Alford, Massachusetts: Mandy stood there with her old Nikon film camera, snapping photo after photo of the rural landscape. It was difficult to describe the wonderful feeling of there not being a single cell phone in sight; the only modern technology around was the faint blue glow of a cathode ray tube television in the window of a nearby house, and a few cars and trucks parked in crumbling gravel driveways. She was allowed to see this place, one that would likely be ruined by the 21st century as time went on... places like these were extremely hard to find these days. A world of wood-burning cookstoves and the waxy smell of Paraffin, laundry hung out to dry, rusty steel bridges over streams that reflected the bright blue skies, apple pies left out on windowsills... a world of hard work with very little to show for it aside from the sunlight beaming down on a proud community. And Mandy wanted to trap it all in her Kodak film rolls and rescue it from the future.
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People always say that digital cameras are much more stable than film cameras, but the truth is that digital cameras, or any kind of digital technology, is one of the most unstable things in the world. A film camera can last decades if you know how to look after it, but digital things can break down instantly. A violent storm, a nuclear bomb, even something as minor as a cracked screen or the releasing of newer models, can make a digital product just a block of useless metal.
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We make, see, and love films, not digitals. To convert all of our movies, home videos, theaters, photographs and television to digital would be like telling a painter to throw away his brushes and canvas for an I-Pad. Celluloid isn't just nostalgic, it's an art form and, like it or not, it's superior to digital. It lasts much longer, it provides grain and brighter colors, and it takes more effort so that it produces something wonderful. With the inferior binary codes, pixels and untested shelf-life of digital files, plus the fact that these days anyone with a digital camera, even a two-year-old, can make a video and pollute the world with self-photography and cat pictures, film has a lot more integrity and worth than digital.
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I guess if there's one thing I can say about the 21st century, it's that the 21st century is all flash and no substance... everything is digital, nothing but files of invisible electronic data on computers and mindless zombies on their cellular phones... it's sad how because of the digital age, society is ultimately doomed. Nothing in the digital age is real anymore, and you know, they say celluloid film and ray tube televisions and maybe even paper might become obsolete in this century? ... What's most annoying is that nobody cares, they've just learned to accept the digital age and get addicted to it... none of them are ever going to step up and say to the world, 'you're all a bunch of sheep!' and even if they did say anything, I doubt anyone would listen... they're all too obsessed and attached to their cellular phones and overly big televisions and whatever other moronic things they've got these days... it almost makes me want an apocalypse to happen, to erase digital technology and force the world to start over again.
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LED lighting has its place: cold, detached, hollow places like office buildings, factories, fast food chains and public schools - places full of humans but no human emotions. LED lighting really belongs in the apathy of the digital age, where science and technology rules over friendship, love and freedom. Incandescent light bulbs have a warm yellow-orange glow like the glow of a nice fireplace, where friends and family might sit and talk together or where children might open Christmas presents, a glow that can project celluloid films and bring back old memories, a glow that can light the text of a paperback novel. Something that beautiful, with that much power, could never last very long in a time as depressing and uncertain as the 21st century.
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Every day it's something worse being predicted. Mearth says that sooner or later copyright on books will be all in the past because they'll all be available electronically. She says that electric cars will replace gasoline-powered cars. She says that something called drones will be used to watch the entire country, she talks a lot about something called nanotechnology, and 3-dimensional printing and cellular phones being implanted into peoples' minds and all available careers being replaced by robots and human cloning and overpopulation and film becoming obsolete, cellular phones making regular telephones obsolete and LED lighting replacing everything and eventually she says that the planet will collapse and become an apathetic wreck, ' Alecto replied rapidly, his run-on sentence sounding sinister and dangerous. 'Mearth says that eventually people will be able to see inside the minds of everyone.
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Yeah, you're right about having entire rooms full of film and photos... in that Sydney Mines house I have a darkroom, I have boxes of film and home movie footage... I have a few projectors, I have piles of Kodachrome slides... I like photographs. The world is always running away from society and the only way to keep the stuff that's happened in the past is by taking photographs, I can keep memories of things alive with photographs, ' Alecto responded. 'People say that a time machine can't be invented, but they've already invented a device that can stop time, cameras are the world's first time machines... The steel mill, the coal mines, the train tracks, the smog in the sky, I've been able to rescue it on super-8 and Kodachrome, and no one can remediate those photographs, I can keep them as long as I want to.
