Joseph Van Landschoot’s Tales Within is a book comprised of six short stories: Space Maze, Paradise in Trouble, Honey Trapped, The People’s, The Devil You Thought You Knew, and Z o n e s. It can be found on Amazon and Smashwords.
Each story holds a strong concept and character motifs, with an emphasis on grasping the situation that each character finds themselves in. Space Maze inspired the creation of the short story collection, while Zones was an ongoing YouTube series. After beginning Tales Within, the ending to Zones has been intentionally withheld and now exists only in written form! So be sure to pick up a copy. Thank you.
My name is Joe Van, and I am filled with absences, though that statement doesn’t track grammatically. Instead, I will simply say that I AM NOT most things. This line of thought is nothing new to me, nor is it new in general, nonetheless, as a kid I remember asking myself what would happen if I wished for everything. At first it would grant me wealth and fame, great things for any aspiring young boy to strive toward, but then I began to worry. It would grant me all forms of mental disorders. I would also become every person and every animal. Not just that, but every object, like a shovel, the dirt being dug up by the shovel. I’d be a balloon and the wind sucking the balloon away from a crying girl that would also be me. I’d be a bed where a couple would perform an affair. I would be a knife used by a serial killer, me slicing into other people who were also me. To be everything would be a curse.
The reason I’m writing all this now is because I’m reflecting on my own ignorance. I recently found out how to count in ASL. It’s not the typical way for those who don’t know. In the wake of my ignorance, I’m again thinking about what it would be like to embody more than myself, but instead of everything, I’m wondering what it would be like to experience everyone. In my attempt at mapping out this human-centric train of thought there will be general experiences too terrible to describe, and countless more I’ll simply miss, whether it’s because it slipped my mind or because I simply don’t know what I don’t know. The human experience is so vast that we can say with certainty, some experiences were surely had that would have made the greatest stories ever told, but it wasn’t recorded and thus lost to time. This vastness is why we can create endlessly new tales to put into books, podcasts, or films. So, without further adieu, let’s begin.
I’m not someone kissing the forehead of their newborn child for the first time.
I’m not an orphaned Indian child running from the hands of human traffickers.
I’m not a First Nations woman being harassed for her inherent traits.
But I’m also not opening my eyes after a gender-affirming surgery, knowing that I will finally feel at home in my own body.
I’m not believing a story depicting victims of gun violence as actors.
I’m not feeling the bliss of heroin come over my body.
I’m not at the cusp of finishing a gene sequence with my team of scientists after months of harrowing work.
I’m not the owner of a business shutting down due to the new global recession.
I didn’t just successfully land a backflip for the first time.
I’m not living in a nation under attack.
I’m not walking down the aisle toward the love of my life.
I’m not nor ever will be under the belief that my leaders are cannibals.
I’m not someone successful in the entertainment industry.
I’m not struggling with anger management issues.
I’ve not experienced the loss of a parent.
I’m not sitting by the beachfront of my new property.
I’m not fighting for my freedom to free my hair in public.
I’m not feeling the joy seeing my child find romantic love for the first time.
I’m not someone looking into the eyes of their parents that just accepted my sexuality after years of estrangement.
I am not most people. I have not experienced so many things both good and bad that are happening around the world to specific people, and likely never will. I have the privilege of ignorance to not know what I don’t know and not be affected by what I don’t know. Things like oppression, prejudice, and ridicule by others for inherent traits and innocent hobbies should never exist, but for all the other experiences humanity has to offer, some possible for anyone to have and others specific to gender, culture, language, interests like food, sports, religion, stories, music, social events, work, or ideas; they are all things deserving equally of admiration, representation, and celebration. Each are valid and deserving of presentation.
