Thursday, November 3, 2022

I need help (also, what's been going on the last 2 1/4 years of my life)

I told myself that when I came back here it would be because I had something to share.  It wouldn't be another begging post.  I set deadlines for when I'd resume posting, in hopes of giving a sense of urgency that would let me produce something.  The deadlines wooshed passed, no posts were made.

I'm here to beg.  I don't have something creative to share.  This is exactly what I promised myself I wouldn't do.

Let's talk about the last two years.

First, though, as I said, I'm here to beg.

I'm here to beg for over $3,800 dollars.
(Sorry for the lack of an exact figure, the explanation for that is below.)

Donate button is in the upper righthand corner, but PayPal's coded it in a way that you can't just link to the donate page; you have to get there by pressing the button.  I think it's because they want everyone to have a PayPal account, so they make the thing that does require a PayPal account easier to pass around.  That's my page.  (

If you want to signal boost, that's probably the the link to share.  And sweet fuck could I ever use some signal boosting.  Another way to signal boost would be using this tweet, which is at the end of a thread that covers a tiny bit of what I'll share below.

The only upside of the "Donate" button here is that will take credit cards without requiring one to have a paypal account.  A warning about it, though.  If you click it, there's a checkbox that says "Make this a monthly donation".  Don't check that box.  Do not.  It does not work.  It has never worked.  I have no idea why they put it there when it never worked, and I certainly don't know why they haven't removed it.

For monthly donations, use my patreon.  (   Don't expect actual content, though.  At least not stuff that's worth reading.  Most of the posts are of the form, "Hey, I haven't posted anything in two months, and here's why: my mental health sucks.  There might be some promising signs things will improve, but in the next 'Why I haven't posted anything' post, it'll turn out that they were false hope."

I vaguely remembered something about setting up a Ko-fi account, and sure enough I was able to find it.  Not sure when I set it up, but based on the description I used it must have been way back when I still had a camera.  I miss photography.  Anyway, I've reset my password and got back in, so if Ko-fi is better than for anyone, this is my Ko-fi page.  (  If you're gonna signal boost, maybe spread that link along with the one.

Ok, so, the last two years.  Not long before my birthday, I'm pretty sure someone tried to kill me.  I can't prove it, and he had better opportunities that he passed up, but when he started choking me in a rage (before there wasn't rage, he was toying with me) I sincerely believe he intended to strangle me.

For those who don't know, "strangle" means kill.  Specifically, it means "choke to death".

I got back home.  A few days later was my birthday.  I made two posts.  One of them was called, "I survived another year," and given the context, I have to wonder if the experience was on my mind when I made that title.

If memory serves, my birthday was when I realized my cat was gone.  Or maybe my birthday was when I realized that my depression induced immobility (I seriously couldn't make myself leave the house) meant that I'd let enough time pass that the chances of finding her alive had dropped from "very slim" to "almost zero" without me so much as putting up a "missing cat" flyer or asking any of the neighbors if they'd seen her.

Houseguest was gone by then, having had a falling out with housemate that proved they were both . . . actually, one of them's died since then.  If there's any peace to be had, I'm gonna let 'em rest in it.

Out of everything--throwing out my valuables, running roughshod over my house and my life without any kind of permission, causing sewage to backup into my sleeping area, causing a rat infestation, out of every fucking thing--it was my cat that finally made me tell housemate she had to leave.

See, while I'd been away from the house (at the place of the attempted strangling) I'd left the cat and the dog in her care.  When she didn't see the cat, she says she assumed I must have taken the cat with me, which is something I'd literally never done, but that's not the problem.

She didn't call to check, she just made that assumption, decided that the cat not showing up for food or water or literally anything was therefore explained, and ignored her absence.  When I got back home, I was kind of distracted.  Thinking you came pretty close to being murdered will do that to you.

That's why it took a bit to realize that, since my return, the cat had been gone way too long.  She might disappear for a bit periodically, but not that long.  Then, come to find out that she'd been missing not just since my return, but since I left.  A rather longer, rather more worrying, amount of time.

Housemate had apparently decided she was never going to mention the cat to me.  Certainly didn't say a word when I returned without the cat she'd baselessly assumed I took with me when I left in spite of leaving it, like the dog (which she did care for) in her care.

Whenever it was that I realized that there was no fucking way I was going to find my frail old cat again, I crossed a line for the first time.  For longer than I can remember, I usually haven't cared if I lived or died.  I hadn't wanted to die, but neither did I want to live.  If some kind of eternal enchanted sleep from which you'd never wake up, but neither would you die in said sleep, were an option, that would appeal to me so fucking much.

But I'd never actively wanted to die.  Then, one day, because of my cat, or rather the lack of her, I did.

Then housemate tried to stop me from kicking her out by threatening to kill herself, (she later admitted she didn't mean it, which makes me feel better about thinking she was full of shit when she said it.)

So the cat.  The cat that was technically named "Pandora" but was really named "the Cat".  She was old.  She was frail.  I knew she could be gone at any time.  I worried whenever I let her out, but wanting to go out was the only time I saw her wanting anything anymore, and I wasn't gonna take that one last joy away from her.

I knew she might leave and never come back, but the way it happened, with me in another county and not even knowing until days after I got back because I was distracted by trauma, I wasn't prepared for that.

I'd had her since she was a kitten the size of my fist.  For the vast, vast majority of the time after my mom left this house to move in with her boyfriend, she was the only other mammal in the house, and since the gecko isn't something you can handle (it's apparently normal for the gecko species in question to have too much fear and too much bite to be a pet you can . . . pet) the cat was my only companion.

I wasn't prepared for her to disappear without a trace without me noticing.  I wasn't prepared for wondering if she really never showed up after I left, or housemate just wasn't attentive enough to see if she was waiting outside and needed to be let in.  I wasn't prepared to wonder if she disappeared because she chose to as dying animals sometimes do, because of injury or attack, or because she suddenly found that the doors to my house no longer opened for her.

I wasn't prepared for the lack of closure.

In late August, housemate had found both a job and a place she could afford to stay with the pay from that job.  When she first tried to get a job after moving into my house, the lockdown kicked in just before her first day of work.  The whole time she was here, she was staying rent free.  Houseguest too.

I guess her finally being able to find a job was probably an early sign that, while COVID-19 was in full swing, the US wasn't going to fight it, and we've certainly surrendered to it in the years since.

September marked the return to me being the only human living here.  September also marked when the rat problem drew institutional notice.

Can't remember what I've said here, and I'm not gonna check, but when housemate using paper towels in lieu of toilet paper caused sewage to back up into my house (and my personal sleeping area) the problem was such that a plumber needed to put a giant machine in a very specific place.  That place was the absolute least accessible part of my house.

Furniture that had been stored in the basement for years or decades needed to be moved, and housemate thought it was a three person job.  That's why houseguest originally came.  Then he got stranded by the lockdown.  Then he decided he liked it here and wanted to stay.  Then things went wrong.

But originally he came to help move furniture in the basement.  On the day he arrived I was in a really bad place.  I spent the entire day sitting on the couch because I lacked the energy to stand up.  I heard housemate and houseguest "cleaning" my kitchen, which is not moving furniture in the basement, but was helpless to do anything about it.

They threw out everything.  My blender.  My toaster oven.  A different kind of oven that I always used to cook meat (especially steak) that I don't know the technical term for.  The newer better phone I was planning to replace my crap corded phone with.  Some of my jewelry.  Family photos.  $200 dollars in savings bonds belonging to my sister.  Pots.  Pans.


The kitchen looked clean afterward, yes.  It also looked empty.  I couldn't cook, because I no longer had cookware.

The good news was that it wasn't trash day.  Or, I suppose, the day before trash day.  The bad news was that they mixed the "trash" with the actual trash.  And worst still, they'd mixed stuff I could not and cannot afford to replace with food waste.

They would repeat this process for various rooms, each time claiming that they'd learned their lesson and wouldn't pull the same shit again.  I'm conflict averse enough that I spent much of the time they were living here rent free hiding from them.  I didn't have the fight in me to stop them from doing things I knew they'd fuck up badly.

In fact, when it comes to having fight in me, I seem to have two settings: doormat and . . . not throwing punches, but dangerously close.  Physical.  The one time I crossed out of doormat territory while both of them were here had me grabbing onto houseguest and shoving him against a wall.  It stopped at that, but that just means I was the only one to lay hands.

Regardless, everything, no matter how useful or valuable, in a given room gets bagged up as trash, and mixed with trash, and sometimes that actual trash is food waste.

I spent the rest of the year digging through bags of "trash" separating the stuff that really was trash from the much larger category of, "I've been suffering for X months because I couldn't find this, thank God it didn't make it into the stuff put out for weekly pickup!"

This was not a fast process, and depression didn't make it any faster.  And, again, food waste.

At the same time, the lockdown forced the city rats, used to bountiful feeding from now-empty restaurant dumpsters, to branch out and look for new feeding grounds.  Possibly exacerbating the problem was an old church, derelict for years, being demolished without any attempt to check if it had become a vermin nest, or exterminate any vermin that might have infested it.

I don't think I made the connection to the church the last time I posted here, a neighbor brought it up rather later as I recall, so I probably didn't mention that.  Then again, we don't know for sure that it was related to the neighborhood's sudden rat problem.

What I do know is that the various rats seeking new food and shelter found a fucking banquet laid out for them in the "trash" I had yet to go through.  It would be nice to say that my garage became their new nesting grounds, but that would ignore something that's critically important.

I've always made a distinction between a clean mess and . . . the other kind of mess.

A clean mess is a bunch of completely dry cardboard boxes in an unruly heap.  A clean mess is when a stack of papers gets knocked over.  A clean mess is a floor strewn with toys.  A clean mess is when you take the dishes and silverware and whatnot out of the dish washer, make sure they're clean, but don't get them put back into drawers and cabinets and such.

An unclean mess?  It's what happens when you don't clear the table after eating.  It's what happens when you don't wash the dishes, it's what happens when you leave food or other organic material around where it can decay, molder, form new and different species previously unknown to science, and/or be eaten by rats.

Having colonized my garage, the rats sent out expeditions to nearby areas of interest, my house being the closest.  Once upon a time they would have found no loose food.  With housemate and houseguest living here, they found no end to food.  Seriously, no end.

No matter how many times I told them top stop leaving food out because we could literally hear the rats chewing through my walls so stop feeding the rats, housemate and houseguest kept on leaving food out, and the rats, being both cunning and opportunistic, kept eating it.  Sure, on any given day they might eat all of it, but the next day housemate and houseguest would leave them more.

They're not just cunning and opportunistic.  They're not just capable of chewing straight through your walls.  They're also stubborn and tenacious.

Once they've found a feeding ground, they aren't willing to give it up just because the previously unending food finally stops.  They'll start experimenting.  They'll chew through anything, in hopes there might be food in it.

They even got into the rat poison I got but then decided against using (didn't want a dead rat decomposing inside one of my walls) but also shampoo, and just . . . everything.

I'd only ever dealt with mice before.