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This is my home, Cape Breton is my home, and I don't know if I really want to leave it as much as I might think and I'm sort of scared to leave it all behind, everything I've lived with, I have so many memories of all the things I've done here and I'm afraid if I leave, I might lose all my memories...
Have you ever noticed how as an adult, all the bright colors go out of your life? Now that I'm not a kid anymore, things always look gray, like a clothesline draped with laundry that's been washed too many times and left to stand in the wind. I guess that's what growing up is... it's a fading photograph.
I think we ought to find something else to do, ' said Mandy. 'But Alecto my love, you're the first person to notice my retro diner kitchen. When my parents saw it, they thought I was creating a weird art project.' 'I like it. It's got that let's-drown-ourselves-in-better-days type ambiance, ' Alecto declared, his gray eyes narrowed.
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There's no reason that anything should ever become obsolete, whether it be VHS tapes, celluloid film, print books or even the previous versions of a computer operating system, as long as even just one person still wants them around. After all, one thing leads to another, old inventions are the basis for new ones, inventors and designers and scientists and hobbyists worked hard to create all these things, so don't they deserve some respect, enough not to have their ideas buried in the dust by the latest trends and fads?
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MOM!' Martha finally screamed. 'Mom, you've got to see these!' 'Is it about Hermione?' She exclaimed, rushing into the middle of the room. Her mouth dropped open in horror when she noticed Hermione's walls. 'I can't find any... polite... photos of her, mom.' 'Why are there ones of her eating out of dumpsters and giving seniors the finger?' 'No idea, ' Martha replied. 'Oh god... I'll get one out of my wallet, ' Her mom decided, hurrying out of the room frantically... It's funny how when one thing happens, it can make you forget about something else.
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At last evil and corruption take over, ' Mearth laughed icily, her eyes filled with a wild glow. 'Someday you'll become so unstable that you'll kill anyone you've ever cared about in your life, and when that happens I only hope that you leave any outsider witnesses alone as you fade out of the world.' Alecto froze for a moment, completely silent, setting the camera down on the fence and thinking things over. Mandy could see him clearly now that he was on the video, but he looked obscure. 'What's on your corrupted mind, pretty little Sydney Tar Ponds?' Mearth asked, dropping the wire cutters and stepping closer to him. 'I hate you, ' he answered icily. 'Oh, no you don't, you just think you hate me, ' Mearth insisted, her voice kind, caring, almost loving. 'You didn't mean to try and kill me, you've been worn-out by life, you've been alive a very long time, your mind is a storm and your usual insight is gone.' Mandy was inclined to agree with Mearth; he looked like a storm, his eyes had dark shadows under them, he was limping when he walked, he was shivering and coughing and his head was leaning to one side slightly. Nonetheless, he still seemed to be able to reason, because when he noticed Mearth's falsely cheerful words he glared at her hatefully, smoke trailing from his cigarette. 'I'm going to tell Cheryl what you've done, all those times you tried to kill me, I'll tell her and she'll know what you did, ' he threatened. 'No Sydney Tar Ponds, you won't, ' Mearth replied softly, 'because if you tell her, I'll kill her and you'll have a few more super 8 home videos to add to the collection of celluloid memories.' '... You wouldn't, ' Alecto exclaimed. 'If you really do love her, if you really care about her and she's your friend, you'll stay silent, ' Mearth told him. 'You think what I'm doing is cruel, sadistic, but it isn't... you aren't even a real person, you don't understand.' Alecto said nothing back to her. The television screen faded to black and Mandy just sat there in the darkness, her expression blank.
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We're losing society to apathy, to digital technology, the people who care about nobody else but themselves. They share every little detail of their stupid lives online as if the world even gives a damn... digital technology is getting smarter and society is getting dumber, ' Mandy whispered in a voice filled with disbelief. 'Society is... it's slipping away.
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I never trust anyone", Alecto told Mandy as wisps of smoke drifted from his cigarette. "Treachery is the unfortunate result of any friendships I've ever had. I don't need friends anyway, what I want is to be left alone to carry out my work... it's a dangerous world and we're just on borrowed time, all of us... even you.
