatouille as a side, maybe you should too if you're following me this far.

Maybe next time I'll give you my recipe for Lomba Steak. If you're good.


A Beginning

"Zdoroye Lyushkin is going to kill you" said the little girl.