So come September, housemate and houseguest were gone, and with them the supply of daily food that had originally drawn the rats into the house, but the rats had already started experimenting with containers that, while not obviously food related, weren't rat proof (they're a curious lot), and when their usual in-house food supply got cut off, that kicked into high gear.

Containers that had kept the rats out for months were suddenly being proven woefully non-rat-proof as the rats upped their game.

And outside, I still hadn't gone through all of the "trash" because depression and stress, and living with two people who made me want to just disappear while I was inside my own house (not because they were malicious, but just because personalities didn't mesh at all.)

And then the city came to call.

The rat guy showed up, explained he was from the city investigating reports of a rat haven, and asked me to show him around.  It didn't take him long to (correctly) identify my property as a rat haven.

I would later learn that he took this as license to stop investigating all reports of rats anywhere near me, on the assumption that they had to be coming from my property and my property alone.  It's possible that that was true, I have no way of knowing.

My experience with them suggests that they'll set up a new colony, if circumstances permit, no matter how close the old colony is, so in the area the rat guy decided he never had to look into there could have been dozens of colonies, but again, I have no way of knowing.

Regardless, the rat guy, the city public health official, had arrived, and so began a new chapter in my life.

See, a rat haven is a public health hazard because rats carry diseases, and as a result, it's illegal to be a rat haven.  You could be fined, your property could be condemned, the whole place could even be razed if they determined it was bad enough to justify it.  (After all, if a building is declared unlivable and condemned, what's the point of leaving it standing?)

So this is what would happen, and it took me way, way too long to recognize the pattern.

The rat guy would come, and every time after the first time he would berate me, threaten me, and lie to me.  I won't be able to remember every lie, but the only one that really matters is the ultimatum.  Every time he would give a deadline, and if I didn't have things solved to his satisfaction by the deadline, terrible things would happen.

He would go all out to frighten me, and he would scare me so much that I would shut the fuck down and be unable to do anything.  Time would pass, I'd start to become more functional again, and I'd get to work on fixing the the problem.  Because of the time that had passed, it'd become clear that I couldn't get things done by the deadline.

I'd have to divide my time between trying to fix the problem and trying to contact him asking for an extension.  As the deadline grew closer, less and less time would be devoted to fixing the the problem, because it became clearer and clearer that getting it done by the deadline was an impossible task.  I needed some kind of extension or accommodation, or something or all of the work I'd done would be for nothing.

He'd ignore emails and phone calls, it's only now that I realize I never tried sending a physical letter.  He wouldn't just refuse to respond to any attempt from me to contact him, but also any attempt from my mother, who's the actual property owner.

The deadline would come.  I wouldn't hear a word.

Had he assessed the state of property without telling me?  Had things progressed to the next level?  Did I get an extension and the notice just never made it to me?  Was I in some kind of limbo?  What the fucking fuck?

I'd be in outright panic, because the things he threatened me with didn't actually require I be notified in advance.  To prevent them, I needed to convince him I'd made enough progress, or completely fixed X or Y part of the problem, but if I didn't convince him, then the bad shit that was happening was supposed to kick in automatically.

Well, if I didn't even see him, then I surely couldn't have convinced him, so as I continued to hear nothing, I'd just go through a process of catastrophizing that I'm not sure a person without depression, anxiety, and so forth can truly understand.

Obviously literally no time was spent trying to solve the rat problem.  It was too late.  I had to figure out some way to do some sort of administrative magic to undo things that were supposedly already in motion and retroactively get the time I was allowed extended.  And my point of contact wasn't answering his phone calls or checking his email.

At one point I got worried that maybe something had happened to the rat guy.  He was the city public health official.  A search of his name said that he was part of the city's team for responding to the pandemic.  Maybe he'd gotten COVID-19.  What if I was making all of these attempts to contact someone who was in the hospital, or something.  Wouldn't that be terrible?

I tried reaching out to a co-worker of his to see if they could tell me if he was ok.  The co-worker ignored me too.

Eventually either the realization that the ultimatum hadn't come to pass or fatalism would set in.  Either, "I guess, maybe, just this once, no news really is good news," or, "Well, if I'm fucked I'm fucked, might as well keep doing what I was doing," because the simple truth of the matter was I was planning on fixing the rat problem before the rat guy even showed up.  Not like I wanted my house to be rat infested.

So I'd get to work, and it'd take a while to get into a flow of it, like it always did, and my depression would slow me down, but I'd start making some real progress.  It'd be clear that if I could just keep this up, I'd definitely hit this or that major milestone soon.

And then the rat guy would show up, unannounced, and repeat the process.  He'd give me another completely fake ultimatum, I'd believe every fucking word, and he'd leave me too terrified to do anything.

This process would repeat, I don't know how many times, until January 2021.  Or maybe early February.

But during this time, something more important happened.

My mother, as mentioned, is the home owner.  I pay all the expenses on the property, but I don't own it, she does, and so she and I were obviously talking about someone from the city threatening terrible repercussions vis a vis the property she owns.

At some point, she started coming down to physically help me with the work.  We'd spend days together undoing the damage housemate and houseguest had caused.  It's so quick to throw everything you can grab into a bag, it's a lot slower to sort it all out.

The first thing you have to is dump it the fuck out.  Not sure how long it took me to realize this, but trying to go through the bag from top to bottom with the stuff still in the bag is the slowest possible way to approach the problem.

And we worked things out as we went.  And eventually we had a system.  And when rat guy and his deadlines weren't preventing us from working on the problem, we were making progress at breakneck speed.

We were working outside, we had a sort of makeshift giant table set up so the bags could be dumped for easy sorting without needing anyone to be bending down or crouched on the ground or what have you, and actual trash was being separated from recyclables from stuff I'd been looking for for months and it was . . . good.

It was good.  Human contact that wasn't stressing me the fuck out, someone who loved me within arm's reach, working outdoors in a good season for it.  The cooperation helped me from falling into a complete depressive slump.  My mental health might make some days slower, but with my mom there working with me it didn't grind to a halt.

My garage, which had been filled with fucking bags upon bags was getting cleared out, and we were talking about when we'd finish it and move onto the house.

The rare things that housemate and houseguest had realized they shouldn't throw out were in jumbled unsorted piles in the basement, and they were where we'd potentially find the most useful things that had gone missing, or at least, the most useful things that had gone missing that we hadn't already found.

For all of the progress we were making, none of it was making my life in the house any better, but the garage had to come first, because the food waste still mixed in was the biggest thing keeping the rats around.

There was a couch way in the back of the garage that had been there since I was a child.  I can vaguely remember using it when it was still in the house, but I can't attach anything else to those memories.  Rats had visibly been nesting in it.  It was too big to take to the dump in my mom's vehicle, so we were gonna rent a truck.

That was gonna be the day we took all of the "definitely trash, but unable to be thrown out the usual way" stuff away.  It was gonna be a major milestone, and after it happened there'd be only a few more things to finish up in the garage, and then we could move on to the house.

The day came, my mom had called and told me she was on her way.

Then she called again.

I can't remember if it was the police or Child Protective Services that called her, but she'd been told my sister had been sent to the psyche ward, and she would have to drive up and take in my sister's kids.

The people at the psyche ward wanted to have my sister committed, by my sister won the hearing that would have committed her, and so she only spent a week in the psyche ward.  She never got custody of her children back.

My sister blames my mother.

At first my mom was taking care of three children, at her age, she and her boyfriend couldn't handle that, and my sister's children were split up.  Since then, my mother has cared for the eldest, while the other two have been outside our family.

With a child to look after, my mom no longer had time to come down and help me deal with the situation at the house.

Just like that, my only source of human contact disappeared.

That was, if I'm not getting my months confused, late November 2020, meaning the cycles of rat guy terrifying me into being unable to do anything would continue for a few months more.

That didn't help, but . . . I think it's the only source of human contact thing that's the bigger deal.

The work my mother and I had done was enough for the rat population to dwindle, the rat guy disappeared from my life.  We were into 2021, and . . . only source of human contact had disappeared.

Also, at some point in there, I got sick.  COVID-19 symptoms, but without the worry I'd give it to my mother, and without anyone else I was in contact with, I couldn't muster the motivation to get tested.

That's not important.  What's important is that when I stopped having that human contact, it was like the bottom dropped out, my depression got so much worse, and I just stopped.

All this time later, and the work my mother and I were going to do in the house hasn't been done.  So much stuff, important stuff without which I can't fully utilize my house and, especially, my kitchen, has yet to be found.  The whole basement is basically a "no go; too much clutter" area.  Thank God they didn't put any food waste down there.

But that's the present, back to early 2021.  Because there was a . . . let's call it an alternate source of human contact for a bit.

For a time in early 2021, my sister and her boyfriend were camped out in her van in my driveway.  My anxiety was at the highest level it's ever been, basically non-stop.

At some point, they had a disagreement, and my sister decided she didn't want to be outside.  She decided to clean up while she was in here.

I probably don't need to explain why that very concept triggers my anxiety at this point.  That, ultimately, wasn't what led to the breaking point.  It was the noise.  Sometimes, I'm hypersensitive to sound.  Every noise was so overpowering it was like a physical attack.  It hurt.  She wouldn't stop.

Two modes: doormat; physical.

She wouldn't stop.  It was hurting me.

She was pretty close to the front door, going through some stuff the dog had knocked over in the hallway it opens up to.  I pushed and pulled her out of my house.  I didn't know what to do.

Later on, I couldn't tell you how long--a day, a week, a month?  Probably not a month--she was in my house again, and refused to leave again, and said that if I touched her she'd call the cops.  Quite possibly reasonable.  I don't know if pushing and pulling constitutes a crime, but it's definitely getting physical, and that's not a good way to solve problems.

I found a third mode: calling the cops.  (Credit to my sister for giving me the idea.)

Terrified, because I was inviting people with guns into a potentially volatile situation, but calling the cops none the less because I didn't know what else to do.

They got her to leave, thankfully without any violence.

I think it was the next day she showed up and acted like nothing had happened.

The cops said you need to be firm, I'm not good at that, and just not let the person back in, because without a, "You're not allowed here," limit being continually enforced, sooner or later, the person will be there and refusing to leave again.

I'm not good at being firm, and ACAB is definitely a thing, but being able to say, "The cops told me not to let you back here," made things easier.

Thus ended my sister camped out in her van in my driveway.  (Sometimes with her boyfriend, sometimes not.)

As 2021 dragged on, and things involving custody of my sister's children got increasingly heated, my depression and anxiety worsened, and I kept on getting drawn into things, and every time my phone rang it felt like an attack, and I dreaded hearing what the message might be (I screen my phone calls) and when the answering machine filled up, instead of clearing it off or picking up without screening, I just left it full, and let it ring until the person on the other end gave up.

I also stopped checking my mail.  I'd bring it in the house so the box didn't get full, and then drop it in a pile somewhere without even checking who it was from, much less opening it.

This led to me missing what would have been my first dentist appointment in years.  This cost me my food supplement.