Alecto Sydney Steele, an entity of few words whom society managed to overlook as it rapidly dove into the 21st century. Everything about him, his interests, his friends, his own life, was constantly in danger of becoming an anachronism. And caught up in that mess was Mearth, not exactly evil in nature but just misunderstood. A very long time ago Alecto's life had been all incandescent sparkles and Kodachrome, but that was before the environmental movement changed Mearth from a perfectly nice and kind guardian, to a deranged and malevolent monster.
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People never like pollution, it has become very wrong to like pollution at all. But just like there are good and bad things about people, there are good and bad things about pollution. If people were pollution we would get rid of anyone who was different, anyone who was considered an inconvenience... but we'd be getting rid of a life, a lot of lives... because we didn't like them. If pollution was a person would we still be trying to get rid of it? Would we have environmentalists still complaining and protesting and trying to get rid of all pollution?
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I've seen how cigarettes went from being advertised in every type of media to being something found to be deadly... they can't kill me no matter how many of them I smoke but I've seen humans die from smoking them... if I were you I would stop smoking them.' 'Why should I? You smoke 'em all the time, you chain-smoke cigarettes, ' Mandy pointed out. 'Yeah, I started doing that back in the Sixties... for reasons you likely saw on those VHS tapes... but I'm not a person, I'm Pollution, things like that aren't dangerous to me but they are to you, ' Alecto told her. 'It's not a good idea.
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I'm afraid of what the digital age will do to the world, to the things we think are important... it's almost like people want to believe in some illusion that they're robots and forget altogether that they're real, living people... but everything these days is disposable, even people themselves, and that's why I'm afraid for the world, ' Mandy confessed, looking depressed and worried. 'So am I... but I'll still watch all of it as the world dooms itself, because I want to see how it ends, and whether or not they'll be intelligent enough to forget all of this digital illusion afterwards, ' Alecto explained. 'I'm sure that they'll be able to realize how wrong it all is... even though the idiots outnumber most people these days, there are still enough intelligent people to fight against it.
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Mandy was thinking back to when she was five years old, when she, her parents and Jud went outside before Christmas and had a snowball fight with the gray snow of Sydney Mines. 'This is a wicked blast, ' Jud would say, and Mandy would snap photos with a 35mm disposable film camera, photos she wished very much she could step into sometimes.
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They think I'm not entirely 'grounded in reality', they say. They want me to go to some live-in nerdy activity ranch thing for troubled Canadian youth, that one out in Ontario where you come back programmed like some robot, dressed in a tye-dyed shirt and eating tuna sandwiches, ' Mandy explained, a horrified look on her face. 'You're eighteen, not twelve! Would they really send you to some rat's nest like that?' Wendy questioned in mock horror. 'Aw hell no, if you get sent there, they'll make you hold hands and sing songs about caring! And they'll force you to recycle everything in blue canisters, and to discuss your emotions in front of groups of bratty little dopes!' 'Dear god, they'll have geeky youth wiener roasts at night, and no locks on the doors!' Mandy added, eyes wide. '... It'll be the day pigs fly, my parents have the camp brochure on the fridge but they'll never go through with sending me there. They always forget.
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Everything has a past, a voice, existed at some point, even things as small and seemingly meaningless as a house in a huge suburb. It's a house like every other house... but at some point a family lived there, made it theirs, made it important. When people forget that history, that somebody at some point thought the house mattered, it just becomes an empty pile of nailed wood and brick and concrete that gets torn down for some strip mall or chain store to take its place... and that's what happens more and more now, everything is disposable, always replaced with no thought at all. That's where things get lost, memories get lost, humanity slips through the cracks, because when we all fail to pay attention to the things that make up our lives, we're no longer human at all, not really.
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Mark, trying his best to distance himself from the cruel and pathetic 21st century, hadn't listened to the news reports, not even when the dark green jeeps and helicopters showed up in town, men dressed in identical uniforms, just like in school, always standing with stony faces, setting up shelters and warning signals and food storage boxes. And as the public service announcements and racist propaganda bloomed onto the screens in every classroom, Mark's only observation was that the United States still had such a long way to go. When times were dire, they resorted to using inaccurate stereotypes and ignorance as a weapon, with an impressionable society always willing to believe without further question.
