Friday, September 4, 2015

On washing and drying

I got my washing machine to spin again.  It was spinning great.  Wonderfully.  All was great.

So I put in a load of laundry.  Didn't even attempt to spin.  Since the water and soap goes in before the spin cycle, I now have to put dirty laundry in the dryer.

Putting dirty laundry in a dryer produces smells that aren't even supposed to exist in this universe.

Cthulhu wept.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Forgotten Seeds Index

Forgotten Seeds tells the story of Kim Possible, Shego, and a few others after they wake up to find themselves in an abandoned and failing cryogenic prison on the moon.  It was inspired, with the author's permission, by the fanfic, "Fallen Heroes" though it starts later in the story.  If I have world enough and time this would probably be the middle piece of a five story arc. *

Chapters:
  • Awakening - Ten survivors wake up to find themselves the only ones left alive in a, disturbingly full, cryogenic prison on the moon.  They quickly discover that the abandoned prison is failing, and more time has passed than they would have thought possible.
  • Stepping Out - The survivors work to escape the prison, gather supplies, and find out more about what their situation truly is.
  • Moon Walk - The trek across the Lunar surface in now-ancient space suits is interrupted by disturbing revelations.
  • Air and Exposition - Kim and the others are reunited, Horatio finally explains his claim.
  • Downtime and What Came Before - While Kim and Shego work on the plan to get them all home, the other survivors get glimpses into what happened on earth.
  • Getting Packed - With a plan for getting to earth formulated all that remains is to loot appropriate whatever might be useful on the moon.  Oh, and apparently an alien war machine got left behind.
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[Transformative Work Index]

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* Tentatively named "Before the Fall", "Sliding Down the Slope to Oblivion", "Forgotten Seeds", "No Second Chances?", and "Starting Over".

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This index is part of a navigation overhaul that I've been working on behind the scenes since forever ago.  The plan is to do the whole overhaul at once, but it was getting annoying not being able to have a link to Forgotten Seeds so I pushed this one out early.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Being more than a Simulacrum (Part 12)


“Was that ... a tie?” Joss asked as she slowed Balios and then dismounted.

Joss watched as Leela Place slowed her own horse, Xanthos, dismounted, and only then answered with by nodding and saying, “Yeah, I think that was a tie.”

They both took off their goggles and Leela Place said, “You still beat me to Idaho, though.”

Leela Place looked around. Joss did too. They weren't actually in Seattle yet, but path they'd been following, one cut through the forest to allow for so many power lines that it took four towers side by side at every juncture to hold them, had run out. They'd agreed that parading cybertronic horses through a heavily populated area was probably not the best idea, so they now were on foot in Renton, but still standing beside their horses.

“So, now what?” Leela Place asked. “How do our noble steeds--”

Joss laughed. The words and the way she said them were so very much not the way Leela Place normally spoke, and thus it seemed absurd.

“--get back to the Lazy C?” Leela Place finished.

“Oh, that ain't nothing,” Joss said. She felt around in her pocket for... there it was.

* * *

Place watched as Joss pulled out a remote, pushed a few buttons. Then the two mechanical horses took off.

“They know the way home,” Joss said.

“Nifty,” Place said. “So, we got here with plenty of time. We could walk the rest of the way and make it with time to spare, and I've got some cash for a cab if we want. Anything you particularly want to do in the general vicinity of Lake Washington?”

“Nothing,” Joss said. “We could just hang.”

Place nodded, then she thought a bit. “Let's get some food.”

* * *

“I've never had sushi before,” Joss said as they walked out of the restaurant, “I didn't think I'd like it so much.”

Place shrugged. “One thing that I've learned in my short life is that you have to be willing to try new things.”

“I reckon--”

Place slipped into an entirely different mindset as she automatically called on skills from Kim's memories to assess the situation as someone in a strange costume ran by carrying a large plump bird. Clearly a villain of some sort, and as for the bird...

The bird was obviously not a short-necked large-beaked emu, and even if it were, no such thing existed. That meant--

“Was that--” Joss started to ask but was cut off when a woman in a fairly traditional white lab coat rounded a corner, clearly in very delayed chase, and shouted:

“He's stealing my dodo!”

“Apparently it was,” Place said, grabbing her grappling hook launcher and starting to run after the person in a costume with the dodo. In her peripheral vision she saw Joss do the same.

* * *

“Thank you both so much, I don't know what those horrible people would have done with poor Chronotis if you hadn't been there,” Jane said.

“It was no big,” the girl with dark red hair said.

“What kind of people would we be if we stood by and let a dodonapping take place?” the young woman with orange hair said.

“I owe you so much and...” Jane realized something. She finished with, “And I don't even know your names,” even though she'd originally intended to say, “I have no idea how I could repay you.”

“I,” the young woman said, “am Leela Place Possible, and this is my cousin,” she gestured to the girl.

“Josslyn Possible,” the girl said.

“Well thank you Leela, and thank you Joslyn,” Jane said. “I'm Doctor Jane Reinhardt, and if there's anything I can do for you, just say it.”

“I don't think there's anything right now,” Leela said, then she looked to Joss.