As of January 2022, I haven't been on food stamps.  It took me so long to try to deal with it that they said it was impossible to reinstate, and I'd need to reapply.  I tried.  In April.  I haven't heard back at all.  Naturally, I should call them.  Find out what's wrong.  Fix the problem, stop spending $200 I don't have on food each month when there's a (potential) solution just a phone call away.

That is not how I have spent my year.  I've spent my year letting my depression lead to me getting so undernourished, dehydrated, and/or sleep deprived that I can't function.  Undernourishment is the most expensive one.

There comes a point where you don't have energy to prepare food, meaning even if you have food you can't use it unless it's the right kind of food (grab and eat, think a granola bar or a cookie.)  I think there was an entire month where I ate granola bars almost exclusively, but eventually you don't have grab and eat food, and that's where the expense comes in.

If you don't have the energy to prepare food due to lack of calories, and the only food you have in the house is food that needs to be prepared before it can be eaten, then you need prepared food delivered, and enough of it that you'll have the energy needed to make use of the food you do have.

That can cost in the realm of half a month of store bought food.  Needing to do it multiple times?  It adds up.

Someone who was reading in 2020 and has a good memory might notice that I left out the part where my dog got hit by a car in March of 2020.

She's doing fine.  She's been doing fine.  All she needed was to be kept stable, have a blood transfusion, and have her punctured lung fixed, and she was basically back to normal.  As soon as the medications she'd been put on wore off, she was completely back to normal.

When Chloe got back from the emergency vet, completely recovered except for medication induced . . . drowsiness, I think it was, the sense of urgency--the thing that had let me fundraise in spite of my depression-- disappeared.

I stopped trying.

Living on public assistance is always living near the edge, one major disruption away from complete financial catastrophe.  Never fully dealing with the debt that came from paying for Chloe's life to be saved?  That put me closer to the edge.

I'm not sure how much closer, but there have definitely been disruptions causing catastrophes causing me to go begging, but they all sort of pale in comparison to the big ones I'm facing now.

The lack of my food supplement, the fact that when I managed to get that dentist appointment rescheduled I didn't take into account the effect of the lack of my food supplement.

Briefly, fixing my teeth is not covered even though the holes in them are rather large, and I always knew I'd need to fundraise to pay for it, but I didn't really think about what it would mean to be doing that in the middle of other financial problems.  I just thought that I'd finally get my teeth fixed.  In fact, it's only the teeth on the right side that have been fixed so far, but sweet fuck did that cost a lot.

Ok, so, lack of food supplement for 11 months now, repeatedly needing to do the expensive shit that is buying emergency "Undernourishment has left me with too little energy to make food, so I need stuff that's already made delivered to my door" food, dentistry, having to pay for all of this shit on credit cards, interest, late fees, interest on late fees, and Vladimir Putin waging a genocidal war in Ukraine.

Because of that last one, heating oil costs more than twice as much as it normally would.  The weather grows cold, my tank isn't on the verge of running out right this second, but it is close to empty.

I've had my phone, internet, and power cut multiple times for non-payment.  (Only ever one at a time, mind.)  Twice I've had someone come to my door to say, "I'm here to disconnect your water, if you don't want me to, you should pay now."

A month ago, I tried to work out what it would take to get me back to living right on the edge of disaster, instead of living in a state of ongoing . . . whatever the fuck you call this.   The very drawn out early stages of a disaster in progress.

I came up with $2,511.12.  I was wrong.  I didn't take into account heating oil, and also that tally comes with the sort of rosy idea that I would have gotten my food supplement back right then, whereas I spent the past month barely functional, certainly not reaching out and solving problems.

When I say I didn't take into account heating oil, I don't mean the increase in the price, I mean even if I had raised that much (I raised less than a fifth) I'd have had nothing set aside for heating oil.

So, what I didn't raise then plus heating oil is circa $3,500, but that assumed I'd have my food supplement back, where I actually used some of what I did raise for food instead of digging myself out of the hole, and I had another starvation-mode episode, putting it to circa $3,800.  (I bought more than a normal month's worth of food in hopes of avoiding a future starvation-mode episode.)

The reason for the "circa" is that the price of heating oil fluctuates by the day.  There's also some additional things but . . .

But let me tell you about the day I bought food.

After a while of having trouble getting this prescription or that authorized or filled, I finally had all of my medications and was taking them and they seemed to be working.  I finally had appointments related to sleep apnea set up, and treating that could be the missing piece that finally lets me break through from, "As good as I can ever get, but still worse than I should be," to, "Actually fucking normal, like a mentally healthy person would be."

I had a talk therapist again, and had just finished a session with him that was cementing my belief he was gonna work out really well for me.  I was back in contact with my primary care physician, and had just gotten a blood pressure problem sorted out with minimal difficulty.  All signs were positive, and it seemed like all I had to do was drink some water and go to sleep at a reasonable hour, and I'd be ready to finally make some phone calls and sort out the food supplement issue.

There may have been other signs too.

AND I bought a bunch of food with a specific eye toward making sure there was enough grab and eat stuff to avoid another starvation mode thing.

Things really seemed to be looking up, and I had hope.

Then the payment didn't go through.  Tried it a couple times because I was told the machine was finicky.  Still declined.  Tried a different card.  Didn't work.  Card three failed because I hadn't noticed that it was expired and a new one was already in a pile of mail in my house waiting to be activated.

Card four worked.

So after I get home, and I get the stuff that needs to be refrigerated or frozen put away, I hopped onto my computer to figure out what was up with that shit.  And it turned out that it wasn't actually . . .  I should have seen it coming.  I knew that I raised less than one fifth of what I needed, and the fact I was barely functional for a month didn't mean my financial problems had taken a vacation.

Things were bad.  Things were very bad, but they weren't necessarily unexpectedly bad.  I had come up more than $2,000 short of my "avoid catastrophe" price tag, so where did I think things were going to be a month down the line?

I started doing a new tally.  I remembered to include heating oil this time.  I added in the cost of dealing with the starvation mode thing.  I added in what buying food for November had taken away from paying of what I'd needed back in October.  I hit $3,800 plus or minus, depending on the fluctuations in the price of heating oil.

When I'd bought food, I'd also stocked up on some non-food supplies that were well overdue, the cost was definitely more than the fluctuations in in the price of heating oil, but how much more?

I stopped.  I couldn't take it anymore.  I didn't want to know how close to $4,000 it was.  Fuck's sake, I couldn't even raise $500 when I went for $2,511.12 a month ago.

What did it matter what the exact tally was, when there was no hope regardless?

So I never did check the price of those last things.  I just know that they're enough to turn "$3,800 plus or minus" into "over $3,800."  How much over?  I don't even want to know.

Doing that tally took me from the most hopeful I've been in . . . years, probably, to depressed to the point of being just above non-functional.

And that's where things stand.

Plus $64 because Capital One, a card I don't think I've used in a year, charged me a membership fee, and I didn't notice until after the payment was due, so then they charged a late fee on the membership fee.  Paid it off so I won't have to worry about interest on that and another late fee come December.

So that card's completely empty, but if things keep going the way they're going, I'm gonna fill it up too, because I'm in so deep that my debt can only grow.

And the price to get to a point where that's not true anymore?  $3,800 dollars.

Over $3,800 dollars.

For a writer who hasn't published a chapter in over two years, and a would-be amateur photographer with no camera.  I don't see a way out of this, which is why--even though I promised myself that when I finally returned to this place it wouldn't be to beg--I'm here begging.

Monday, August 3, 2020

Things I want or need -- 2020 Birthday Edition

I said I'd post this today, but it's now time for me to go to sleep and I've written all of three things, and only two of them are complete.

So, the idea behind this is that instead of just saying, "Give me money," I could make a list of things that would be useful, and maybe someone has one of those things that they're not using, or maybe someone is more willing to buy a specific thing than they are to just give general funds (or perhaps they could get a better deal than I would be able to get or...)

If there's anything on this pseudo-list that you have and are willing to send me, contact me via email:
          ⦑ cpw [at] maine (dot) rr {dot} com ⦒

As I try to keep my head up and myself awake long enough to get this posted, I'm just gonna add some quick things at the start.  This will be a hodgepodge of, "My half awake brain was firing randomly" stuff.  I'll try to make a better list at later date.


-- One thing that would be very useful, but it utterly fails to fall into the "You might have this lying around and not be using it" category, is food.  People "helpfully" cleaned out my freezer, which meant I had nothing in reserve for the times when there was more month than there was food money for the month, and I've had a lot of times when there's more month than food lately.  Also, when my depression is really bad (and it basically always is these days) I'm not necessarily able to cook.

Someone I know got someone else I know a pizza in spite of the two of them being in different states, something like that would be so very useful to me right now.  I doubt anyone would do anything like that, but if one does want to try, contact me via email.

Oh, and the heating element in my stove isn't working properly, which is just fucking wonderful.

-- As mentioned below, basically anything that's electronic I'll theoretically have some use for.  This is especially true for any kind of computer, no matter how old or how crappy.
-- -- Adding to the above, my last functional USB mouse looks like it's losing functionality.  So if you're one of the

-- Tools.  I'm not entirely sure how but I seem to have run out of tools.  Screwdrivers, my drill, wrenches, generally all things that happen to be useful that you hold in your hand are rather lacking around here.

-- Bicycle tires, but you would need to know what size and I don't know so this is useless.

-- Clothes, but you would need to know what size and I don't know so this is useless.  (This includes shoes since I'm down to one pair that is starting to come apart at the seams in the most literal way possible.)

-- This is probably redundant given tools is listed above, but when alleged helpful people did something to my house that they assure me was called "cleaning" the soldering stuff I had, which was very, very basic anyway, disappeared.

-- Fans.  There is one working fan in my house.  Two if you count the one nailed to the ceiling of the master bedroom.  The non-ceiling fan is on the verge of failure, and I'm not sure how much longer percussive maintenance will be able to keep it running.  As such whether a little fan that goes on a desk, or a big one that sits on the floor, I could use any fan that's available.

-- Basically anything vaguely musical, even if broken.

-- Anything My Little Pony or Equestria Girls related.  I actually made an Amazon wishlist of stuff that I thought might help me in my fanfic writing (and also has the potential of allowing me to introduce my unicorn loving nephew to pen and paper RPGs), but in terms of stuff one isn't setting out to buy so much as get rid of, basically anything.

-- Bedding, but I'd need to verify the size of the mattress, which I'm not going to do right now.
-- Curtains.
-- Probably other stuff along the lines of bedding and curtains, though my mind is drawing a blank

This whole thing is basically an attempt to do something that I've done before (twice), the things in those posts might still apply.  I should reread them:
Things I need or want
⦾ Stuff you could send me

That was more than the "some quick things" I promised.  Anyway, that's what I added when it was already late enough that I should have been first going to bed and then sleeping.  The original intent was to go into more detail about stuff, what follows is what I wrote before I let myself fall into a depressive stupor that consumed most of the day:

Dog and Cat Supplies

As one might imagine based on the fact that the dog got hit by a car (she's fine now, by the way) I have a dog now.  When she got hit by the car she wasn't mine, she was just staying here until we could find a new home for her, but I promised her that if she lived I'd keep her.  She's very much alive.