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Creosote made Mandy think of the thrill of rushing through a garden sprinkler as a kid, of playing washer toss in the backyard, of spending nights in the neighbors' huge in-ground swimming pool when she was twelve, throwing glow sticks in the turquoise water during Canada Day block parties. She thought of Jud for a moment, how he'd loved doing all those things when he was a kid, but how, as he got older, it was all about popularity, sports, a life of illusion... and without warning, a totally different kind of memory filled her mind - the dull feeling of her head hitting the concrete walls near the wood shop at her old high school, the sounds of kids laughing, the sharp smell of sawdust, the buzzing of electric sanders nearby, the sound of Jud laughing while he beat her up... without realizing it, she'd started crying noiselessly.
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I don't want anything else bad to happen, ' she whispered, her voice choked with tears. 'I'm so sick to death of bad things happening, of seeing bad things that happened in the past! And I'm guilty of so many things. I'm sorry that I killed Mrs. Matthias and wrecked her stupid greenhouse back in the Eighties and I'm sorry I left you here alone while I went around the world.' 'I wasn't alone though, I knew you were doing what you wanted to do and that you were still alive, so I wasn't really alone, I knew you were still there somewhere, ' Alecto told her. His damaged smile and downcast, sorrowful eyes were draped in the shadow of the night, saving Mandy the trouble of seeing.
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You're innocent until proven guilty, ' Mandy exclaimed, unable to hide her gleeful smile. She missed the way people used to have normal conversations, used to be more caring for each other than themselves, back in the Seventies and Eighties. These days, she realized, neighbors kept to themselves, their kids kept to themselves, nobody talked to each other anymore. They went to work, went shopping and shut themselves up at home in front of glowing computer screens and cellphones... but maybe the nostalgic, better times in her life would stay buried, maybe the world would never be what it was. In the 21st century music was bad, movies were bad, society was failing and there were very few intelligent people left who missed the way things used to be... maybe though, Mandy could change things. Thinking back to the old home movies in her basement, she recalled what Alecto had told her. 'We wanted more than anything else in the world to be normal, but we failed.' The 1960's and 1970's were very strange times, but Mandy missed it all, she missed the days when Super-8 was the popular film type, when music had lyrics that made you think, when movies had powerful meanings instead of bad comedy and when people would just walk to a friend's house for the afternoon instead of texting in bed all day. She missed soda fountains and department stores and non-biodegradable plastic grocery bags, she wished cellphones, bad pop music and LED lights didn't exist... she hated how everything had a diagnosis or pill now, how people who didn't fit in with modern, lazy society were just prescribed medications without a second thought... she hated how old, reliable cars were replaced with cheap hybrid vehicles... she hated how everything could be done online, so that people could just ignore each other... the world was becoming much more convenient, but at the same time, less human, and her teenage life was considered nostalgic history now. Hanging her head low, avoiding the slightly confused stare of the cab driver through the rear view mirror, she started crying uncontrollably, her tears soaking the collar of her coat as the sun blared through the windows in a warm light.
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I've seen a lot of stuff... maybe I've seen too much. I see most humans in a bad light because I've seen what they can do, how evil they can be... I've seen the Holocaust and I've seen Jonestown, I've seen the Vietnam War and I've seen Hiroshima... I've seen the Chernobyl disaster... I've seen the World Trade Center attack... I've been alive too long, over a hundred years is a long time to be alive, ' Alecto sighed, staring at the cigarette he was holding.
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Do you think there's somewhere else, some other place to go after this one?' Mandy blurted out. 'You mean when you die, where will you end up?' Alecto asked her. '... I wouldn't know... back to whatever void there is, I suppose.' 'I've thought about it... every living thing dies alone, it'll be lonely after death, ' Mandy sighed sadly. 'That freaks me out, does it scare you?' 'I don't want to be alone, ' Alecto replied wearily. 'We won't be, though. We'll be dead, so we'll just be darkness, not much else, just memories, nostalgia and darkness.' 'I don't want to be any of that either though, ' Mandy exclaimed, bursting into tears and crying, keeping her eyes to the floor, her voice shaky as she spoke to him. 'When we die, we'll still be nothing, the world will still be nothing, everything'll just be nothing!' 'You're real though, at least that's something, ' Alecto pointed out, holding his hand out in front of her. Smiling miserably, Mandy took his hand in her own and sat there beside him quietly.