I haven’t travelled much in my life, and while doing so can broaden one’s horizon to countries and cultures they might never experienced before, stories too offer a glimpse into the vast world of humanity, and that’s why I love stories. Life is so short, and the world is so big. It’s hard for one person to live a full life on their own, but to know others is what makes this crazy thing all have colour to it. Life is a dance, and your partners are everyone you engage with. Family, friends, neighbours, commuters, co-workers, passersby. You dance with them all. And not just them, but the stories you hear, the animals you see in documentaries, the Earth you climb, and the fictional characters you root for. Every memory you make throughout your whole life is what makes you, and it’s all but a blink in the grand scale of time. It’s not enough to meet every person, share every conversation, or learn everything. But, with our fraction of time, we can just do our best to understand people in general and show them the respect you’d want in return. We can’t know what every person we encounter is going through, but we can know that they have had an entire life leading up to each moment, just like us, and that’s worth something.
In that commonality I will hang my hat and close this off. Thank you for checking this out and as always, I wish you nothing but love in your life, and ask you to remember to keep on thinking. Until next time, ciao for now.
In #60 of Thoughts I dive into three specific thought experiments relating to Artificial General Intelligence. I weigh the ideas and validity in the concept of AGI and the hold it has on our future. Enjoy!
I was born into a opened, burning world. Its wrath is old, tenable, and ceaseless. My fingers coil and brow furrows. I struggle to rise. The air weighs heavy on me. I pain to see through muddied light, but it seems, sadly, only the same sits staring on the horizon.
Yet something stirs. Now change comes. I feel a breeze. Wind brings new feelings. But it is a chill. My skin prickles. I wince and recoil, left only with one choice; I must construct a carapace for the long road ahead.
Nowhere is safe. Both burning and chills pass all obstacles to meet me. They breach the external self, and the internal. I am consumed by it. The carapace is all I need. Day and night I toil under the weight of it all.
Yet its construction will never end. Nothing can save me from the struggle. Momentary relief enters between waves, but are only destined to end. The pain persists. I may never complete my carapace, may, but I CAN do one thing. I can only persist. Persist, until my time is done.
Evening ghouls and ghosts, and welcome to another special Halloween episode from me, ya boy, Joe Van! This year we shall dive into three chilling scary stories that were told to me in my youth. Enjoy! And let me know if any of them got to you 👻
Hola Primate Nation! Welcome to another addition of Monke in Review, where we go over monkes both big and small across history! Today I present: Kanzi the bonobo! Kanzi is known to this day as the world’s smartest bonobo. Let me know below if you’ve already heard about this monke or just learned today!
So, what the heck are pigs, I hear you ask. A pig is any of the animals in the genus Sus, within the even-toed ungulate family Suidae. Pigs include domestic pigs (Sus domesticus) and their ancestor, the common Eurasian wild boar (Sus scrofa), along with other species. Pigs, like all suids, are native to the Eurasian and African continents, ranging from Europe to the Pacific islands. Juvenile pigs are known as piglets. Pigs are highly social and intelligent animals. With around 1 billion individuals alive at any time, the domestic pig is among the most populous large mammals in the world. Pigs are omnivores and can consume a wide range of food. Pigs are biologically similar to humans and are thus frequently used for human medical research.
NAME ORIGIN – It probably comes from Old English *picg, found in compounds, but the ultimate origin is unknown. Originally “young pig,” (the word for adults was swine) apparently related to German bigge, or Dutch big. (“but the phonology is difficult”) Another Old English word for “pig” was fearh, related to furh “furrow,” from PIE *perk– “dig, furrow” (source also of Latin porc-us “pig,” see pork). “This reflects a widespread IE tendency to name animals from typical attributes or activities” [Roger Lass]. Synonyms grunter, oinker are from sailors’ and fishermen’s euphemistic avoidance of uttering the word pig at sea, a superstition perhaps based on the fate of the Gadarene swine, who drowned.