“Nope, nothing,” Joss said.

“But, if something comes up, we'll be sure to let you know,” Leela finished.

* * *

After they were out of earshot Joss said, “You earned your first favor!” to Leela Place.

“Actually it was my second,” Leela Place said, “and I'm not sure it's that big of a deal.”

“Well it's my first,” Joss said, “and isn't that how Kim got started?”

“It's good for you,” Leela Place said, “and I mean that sincerely,” Joss believed her but could tell there was a “but” coming and, sure enough, after a pause Leela Place said, “but I, personally, am trying to be different from Kim.”

Joss thought that over. After a bit she said, “Just because you help people and extinct animals doesn't mean you're exactly the same as Kim.”

“So far just the one extinct animal,” Leela Place said. “And thanks.”

“Twern't nothin' cousin,” Joss said.

Leela Place smiled and asked, “Not, 'No big?'”

“I'm not trying to be exactly like Kim either,” Joss said. “I got over that.”

“Yes, you did,” Leela Place said. “In a big way. I'm proud of you.”

It made Joss feel good to hear it.

* * *

“Aren't there seatbelts?” Joss asked.

Place smiled at Joss and said, “No. Remind me to tell you about the chicken plane in South America some time.”

“When Monkey Fist was hiding from DNAmy?” Joss said enthusiastically.

Place wasn't sure whether to smile, laugh, or sigh. So she just nodded. Joss still did her homework apparently.

Though Joss probably had no idea why that particular mission was on Place's mind.

All mention of Yori, Master Sensei, and Yamanouchi had been omitted from everything available to the public. They would have avoided mentioning the mission at all, but the 'gravy ghost' that set the whole thing off was too difficult to ignore.

* * *

“Is this your first time overseas?” Place asked.

Joss nodded.

“We should get you a souvenir, something kitschy.”

* * *

“Thanks for the ride,” Leela Place said.

“It was the least I could do after what you did for me,” the driver, whose name Joss hadn't caught, said.

“Um, yeah,” Leela Place said. Joss could tell that she was confused, but didn't say anything.

After the car had gone, Leela Place asked, “What did we even do for him again?”

“You converted some prices from Yen to Euros in the gift shop where we met him,” Joss said.

“Right,” Leela Place said with the tone of one who just remembered something obvious. Then in her normal tone she said, “But I'm not sure that justified giving us a ride all the way here.”

“I'm not complaining,” Joss said. She looked around and saw a path. “Over here?” she asked.

“Actually over there,” Leela Place said, pointing in the opposite direction. There was a mountain, its peak shrouded in fog, but between the road and the climb up the mountain was a valley, and the only way to the floor of the valley seemed to be the steep cliff just beyond the edge of the road.

“But,” Leela Place said, “if we go that way,” she pointed to the path Joss had indicated before, “we'll meet up with a steam that goes underground, under the road, and to a much easier decent into valley.”

Joss nodded.

Leela Place led, Joss followed.

* * *

Joss had made the trek and climbed the mountain without even breaking a sweat. Place was sure Joss would make a great world saver. She was already more ready than Kim had been at her age, she'd set up her own training ground, and if she did end up attending Yamanouchi she'd have training on a level Kim had never had.

Joss could easily surpass Kim, and if she had Jim and Tim as non-combat oriented investigators --something they'd already proven themselves adept at-- and also had them as her her tech team, it was easy to imagine Team Possible 2.0 as a truly frightening force for justice that surpassed the original in every way. Wade would probably help them just as much as he helped the original, and he was in the same age group. All that was really missing was a hyper-intelligent rodent.

But that was all in the future, she didn't even know how Jim and Tim would feel about teaming up with Joss, or vice versa.

Right now they were approaching a secret school, and she wasn't sure the reception their unannounced visit would get.

* * *

At the end of the rope bridge Master Sensei and Yori were waiting.

Place said, “Yori-san, Master Sensei-Sama” and bowed. Joss, she noted, followed her lead with the bow.

“We have been expecting you, Possible-san,” Master Sensei said, looking directly at Place.

This surprised her and she asked, “Expecting me?”

Master Sensei nodded. Of course: mystical magical stuff. The same thing that had brought her here.

“Then ya'll know she isn't Kim?” Joss asked.

“Hai,” Yori said.

“This is my cousin,” Place said, gesturing to Joss, “Joss Possible. I believe that she would benefit from attending your school when she is of age to do so. I had hoped she might learn about what you do here on this visit so that she would be able to make an informed decision when the time comes.”

Master Sensei nodded.

Yori said, “It would be my honor to give you a tour, Possible-san,” to Joss.

“Can I have one moment with my cousin?” Joss asked.

Master Sensei nodded.

Joss led Place a short distance away and asked, “What's with the 'san' 'sama' stuff?”

Place smiled, “Sorry, I should have told you earlier. I didn't even think about language since Yamannouchi has so many fluent English speakers.

“Anyway, putting 'san' at the end of a name is respectful, always do it for others unless someone has told you that you don't have to call them 'san', and if someone does then congratulations because it means they consider you a very close friend. The other time you, personally, should omit 'san' is if you're talking about a family member when speaking to a non family member.”

