The Nitty Gritty

But more than all of those I am an entertainer. I carry around a ukulele with me for the same reason a gangster carries a gun; better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it. Stage or sidewalk, Your Pal Pete shows are just where they happen.
Currently, I'm working on a musical, RagnaPOP(or she's got the bomb), set to premiere at this year's Capital Fringe Festival. I'm also working on music, comedy, and musical comedy; for kids and/or adults.
The fruit of these projects will be available on this site, so check back regularly!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Lights

It was the lights, that’s when they knew.

The Herschel Earth/Space Telescope Array was specifically designed to give us more detailed pictures of extrasolar planets and it did just that. What was once fuzzy stripes became tempestuous oceans and  sharp mountains, much like ours with obvious water and atmosphere. But it was the lights that really got us excited.

As an Earth-sized moon made it’s transit around the dark side of the gas giant it orbited about 8.5 light years away, we saw lights of civilization; steady and artificial. Concentrated more closer to the edge of bodies of water, much like our planet, but on a hexagonal grid that allowed for no dark spots like the ones in the more remote parts of Earth.

So we aimed the most powerful transmitters in their direction and beamed our entire civilization at them; World history, representative works of art in every form, and the basics to learn 20 Earth languages. It was our way of saying, “Hey, there! You’re not alone!”, but it was a galactic message in a bottle; the uncertainty stemming not from whether it would reach, but if the recipients would be able to receive our message as it was intended.

We’d have to wait 17 years to find out, at least. The transmission would take 8 and a half years to travel there and the quickest possible response would take as long. We would have to be patient, something human society historically has shown less and less of.

Seventeen years passed without any return contact and we just exploded. Our pent-up frustrations from having no other option but to wait for physics to do it’s thing kept us relatively quiet, but now it was on the aliens. Some thought that they simply couldn’t understand our message, regardless of it’s attempted simplicity. Others believed that our transmissions, in the hand of greater, less benevolent intellects, could show how easily we could be invaded and it would be sooner than later if they’d mastered faster than light or warping technologies. I thought we might have just be coming off as needy.

Then the lights of the moon, the same that had capture our imagination almost two decades before, changed while they were at their most visible. Many lights went out, but the ones that stayed on unmistakably formed an English letter:
Oh, my God! This was it! First contact with an extraterrestrial intelligence! But what could they be saying? The possibilities mixed with the realization that one of the most significant events in human history was happening in front of you was an intoxicating and paralyzing combination.

The moment the “F” hung there, long enough for the browser window of our mind’s eye tried to auto-fill responses both anticipated (“FRIEND”),  feared (“FOE”), and non-sequitur (“FALAFEL”)  Then the lights seemlessly changed to another letter:
Well, that narrowed things down quite a bit. “FUEL”? “FUN”? ...“FUDGE”? But not nearly as narrow after the next letter:
Now, there isn’t a whole lot they could be spelling. Our minds lept to the same knee-jerk conclusion, but we couldn’t believe it could actually be what would happening. Surely, the first message received from an extraterrestrial intelligence wouldn’t be ….
Ok, it would be actually. Along with the letters “O”, “F”, and “F”. The most historically significant trolling in all of human history. That was all they said. Actually, they sent similar sentiments in 19 other languages, but that was all the attention they ever paid to us.

This all started a new round of conversations. Many took umbrage at the message, a reasonable reaction when someone says “fuck off” to your face or from 44 trillion miles away. Some hoped the aliens WOULD try to invade so we could show them some manners.

In the scientific community, there emerged 2 different theories. One side believed that they were too advanced to see us as anything other than the object of mockery (since referred to as the Hipster Planet Theory) The other side wasn’t convinced they were more advanced overall. All They were able to do was be more in sync as a society or be advanced enough to send a packet of photons that made it seem like they were. There was no evidence that they were that all that special otherwise (the Sour Planet Theory).

I still say we just came off as needy.

Until the aliens contact us again, these will remain theories. Our minds, with the gift/curse of imagination, will color the picture of the unknown with whatever crayon we choose. Because the only thing we know for sure is there is intelligent life out there and it’s kinda rude.