Issue 18
Volume 5 Number 2
April 2000

In This Issue

 •  Contents
 •  Cover Illustration
 •  Editorial
 •  <plokta.con>
 •  The Moose is a Harsh Mattress
 •  Five Gold Rings
 •  The Four Fluid Path
 •  Lokta Plokta
 •  What's in a Name?

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The Four Fluid Path

This article was pre-prepared for the Iron Faned panel, during which we asked the audience to choose a fan to insult. The winning fan was Andy Hooper, but we're sure Plokta readers would rather we slagged off Ian Sorensen.

SOME fans party all night and are still goal focussed and task oriented the next day. Ever wonder how they do that? Now at last we can reveal their secret, the esoteric Oriental art of Kor Fa Lu.

You too can maintain harmony and balance.

You too can follow this ancient wisdom.

You too can tell Ian Sorensen where to get off.

Follow the four-fluid path of Kor Fa Lu. Just apply the apposite correction fluid and exhibit correct behaviours in order to regain your karmic balance. The entire cycle is sometimes known as the Kor Fa Lu Learning Cycle.

Correction fluid 1 — Water

Water is the beginning of the cycle. Use water to correct drought. Particularly useful for parched tongues and fuzzy heads. Drink a pint for every hour you spend in the convention hotel, and for every pint of beer you had last night. Correct behaviour is not throwing up. Do not talk to Ian Sorensen. Your lucky phrase is 'Leave me alone'.

Correction fluid 2 — OJ

Fillo of Corflu Orange juice is the second level of the cycle. Use OJ to correct shortages of vital health giving substances such as vitamins. Quite why you need to do this is unclear -- you should previously have drunk lots of beer which is chock full of vitamins. Correct behaviour is not being too cheerful to people who are still at the 'water' part of the cycle, unless they are Ian Sorensen. Your lucky phrase is 'Can I have more mushrooms with my black pudding, please?'

Correction fluid 3 — Coffee

Coffee is the third element of the cycle. Preferably latte. The right amount of coffee is bottomless. Use coffee to correct shortages of sleep. Correct behaviour is to be goal focussed and task orientated and produce a marvellous well-crafted article for Iron Faned, or Plokta for that matter. Do not write any material for Ian Sorensen. Your lucky phrase is 'Yes I'd love to do loads of work on your convention'.

Correction fluid 4 — Beer

Fillo of Corflu Beer completes the cycle and allows you to attain enlightenment. The right amount of beer is More! Use beer to correct any tendencies you may have to be serious and constructive. Correct behaviour is to keep on drinking, and marvel at your increased sagacity as the night goes on. Wisdom will flow from your mouth like the crystal purity of the Yangtze. Give Ian Sorensen some beer. Now give him the glass. Truly advanced practitioners of the four-fluid path may be observed weaving their way along hotel corridors chanting the following mantra. "Kor Fa Loo, Kor Fa Loo. Kor Fa Loo Kor Fa Loo naa naa." Your lucky phrase is 'No chance of a shag then?'

Sadly, enlightenment in the four-fluid path is ever a transient state. As the proverbs tell us, even the master must be reborn. In fact, in the depths of the first stage, the master often wishes he had never been born. Fortunately, all things must pass, and, as blossom springs on the tree, the cycle inevitably begins again.

--Steven Cain

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No, not that Button!

One day I was making the bed when Steve came in and said, "Why are you doing that by hand? Why don't you just hit the switch?" I looked up at him as I tugged the fitted sheet back over the corner of the mattress. "What switch?"

"The bed-making switch. Surely it's got one?"

This, I reminded myself, was the man who used to think toilets were self-cleaning. "No," I said, "It hasn't." Steve looked aghast. " It hasn't?" He rummaged about under the duvet. "Good lord, you're right! You mean, for the last ten years we've been sleeping on a bed with no electronics whatever?"

OK, I lied. But Steve wants a more superfluous bed -- just one waffer-thin remote control. I merely want a soft bed. So we have bounced on every mattress in Reading, all with informative labels, such as 'Satin Princess', 'Majesty' or 'Empress'. The salesman pursed his lips. "I think you'll find that 'Satin Princess' is the softest and 'Majesty' is the firmest, and 'Empress' is somewhere in between."

"What we actually need," I told him, "is a mattress where one side is 'Concrete' and the other side is 'Marshmallow'. Do you have anything like that?"

They didn't. We continued our quest for the perfect bed, that was all things to all people. Well, two things to two people anyway. The long and the short, or at least the hard and the soft of it, is that we have ordered an adjustable bed from a high-tech German company. I did make Steve settle for the model with only two motors in each mattress -- the next model up had three. We had a test drive, or at least a test undulate, and played with the whizzy remote controls. The salesman warned me that women's remote controls need repairing more often as they tend to get gummed up with hand lotion. I wondered if "hand lotion" might have been a polite euphemism for "KY Jelly" or even "lime jello". Naturally, we've chosen a model that would not have looked out of place back on the original Starship Enterprise, all brushed aluminium curves.

And a couple of waffer-thin remote controls. After all, a man needs something to keep him happy in bed.

--Giulia De Cesare