“So that's why you didn't call me Joss-san?”

“Hai,” Place said with a smile. “There are other complexities but I think the only other things you'll need to know are that you don't refer to yourself with a suffix and if someone has a much higher rank than you, you use 'sama' instead of 'san'.”

“So I call everyone Name-san except for you, me, and Master Sensei-sama.”

“Pretty much.”

“Ok, thanks.”

They walked back to Master Sensei and Yori who were waiting serenely.

“Apologies Master Sensei-sama, Yori-san,” Joss said. “I needed clarification on …”

“Honorifics,” Place said.

“I understand,” Master Sensei said. “It is difficult to navigate a culture not your own.”

“Ye-- Hai,” Joss said. “Thank you for understanding.” She turned her attention to Yori. “Yori-san, I am ready for the tour you offered.”

Yori nodded. “It will be my honor to provide it, Possible-san. Please come this way.”

Place watched as the two walked away and said, “She'll save the world some day.”

“Which one, Possible-san?” Master Sensei asked.

“Both, probably,” Place said, “but you would know about Yori-san better than I.”

Master Sensei nodded. “You have come because you are troubled, Possible-san.”

“Yes,” Place said. “How much do you know about me?”

“Perhaps both more and less than you think,” Master Sensei said.

Place held her tongue when a response to that came to mind.

“In such situations, Possible-san, I find it is best to describe things as if the one to whom you are speaking knows nothing.”

Place nodded.

* * *

Yori looked like she was about the same age as Kim, Ron, and Leela Place. Joss followed behind her, noting various people in white doing impressive things with weapons and impossible things with themselves. In addition to various outdoor classes on the ground, she saw figures jumping from roof to roof.

“As you have no doubt noticed, Possible-san, Yamanouchi is no ordinary school, we are a secret training ground for the art of ninjutsu,”

“Leela Place described it as a high school,” Joss said while watching a white-clad figure make a jump that she could never make in spite of all her training.

“Officially our students are all enrolled in an exclusive boarding school,” Yori said. “It would cause their families and friends needless grief if they simply disappeared while attending the school.”

“But why do ya'll just teach high school age students?” Joss asked.

“Our founder, Toshimiru,” Yori gestured to a large statue of a fierce looking samurai, “believed that training people in a certain age group was particularly important. The resulting ages of our students correspond, loosely, to the ages of your American high school students.”

Joss nodded but in truth her attention had been entire captured by the great statue.

“The statue is inaccurate, Possible-san,” Yori said.

“How so?” Joss asked.

“Toshimiru founded this school in the time of Emperor Nintoku, specifically the year you know as 338 AD,” Yori said. “At that time there were no samurai. When the statue was made fifteen hundred years later, the sculptors pictured a samurai when they heard that he was a great warrior.”

“So, why do ya'll keep it if it's inaccurate?” Joss asked.

“Art does not have to be accurate to be appreciated, Possible-san,” Yori said.

Joss nodded.

Yori gestured for Joss to follow her away from the statue. Joss did.

“Toshimiru carved the original school from the mountain in a single day with a magical sword known as the Lotus Blade,” Yori said. “Some say that sword making's gradual path to the katana was inspired by dreams of the Lotus Blade, but since the blade has the power to change its shape, we cannot even know that it originally had a form similar to a katana.

“Toshimiru is said to be the original master of Tai Shing Pek Kwar, though again this seems anachronistic,” Yori said. “Some believe that he was able to use mystical monkey power to learn and master a martial art that had yet to be invented.

“Whatever the case, as the centuries passed we greatly expanded our curriculum and now Tai Shing Pek Kwar is but one of the styles we teach. Believing stealth is usually better than direct confrontation, we have adopted the way of the ninja.”

Joss followed Yori silently, looking at students practicing with weapons, levitating during meditation, and even disappearing from view entirely.

“While Toshimiru was the only one to gain mystical monkey power, until Stoppable-san, Rufus-San came-”

“Ron was here?” Joss asked excitedly before she even realized that she was interrupting. Then she realized that she'd also accidentally disrespected Ron. “Sorry, Yori-san. I've followed Stoppable-san's adventures with great interest for some time now. He's... sort of my hero.”

“No apology is needed,” Yori said, “though it is none the less appreciated and accepted. I too have great respect for Stoppable-san. He has been to Yamanouchi three times, though only on the first was he here as a student. Then he studied with us for one week.”

“I never knew about that,” Joss said.

“It is a secret school,” Yori said with a slight smile.

“Right,” Joss said. “What were you saying before I interrupted?”

“While we cannot access mystical monkey power, there are many secrets and mystical techniques we have mastered, and do teach here.”

* * *

“The first of your questions is the simplest,” Master Sensei said.

“Everything carries within it a desire to be what it is meant to be, or what it feels it is meant to be,” he said. “The cells taken from your sister wanted to be part of Kim Possible-san. They carried with them a sense of what that meant and brought personality, memories, and certain ideas about how their body should be —age, conditioning, reflexes, even how long Kim-san's hair was at the time the cells left her.

“When technology told them to create a new person, they tried to be Kim-san. This is what created you, and why you have her memories.”