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Why'd you want to kill yourself? Didn't you feel anything, or didn't it hurt you?' Mandy questioned, looking puzzled. 'Yes, I suppose it did, ... it was strange, it was sharp, that's all I can think of to describe it... and cold, but not cold like ice, more like... I don't know, like something much worse, something horrible... and it seemed like the ground was falling upwards, becoming the sky... for a moment it made me consider that it was just a dream, that I was on some sort of drug, and then I remember being overjoyed to see the sky was still above me, then just really sad, really tired... and then I don't remember much else about it, ' Alecto told her, glaring straight ahead at the sky with narrowed eyes. 'I don't mind, I'm not supposed to mind, anyway. Mearth already told me that eventually I would want to be dead, that it was inevitable... still, I sometimes wish that I could have done something good for other people in my life, it might have made up for all the bad stuff I've done.
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Kipster is a perfectly valid word, ' Wendy argued, about to write down her score on the little notepad that had come with the game. 'Okay, so what does it mean?' Mandy wanted to know. Wendy struggled to come up with an answer, and finally just changed the subject with school gossip. Mandy found herself just ignoring it... it always sounded the same, the same events, same rumors, same secrets, same affairs, but never anything of interest to her. 'Well Sarah's on drugs again and that's why she did it in Mario's backseat, but now she might be pregnant, oh, and that messed-up Seth kid's been cutting himself again so he was sent away to Halifax last week, and there's a festival in Wolfville but Kathy won't go because Audrey-Rose is going to be there and they hate each other, and... ' Mandy had learned two years ago to detach herself from gossip; she'd learned it from Jud's death. Wendy may have been eighteen years old but she could be immature on the best of days.
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Wendy's house, unlike many in Cape Breton, had three floors, along with a basement and attic. Aside from Wendy's bedroom, there was a laundry room. The dirty water in the sink would rush from the washer hose, bubbling up, threatening to overflow, but it never did. Next-door was a motel with a neon sign that read in turquoise and pink, 'We have the best rates in town!', but the 'E' in 'rates' kept flickering on and off day and night so that every few seconds it would switch to, 'We have the best rats in town!
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You should find something better to do with your time, ' Mandy told him. 'I spend my time shooting people, and then I take them to darkrooms and blow them up.' '... Come again?' Alecto questioned with a tone of alarm in his voice. 'I take photographs and develop them myself, I've got my own darkroom... it was a joke, ' Mandy laughed. 'I love photography and I'm gonna be a photojournalist someday.' 'Really?' Alecto asked. For the first time since she'd met him, he sounded slightly enthusiastic. '... I take photographs and I film my own home movies, I have a darkroom as well... but I can't be a photojournalist like you... I can't be anything... still, at least I can take photographs, it's fun.
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We were poor back then. Not living in a cardboard carton poor, not 'we might have to eat the dog' poor, but still poor. Poor like, no insurance poor, and going to McDonald's was a really big excitement poor, wearing socks for gloves in the winter poor, and collecting nickels and dimes from the washing machine because she never got allowance, that kind of poor... poor enough to be nostalgic about poverty. So, when my mom and dad took me here for my tenth birthday, it was a really big deal. They'd saved up for two months to take me to the photography store and they bought me a Kodak Instamatic film camera... I really miss those days, because we were still a real family back then... this mall doesn't even have a film photography store anymore, just a cell phone and digital camera store, it's depressing...
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She shakily rushed towards the car to find Alecto casually standing beside it, smoking a cigarette and staring fixedly on the radio as it played the song 'Draggin' the Line' by Tommy James, his expression thoughtful. 'What are you thinking about?' Mandy questioned. 'Wouldn't the world be a very loud place to live if we said everything we thought?' Alecto asked quietly.
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If you were me you'd do the right thing, help your friends, because you're not a coward, ' Mandy sighed sadly. 'I covered up a murder because I was scared to go to jail and I did the wrong thing... well, now's my chance to do the right thing, to save someone's life, because I don't want you to die.' 'Save someone's life? I'm no one, ' Alecto laughed morbidly. 'A hundred and twelve years is definitely way too long to have survived. You'd be wasting your time and risking your own life... ' 'This is my life, ' Mandy declared, smiling sincerely. Alecto just looked concerned and very doubtful as the rain drizzled down the roads and sidewalks, towards the harbour where it fell into the ocean, indistinguishable from all the other water in the world.