Here's the thing: I didn't have much in the way of dog stuff to begin with, assholes lost or broke most of the dog stuff.

Retractable leash?  Broken.  Normal leashes?  Lost.  (Instead of clipping things to her collar, I've been tying a bowline every time I need to hook her up to something.)  Toys?  Almost none, and what I did have has been reduced by stuff getting lost.  Grooming supplies?  Never had them in the first place.

For the cat, it's much more on the side of never having stuff to begin with.  In all things (including human affection) anything she likes she likes more when it's outside, usually to a fairly significant degree.  As such, it never really made sense to buy indoor cat stuff.  The thing is, she's getting old, and I'd actually like it if I could convince her to spend more time inside.  Not lock her inside or anything, but--

Ok, here's the thing, I wanted to give her  more stuff to do inside before this because I'd feel better about her safety if she started spending more time inside instead of outside, but it might be too late.

From sometime Thursday to sometime Sunday I was at my sister's.  It was a very eventful time.  Someone choked me three times on Thursday and I'm pretty sure that on the third time, in the heat of that particular moment, they were genuinely trying to kill me.  While such things were happening to me, my housemate was supposed to watch the cat and dog.  I learned today that when the cat never showed up, housemate figured that I had changed my mind and brought my cat with me, because why else would the cat just disappear at the same time I did?

So my cat could already be dead or abducted, which is precisely the kind of thing I was hoping to avoid by enticing her to spend more of her time inside as she grew older.

I'm scared.  I'm worried.  I want to scream.  I want to cry.


It's no secret that I can't enjoy reading like I used to.  At this point the only types of fiction I can enjoy are video games and incredibly niche fanfiction that retreads the same territory I've read a hundred times before with just a few tweaks here and there.

That said, I do have uses for books.  For one thing, not all books are fiction.  Any given art book is something that I'm interested in.  Books about creating fiction I'm interested in as well, whether it's of the form "This is how such and such thing was created" or "Advice for plotting your next novel".

Digitized books are also of great interest to me because of some metatextual computer projects I want to work on.  That said, digitized books are also potentially problematic legally speaking.  Reselling used books is an established practice that's older and more respected than any government extant today.  Reselling ebooks has the potential to get one sued into non-existence.

Alternate versions are also of interest.  Different translations of the same work, the novelization of a movie, game, or TV show, scripts, so on, so forth.

Outdated reference books, too, oddly enough.

Physical copies of books the Twilight, Narnia, and/or Left Behind series.  As many as people are willing to send.  It's for what basically amounts to a craft project, they shall be taken apart, put back together in new and different ways, and . . . stuff.

Computer stuff

Short version: basically anything computer related, including computers themselves, I'd be happy to take off people's hands.

Actually, pretty much anything electronic at all.  If I can manage to do anything, which is by no means given, a project that I'm about to start is Frankensteining some older stuff into new and different things, probably starting with some old smartphones I got my hands on.

If I should ever become rich, I would love to have a kickass top of the line gaming desktop.  That will probably never happen.  (If I were to have thousands of dollars to spend, it'd go toward paying down my debt, not computing.)  Neither do I expect anyone to get me a gaming desktop.

My interests are not, however, limited to gaming.  There's a lot of stuff I'd like to do where older computers no one would ever even think about using for gaming that could just sit there and run for extended periods would be useful.  A lot of stuff.  If I had a whole fleet of computers, I could still probably have productive use for more.

I've said something similar to this before, and gotten a response.  Unfortunately I was in a semi-zombified

Like I said only two of them were finished. I'll try to have some fiction posted tomorrow.

I survived another year (It's my birthday)

I didn't mean to go dark for over three months.  Sorry about that.

The best way I have to describe how things are right now is that it's been like trying not to drown.  Every day is a struggle to keep my head above water, and if I inhale . . . well, that's about as good as it gets.  Keeping up with anything?  Keeping in touch with anyone?  That's beyond me.

I try to eat, I try to drink, I try to sleep.  Sometimes I even succeed.  Sleep is my favorite.  I rarely remember any dreams, so it's just the comforting embrace of darkness.  Nothing hurts; nothing is bad.  It's like I don't exist.

Then I wake up, and the world is just as bad as it ever was, but now I'm a bit older and have gone a bit longer without accomplishing anything.

Anyway, as of today I'm old enough to legally serve as President of the United States.


I have some stuff I'm going to bring over here to share.  Think it's all Equestria Girls stuff.

I did finally start trying to make let's plays, but my computer needs repair.  I guess the heat sink being improperly attached is a known issue.  One hopes that the resulting overheating hasn't damaged anything else.  Contacting tech support is, in theory, easy.  In practice . . . depression sucks.


I've been meaning to make a list of things that would be useful and/or nice.

Mostly because, "Here are things you might not be using that I could use," isn't asking for money, and I hate asking for money, even though I do need it.  (A lot of it, in fact.)  After the dog got hit by a car, my high interest debt increased by nearly $4,000 dollars and the amount I owe my mother broke $10,000.  That was in late March.  Things are worse now, but I don't have exact figures for how much so off the top of my head.

So, my birthday seems like as good a time as any to talk about stuff I want or need on the off chance someone might give me something.  I'm going to follow this up with a post to that effect.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Tentative Plans

Ok, it looks like I've talked about doing Let's Play's for over nine months at the very least.  I've never actually done any.

Let's start with the background on that.

My depression is really, really bad.  Anyone who's been reading along knows this.  For a bit over three years my depression has done two things: not get better and get worse.

Early 2017 to mid 2018: bad.
Mid 2018 to mid 2019: worse.
Mid 2019 onward: worst it's ever been.

[the above was written on or before April 5th, for whatever it's worth]

Long ago, my depression took something precious from me.  I can't really read books anymore.  I can try, but I don't engage, and before long I'm not able to continue.  I don't remember when it happened, but I remember the "Well . . . fuck" realization that bookstores had lost their appeal.

Once upon a time, being in a bookstore was a whole lot of "I want ALL THE BOOKS" with a large side of, "I could stay here forever!"  It transformed into "Meh" and "I'm bored."  I actually think that things have gotten less bad on that front, though I also think it's in large part because bookstores seem to have a lot more in the way of books with pictures than they used to.

It also could be tied up in the fact that, while I say "books" it actually seems to be somewhat more narrow.  I can't read book-form fiction.

It's also more broad, just in another way.  I can't really read original fiction.  Ditto for non-fiction in narrative form (unless it's short enough to be, say, an article in some internet publication.)

What does this have to do with Let's Plays?  Well, I'll tell you.

At this point my horizons have contracted even further, and there's only one type of original fiction that I can truly engage with.  I think it's because of the interactivity, but regardless of the reason, it's video games.  Video games are the only original stories I can engage with.

As such, I've been playing them fairly frequently, though I've kind of dropped off on that front over the past month or two.  Drop off aside, that means that Let's Plays are one of the few things I'm in a decent position to attempt making.

So I've been thinking about doing them for the better part of a year now. It's not just so that I can have content here and at Patreon, it's also then when I'm not creating anything I feel fairly useless, which very much does not help with depression.

So . . . that's a thing I've been thinking about doing.  As you might have noticed, I haven't actually done it.  The plan, back when I started this post on or before April 5th, was to announce something like . . . wait, I actually wrote this up on Patreon, I wonder . . .

I still don't have an exact date, but it looks like I can revise "on or before April 5th" to "between March 31st and April 2nd" inclusive.  That probably doesn't interest anyone, but it's what I was wondering in italic at the end of the previous paragraph.

Ok, so, wrote this up on Patreon.
Anyway, doing Let's Plays is still an idea that makes sense because Video Games are one of the few things that can make me feel like a fully functional human being, emotionally speaking, I have a ton of them, and (critically) primary computer is working again.

Basically the only things holding me back are:
  1. Depression makes it incredibly difficult to begin any project whatsoever.  Even things that aren't projects, like getting ready for bed or taking my medication in the morning, are incredibly difficult to start.
  2. Even though none of it is difficult, I do have to set up stuff.  It's not something I can just jump into with no prep.  (I need to be able to capture video and audio, after all.)
  3. My voice.  Everyone who hears my voice thinks I'm a dude, and for good reason.  I didn't transition until way after puberty.  My voice is testosteroned the fuck up.  That's not something that goes away.*  I am massively insecure about the sound of my own voice.
  4. My ideal set up for getting work done (regardless of what the work in question is) is when I'm alone in the house with no one else around.  Other people live here now, and with a pandemic going on they're in the house even more than they'd otherwise be.

I'm going to make it a goal to start recording Let's Plays in April.  Hopefully I succeed in this.  Hopefully they don't suck.  Hopefully you enjoy them.
Given that today and tomorrow are the only days left of April and I'm no closer to starting than I was when I wrote the above on March 31st, the goal of starting in April will probably not be met, but I'll still try for it.

Regardless, it's a goal and, therefore, one of the things tentatively planned.

It's entirely possible that one reading the above might note that I used the term "original" a few times.  There is a reason for that.

The one type of fiction I can consistently read is derivative work.  I can't read as much of it as I used to, but I can read fanfic.  Right now there are only two types of fanfic I can engage with: My Little Pony stuff, especially Equestria Girls stuff, and Raven/Terra Teen Titans stuff.

Raven/Terra is very rare.  It's gotten less rare of late, the number of stories on Archive of Our Own just about doubled in the past year and a half, but it's still lodged firmly in "very rare".  After all, the reason it could almost double in so short a time is that barely any existed to begin with.  (40% of the total Archive of Our Own stories were produced by three people who currently hang out in a Discord Server together.)

My Little Pony, including Equestria Girls in particular, is rather less rare.  FIMfiction, the primary English language MLP fanfic site, has 132,848 stories right now, 8,101 of which are Equestria Girls.  As far as I know, there isn't any Teen Titans equivalent to FIMfiction, so a direct comparison isn't really possible, but however you figure it, there's a reason that my reading has been skewed so far away from Raven/Terra Teen Titans fic.

So, with all of that said, let's talk about how this figures into tentative plans.

It's highly likely that anything I write will reflect the things I'm reading.  So there's some possibility of Raven/Terra Teen Titans fic, and it'll definitely be the case that any creative output vis-à-vis fiction will be dominated by MLP in general and Equestria Girls in particular.

Given that it's been about ten months since I posted anything fiction related that wasn't MLP stuff, you probably could have guessed the non-Raven/Terra side of that.

Something that I've been thinking about doing for a while is a decon of the Equestria Girls Holiday Special comic.  It's the bad (semi)canonical thing that most of my Equestria Girls stuff is based off of and unlike, say, Twilight, no one has really done an in depth look at it.

Something else that I might do, if I find the restraint not to quote and respond to every line, is reactions to some bad fanfics on FIMfiction.  That's not a plan so much as me thinking, "I've already done this on a private discord, so maybe I can do it in public."

