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The Branch Cafe Club is one of the most interesting experiences you can have if you're interested in night clubs, abstract art technique, poisons and nerve gasses or a number of other learning and entertainment "blocks" or "chunks" from participating in their quasi-non-optional 14 modules. I say "quasi-non-optional" because they can't actually stop you from leaving the building before graduating from all modules but you're really encouraged not to, particularly because you can only enter the Branch Cafe Club one time (unless you fake ID cards). All the modules are highly recommended for various reasons, anyway, and I can't think of how anyone could get through the full Branch experience without permanent memories that could not be had anywhere else in such a compact period of time and space.

Once you enter the Branch's legendary grey, unfinished building, you're conduced to the Instruction Module, one of the three class A modules you must "chunk out of" before you can experience the class B modules. Other than that, there's no particular order you must or should visit the modules, all of which correspond to very large sound- and bullet-proof rooms that can be accessed from The Corridor, where almost deafening  pink noise is played from hundreds of small speakers everywhere so to discourage people from hanging out there.

At the Instruction Module, you check out your mundane clothes (inside small dressers specifically  designed for that) and change into the new off-white t-shirt and pants you must wear throughout your Branch Experience. You can get your clothes back at the Checkout Room, provided that you display the 14 stamps in your right arm proving that you've chunked out of all modules or really scream at the attendant until he gives you the disclaimer document to sign. (You do keep your Branch uniform as well if you've completed the requirements, and many people have been prominently wearing  Branch uniforms to fashion shows and similar high-profile social events). You're also informed of what "chunking out" means – the actual requirements varying wildly from module to module and most being largely discretionary. Some modules are actually so entertaining that you must watch for your time if you're going to make through the entire experience from 6PM to 3AM and make the most it.

The Instruction Module Room also contains a few furniture-less, dressing booth-like Hook Pods designed for those wishing to have sex in between Module experiences. Some couples visit the Branch Experience Club together, though they're encouraged to experience the class B modules separately and reunite only for sex at a pre-arranged time. The reason they're called Hook Pods is that they're really intended for strangers spontaneously hooking up during the module experiences. They've actually been installed since people started to have sex on the pink noise corridor floor, and still make for a very jarring experience -- you can't see anything, but you can hear the noises and see the waiting lines as soon as you enter the Instruction Module for the first time.

The second class A module is Gymnastics, an unstructured yet strict activity mostly intended to weed out people who might otherwise injure themselves at some point of the experience. Gymnastics used to be class B, but the Branch Cafe Club has been sued by elderly people who've overextended at activities as innocent as paint tossing. To chunk out of gymnastics, you must accumulate three points in seventeen "challenges" (easy and therefore worth one point), which range from running the marked track around the room in less than the alotted time to veritable feats of physical prowess such as Double Weightlifting (worth the entire three points and recommended only for the very physically fit). This is referred as "earning your sweat"; you can use a very high-pressure shower with your uniform on, but must be dry before chunking out, so most people avoid it.

The Class A section is completed by the aforementioned Paint Tossing room, where you must throw oil paint with your naked hands from a considerable distance at an initially blank canvas you've previously signed. It is in this room that the Branch uniforms acquire their characteristic random ink stains, known in the lingo as "stochastics", and the entire reason why people haven't been able to produce fakes is that every single uniform is different in its stochastics. You can and are encouraged to stand between another person and his canvas to acquire heavier stochastics, but chunking out is achieved by having your canvas (effectively, your work of art) approved by a classically trained judge. After you've earned your sweat and your stochastics, you're led to the Corridor, where you can enter any of the eleven Class B Module Rooms marked only for a roman numeral in their door.

It is generally considered faux pas to discuss the chunking out regulations of class B modules, as it's tantamount to bragging about being a Brancher. There's a Dance Room, as brightly illuminated as any of the other rooms, with a DJ and alcoholic beverages. Most people leave the dancefloor for the end of the day, but separate subcultures arise from early dancers (as well from the more neurotic "driers" who've showered at Gymnastics). Dance is entertaining enough to fill an entire soirée, but chunking out is intricate, with a long list of rules posted at a wall. (Many people bail out at Dance and receive their black X stamp instead of the succesful red stamp with the room number, and must leave the Branch Cafe experience). There are also the gender-specific Sexual Progress rooms, where women are taught Kegel exercises and men are lectured on the various forms of obtaining pleasure with their prostate. These are actually easy modules, as the only requirement for chunking out is standing in the back for 15 minutes while listening to instructors in a droning voice without dozing off.