“So every part of my body wants to make me just like Kim?” Place asked. That thought disturbed her.

“No,” Master Sensei said. “You are yourself now, with your own body, your own spirit, and your own soul. By the time you finally existed, almost all of Kim-san's lingering influence had faded. Once your body was conditioned equally to her own, you were free of that influence entirely.”

Place breathed a sigh of relief. “Thank you, Master Sensei-sama. That ...” she wasn't quite sure of the words she wanted. Finally she said, “does much to put my mind at ease,” even though it wasn't really a phrasing she liked.

“As to your other question, of whether there are any actual or potential magical afflictions facing you,” Master Sensei said, “that will require more time to answer.”

“I was hoping you'd allow us to stay the night anyway,” Place said. “What do I have to do?”

“You will not need to do much at all,” Master Sensei said. “All you must do is come to a shrine and clear your mind for a few moments. I will have to meditate long on what I observe while you do so.”

Place nodded. Sometimes things were mercifully simple. Not often, but sometimes.

“The shrine is this way. Possible-san.”

* * *

“And this is where you would sleep, if you became a student,” Yori said.

Joss looked in one of the rooms, it was a plain thing with walls that Ron would probably walk right through, and nodded.

“That concludes my tour, Possible-san,” Yori said.

“Thank you,” Joss said.

“If I may ask, why is Stoppable-san your hero,” Yori asked.

Joss closed her eyes and thought it over. When she'd been obsessed with Kim she'd dismissed Ron as not worthy of consideration. Then, in her eyes, Team Possible was Kim, Wade, and Rufus. Ron was just the one who kept losing his pants. When she met him, she barely noticed him. He was a distraction from getting to know Kim even better. But then she'd seen him in action.

“It's his fear,” Joss said. “He's afraid of everything but he doesn't allow that fear to stop him from helping other people.”

Yori nodded, “True courage.”

There was silence between them.

Then Yori added, “Most would see his fear as nothing but a weakness even though he doesn't let it stop him. You can see the strength it takes to live with so much fear and not give up. You are already wiser than many adults, young Possible-san.”

Joss blushed. Then she confessed, “At first I barely noticed Ron, and I didn't think much of him when I did. It took some time to see the good.”

“But you did see it,” Yori said. “That is what matters.”

Yori looked at something behind Joss and then said, “Now I will take my leave of you, Possible-san.”

She bowed to Joss, Joss returned the bow, and then Yori bowed to whomever was behind Joss.

Joss turned to see Leela Place.

“Did you get your answers?” Joss asked.

“Most of them,” Leela Place said, “Some I have to wait on. So far, and not just here, it seems like my fears were all unfounded and my hopes are turning out to be correct.”

“That's good.”

“What about you?” Leela Place asked. “What did you think of what you saw here?”

“It's amazing,” Joss said. “Do you really think they'd let me come here?”

“You'll have to ask Master Sensei, but I get the impression they've become a lot more open to accepting foreign students in recent years,” Leela Place said. “I don't know the details, but I think something about a mess involving xenophobic student when Ron first came here made them consider what lessons they were unintentionally teaching, and try to start changing them.”

Joss thought about that, but then said, “Ok, but what about me specifically?”

“I think they'd be lucky to have you,” Leela Place said. Again, Joss found herself blushing. “And if you still want to save the world when it's time for high school, I think the training they give here would be a great help with that.

“But, if you do come here it's not going to be easy for you,” Leela Place said and Joss caught her cautioning tone. “You'll be away from home except on holidays, you'll probably need to do extra work on your own so you keep up on your American education while studying here. Don't get me wrong, they'll give you a first rate education in addition to the martial arts training, but there are some notable differences in topics that get covered here as opposed to back home.

“Every student here has to do double work to train as ninja without falling behind their peers in the more mundane aspects of school. You'll need to do triple.”

Joss took it all in. She was sure she could do it, hard as it would be. Anything's possible, and all that.

“But that's a couple years out, unless you plan on skipping straight to high school like Jim and Tim.”

“No,” Joss said while shaking her head. “And because of my birthday I'm the oldest one in my class, just a little bit earlier and I could have been the youngest in the next grade up.”

“These things happen,” Leela Place said. “They gave us a room a bit down the hall,” she gestured, “want to drop that bag off?”

For a moment Joss was confused, then she realized that she'd completely forgotten her backpack. It was her go-bag, which meant that it had a lot more than a change of clothes in it. Now that she remembered it, it was really heavy.

“Yeah,” Joss said. “I'd like to drop it off.”

* * *

Place was enjoying talking to her cousin and regretting having taken her to a sushi place before they'd left the US. The only time Kim had been to Yamanouchi in Place's memories had involved extraordinary circumstances and no meal had been served. Now that she saw they were serving sushi, it seemed like the meal in Seattle would have been better spent eating something else. There were doubtless all sorts of other foods she and Joss ought to sample.

Then a question seemingly came out of nowhere.

“Why are they all wearing white?” Joss asked.

“Wha?” was the best response Place could muster.

“The ninja; don't ninja wear black?”