There are two reasons why I might decide not to post reactions here.  One is that, as noted, I have a tendency to quote every damned line, which means that I end up copying the whole story into the result.  I'm pretty sure it's not kosher to copy entire stories, even if you're embedding it into a line-by-line commentary.  The other is that it's one thing to take apart professionally published fiction, but it feels a good deal more mean spirited to a public takedown of a fanfic.

Another thing that I've thought about, but am less than sure on, is re-watching Friendship is Magic and/or Equestria Grils and doing something decon-esque with that.  The reasons that I'm not really confident enough in this idea to call it a plan are myriad.

It's not the kind of fiction I'm really able to engage with in itself, so it might not work regardless.  I'd basically be counting on the combination of familiarity and analysis to change that, when there's no evidence it would work.  I have pretty much zero confidence I could do it well, and four seasons of MLP analysis have already been done better than I could ever hope to by Jen A. Blue.

The possibility of doing a close reading of MLP brings us to another thing I'd like to do, but I've wanted to do it for ages (literally years at this point) and haven't made any progress.  I want to return to Kim Possible and .hack//Sign.  In late 2013, I tried to return to .hack//Sign.  I made it one post.  In early 2018, I tried to restart my trek through Kim Possible.  I made it one post into that as well.

I'd like to do some things that involve physical construction.  Whether or not I acutally will remains to be seen.

Also, I take pictures nigh constantly, I might return to sharing them here.

That's everything I can think of for tentative plans at the moment.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Displacement et alia, Ch1: Well, we have to start somewhere; now, don't we?

[Main Page for this story]
[Originally posted at]

You read the long description[1] ⹁right? ᠎ No, don't answer; I can't actually hear you. ᠎ I noted this in the long description ⹁which you should have read. ᠎ I don't know if you read it, because I can't hear you.

Got it?[2] ᠎ Good. ᠎ So, here's what we're going to do ⹁and by "we" I mean "me", we are going to do this in "Choose Your Own Adventure" style.

IF NO: Go read the damned thing.
IF YES: Continue on this page.

Look[3] at all of the heavy-lifting[4] we just did. ᠎ I don't have to tell you the beginnings of my tale of woe.[5] ᠎ You know that I was dressed as Tsukasaˌ you know it was Anime Boston where I bought the thingˌ you know it was a level 99 staff with a silly[6] name. ᠎ You know I'm in Equestria.

Everybody still on board here?[7] ᠎ Good.[8] ᠎ So, ⹁once upon a time,[9] a human appeared in Equestria. ᠎ Her name was Celestabellebethabelle[10] temporarily Tsukasa (つかさ) ⹁which you should know by now, she was in a body not her own,[11] and she was three feet off the floor of Princess Luna's bedchambers.

Three feet does not ⹁in fact, give one time to spin into a decent position for a landing. ᠎ Thank God[12] for anti-concussion magic, because: damn. ᠎ I mean, I think it's actually more of a combination of three spells[13], but the point? ᠎ The point is: oy motherfucking vey![14]

Anyway, Luna said, "What manner of beast are you?" and in response I sort of groaned out:

"I've read this fanfic."[15] ᠎ Not the best response ever, but ⹁you have to remember, at this point I'd just been yoinked out of my home dimension, stuffed into a different body ⹁which happened to be fictional, and dumped into a ⹁different, fictional world. ᠎ Also, I'd fallen several feet and hit my head on the cold stone floor.

"I assure you," Luna said in her princessly way, "this is quite real. ᠎ I know ⹁more than most, the difference between the real and the imaginary," which ⹁you know, she would say. ᠎ When was the last time someone came out and said, 'Hi, this is totes a work of fiction,' or, 'I am singularly unqualified to tell the false from the real'?

The pain ⹁at this point, was passing. ᠎ I sat up and touched a hand to my head.

"I'm human," I said. ᠎ Also: still in costume.

The hand that touched my head ⹁that being the right one, almost knocked my hat off, but that was as nothing compared to the fact that ⹁while my hat was still on, my wig was not in evidence. ᠎ My hair ⹁however, was doing a really impressive 'Tsukasa wig' impression. ᠎ Like, really, really impressive.

Now, by this point you're probably[16] saying, 'So, you knew you were in a displaced story, right?'

To which I reply, 'Screw you; I just hit my head on the floor and only avoided traumatic brain injury via the intervention of magic.'

Anywho,[17] at this point I was still getting my bearings and wondering whether it was a dream or a hallucination.

Luna ⹁Princess of the Night and founder of the School for Gifted Pegasi, said, "Ah. ᠎ One of the creatures Twilight Sparkle has described."

"Has she indeed?" I asked as I got to my feet. ᠎ While still operating on the hypothesis that this was all in my head, I none the less started to place myself on a timeline. ᠎ Assuming this wasn't one of those stories with non-canonical human encounters[18], that meant Equestria Girls had come and gone.

Luna ⹁being Luna, responded with, "She has indeed."

We were about eye to eye. ᠎ That brought up a potential problem. ᠎ It would only be a problem if this were a darker and grittier ⹁some would say 'stabbier', version of the My Little Pony we all know and ⹁presumably,[19] love. ᠎ The problem (potential only ⹁remember) was simply this: I was standing at full height looking a god-level royal in the eye.

"Should I..." I started. ᠎ Clearly that had gone wonderfully, so much so ⹁in fact, that I decided to try doing the exact same thing again. ᠎ "Should I," I asked, "be bowing?" ᠎ That that worked proved ⹁semi-conclusively, that this was a 'Try, try again,' situation instead of a 'Definition of Insanity' situation.

"That will not be necessary," Luna said.

She's got a nice voice, that one.

"Do you have any idea how I got here?" I asked rather quickly, the pace practically tripping over itself as I moved from one word to the next. ᠎ "Because I have no idea how I got here."

"You appeared to teleport into my bedchambers and fall on the floor," Luna said with a completely straight face ⹁and a level tone to boot.

"I'm--" that was a stammer. ᠎ Not my most eloquent ever. ᠎ I looked around. ᠎ These were ⹁indeed, chambers with a bed in them. ᠎ "I'm in your bedchambers?"

"You are."

Yeah, ⹁so, stabby seemed like it might be on the table even if this weren't all that dark or grit filled.

"I-- I, um... I'm sorry?" I said.[20]

"For what?" Luna asked; "if I may ask."

That, by the way, is precisely the kind of structure for which the question comma was invented. ᠎ The first two words form a question, while "If I may ask" is not a question and would ⹁in fact, generally be punctuated with a comma. ᠎ All and sundry know[21] that one does not follow an 'if I may ask' with a question mark. ᠎ A dash? ᠎ Maybe. ᠎ An ellipsis? ᠎ Sure. ᠎ An ellipse? ᠎ It'd be weird ⹁and you'd need some artistic chops to draw a proper ellipse[22] in a size that fits cleanly into a line of standard text, but it still makes more sense than a question mark.

Now, to business.[23]

First, of course she may ask. ᠎ I somehow magically invaded her bedchambers; she's got all the right in the universe to ask me whatever she wants. ᠎ Second, for invading her her bedchambers ⹁obviously.

"For invading-- for somehow invading the privacy of--"

"It is clear to me that this is not your fault," Luna said. ᠎ After a pause she added, "Or you that you are an impressive actor."

"Oh," I said ⹁finally managing to get back to a casual ⹁instead of afraid of immolation, mindset, "I am not an impressive actor. ᠎ I can't act for sh--" ᠎ Stopping in the middle of a one syllable word is a skill that will serve you well should you ever find yourself magically transported into the bedchambers of a god-princess pony. ᠎ God-pony princess? ᠎ Whatever. ᠎ Have I said that before? ᠎ I think I have, but do not know.

Regardless, ⹁after the awkward pause, I said, "For something that probably shouldn't be uttered in the presence of royalty."

"Merdae,"[24] Luna said.

I gawked.

"αφόδευσι,"[25] Luna said. ᠎ "Merde. ᠎ Scheiße. ᠎ Shit."[26]

By now my mouth was hanging open. ᠎ Not really something I'm proud of, but: damn.[27]

"I have never understood the idea that my sister and I are somehow naive innocent creatures with virgin ears that have never been ⹁and will never be, tainted by the vulgar language of common ponies."

"O," I said slowly ⹁allowing my brain to reboot, before finishing with a quick, "k." ᠎ After a beat of pause I said, "Thing one: I'm not a pony."

"So I have noticed."

"Thing two, there's . . . like . . ." I swear she was amused by my inability to words properly, "decorum or some such."

"In court, yes." Luna said. ᠎ "During official functions, yes. ᠎ In the context of a royal meet and greet,[28] yes." ᠎ A pause. ᠎ "We are not in those places; we are in my bedchambers."

So, I can't actually see my own face. ᠎ Any time that I say something about the appearance of my face ⹁unless there are reflections involved, it's a 'best guess' kind of situation. ᠎ Pretty sure I blushed at that, though.

Here's a disturbing thought ⹁if ever there were one, what if a god-pony thought you found them physically attractive rather than realizing you were simply embarrassed?

"S-sorry about that," I said ⹁stammering back in full force.

Thankfully ⹁though, ⹁spoiler alertˌ I suppose, that thing from two paragraphs up did not ⹁in fact, happen. ᠎ Instead Luna said, "I believe that we have already established that you are not at fault." ᠎ At this, I relaxed somewhat. ᠎ "There is still the question of how you came to be here."

"Yeah," I said, "I'd like an answer to that one myself."

"What is your most recent memory, prior to your arrival?" Luna asked.

"Um . . ." I said in the universal language of 'I'm going to have to think about that.' ᠎ "I was at a convention . . ." ᠎ That sinking feeling[29] set in around nowish, but I wouldn't identify the source for a little bit. ᠎ "Do they have conventions in Equestria?"

"By 'convention' do you mean a gathering of individuals united by a common interest, at which there are speakers, merchants, and . . . I believe the term is, 'swag'?" Luna asked.

"Yeah, pretty much; also cosplayers," I said.

"Then, yes, Equestria has those," Luna said.

"I wasn't really sure what to do, because the panelist I'd hoped to see no longer did panels," I said.

"A tragic fate indeed," Luna said. ᠎ To fully understand ⹁though, you must realize that it was said with the utmost seriousness.

"I'd known that, of course," I said. ᠎ "I guess I mostly went because I'd been trying to get there for so long that it felt like ⹁even without her doing panels, I might as well give it a try now that I actually could go."

Luna nodded.

"I got a few complements on my costume." ᠎ I gestured to what I was wearing. ᠎ The sinking feeling intensified. ᠎ "A few people took pictures of me. ᠎ I wandered around and eventually . . ." ᠎ Down and down we go.

The silence I had lapsed into eventually drew its own response.

"Yes?" Luna said in that encouraging, 'Keep going,' kind of way.

"I went to the dealers room..." ᠎ It wasn't sinking anymore; it was falling. ᠎ The bottom had dropped out. ᠎ " see what was on sale." ᠎ My eyes dropped to the floor. ᠎ There it was: the instrument of my downfall.