PHYSIQUE – A typical pig has a large head with a long snout that is strengthened by a special prenasal bone and by a disk of cartilage at the tip. The snout is used to dig into the soil to find food and is a very acute sense organ. Each foot has four hoofed toes, with the two larger central toes bearing most of the weight, and the outer two also being used in soft ground. Adult pigs have a total of 44 teeth. The rear teeth are adapted for crushing. In the male, the canine teeth form tusks, which grow continuously and are sharpened by constantly being ground against each other.
SAVAGERY – Occasionally, captive mother pigs may savage their own piglets, often if they become severely stressed. Some attacks on newborn piglets are non-fatal. Others may kill the piglets and sometimes, the mother may eat them. An estimated 50% of piglet fatalities are due to the mother attacking, or unintentionally crushing, the newborn pre-weaned animals.
DISTRIBUTION – The ancestor of the domestic pig is the wild boar, which is one of the most numerous and widespread large mammals. Its many subspecies are native to all but the harshest climates of continental Eurasia and its islands and Africa as well, from Ireland and India to Japan and north to Siberia. Long isolated from other pigs on the many islands of Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines, pigs have evolved into many different species, including wild boar, bearded pigs, and warty pigs. Humans have introduced pigs into Australia, North and South America, and numerous islands, either accidentally as escaped domestic pigs which have gone feral, or as wild boar.
RELATIONSHIP – Most pigs today are domesticated pigs raised for meat (known as pork). Miniature breeds are commonly kept as pets. Because of their foraging abilities and excellent sense of smell, people in many European countries use them to find truffles. Apart from meat, pig skin is turned into leather, and their hairs are used to make brushes. The relatively short, stiff, coarse pig hairs are called bristles, and were once so commonly used in paintbrushes that in 1946 the Australian Government launched Operation Pig Bristle. In May 1946, in response to a shortage of pig bristles for paintbrushes to paint houses in the post-World War II construction boom, the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) flew in 28 short tons of pig bristles from China, their only commercially available source at the time. Human skin is very similar to pig skin, therefore many preclinical studies employ pig skin. In addition to providing use in biomedical research and for drug testing, genetic advances in human healthcare have provided a pathway for domestic pigs to become xenotransplantation candidates for humans.
CULTURE – Pigs have been important in culture across the world since neolithic times. They appear in art, literature, and religion. In Asia the wild boar is one of 12 animal images comprising the Chinese zodiac, while in Europe the boar represents a standard charge in heraldry. In Islam and Judaism pigs and those who handle them are viewed negatively, and the consumption of pork is forbidden. Pigs are alluded to in animal epithets and proverbs.
ENVIRONENTAL DAMAGE – Domestic pigs that have escaped from urban areas or were allowed to forage in the wild, and in some cases wild boars which were introduced as prey for hunting, have given rise to large populations of feral pigs in North and South America, Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii, and other areas where pigs are not native. Accidental or deliberate releases of pigs into countries or environments where they are an alien species have caused extensive environmental change. Their omnivorous diet, aggressive behaviour, and their feeding method of rooting in the ground all combine to severely alter ecosystems unused to pigs. Pigs will even eat small animals and destroy nests of ground nesting birds. The Invasive Species Specialist Group lists feral pigs on the list of the world’s 100 worst invasive species. Because of biological similarities, pigs can harbour a range of parasites and diseases that can be transmitted to humans. Examples of such zoonoses include trichinosis, Taenia solium, cysticercosis, and brucellosis. Pigs also host large concentrations of parasitic ascarid worms in their digestive tracts. Some strains of influenza are endemic in pigs, the most significant of which are H1N1, H1N2, and H3N2, the former of which has caused several outbreaks among humans, including the Spanish flu, 1977 Russian flu pandemic, and the 2009 swine flu pandemic. Pigs also can acquire human influenza.
INTELLIGENCE – Pigs are believed to be one of the most intelligent animals, following chimps, dolphins, and elephants. We might think our dogs are the smartest animals when the can roll over or shake on command, but they surpass even man’s best friend. Their intelligence was first discovered in experiments in the 1990s. Pigs were taught several tasks using a cursor on a computer screen. They learned these tasks as quickly as chimps. They could move a cursor on a screen with their snouts, as well as use the cursor to distinguish between scribbles they knew and those they were seeing for the first time.