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Look, I'm real sorry about Cheryl, I know you loved her a lot, ' Mandy apologized gloomily. 'It's wrong that people have to keep killing off Pollution.' 'It's alright, I think she wants to be remediated, ' Alecto told her calmly, though his grief-stricken and depressed expression said more to Mandy than his words did. 'You don't have to forget Cheryl, no matter what Mearth said to you, ' Mandy pointed out. 'People shouldn't be forced to forget what they love, or to just get over the death of what they love. Cheryl was your friend and nobody can make you forget her if you don't want to.
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Nobody has ever taken a photograph of something they want to forget. We can build a wall of happy Kodak moments around ourselves, a wall of our Christmases, birthdays, baby showers and weddings, but we can never forget that celluloid film is see-through, that behind it, all the misery of real life waits for our wall to collapse someday.
Oh, I'm Chrissy Mackenzie, I'm from Vancouver but I came here to study environmental journalism, ' the girl exclaimed with way too much enthusiasm. 'You got any advice?' 'Search me, ' Mandy muttered, spooning another ice cube from the empty glass on the table in front of her. 'I like pollution, I write in favor of it, and environmental journalism most often implies that it's in favor of all that 'go green' hippie crap.' 'Oh, well... ' Chrissy seemed taken aback, offended, and Mandy sighed a fourth time. 'Damn it, I'm really sorry, ' she apologized, smiling dismally at the aspiring writer. 'It's just been a really lousy day for me and I wasn't really thinking. My advice? Find your own cause to represent, not one thrown out into society by a ton of environmentalist dopes. Find something new, something you think could be improved, and work from there.' Chrissy smiled with a look of total ecstasy as if the words of some nobody woman were important. Mandy momentarily noticed the groups of laughing, drunk, giggling people, all acting childish... and for a moment she wished she could be them.
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And what if the other kids laugh at me?' Kerry complained to her parents as she nibbled on a piece of toast that morning. 'I have a Cape Breton accent! They'll know I'm from Canada and they'll start asking me if I lived in an igloo or ate maple syrup, bacon and seal meat every day!' 'You're really overreacting, ' Susan chuckled, sipping on a glass of orange juice. 'Canada is a lot like the States and the only thing separating both countries is an imaginary boarder! If anyone laughs at you, tell them it doesn't snow year-round, you got free health care while you were there and that you never rode a polar bear to school. Besides, do you know how many popular movies and TV shows from the States were filmed in Canada?' 'It's not just the Canada stuff mom, ' Kerry sighed worriedly. 'I'm from Dym, it's an industrial dump!' 'Yeah, and have you looked at Pittsburgh lately?' Susan asked. 'Full of coal mines and steel mills, just like Sydney was when we lived there! I actually rather came to like the pollution, I don't think I'd ever want to leave it.
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Mandy smiled cheerfully at an overweight kid in a gold sweater and pink skirt who was chasing her little brother around along the boardwalk. When she was that age, on sunny days she'd be out on the boardwalk with Jud and Wendy, buying rainbow sorbet from the ice cream shop and placing paper boats into the harbour. She felt like a ghost, drifting past the shell of her own childhood.
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Oftentimes she wondered what had happened to super 8. Sure, it made perfect sense that nobody wanted the hassle of spending money on a three-minute cartridge of film and threading it through a projector, but though digital cameras were convenient and cheap, Mandy didn't care. Super 8 had integrity, it wasn't just nostalgia, it was art, it was history, it was a little recording medium that somehow possessed the power to evoke lost memories, to turn back time, and there was something dazzling about waiting excitedly for a reel of film to come back in its yellow and red Kodak envelope, eating buttered popcorn while the projector paraded life's best moments, and capturing something beautiful in only three minutes.
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In her eyes was the reflection of everything that mattered: old diners with neon signs, vinyl records, celluloid film, drive-in movies, Pears soap, department stores, her brother's old blue Camaro car and the smell of coal dust in the rainy sky of a summer lightning storm... And all the nice bright colors of the past that she thought were gone for good came flowing back into her life like a wave of nostalgia flooding over her, reds, yellows, blues and greens drenching her gray memories in psychedelic ribbons and glittering fireworks... She hoped that the world would always hold those miniscule yet beautiful, deep and mysterious traces of memory.