“It depends on context,” Place said. “Black is good for at night when there are a lot of shadows and it's also traditional, as you say. But you might see them wearing tan in a desert. Here, though, it's about training. They're wearing white to make themselves as visible as possible. If they can sneak and hide while wearing white ...”

Place left it for Joss to finish, which she did, “Then they'll learn much better than if they trained wearing colors that blend in.”

“Yup.”

“So Shego wearing bright green...” Joss said.

“She's showing off,” Place responded but it was almost on autopilot. It seemed like forever since she left the lair with a promise to return. What was Shego doing?

But it wasn't forever, was it? She'd slept on the plane here, the previous night at Uncle Slim's, before that on the road, then Wade's, and the night before that in a Middleton hotel after seeing her family. Before that she was in the lair.

Five nights away. Was that all? It seemed like ages had passed since she left the lair.

“This is Joss Possible at Yamanouchi calling Leela Place Possible. Ya'll alive in there?”

“What?” Place said. “Sorry. I was just thinking about how much has happened since I left the lair.”

“You miss Shego,” Joss said. Place was pretty sure it wasn't a question.

“Yeah,” Place said. “What do you think about that?”

“The time I met her she was mean,” Joss said, “but then she saved the world.”

“And has since gone back to a life of crime,” Place said.

“But you know her better than I do,” Joss said, “and your judgment seems fine to me.”

Place nodded. She was a little concerned that the people who trusted her judgment might eventually be let down by it, but she wasn't about to burden Joss with that knowledge. So she'd need to talk about something else.

“I was also thinking about your future team,” Place said.

“My team?” Joss asked.

Topic change achieved.

* * *

“Yori-san,” Place said, “do you have free time?”

“I do, Possible-san,” Yori said.

Ok, going well so far, “I would like to speak with you, if you don't mind.”

“It would be my honor,” Yori said. Definitely going well.

After they'd found a place to sit, Place said, “I was surprised to find you here, I thought you'd have moved on to continue your training elsewhere.”

“Master Sensei requested that I stay and teach some classes,” Yori said. “It is a great honor.”

“So you're a teacher now?” Place asked.

“Only in the sense that I teach,” Yori said. “My studies continue through private tutoring with the actual teachers here. It will be many years before I am worthy to count myself amoung them.”

Place nodded. It must be a great honor, or at least an exclusive one, to merit that. Instructors couldn't possibly have time to privately tutor many former students given that they had to actually teach the current students.

“What do you think of my cousin?”

“She mostly listened,” Yori said; “she was most attentive. Some of our students would do well to be more like her. From what she did say, I believe she is a bright child.”

“She is,” Place said. “She's even an impressive inventor.”

“I could not speak to that,” Yori said, “but I had no difficulty speaking to her as an equal.”

“Do you think she would be a good fit for the school?” Place asked.

“Hai,” Yori said. “Her heart seems pure, and her goals are noble.”

“About that,” Place said. “Joss is pure and noble, but I fully intend to return to a supervillain's lair and resume a friendship with Kim's arch-nemesis.”

“Shego-san” Yori said.

“Correct,” Place said. “I'm finding a lot of people surprisingly accepting of that fact, even though I have reservations myself.”

“About trusting Shego-san?” Yori asked.

“No,” Place said. “None there. I've trusted her from the start. I've checked things anyway, and so far my trust has been vindicated at every step. I have reservations about the fact that I'm throwing in my lot with--”

Place stopped.

Something about that hadn't felt right. Was that what her reservations were about?

It wasn't really.

“Possible-san?” Yori asked.

“Un moment, s'il vous plait,” Place said without really thinking, and thus without noticing the strangeness of saying such a thing in this setting. She was onto something.

It didn't bother her that she considered Shego a friend. It didn't bother her that she planned to live at an evil lair. It didn't bother her that she looked forward to the next time she was gambling with the henches. It didn't bother her that she intended to tie her fate to that of villains like Shego and by extension Drakken.

So what was bothering her?

Then it hit her.

“I'm concerned about how little resistance I find to the idea in myself,” Place. “I have reservations about my lack of reservations, if that makes sense.”

“You are worried that your willingness to live with criminals reflects a moral failing in your character,” Yori said.

“Yes,” Place said. “Exactly. I didn't even realize that was what was bothering me until a few moments ago, but it is bothering me and I'm looking for an outside perspective.”

“While I have never met the two personally,” Yori said, “my understanding is that Drakken-san and Shego-san were both involved in saving the world from the Lorwardians.”

“Yes, but not wanting--” Place said.

“If you will excuse me, Possible-san,” Yori said, “I was not finished.

“Oh,” Place said, feeling her face flush a bit, “sorry.”

“All is forgiven,” Yori said. “It is also the case that their careers as villains are of interest. With most villains the general lack of casualties can be attributed directly to the work of Jack Hench.”

That name caught Place's attention.

Yori obviously noticed, and explained, “HenchCo has a sizable Asian branch. I have also encountered those who shop from their much smaller Polynesian branch.”

Place nodded.