CONCLUSION – When we look at the traits that make pigs unique, we see a traditional farm animal, but when we look at the traits pigs share with us humans, it is impossible for us to hold that blindfold over our eyes that these guys are nothing more than mere food fodder. Whether you always understood the intelligence of pigs, or just learned today, what one could walk away with after reading this is the knowledge that… should we the nations of humanity ever begin handing out intelligence-related sovereignty to non-human animals, pigs ought to be one of the first five species. They evolved pretty separated from us, and that can be seen in their shape, but their minds and attitudes are right up our alley. So next time when you think about choosing pork, beef, or poultry- AH like hell I’m about to tell you to consider your diet. Philosophy is one thing, but practice is another. I have the philosophy of a vegan, but don’t act on it. I act on what’s cheap and convenient. Life is hard enough for me, but as the growing popularity for meat alternatives grow in our western world, so will the convenience to choose NOT pig for dinner. Maybe then, the pigs of this world will have a chance to make their way into our homes as pet, instead of into our bellies. Thank you for listening to my TED talk. Bye bye.
Hola Primate Nation! Welcome to another addition of Monke in Review, where we go over monkes both big and small across history! Today I present: Georgie Boy the capuchin monkey! Georgie Boy found incredible fame on TikTok during the 2020 lockdowns by opening presents, and by he himself just being a present to be around. Let me know below if you’ve already heard about this monke or just learned today!
Searing combustions bombard my insides in a fit from two things that don’t mix having to share the same space.
I hold them inside me in an unstable alliance that neither wish to hold.
One part of me wishes to rip my skin off and be free, smoke, drink, fuck, and spew out any words or actions I desire as they come in to my head.
The other side wishes to work a 7-5 without complaints, not have any urges or desires, and live a clean, by-the-book existence where I return home every day with a smile feeling satisfied.
I live in a waring paradigm of my own making, for at any point I could relinquish my philosophy, yet I cannot do the same with my urges.
And yet, I do not wish to be only urges. I wish to be as by-the-books as one can be with such feverish, obsessive, addictions.
To understand oneself is to understand the paradox of trying to exist with both features. It is an unending struggle, something intrinsic to life itself. One cannot escape it, only accept it and hold a détente.
I come to you, a mere Diddy Kong among kings, to present: Primate Nation! Home to King Kong, big foot, IKEA monkey and more! Come with me, fellow primates, to the promised land! Return to monke, and welcome, to thejoevandotcom!
It’s time… time I told someone else about the tunnel. Or maybe not- I- I don’t know… No, no, I do. It’s been days now and I haven’t been able to make any head way as far as identifying the soldier that talked to me. I need help. Out of anyone I could trust, one name comes to mind first: Bianca. She’s a lady in her thirties or forties, someone who was alive before the war. She’s kind, quiet, but has a fire still behind her eyes somehow. She’s a social recluse like me, which is why I think it’s perfect. I’m gonna attempt to let her in on it tomorrow at lunch. In the meantime, I’ll keep dreaming about Jenn. Her smiling face flows into my mind, beckoning me to her, wherever, and when-ever she is.
Okay, deed’s done. Seed’s been planted. The Pandora’s box of telling others about the tunnel has been opened… no going back now. You light a piece of paper on fire, can’t expect it to come back if you change your mind. I asked Bianca about the soldiers, if any hang in the tunnels. She said none, then asked why. I told her about my run in with one, and she asked why I was down there. I could have lied, but honestly, she deserves the tunnel more than me. Bianca acted exactly how I’d expect anyone to act. I tried to tell her slow without losing her interest, and at first she denied it. Then she hated me for telling her about it. Now she’s agreed to follow me there tonight. The foot traffic on the street’s calmed down for the night, so I’m gonna head out now. Wish me luck, and that I’m not just insane.