Some modules are more experiential than others. While on one hand there's paint tossing and Kegel exercises, there is also Linear Models (basically linear regression and principal component analysis), a brainier module with academic testing as a chunking out requirement. There is Haiku, where you receive the first word at the door, chosen at random from the dictionary.  At Eat, your legs are strapped to a chair by a large table where foods slowly circulate through a conveyor belt; you're given chopsticks but no plate, and must wipe your hands on your clothes. (Hand cleanness is the chunking out requirement of Eat, as examined by a blacklight). There is a module on how to repair mechanical clocks, which is far less memorable than Spin, where you must crank a handle to spin a large, heavy wheel until the LED display goes "Mission accomplished". 

It's hard to do justice to all modules. They vary wildly on nature and difficulty, and overemphasizing the specifics  is misleading, since It Is All About The Conversation. It's all about meeting people, striking friendships and hooking up for casual sex, collaboration (one of the chunking out requirements of Dance is performing a forty-second solo routine inside a spontaneously formed circle of people) and having a day crammed with unusual experiences many people would otherwise take years to accumulate.

What's more, the Conversation carries onto an ad hoc secret society of sorts, because you can always see in the  glint of an eye that someone has succesfully made through the Branch Cafe Club. There are stories of people who have made through corporate ladders exceedingly fast after having worn their Branch uniforms to a meeting. While the Branch Cafe Club does not intend or endorse such behavior, it’s really out of their control, although they’ve copyrighted enough variations of their name to prevent the appearance of societies styled as “Friends of the Branch Experience” or similar.

Branchers will never need such organized efforts, though, and it’s hard for me to explain why to someone who hasn’t gone through the nine hours of paradoxically free structure provided every Thursday night by the Branch Cafe Club. If you ever earn your stochastics, you’ll understand.


A summer’s night, a winter’s day
All humanity stay at bay.

This creature, this monster it grows in me.
It so wishes it were free.

Fire, air, land and sea
Please oh please save me

It will come it will fight
It shall take all delight

Fire, air, land and sea
Please oh pleas save me

Save yourself, run and hide
I no longer have my pride

Fire, air, land and sea
Please oh please save me

A summer’s night, a winter’s day
All humanity stay at bay.

This poem, if you haven't yet figured out is about depression. I wrote this poem last year while I was in a depression.
I didn't even realise I was depressed till one day, for a school assignment I had to write a report on a certain subject.
I chose teenage depression. While researching this topic I looked at some of the symptoms and realised I had 12 out of the 13 most common symptoms.

This depression lasted a good three quarters of the year. Then over the summer holidays something changed the good days began to out number the bad. I haven't fully recovered but I don't think I ever will because this is the person I am. This is the person I have become due to events in my life. I have learnt to be more accepting of things, of events and people.

I never stopped caring because I don't think any person can stop caring. They may not care about the same things as others but they do care about something, anything. It is all dependant on the person and situation, it always is. That is why I do not believe it is possible to create minority or majority groups because each person is different, every situation is it’s own. Yes there are similarities in things and that is why we accept these selected labels. We are a lazy species we always opt for the easy way out, always the simplest. It may not actually be the best or most effective but it’s the option we always choose.
We are always searching for something, trying to find meaning. Weather it be in the work we do or simply why to live. This I think is what occurs to sufferers of depression they simply believe that there is no meaning that there is an end and we know it’s coming so why bother. For the people who do not suffer depression, some of them know this yet they say it is for the love of myself, of my family and friends, of the people I share my life with that I decide to live. That is what humans thrive on social interaction. Humans are dependant on each other; they are dependant on love and care. Without love humans are spoiled like a plant without being cared for the plant rots and becomes vile.

I am sorry if all I have written makes no sense. I’m only 15.

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