“Hench has his own reasons for wanting to avoid casualties,” Yori said, “some of those reasons might even be noble, but Drakken-san and Shego-san do not do business with HenchCo. That means that the fact they've done all that they've done without hurting a single person is entirely of their own doing. I believe that indicates that they have purer hearts than they themselves would admit to.”

Place looked down and thought about it for a bit, and Yori allowed her the silence to do so.

When Place looked back up, Yori added, “Who else could have giant robots rampage all over the world without causing so much as a stubbed toe?”

Place nodded, it was a good point.

“As for the fact that they're criminals, we too are criminals,” Yori said.

“Yamanouchi?” Place asked, surprised.

“To get Stoppable-san here the first time we used lies, trickery, and creative records keeping to fabricate and then exploit an exchange program. To deliver the Han to Stoppable-san's family we created a fraudulent adoption service. Stoppable-san is of great importance, but he is hardly the sole focus of our school. We break many laws, and break them often.”

“Just like Kim and Ron,” Place said, then remembered to add, “-san.”

“Hai,” Yori said. “Laws are of great importance, but people such as ourselves live in two worlds. In one, the one most people live exclusively in, laws apply to everyone and so they should. Saving the world doesn't mean that one should be allowed to violate traffic laws in their ordinary lives.

“In the other, there is magic, there is technology most people only see in science fiction, there are monsters, mutants, heroes, and villains. There are threats and wonders the law cannot and should not hope to encompass.

“Imagine if the mundane law were written with magical tomes in mind, Possible-san,” Yori said.

“It would burn a loophole through every anti-censorship measure ever created,” Place thought out loud. “Some of those things couldn't even be opened without unleashing something horrible. All anyone in power would have to do would be to claim a book was magic and banning it wouldn't be seen as limiting people's access to information but instead protecting them from magical horrors.”

“And so the same actions have different meanings. When Shego steals a device from a secret lab, it is entirely unlike stealing possessions from an ordinary person's home,” Yori said. “If she did the latter, and you intended to continue your association, then I would question your morals.

“Thank you, Yori-san,” Place said.

“You are welcome, Possible-san,” Yori said. “But if I may, I believe there is something else you should consider.”

“You may,” Place said.

“I chose this life. So did Stoppable-san. Your cousin is choosing it. You did not choose this life; you were born into it. You can choose to remain in it, or you can choose to lead a more mundane life, but it is a choice. It is a choice that I believe you should make consciously.”

Place nodded. She thought a bit about things. Then she said, “On a completely different subject, I have a meeting to attend tonight.”

“A … meeting?” Yori asked.

“Some friends back in America,” Place said.

Yori looked even more perplexed.

Place pulled out her communicator, “Since I don't have astral powers, I use the internet.”

Yori nodded.

“I don't want to give away your position--”

“You need not worry about that,” Yori said. “Yamanouchi's location is protected by magic, it cannot be discovered without the direct and intentional help of one who already knows where it is.”

“So, would that magic block my signal?” Place asked.

“No,” Yori said, “But I believe your device will get optimal reception on the western peak instead of within the school's grounds.”

“Thank you for everything, Yori-san,” Place said. She stood up and bowed.

“It was my honor, Possible-san,” Yori said. She also stood and bowed.

-


-
- - -
-

So there's weird and then there's weird.  "Master Sensei" is pretty standard weird for Kim Possible.  Who is the director of Global Justice?  Dr. Director.  The director's name is Director.

Ninja school created by someone decked out as a samurai, long before there was such a thing as a samurai, who was the master of a semi-fictional Chinese martial art that, at least as far as the non-fictional part of "semi-fictional" goes, also wouldn't have been invented yet.  I just . . . um, yeah.

It's not like someone forced them to say when the school had been founded.  Nor were they required to have a statue of the founder, nor was said statue required to be of a samurai.

Still, we work with what we have.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

And additional fuck

I lost track of time and it passed the point where it was too late to make it on time to see about adding the class, then I spent forty minutes immobilized by feeling bad about not being able to make it on time, now I have to decide if it's worth showing up to ... yeah, not going to even try.  I hate this week.

The state of things

The money situation is scary to me, the washing machine not working is a massive problem, I need to go to university this semester to keep my mental health care but I don't have the money needed.  Various other stuff.

But in spite of it all I seemed to be coping pretty well until Sunday night.

Sunday night changed everything.  The context is ... kind of odd.

There was discussion of two country songs by the same artist in which a woman ends an abusive relationship.  In the earlier one she does so by setting her house on fire while she and her husband are still in it, but their eight year old daughter is not.  Murder/suicide.  Pretty heavy stuff.  In the later one there is no daughter and the woman simply runs away.

The question was asked... well many questions were asked.  But one of the questions, which I initially misread and thus completely missed the point of, was about if the presence of the child changed things.

Would it be acceptable to run away, as in the second song, leaving the daughter behind with abusive husband/father.

That's a very tangled question.  You have to think about the fact that while running away might be possible, taking the child with you might not because that is, by definition, kidnapping.  You have to think about how much harder it would be to not be found if you're caring for a child.  You have to think about how someone who did nothing illegal might not find safe harbor anywhere, but someone who was a kidnapper almost certainly wouldn't.  You have to think about how the abusers retribution might be worse if he can track the woman down if she took the child with her.