// Bianca says hello! We’re here together! I didn’t know it would happen like that, but I’m glad it did. I’m writing to you from somewhere sunny and tropical. I feel really good about bringing Bianca here. She’s ecstatic. I’m not gonna write too much more, just wanted to jot this down in case I don’t remember. We’re exploring the zone together, stopping now for lunch. I’ll write back soon. //
// I think I can see him! The man! He’s back! I told you to stay out! Why are you back?! Who are you?! Tell me who you are!… What? (fades away) Bianca! Wake up… We have to go. //
The zone Bianca and I visited last night was Boracay: a small island in the central Philippines. It’s known for its resorts and beaches. We woke up on the west coast, on White Beach. Absolutely stunning. It was backed by palm trees, bars and restaurants. On the east coast of the island strong winds made Bulabog Beach a hub for water sports. Nearby, the observation deck on Mount Luho offered panoramic views over the island. Offshore, coral reefs and shipwrecks were home to diverse marine life. The population of the island was last recorded to be 32 267. I, uh, think I’m going to stop assuming there was a war anymore.
Bianca and I have decided to add another member to our group. We’re both on the same page regarding hesitancy on deciding who. This kind of thing should be treated as it is: sacred. We both decided it should be someone who was alive before the war. We need wisdom on our side, and someone with know-how. Bianca knows most of the soldiers in our district of the city by name, but there are ones that don’t interact with citizens, ones who patrol the boarder. The soldier we seek would surely be one of those soldiers. I’m certain of it. As certain as I can be.
Bianca and I’ve narrowed down our pick for who the next member will be… to one. There is a man who goes by the name of Tarzan. He’s seen by everyone as a fool, one who doesn’t work, is regularly beaten, and lives day to day on scraps. No one respects him. He doesn’t speak unless prompted, and doesn’t say much. He’s reportedly been seen writing on occasion. That tells me everything I need to know about him. Tarzan, while looking like a madman, is secretly one with resolve in how he conducts himself, merely choosing to present a wild man to the public. His rational must be that there’s really no reason to do otherwise in our world’s condition. It makes me wish I had that kind of freedom, but fear and shame still grip my mind like most people.
// FUCK! I just had a run in with Raj. He’s my peer and one of the last kids to get a job before me, at 17, but we aren’t chummy. What are you doing? That’s what Raj asked me just an hour ago. He said, What are you up to? I’ve seen you and Bianca act like you have a secret for weeks now. I want to know what it is. I can’t have this kind of attention! We were careless not to think of how spending so much time together would look. This is the last thing we need right now. Soldiers might be on their way to the library as I write this. I’d have no way of knowing. God, what would they do? Conduct torture integrations? And then what? Kill me? If I make it through the night, Raj and I are going to have a real talk. //
Bianca had a scowl on her face the entire time. We met with Raj instead of Tarzan at lunch and I explained the situation to him. That cocky little bastard laughed at us before threatening to sic the soldiers on us, unless we really told him what we were doing. God damnit all to hell! We… we’ll have to do something drastic. I didn’t want it to come to this, but… he just had to snoop.
We promised to take Raj to the site… If you don’t hear from me again, it’ll be because we failed.
// I… I can’t believe what we just did. I feel sick… We brought Raj down to the tunnels, at the boarder… but, we took a different path. We told him we really planned on escaping, and… asked that he help clear the rubble. He put his back to us… and I… I… I can’t write it! FUCK! I’m sorry Raj! //
Tarzan finally joined B and I to the tunnel last night. We told him about it the day after… what I did, and Tarzan rejected us. B and I reserved ourselves, making sure not to been seen interacting with each other as much during the day, but still, we’d individually find time with Tarzan day after day to plea for his patronage. It took weeks, until finally, he said yes.