I squatted down to pick up the staff. ᠎ I considered all manner of profanity. ᠎ But instead ⹁as I actually took hold of the staff, I said, "I know what happened," in the sort of defeated way you say, 'Everything good about my life has been utterly destroyed.'

The staff was shaped like a question mark or a shepherd's crook. ᠎ And there ⹁perfectly placed, was the red ball ⹁suspended without any visible support, in the gap that made the top a hook instead of a circle. ᠎ When I picked it up, the ball moved with the rest of the staff ⹁as if they were a single connected whole. ᠎ It was what I had wanted; the price was too high.

At this point I was sort of weak in the . . . everything. ᠎ Knees are the part everyone always talks about. ᠎ I used the staff as a third leg ⹁which is what staffs are for[30] when you think about it, and returned to a standing position. ᠎ There was some difficulty in that ⹁due to the aforementioned weakness, but I pulled it off.

Luna simply looked at me expectantly.

I sighed, looked at the floor, looked back up, and spoke, "There's a meta-fictional construct comprising a sub-genre of pseudo-crossover works in which someone dressed as a character from one work," I gestured to my costume, "is dumped into your universe," Luna raised an eyebrow, "or a version thereof."

The eyebrow stayed up.

I sighed. ᠎ Again. ᠎ Then I explained, "Where I come from, your world exists as a popular story ⹁in serial format," I was pretty sure that Equestria didn't have TV, thus: 'serial format story' instead of 'TV series', "as well as several . . ." I'd never really paid attention ⹁beyond the existence of Vinyl Scratch, to the examples where modern technology invaded the pseudo-medieval world of Friendship is Magic; in other words: I had no idea if movies existed in Equestria, "um . . ." yeah: no idea ⹁which meant no idea if I could just say they were movies, ". . . plays depicting Princess Twilight's adventures in the human world, and another play ⹁with significantly higher production values, about a temporarily successful invasion of Equestria and how it was eventually repelled."

"It seems that we are quite popular in your world," Princess Luna said. ᠎ Massive understatement.

"You have no idea," I said. ᠎ Cliché response.

"You seem quite calm for one interacting with what he believed to be a fictional character and world."

"She," I said.

"I apologize," Luna said.

"There's no need," I said; "assuming that the tropes and genre conventions held true, the process tried to make me male."

"That is most unconscionable," Luna said.

"I agree entirely, which is part of why I'm still hoping this is a dream or delusion," I said.

Luna said, "I assure you it is not," which is just what a delusion would say. ᠎ After a beat[31], she added, "Though, I suppose that is what you would expect a dream or delusion to say."

"Pretty much," I said, "but as much as I might hope for things to be otherwise, the feelings of dread and defeat currently warring for dominance inside me are indicative of the fact I think you're correct."

The truth was that I wasn't calm so much as nonplussed[32], and that had left me with a pretty flat affect[33] ⹁which could easily be misconstrued[34] as calm.

Luna nodded.

"I believe I now know enough to proceed," she said. ᠎ Exposition successfully dumped; now we can move on to the plot. ᠎ Woo. ᠎ "Please follow me."

She opened a door with magic, and led me out of the room.

As we walked, she talked.

"There are spells that will help make your present condition more bearable until such time as you can be returned to your own body," she said. ᠎ "For that ⹁and for returning you to your world, the best pony for the job is undoubtedly Princess Twilight Sparkle."

"The human world she visited--" I started.

"I not your own," Luna interrupted ⹁quite rudely. ᠎ "Princess Twilight was quite detailed in her descriptions of that world's history and culture. ᠎ If it embedded our world ⹁and itself, as works of fiction within it, I believe she would have noted that fact."

"Well, she did live in a library on her first visit," I said ⹁assuming ⹁without evidence, that the movie Equestria Girls was an accurate depiction of events in this multiverse.

"She does that," Luna said. ᠎ Luna is ⹁officially, my favorite princess. ᠎ She wasn't originally. ᠎ Before I got dumped into her bedchambers by a contrived and overused plot device, I thought of her mostly as, 'That princess the writers keep forgetting the existence of,'[35] but now. . . now I see her as she truly is: Princess of Non-Neurotic Deadpan Snarking.

Unfortunately, my story does not take place in Canterlot ⹁at least not primarily, so I don't actually spend much time around my now-favorite princess.

"So if you know . ? ." I asked. ᠎ Let it be known that one does not need to actually ask a question in order to ⹁you know, ask a question.

"Of the two foremost experts on portals between worlds," Luna explained, "she is one."

"And the other?"

"Her pen-pal."

Sunset Shimmer. ᠎ I really should have seen that coming.

I said, "Ah," and ⹁just like that, we arrived at our first destination.

Luna knocked upon a doorˌ it openedˌ and there was Princess Celestia.

"What fell creature is that?" Celestia asked with uncommon dread.

"Are you calling me fierceˌ cruelˌ terribleˌ sinisterˌ malevolentˌ particularly destructiveˌ or deadly?"[36] I asked with ⹁what I hope was, complete deadpan. ᠎ "I ask because I'm not entirely clear regarding that point."

"She's simply been waiting to say that again since the first time we saw Tirek," Luna said.

Celestia cocked her head to one side, shrugged her . . . I think they're still called shoulders in a pony. ᠎ Whatever, she shrugged those things, and gave a silly little smile like she was a foal caught with her hoof in the cookie jar.[o]

"Oh," I said. ᠎ "Ok." ᠎ And ⹁truly, it was. ᠎ Who doesn't want to cry out, 'What fell creature is that‽'[o+1]

"I am ⹁however," Celestia said, "genuinely curious as to your nature."

"Well, I was a human ⹁from a world where this world was just a work of fiction," I said, "and I'm still definitely in human form, but I think I might actually be some kind of digital construct ⹁which merely looks human, instead of an actual human right now."

An eyebrow was raised.

There was silence.

Finally I said, "If you're expecting me to properly interpret which of the things I just said you're raising an eyebrow at . . ." ᠎ Insert end of sentence here, should you have it on you. ᠎ (I did not.)

The eyebrow went back down, and Celestia said, "Perhaps you should simply tell me what has transpired."

Did she ever use words like "transpired" in the series? ᠎ I don't remember. ᠎ On the one hand, that is the sort of thing a wise mentor figure would say. ᠎ On the other hand, consider the intended audience and the patronizing assumptions people are wont to make about them.

So I told her.[o+2]

Luna ⹁for her part, was very interested in the prospect of a video game that:
a) Was more advanced than Pong-era console stuff,
b) Did not require magic in order to run, and
c) One could become trapped in.

Should points b) and c) seem contradictory to you, remember that there's a difference between what is sufficient for operating a program and what is included in that program.

Celestia was amused by my claim to be named Celestabellebethabelleˌ my staff was confirmed to be a genuine magically thingamabobˌ[o+3] the mechanism by which I arrived could not be determined ⹁because that would be too easy,[o+4] it was decided that I should probably adopt a pseudonym ⹁like "Tsukasa" or "Mary Sue" or "Oh God, not another one!", if I wanted to maintain my privacy in light of the fact that my biography[o+5] would probably be the easiest thing to transmit to my homeworld ⹁in light of narrative conventions.

Then it was off to Ponyville. ᠎ They did not ⹁in fact, stick the strange creature nopony had ever seen before on a train full of ponies. ᠎ No, the second ⹁and final, destination on Luna's 'I believe I now know enough to proceed' tour of Canterlot castle was to a launching and landing area. ᠎ The ride was via Pegasus chariot ⹁which gave me a wonderful view and did not ⹁in any way, make me afraid of falling to my gruesome death, and I was told that a letter had been sent to Princess Sparklepants[o+6] so that my arrival would not come as a surprise.

With that, this show was officially on the figurative road. ᠎ Because ⹁where we were going flying, one didn't need (literal) roads.

- - - ~ ~ ~ ⁕ ⁕ ⁕ ~ ~ ~ - - -

[1] For those who don't know what this is, a lesson. ᠎ Click the story name, this will take you to the story page. ᠎ When you get there, there are words. ᠎ The words under the tags and above the chapters are the long description.
(Onsite Link)

[2] If you responded to this, may God have mercy on your soul. ᠎ How many times have I already said I can't hear you?[n]

[3] I mean this figuratively, of course.

[4] Ditto.

[5] I mean, ⹁technically, I don't have to tell you anything. ᠎ It's just that I'm stuck in a displaced story; what else am I going to do?

[6] This is the part that you read literally.[n+1] ᠎ The name was "Ludicrous", and if you can't see the pun, I can't really help you.

[7] Don't answer.

[8] This is a rhetorical response; I still can't hear you.

[9] Between Rainbow Rocks and The Cutie Map ⹁seems to be. ᠎ You had better fucking know this; it was in the long description. As for when I left my world, funny story that. It was the last day of Anime Boston 2018. Yes, that does make zero chronological sense. Yes, I do know what day that was.

[10] Still a joke.

[11] Yes, that includes a dick. ᠎ No, we are not going to talk about it. ᠎ If you're really so damned interested in biology, look up what a "perineal raphe" is.

[12] I suppose ⹁technically, that Luna is more of a lowercase "g" god.

[13] The spells in question seem to be:
Stop ⹁inertia be ignored, before you damage yourself further!
Pain, pain, go away!
Grey matter, heal thyself (of the damage inflicted before the first spell took effect)!

[14] I am not now ⹁and have never been, a Yiddish speaker. ᠎ Someone[n+2] once said:
In a figurative way, Yiddish is the wise and humble language of us all, the idiom of frightened and hopeful humanity.
Let words like "Shmuck" and "Shlubbly" roll off your tongue and you'll find that it is a language that begs to be spoken. ᠎ Even some of the cool German words ⹁like "Dreck" and "Kaput", come to English via Yiddish.

I totally had to restrain myself from using "Schlong" in footnote [11], because ⹁while it's a great thing to say, it would have obliterated the serious nature of said footnote via it's informal nature.

[15] Technically what I read was a fanfic pitch. ᠎ Don't me wrong, it was 93.6 percent fanfic ⹁with just twenty words of explanation at the front, but it was by no means a complete work. ᠎ Just an idea as demonstrated via its first scene.

To wit:
The Element of Magic didn't know what to do with Sunset Shimmer so it fell back on an old standby . . .

Sunset Shimmer remembered pain. ᠎ She placed a crown upon her head and it twisted and broke her. ᠎ Then she had lost herself, became a cackling caricature, crossed lines she swore she'd never cross, and finally: more pain. ᠎ The corruption burned away in a rainbow fire that hurt but refused to consume. ᠎ She'd thought the pain would last forever.

Now, though, it was gone. ᠎ Just a memory.

When she blinked the tears from her eyes she saw magnificent desolation. ᠎ A grey on grey landscape so pocked and pitted that it might have been a minefield. ᠎ The sky was black, but that made no sense. ᠎ It wasn't dark; she cast a shadow.