You have to think about death, starvation, homelessness, life on the run, and a lot of very, very unpleasant and depressing things.

And I did.  I thought about all that I just mentioned and more.  You can't honestly approach the question if you don't.  Even if you have some guiding moral imperative that answers the question for you (escaping abuse is never bad, so leaving the child behind to do it isn't bad // you have to think of the child first, so leaving the child in an abusive situation is automatically bad; to name just two) you have to at least think about the triggery details if you want to attempt a non-assholic answer.

This even though the stories themselves are fictional and it's essentially a question of judging themes in stories we tell rather than passing judgement on actual people in actual situations.

So I thought about all of that, in depth.

Then I got a response to what I ultimately said that seemed like I had ignored it all, and I couldn't even fully understand because it seemed to be talking about a different question that I'd never considered nor tried to answer and it seemed to be saying that I didn't say what I did say and because I didn't say it my answer was inadequate and seemed to imply that I ignored or minimized the danger to women in abusive relationships.

I very much do not want anyone here trying to look up that exchange.  It doesn't matter if the "seemed" things in the previous are actually true.  This post is about me.  How it seemed to me is what matters for this post.

I tried for two hours to write a response.  Two fucking hours.  I was confused, I was frustrated, I was angry, and finally I was nothing.

As nothing I finally wrote the post that would be posted, but as it rambled on the nothing became less like a hollow emotionless state inside and more like a void I was disappearing into.

There were moments of not-nothing.  The anger flared back up once or twice only to quickly die leaving nothing again.

But, after I was mostly done with the post things changed.  I started crying.  I had to explain that I wouldn't be able to return to the thread.  I felt really bad because elsewhere in the thread I'd taked to people who have yet to find treatments that worked and talked about being in a healthy state of mind now and how there's hope no matter how many failed treatments there were and yada yada yada, and then here I was falling completely apart.

Some hope I give people if I say, "It took forever but I have achieved healthy mental state so that means it can work if you keep trying," if I'm, just a little bit lower down the thread, having a nervous breakdown that feels very much like full blown major depressive episode (though, once it was over, it was pretty clear that it was too short to be considered one.)

After I posted it got worse.  I couldn't stop crying.  Sobs that sounded variously like a sick twisting of laughter or coughing that just went on and on, no stop to the water from from my eyes.

I went to my bed, turned out the light, and just kept sobbing and sobbing.

When it finally stopped I got up, took my sleep med, brushed my teeth, and went back to bed.  The sobs were never far from the surface though.

-

In the morning, yesterday morning, I was mostly better but in no shape to face the world.  I designated it a day of rest and recovery and ignored the fact that it was the first day of school.

The rest and recovery seemed to be going well.  Then my mom called.

My dog, who I almost never see anymore, had run off.  Animal control picked him up.  He was staying with the vet.

Wally isn't a farm animal, the fact that my sister treats him as one isn't good for him.  He's also scared of everything (he responds to fear with threat displays) and anti-social but in need of real, strong, human contact.

With my sister he doesn't get the human contact, but she's the only place we can send him.  With my mother he escapes, here he escapes and the fucking fleas.  Now he's escaped there.

What he needs is a paddock where he can run relatively free without the risk of meeting anyone, and a home where he will be hugged and have his belly rubbed and shown direct affection and made to feel loved.

He can't be allowed to meet strangers because he gets scared, tries to make them back down by barking his ass off, and since people who are afraid of dogs tend to freeze up when that happens, things just get worse.

He's neurotic, so are we.  Rescue dogs often have problems and he's as badly socialized as I am, but his teeth a big and scary.

The conversation came to fleas, since that meant I couldn't bring him here.  That led to flea control and the mold that such has caused (damn moisture trapping stuff.)  That somehow led to laundry.  And ... and everything.  All of it in interrogation-like detail that served to accomplish nothing except rub in all of the bad stuff I already know.

Recovery set back.

But then, later in the day, there was an up side.  I had two more copies of "The Princess Who Saved Herself" to mail out, got a ride to the post office.  And I got socks.

So today I'm going to try to make it to the school, see about enrolling, which will add to my debt, and generally go on like nothing ever happened.

I figure my current financial problems (i.e. not the long term ones) equal somewhere between $2000 and $3000 dollars (house expenses, dental, appliance repair, tuition.)  So I'd have to sell 173ish more copies of The Princess Who Saved Herself.  I've got six.  So make that 542 because you have to subtract the expense from buying new ones.

I'm being silly.  Not going to sell my way out of things and even if I were I think I've hit everyone who wants The Princess Who Saved Herself already and those six will just languish on ebay until the time limit runs out.  Though I am, as I mentioned, going to be putting some Skylanders stuff on there at some point.

But, like I said, going to school today to see about enrolling.  I'll be going later in the day though, so I've got some time here first.  I want to write something.  Fiction.

Since I have story followers and such in the Kim Possible fandom I was thinking about the next chapter of Being more than a Simulacrum, but I don't want Kim Possible to take over my writing which it pretty clearly has of late.  Obviously I need to get back to Edith and Ben, but I haven't been in a Twilight state of mind of late.  Same problem with Skewed Slightly to the Left, haven't been in a Left Behind state of mind.