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How promising today's generation is. They can whip out their cellular phones like sheep, instantly take a million digital photos of their cat and then just delete them. But I'd like to see these kids try to artfully use a traditional film camera or make a super 8 home movie. Traditional film takes integrity, nostalgia, effort, patience and imagination - things that the 21st century has very little of. Everything these days, even a superior medium like film photography with an extensively vivid history and an iconic meaning, is becoming disposable in this age.
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Maybe I'll be watching super-8 home videos, ' Alecto told her, smiling bleakly. 'I love my super-8 camera, it's an Eastman Kodak one... Kodak stopped manufacturing them, the world went digital and now Kodak has stopped making Kodachrome film and all kinds of traditional film products... it's sad.' 'Well, uh... well, have fun watching your home movies then, ' Mandy finished, but she didn't have the slightest idea what he was talking about.
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A lot of people who read my novel 'Smog City' ask me why I never killed off either of the two main characters. To be honest, it's because I've given them life. Not literally of course, but since I spent so much time developing and creating my characters, they've ended up with complex personalities, in fact they're almost sentient in a way, and to write them off as dead would be like killing a close friend to me.
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With Pollution, emotion is irrelevant, it is not their nature, ' Mearth sighed, making a face as if she were talking to an ignorant small child. 'I didn't create them, humans created the Pollution. Cheryl Nobel, Alecto Steele, Albert Sanders, Olivia Campbell, all my pretty little Representations, there aren't many of them left these days but they're still very dangerous! They're here to tell society all about its mistakes! You don't understand the world of Representations.
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What are you doing?' Alecto asked in surprise, stepping back. Laughing brightly, she dragged him towards the greenhouse, the shattered glass reflecting rainbows as brilliant as a million Kodak flashcubes, glittering as they were cascaded through the breeze. 'See, don't be afraid of the glass, it can't hurt us, ' Mandy laughed, spectacularly eccentric, her eyes reflecting the fallen glass. 'I wasn't afraid of the glass, but this isn't a very secluded place that you just decided to vandalize, ' Alecto cautioned, smiling despite his words. Before Mandy could reply, she heard loud whispering in the air, behind the trees... it sounded like a group of people, all whispering in unison... 'Somebody's out there, ' she exclaimed nervously. 'Yeah, you're right, ' Alecto replied. Suddenly a sharp new vibrancy seemed to fill his eyes and he smiled coldly, taking the tree branch from Mandy and rapidly smashing in all of Mrs. Matthias' stained glass house windows with it. Blue, green, yellow, red, turquoise, purple and an array of other colors showered through the sky noisily, sounding like wind chimes and crashing waves. 'They'll go away, ' he told her, glancing up at the sky. '... Alecto, do you like me?' Mandy questioned, holding out her arms like a lopsided scarecrow as the glass fell through her dark red hair. 'Yeah, sure, ' he answered. 'Will you be my friend, then? A real friend, not just another person who feels sorry for me?' Mandy asked. '... Alright, Mandy Valems, ' Alecto agreed.
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The prints shop manager, a balding man of about thirty years old, dressed in a plaid work shirt and faded jeans, looked very shocked when he saw the headline text. 'Sydney Tar Ponds, Is It As Dangerous As People Say? Well, ' he exclaimed, glancing at the front photo, which featured the Sydney Steel Corporation, along with its plumes of orange smog. 'You know, most people your age are really against that mill, as if it's a disease. We have university students protesting every few weeks or so... strangely enough, the ones who have parents who rely on that steel mill to pay the bills.' 'What about the pollution?' Wendy questioned, almost accusingly, as if it was his fault. 'What if dangerous chemicals are in the environment?' 'Hey kid, I don't even work at the mill, never have, but my father, my uncle, their father, cousins, all worked there, ' the prints shop man argued, placing the newspapers in a cardboard box and taping it shut. 'When it comes down to all that 'go green' crap, you have to ask yourself, is it worth risking a person's income, their job, their family... their life? I'm not saying you're wrong, but these newspapers might have a point.
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