She felt exceptionally light as she picked herself up, it only added to the surreal quality of . . . everything.

Moments after she was on her feet, she heard the sound of galloping. ᠎ It approached impossibly quickly, but when she turned to face it, that thought was banished by something far more dire. ᠎ The source of light --the thing that made her cast a shadow on the grey wasteland-- wasn't the Sun, or Moon, or even the stars.
᠎ It was Equestria. Sunset's home hung in the sky, it was magnificent in the light of the unseen Sun. ᠎ The daylight it reflected shone down upon her . . . and the thing she stood upon.

Any lingering doubt about her location was demolished when Nightmare Moon --a creature from foals' tales-- finally finished her gallop toward Sunset. ᠎ At another time Sunset might have been incredulous or afraid or --more likely-- a bit of both. ᠎ With Equestria hanging in the sky above them, though, Sunset couldn't find it in herself to care.

"What manner of beast are you?" Nightmare Moon asked Sunset.
[16] Still can't hear youˌ and thus I am forced to guess.[n+3]

[17] That's a legit word. ᠎ First known use 1850. ᠎ That's pre-Civil War. ᠎ It's been a word since before the people of the United States ⹁north and south, grudgingly acknowledged ⹁at the cost of the lives of 650ˌ000 to 850ˌ000 men[n+4] and God knows how many non-men, that slavery might ⹁perhaps, be wrong.

All of that being saidˌ that was the "Anyhoo" spelling. ᠎ Can't tell you about the "Anywho" spelling's vintage off the top of my head.

[18] Not the safest assumption ⹁all things considered, but one has to make assumptions if they're to reach conclusions.

Whitehead and Russell started with five assumptions. ᠎ Result? ᠎ It took over three hundred pages[n+5] to get to the point where they could conclude "1 + 1 = 2".

Peano started with nine assumptions. ᠎ Result? ᠎ Takes about three lines to conclude "1 + 1 = 2". ᠎ Which would you prefer? ᠎ And ⹁no, I can't hear your answer. ᠎ More assumptions leads to quicker results. ᠎ And if your assumptions are flawedˌ ⹁sooner or later, you'll hit a contradictionˌ and boom: you've learned something.

[19] I do not ⹁actually, presume this. ᠎ You could be hate-reading. ᠎ You could be a hyper-intelligent shade of the color blue who is interested in this document purely for its anthropological value. ᠎ You could be being forced to read this at gunpoint as part of a psychological torture regime. ᠎ The possibilities abound.

[20] Strictly speaking ⹁and it is often good to speak with strictness, "I'm sorry" is not supposed to be a question. ᠎ There is a form to questions that those two words ⹁one of them a contraction it should be noted, simply lack. ᠎ That having been said, the English language often marks questions not by words or grammar but instead by rising pitch as one approaches the syntactic terminus. ᠎ This allows for a degree of flexibility ⹁which can be put to use by ones such as myself upon discovering oneself to have invaded the bedchambers of a god-princess.

[21] All and sundry know nothing; no knowledge is universal.

[22] A proper ellipse ⹁by the way, is precisely twice as wide as it is tall. ᠎ For those who don't understand words such as "wide" and "tall", the major axis has a scalar magnitude double that of the minor axisˌ and ⹁furthermore, the minor axis is vertical. ᠎ This is the canonical proper ellipseˌ and the fact that I can produce no evidence supporting this claim should not ⹁in any way, be taken to mean it is incorrect or ⹁Heaven forfend, unfounded.

[23] This is not a toast. ᠎ Do not raise you glasses. ᠎ Do not clink.

[24] This is the Latin word for "shit". ᠎ It is in the singular ⹁just one shitˌ not multiple shits, dative. ᠎ The dative is most commonly rendered into English as "to" or "for". ᠎ She literally said, "for shit." ᠎ In Latin.

[25] See previous, but in Ancient Greek.

[26] Frenchˌ Germanˌ and English for "shit" in that order.

[27] I know that I've done the whole "⦑conjunction⦒ ⦑colon⦒ ⦑italic 'damn'⦒" thing already ⹁thank you very much. ᠎ That's the point. ᠎ Princess Potty Mouth's polylingual profanity hit me with the force of a cold stone floor to the head.

[28] I am aware that ponies speak English. Not just because I have seen the show, but also because I was speaking English to a pony who was speaking English back to me. Even so, 'Meet and greet'? Of all of the words and phrases that could be translocated from our world to Equestria, why that one?

[29] The one that has ⹁heretofore, gone unmentioned. ᠎ Still, look at the first word of the title. Consider the story you're reading; consider the significance of conventions in the genre. ᠎ (Not to be confused with genre conventions.) ᠎ You know what sinking feeling I'm talking about. ᠎ You'd have felt it yourself in my place.

[30] That and bopping people ⹁of course. If we want to get technical and exhaustive, the function of a staff is ⹁in fact, threefold: providing a third point of contact with the ground or floor ⹁as though it were an extra leg, bopping people, guiding ruminants ⹁such as goats or sheep.

[31] Since this is the second time I've used the word "beat" in this fashion, I suppose I should define it. ᠎ A beat is a pause that's longer than the full stop at the end of a sentenceˌ but shorter than what you think of when you read the word "pause" or ⹁indeed, the phrase "a short pause".

[32] Definition:
1. (of a person) surprised and confused so much that they are unsure how to react.
[33] Medical jargon definition of "flat" ⹁second meaning:
characterized by general impoverishment in the presence of emotion-evoking stimuli
Medical jargon definition of "affect" ⹁also the second meaning:
a set of observable manifestations of a subjectively experienced emotion
Thus: medical jargon meaning of "flat affect":
characterized by a lack of emotional expressiveness; emotions are experienced but not displayed
Basically, think Maud Pie.

[34] Look this one up your own damned self. ᠎ It's a perfectly ordinary word ⹁neither medical jargon like [33] nor commonly misused like [32], so ⹁honestly, you shouldn't need to look it up. ᠎ If you do, that's your own damn fault.[n+6]

[35] The reason that they say not to end your sentences with propositions is because at one point a bunch of stodgy old men ⹁possibly joined by stodgy old women, wanted English to be like Latin. ᠎ It is legit impossible to end a non-incomplete Latin sentence with a preposition, so they said you weren't allowed to do it in English ⹁where it works just fine.

This is also the reason they tell you not to flagrantly split infinitives. ᠎ Can't do that in Latin. ᠎ Why? ᠎ Because in Latin most infinitives are a single word. ᠎ Can you insert another word into a single word? ᠎ Absa-fucking-lutely.[n+7] ᠎ It's called "tmesis" ⹁which comes from the Ancient Greek "τμῆσις" ⹁which in turn means "a cutting". ᠎ Still, not something you do all the time.

The point here ⹁though, is that even though I could have written, "That princess, the existence of whom the writers keep forgetting," I don't need to. ᠎ End your sentences with prepositions, begin your paragraphs ⹁or even books,[n+8] with conjunctions, fracture the frightful fetters of linguistic prescriptivism! ᠎ Damn the manˌ and down with the grammatical oligarchy!

[36] These are the definitions of "fell". ᠎ If that was not known to you, you probably have no idea what "one fell swoop" means. ᠎ Shakespeare must confuse you greatly. ᠎ I suggest a dictionary and a running gloss. ᠎ (I'm not sure just one of those things would be enough for you; use both.)

[o] I assume; I've never actually seen a foal caught with their hoof in the cookie jar. ᠎ "Which cookie jar?" you may ask ⹁in spite of the fact that I can't hear you. ᠎ The cookie jar.

[o+1] I am fully cognizant of the fact that there are probably a great many people who don't particularly want to. ᠎ I am also aware that I switched punctuation. ᠎ I assure you, it has not escaped my notice. ᠎ Dread is a hard thing to get right. ᠎ Celestia nailed it ⹁don't get me wrong, but for the general public I believe that crying out ⹁to the point an interobang is justified (because a question mark just won't cut it), is probably a better route.

[o+2] If you're expecting me to tell you personal details about my life before my arrival, you are vastly mistaken about the kinds of things I'm willing to divulge. ᠎ Want to know more about me? ᠎ Build a portal to here, so that I might go back there, and ⹁as reward for giving me a way home, I'll have a nice long talk with you ⹁in which we can trade notes about our political leanings and favorite Douglas Adams books.

[o+3] Technical term.

[o+4] Not even being sarcastic. ᠎ It would ⹁quite literally, be too easy. ᠎ Certain things are required for a story to actually function as a story, and if we'd figured everything out then and there, this wouldn't. ᠎ If this didn't function as a story, then I would not be writing it as a story, and you would not be reading it right now. ᠎ The very fact that you are here reading these words in this footnote means that that could not have happened.

The name for this is the "anthropic principle" which states that ⹁since in order for a story to be read it must first be written, any story that is read must necessarily have a arisen from a set of conditions that allowed for the writing of said story. ᠎ Therefore, the fact that you are reading this means that things were not so easy as to prevent a plot from forming ⹁which means that anything that would make the situation that easy is necessarily too easy.

See? ᠎ Like I said: not even being sarcastic.

[o+5] The thing you're reading right now.

[o+6] Any objections that she doesn't wear pants will be ignored because ⹁as repeatedly noted, I can't hear you.

[n] Two sentences in the long descriptionˌ two sentences in the main text of this chapterˌ one sentence from which it can be inferred in the long descriptionˌ and one sentence from which it can be inferred in the footnotes. ᠎ As such, depending on whether you include the long descriptionˌ footnotesˌ and inference, this question has multiple answers.[m]

[n+1] And figuratively ⹁for that matter. ᠎ Read it every damned which way you can.

[n+2] Isaac Bashevis Singer ⹁winner of the 1978 Nobel Prize for Literature, in his Nobel Lecture. ᠎ I cite my sources. ᠎ Saying that in-line would have broken up the flow of things ⹁though.

[n+3] No, I am not. ᠎ Not even close. ᠎ I am in no way forced. ᠎ I say now ⹁to you, "That was just a rhetorical flourish." ᠎ Don't believe me? ᠎ Read the thing in quotation marks; I totally said that.

[n+4] Hacker, J. David -- 2012

[n+5] The words:
From this proposition it will follow, when arithmetical addition has been defined, that 1 + 1 = 2.
appear on page 379 of the first edition of Volume 1 and 362 of the second edition of the same. ᠎ The actual proof has to wait till Volume 2. ᠎ In the first edition of Volume 2, it falls on page 86. ᠎ I have not read any other editions of Volume 2.

[n+6] Yes, I use "damn" ⹁and variations thereof, a lot. ᠎ Deal with it.

[n+7] For those wondering why it's "Absa" instead of "Abso", it's because within the word itself everyone knows the "o" is a schwa, but if you just have the "Abso" one is liable to pronounce that "o" like the one "so", and that's not a schwa. ᠎ Not even close.

[n+8] It worked for Apuleius ⹁didn't it?

[m] Those being twoˌ threeˌ fourˌ and six. ᠎ Five need not apply.