On original works I'd definitely like to do more Princess Story, maybe more Band Story, but it's a question of the right frame of mind there too.

And I know I've asked this before, but what do you, my readers, want me to try to get back to.

[Added:]

And I almost forgot: I'm going to need to send my computer in for repairs.  There's nothing drastically wrong with it (it's not crashing or melting or anything) but the USB ports have been somewhat touch and go and there are other things that I can't quite remember but I'm sure it will decide to remind me about eventually.

But the big thing you, readers, is still to say what you'd like me to return to because maybe you'll say something I am in the right frame of mind for or maybe you'll provide the motivation necessary to unstall, or whatever.

Monday, August 31, 2015

I have socks!

While from a purely pragmatic standpoint it would be better for me to continue to encourage you to embrace your inner Activision gamer and send me an email about buying skylanders, or prod you to buy The Princess Who Saved Herself from me, the fact is that, for the first time in a long time, I have socks.

Now the Princess never wore her socks, which is ok for her because she's the badass princess of awesomeville, but for me socks are kind of a necessity.  My feet are shaped weird anyway, I don't know the details because I'm not a foot person and thus they look like feet to me, but I've seen the reactions when one foot person called another food person over to take a look at these things.

I think it has something to do with the arch.  I've got a huge arch that doesn't stay arched which means that without proper support my foot gets all wacky and seems like it's absurdly wide for its length or absurdly short for it's width or something like that.  I do have a wide foot, but not as wide as it looks without arch support.

The other big thing is that whole thing about the heel-ankle-leg connection.  My heels need to be elevated (not a lot, just a bit) or else my foot will force itself into a position where the back of my shoe starts trying to gnaw my foot off at the ankle.

There's also something about toe length, but that is neither here nor there.  And I have a tendency to step on the side of my foot for no apparent reason every so often leading to a lot of near-sprained ankles and some actual sprains.

And all of this leads to having to have very precise adjustments to any shoe I get which I never do.  But that's where socks come in.  I can pull the arch supporting heel elevating inserts out of one pair of shoes, stick them into another, and the total lack of precision is ok because fucking socks are fantastic.

If a centimeter of elevation is the difference between things being fine and having my shoes try to gnaw off my feet, then think about how much comparative leeway is provided by the softy cushy nature of completely ordinary socks.

And, also, wearing shoes without socks leads to not just general problems and spesific blisters, but also disgusting sweatyness.

So, I HAVE SOCKS!

Woo!

Something I'm selling: Older Skylanders

The Skylanders franchise is coming up on its fifth game.  September 20th Skylanders: Superchargers comes out.  The games have no set player character, instead you can play as any Skylander by placing it on an NFC device called the "The Portal of Power" it reads the chip in the toy figure and lets you play as the character in game.

Each game is backwards compatible with figures from the previous games so a figure from the original will work in every single game, a figure from the second will work in all but the first one, and so forth.  It's mildly more complicated than that because some figures from later games will work in earlier ones if they're a version of a character used in the earlier game, but in general a figure from game N will work in games ≥ N.

A while back I discovered that elder weasel had all current Skylanders games, and had played them to completion, except the earliest one.  Munchkin weasel has been similarly limited as they share their games (sometimes with acrimony, but generally well.)

So, I set out to rectify this.  Since it is the first game, it's compatible with the fewest figures, and since they don't have the first game the only first game figures they have are three that were picked up at a yard sale.

The practical result of all of this is that I have a Christmas present for the munchkins, though I may well decide not to wait that long (I could just give it to them the next time I see them, but there's not really an occasion) but also, because buying firgures to go with the game is incredibly expensive if done one at a time (the problem is mostly shipping, shipping sucks) I have a number of duplicate figures to get rid of.

The Skylanders games are:
  • Spyro's Adventure
  • Giants
  • Swap Force
  • Trap Team
  • Superchargers
Trap Team is recent enough that not many people were throwing them into "Random lot of figures" though I think I do have a couple.  I definitely have a one armed Christmas lobster called "LobStar" with a throwing star from Trap Team, which might be worth something if not for the fact that it's supposed to have two arms.

Superchargers isn't out yet.

Other than that, if you want or a child you know wants a figure or figures from the other games (Spyro's Adventure, Giants, Swap Force) send me your wishlist and what you'd pay for the items on it, along with your postal code so I can figure out shipping.  There's a non-zero chance I can help you out.

My email is: cpw (at) maine (dot) rr (dot) com
Link to email. (Assuming neither I nor blogger fucked up the link.)

I can't give the excess away free out of the kindness of my heart, but I can probably do better than you'll find elsewhere, and probably also better than whatever prices I post to my ebay account once I've done the math to figure out how to price them.

Also, this is where I really go into no-scruples sales mode, if you've never tried Skylanders and want to start with the new game, consider that every currently existing figure is compatible with it so you could go here, pick out an entire roster of ones you'd like in the new game, send me a list, and (depending on how your list compares to what I've got) get yourself a decent little army to throw at said new game when it comes out on September 20th.