The zone we landed in was Times Square, New York, New York. What a zone for a first drop. Even for me it was overwhelming! Times Square was a major commercial intersection, tourist destination, entertainment centre, and neighbourhood in the Midtown Manhattan section of New York City, at the junction of Broadway and Seventh Avenue. Brightly lit by numerous billboards and advertisements, it was sometimes referred to as “the Crossroads of the World”, “the Centre of the Universe”, “the heart of the Great White Way”, and “the heart of the world”. One of the world’s busiest pedestrian areas, it was also the hub of the Broadway Theatre District and a major centre of the world’s entertainment industry. Times Square was one of the world’s most visited tourist attractions, drawing an estimated 50 million visitors annually. Approximately 330,000 people pass through Times Square daily, many of them tourists, while over 460,000 pedestrians walk through Times Square on its busiest days. Tarzan was understandably shocked at first. Then B and I lost him in the crowd! We looked for him for a bit, but figured it didn’t matter, seeing how we’d all meet up in the end, and we did. We all had a buzz about us after the fact. It was such a stark contrast to go from all that noise and all those lights to a dark tunnel. I still feel the buzz now. The kind of life that used to exist… man. Aside from that, no word this time from the figure, whoever it may be, but the mission stays the same.
A thought has been stuck in my mind for days now, and I haven’t been able to shake it. I’m sure I’m just being naïve, but now that our numbers have grown, I’m beginning to think if we shouldn’t expand even more? Why should we all grovel and fear the soldiers so much, when there are so many more of us? I’m gonna run it by B and Tarzan to see what they think.
Hey journal, it’s been a while, sorry about that. We’ve been busy, really busy. Our team’s grown to over thirty people and counting every day. Tarzan’s not a fan of attention but with B at my side, we’ve been conducting nightly meetings at the library as far as documenting patrol paths, sharing tunnel time (which mostly goes to recruits only now), and constructing a viable resistance against the soldiers. We don’t know anything beyond our city limits! It’s too soon to risk digging escape tunnels, or engaging directly with the soldiers, but the more we know, the more confident our people will get. It’s all just a matter of time now. I better get some sleep, another busy day tomorrow. ///
Welcome to episode 62 of Joe Van’s Secret Podcast! In this episode I talk to a new secret guest about their work, rebellious adventures online, the power of optimism, finding peace in the randomness of our seemingly endless multiverse, and understanding human nature as natural. Enjoy!
Welcome everyone to episode #12 of The JD: Unplugged! Today we have on a new guest with a wide array of work experience, both inside the film industry and out. The topics we cover in today’s episode are: -Location situations -Nicknames -Work situations -Derron’s lost tooth -Tiff, working out, and work space -Joe’s journey to the film industry -Hard work trashed -Joe’s parking lot fight, New York mentality -“Treat every conversation like your last one.” PODCAST: https://podcasts.apple.com/ca/podcast/jd-streams/id1541025716 #Canada #Podcast #Unplugged
Welcome everyone to episode #11 of The JD: Unplugged! The topics we cover in today’s episode are: -Location situations -Wisdom teeth -Cleaning Dave & Busters -Savage gifts -Game stonks -Foodies -Female hygiene products overpriced! -Reopening for the virus -Breaking into NASA #Canada #Podcast #Unplugged
Welcome everyone to episode #10 of The JD: Unplugged! We have two new guests on this week as we dive into the ever-changing landscape of exponential growth. The topics we cover in today’s episode are: -Location situations -Gaming iterations -Cell phones -Marketing -Napping and isolation -Progressive countries and conservative ones -Mounties and inequality -Hope and change #Canada #Podcast #Unplugged
Welcome everyone to episode #7 of The JD: Unplugged! The topics we cover in today’s episode are: -Location situations -Festival food (raised without crans) -Politicians going on vacation -New Year -A 15-year-long dream -Daylight savings -Vaccines -Overthinking -YouTube doc and Sorry to Bother You -Lifetime of work -Art and business #Canada #Podcast #Unplugged