Author's Note:

You want me to make notes?* Ok, let's talk notes. I have things I've wanted to note. Apostrophes get lots of love. Commas ⹁though? They get no love. This is clearly wrong, and I shall topple any government that says otherwise.°
Also, hey, see this ""? That's a question mark. Cooler than the one we have, now isn't it?

Is that not what you wanted?[·]

Well how about this:
.hack//SIGN was an anime that ran from April 4, 2002 to September 25, 2002 and had 28 episodes in total. It explored themes of depression, the isolation and detachment that can come with it, as well as anxiety, abuse, and dysfunction. It's character driven story also addresses escapism and the limits thereof, along with other coping mechanisms.

In the simplest terms and most convenient definitions, it was the story of Tsukasa and his time trapped in a Japanese online game known as "The World" (in English.)
That better? {+} Or did you want some sort of manifesto about why I'm writing about my life stuck in a world with talking ponies with, in a body not my own, where the only humans around[] come in more ⹁and more outlandish, colors than the complete output of the Skittles brand?

Really not sure what to write in an "author's" note that I wouldn't already have put in the footnotes. So I guess this is where we part ways. Tune in next time for "How I got to Ponyville, and what I set on fire once I got there".{}


* After all of those footnotes I generously gave you, you want more?

You can get them forward, backward, upside down, upside down and backwards, and completely vertical with no fore or aft bias. In other words, Apostrophes get a system. With ⦑ ‛ ' ’ ⦒ you effectively have ⦑ ( | ) ⦒, and with that you can do all kinds of things.

Why is there no vertical comma? Where is the comma version of the "typewriter apostrophe"? Why is the reverse comma left out of so many fonts? What the fuckadoodle() people?

Why should I be stuck in Equestria with an incomplete system of typography that lacks even the most basic considerations?

° In the interest of complete honesty: No. No, I will not.

[·] You had better not be answering. I can't hear you.

The original run contained 26, one of which was just a clip show. Two additional episodes were released on DVD.

{+} Please tell me you didn't answer. Or don't. Not like I'll hear you either way.

[] If the next world over can truly be called "around".

{} We're not calling it that. Not even close.

() Totally a legit swear. (That I just made up.)

⁂  ⁂

So, with this, we have chapter one.  There wasn't a plan here.  None whatsoever.  Probably why I started off sending people to the long description.  No idea why I chose to dump the protagonist in Luna's bed chambers.

The numbering of the footnotes was originally supposed to be placeholders that would all be replaced with actual numbers once I knew what those numbers would be.  So we had {[1] [2], [3],...} as the footnotes for the text, {[n], [n+1], [n+2],...} as the footnotes for the footnotes, and then {[M]} as the one footnote for one of those.

I skipped ahead and wrote a little bit of meeting Celestia before the story reached that point, so I didn't know what number the footnotes in that section would have, so I started the {[o], [o+1], [o+2],...} since, you know, "o" comes before "n".

When I let someone read it pre-publication, they liked the placeholder footnotes, so I left them as is.

The human vs. Pony scale here completely ignores all attempts to figure out the size of the ponies.  This is not, it should be noted, intentional.

Tsukasa is somewhat short, attempts to figure out the relative sizes of humans and ponies tend to have the Equestria Girls characters about eye to eye with Celestia, Luna is shorter than Celestia . . . it made sense at that time.

Then I looked at some imaged for reference and realized exactly how much shorter than Celestia Luna actually is.  This would make protagonist a full head shorter than an Equestria Girls girl.  Of course, since traveling between worlds results in a body swap, that's never going to come up anyway.

It's probably for the best, honestly.  The ponies really are little.  Placing protagonist as eye to eye with Luna makes her about as tall as the average pony is when they stand (vertically) on two legs, and has the ponies about waist high when they're standing normally.

I think that works better than the actual apparent scale, which would have the ponies closer to knee height normally, and chest height when they make the effort to be vertical.

That princess the writers keep forgetting the existence of
Let me show you something from the finale.  Not a finale.  The finale.  The the last regular episode --the two part special that ends nine seasons of Friendship is Magic-- with only a distant epilogue to follow.

This is the thing that I wish to show to you:
Rarity: It's the first shift in royal power in over a millennium.
That's from the first half of the two part finale, which means that it's mirror image is the second half of the two part premiere.  In that, Luna (after being banished for a thousand years) returned, was redeemed, and took her place at Celestia's side.  The monarchy became a diarchy.  Royal power was completely altered.  (Princess Cadence, while she retroactively existed, had no real power at that point.)

It's not precisely clear how much time passed between the first episode and the last, but one thing that is clear is that it's nine years or less.  It is possible that in universe time passes at an average of one year per season, it is possible that in universe time passes more slowly, it is not possible that it passes more quickly.

It has been less than a decade, possibly significantly less, since Princess Luna became one of the royals in charge of Equestria again.  As far as the writers are concerned (it's not just Rarity, because no one even considers correcting her; it's the whole damned universe) royal power hasn't shifted in over a thousand years, which happens to be over a hundred decades.

This is, in many ways, the most important episode of the show.  A bad ending can sour everything that came before.  It's the one episode that we know, beyond doubt, got checked and rechecked by people at all levels of production to make sure absolutely nothing was off.  While many episodes may represent the idiosyncrasies of a single writer, this was essentially signed off on by the franchise as a whole.

The kicker?  Luna had a speaking part in the previous scene.  It really puts the whole thing in perspective.  While she does occasionally get to do something in this episode or that, her contributions are considered non-existent by the writing staff themselves and she exists primarily as someone for Celestia to speak to (about Twilight Sparkle.)

There's a degree of fun in writing from a condescending point of view.  I would never tell people that they aren't prepared for Shakespeare if they don't know the definitions of "fell".  I don't know the definitions of "fell".  I had to look them up.  But hopefully snarky displaced first person narrator knows them off the top of her head and she'll look down on you if you don't.

Likewise, it took a lot of damned time to figure out how many assumptions were used in the Principia Mathematica by Alfred North Whitehead and Bertrand Russell (not to be confused with Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica by Issac Newton.)  Hopefully snarky first person narrator knows that, along with the page numbers of various significant passages (across multiple editions) from memory.

I suppose I might as well discuss the Principia now, since I've mentioned it.

In some class, I don't know which, Dr. John Brunette was talking about axioms and assumptions and proofs.  It was probably a class where we used an axiomatic approach to the construction of the real numbers.  I don't know if he mentioned Russell by name, my memory isn't that specific.

What I do remember is that he told us about someone who decided to do things with fewer givens than most people use and decided to prove the rest.  He mentioned how the person took hundreds of pages to prove that one plus one equals two, something most people would accept as a definition.

Later in life, I mentioned something about this and someone I was talking to threw a divide by cheese error because ⟨very short proof⟩.  They did it using a system I had never seen before, and didn't fully understand.  The reason that I'd never seen it, for whatever it may be worth, is that I tend to work with the real numbers, and the Peano axioms are for the natural numbers only.

Now, to be clear, part of the reason that Russel took so long to prove "1 + 1 = 2" is because he wasn't trying to prove it.

He didn't like set theory.  Russel's paradox is something he thought up that demolishes naive set theory.  (Consider the set of all sets that are not members of themselves.  Logic go boom.)  Set theory didn't work.  Russell wanted a version of mathematics built up from solid first principles of logic, not a system that didn't even work properly.

So he set out to create that.  (And he had help, see:Alfred North Whitehead.)

Together they painstakingly built up a foundation of mathematics based in rigorous logic.  Every little thing was proven, no matter how small it might be, while they built toward the point where they could say, "See?  This works."

When Russel announced the paradox with his name, Ernst Zermelo had already discovered the same paradox, but had not published it, two years prior.  Zermelo took a different approach.  He set out to created an axiomatic set theory that lacked such paradoxes.  It wasn't perfect, and was augmented by Abraham Fraenkel.  Zermelo-Frankel set theory, with (ZFC) or without (ZF) the axiom of choice, is the foundation upon which almost all modern mathematical theories are based.

Luna being an avid gamer is a pretty common fandom thing.

"Yes, I do know what day that was." -- April 1st.  Not part of any plan, just happened to be the last day of Anime Boston 2018.

"perineal raphe" -- Look it up if you're interested.  It's a feature of how the human body deals with creating sexual dimorphism.

[15] This was a silly idea I pitched once upon a time.  The whole thing is in the footnote.  The Elements of Harmony do various things.  The first one we learn about is that they banished Luna/Nightmare Moon to the moon for a thousand years.  So at some point them sending Sunset Shimmer to the same place (and time) popped into my head.

"hyper-intelligent shade of the color blue" -- Line from Douglas Adams.

"This is not a toast. ᠎ Do not raise you glasses. ᠎ Do not clink."-- Reference to a line from Douglas Adams.  (Not sure how widespread the terminology of "clinking" is.  It's when you touch glasses together during a toast.)

"If you're expecting me to tell you personal details about my life before my arrival, you are vastly mistaken about the kinds of things I'm willing to divulge."  -- While I could claim that this a deconstruction of the underdeveloped nature of main characters in displaced fics, it's actually a pretty straightforward bit of characterization.

Here's a conversation from the comments at Fimfiction going into a bit more detail:
You could shown that as bits and pieces in each chapter showing their past before displacement.
The main character said, in no uncertain terms, that she wouldn't be revealing her past pre-displacement (because she wasn't comfortable with doing so, though that bit was more implied than outright stated.)
Also, the main character not wanting to talk about it? That's more of an in character thing that she'd rather not tell others inside of the story, but not outside, as in the readers.
If you paid more attention, you might note that main character treats the fourth wall like a one way mirror. She may not be able to see what's going on on our side, but she's well aware that her memoirs will be read.
She's sending this out into the multiverse, she already said she's weirded out by the idea of people who know her reading it, and there's only so much she's willing to share with strangers.

If I seem snippy in that exchange, it's because (owing in part to stuff I didn't quote) it's pretty clear the person didn't actually read anything I wrote in the story (or description) itself.

"anthropic principle" -- Some people look at the laws of the universe, note how if they were just a smidge different we couldn't exist, and then wonder about how perfectly calibrated they seem to be.  Other people point out:
Well, yeah.

The universes that can't support intelligent life don't have any intelligent life in them to look at their physical laws and say, "Dang, these laws seem pretty craptastic when it comes to conditions for intelligent life."

Of course the results are always going to say "This is a universe in which these results could be gathered"; that's a necessary prerequisite for getting the results in the first place.
This is known as the "anthropic principle" of cosmology.

This should not be confused with the "strong anthropic principle" which states that universes are compelled to create sapient life, and therefore must be conducive to life by their very nature.

The oldest Roman novel that survives in its entirety, which is therefore the oldest novel of any kind that survives in its entirety,* is The Metamorphoses of Apuleius which is more commonly known as "The Golden Ass" (Asinus aureus).  It begins with the word "at" which means "but".

If memory serves, it ends with a conjunction as well.

* Given how widespread they are now, it's kind of hard to believe that novels were once a strictly regional thing.  That being said, it happens to be true.