Tuesday, June 28, 2016

There's a new about trans* people and bathroom access at the Slacktiverse

So, I was the editor for an anonymous post that I spent years not actually getting posted.  It's obviously become extremely relevant given current legislation though the real reason that I actually, finally, got the damned thing up is actually that the topic came up at my grandfather's burrial and made me think that it was about time I finally posted the thing.

I think it's well worth reading, and thus advise you to go there and look at it.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Narnia: Susan, Lucy, and the Wolf (LWW)

[Originally posted at Ana Mardoll's Ramblings.]
[In canonical Narnia Aslan stopped everyone else from helping because Peter needed to "win his spurs" as Susan and Lucy proved incapable of defending themselves.  Susan and Lucy face death, but somehow it manages to all be a about Peter.]

Susan managed to nock an arrow, but was forced to dodge the Wolf before she could even point the bow. "He's too close!" Susan shouted with the force of a curse.

She hadn't expected anyone to respond, but Lucy did:

A flash by the side of the Wolf, the a howl of pain, "I'm a smaller target," Lucy said, beside Susan for a moment, then running off to the left, "let it follow me."

The Wolf surged forward again, it snapped her arrow with its claw, but she didn't have to dodge: it followed Lucy to the left. As it went Susan vaguely noted a wet feeling. She touched it with her fingers as she dropped the ruined arrow. When she looked down there was blood on her hand.

Lucy slipped through two trees too close together for the Wolf to follow, but the it didn't gain Lucy that much time. Most of the trees were too far apart for Lucy to make much use of her smaller size.

Susan would have told Lucy that if she'd had the chance, but now she needed to deal with what was in front of her. Her sister was in danger. She dropped the bow, pulled an arrow from her quiver with her right hand, and took the horn from her belt with her left. The bow had scarcely hit the ground when she started crouching down to pick back up while she blew the horn.

Lucy was circling back towards her, which should give her a good shot. Susan didn't even think as she dropped the horn and picked up the bow, she nocked the arrow with a strange focused calm that seemed utterly divorced from the danger Lucy was in. She drew the string back, her index finger brushed her lip. She looked down the arrow, saw Lucy and the Wolf, and adjusted her aim with ease.

Lucy stumbled.

The entire world came crashing in on Susan. The smells of the wood, the blood on her fingers, the sound of the Wolf, the way Lucy hit the ground, the way the Wolf seemed to have a look of triumph as it made one last bound toward Lucy.

Susan loosed the arrow even though she knew her aim was off. She just hoped it would be close enough.

Lucy rolled out of the way --just barely-- as the Wolf hit the ground. Maybe--

Deadly claws reached toward Lucy. For a fleeting moment Susan thought her sister was going to die. Then only Lucy's right arm was bloodied, she was already to her knees and prepared to strike back. The dagger might have missed the Wolf's heart, it was hard to tell, but it did its job.

* * *

The warriors stopped running ahead of him. Why did they stop? Were they too late?

When Peter caught up to the group they were standing in a sort of half circle. At it's center Lucy was having her arm bandaged, Susan was visibly shaken, and a large Wolf lay dead --a dagger and an arrow still in it.

Susan put her hand on Lucy's shoulder and said, "Maybe it wasn't--"

"It was like the Beavers." Lucy said, her eyes never leaving the Wolf.

"I never could lie to you," Susan said. She walked to the Wolf, placed her right foot upon it, and pulled out the dagger with her left hand. As she turned back to Lucy, she twisted the dagger in her hand so that the handle faced Lucy. "Battles are ugly things?" Susan said as she offered the dagger to to Lucy.

Lucy took the dagger, but said nothing.

"Battles are always ugly things," a Naiad said. Many nodded.

A centaur added, "Battles are ugly things, but Life is a beautiful thing. Focus not on what has been killed . . ."

"But on what has been saved," a Dryad finished. "You have saved each other. Whether that was worth killing for, only you can determine; but do not forget that there is more than one dead Wolf here. There are also two live humans."

Peter stepped out of the crowd, closer to his sisters. "Su, Lu, I . . ." Lucy hit him so hard he felt like the force of the hug might knock him over, Susan joined a moment later. "I"m sorry I wasn't . . . I should have been there to . . ."

"Later," Susan said, and Peter obeyed. They stood there, in a three way hug, in silence. For a time the world, and with it matters of life and death, fell away and they were simply three siblings who happened to be hugging each other.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Have I mentioned that the financial system is evil?

The thing was supposed to, by it's very nature, just say, "No," if I didn't have the money.  Hidden pages deep in the electronic maze of financial esotericism that was the online documentation was a little tiny setting that said if I didn't have the money it would reach across banking systems and ask my credit union to cover the difference.  It's not related to my credit union.  It's not in the same system as my credit union.  It's not on the same fucking plane of existence as my credit union.

So here's the deal:

Every month I don't have enough money.  If I'm lucky I can work something out somehow, I seem to have a lot of luck, which is nice.  If I'm not I slip deeper and deeper into debt.  (Social Security is still dragging its heels on the fucking review that has the potential to get me out of this fucked up situation.)

My accounts at my credit union (linked savings and checking) are thus empty almost all of the time.  No balance in checking, minimum balance in savings.  I would never, ever, authorize something to try to draw money from either without me manually checking that there was such money first because I know that having money in them is exception instead of rule.

But the little tiny setting was apparently ticked automatically.

So here I am paying for my medication because without it I become a hopeless helpless mass.  I've got good insurance, only a 6 dollar co-pay for two meds being filled for the next month.

Turns out I only had four dollars and four cents in the debit account.  It's supposed to say, "No."  Debit isn't credit.  Debit is only supposed to use money you actually have.

If it had done that I would have used a credit card to pay the six bucks.

No, this debit card with no connection to my credit union whatsover decided to make the payment and make up the missing $1.96 via a wire transfer from my credit union.  My credit union that doesn't have money in it.

Thus $1.96 overdraft, thus a fee of $30.

For those who can't do percents in their heads:
  1. Don't worry about it, I can't either.
  2. The fee was 1,530.61% of the overdraft.
When things go beyond one thousand percent, I tend to find them excessive.

The financial system is evil.

A poem about Limbo (Four Realms)

[I envision this as being, in world, a poem written by an anonymous author generally agreed to be a female human child.]

The world is curved; your mind is flat
You try to think-- Oh God, what's that!?
Where we walk the demons tread
And even angels quake with dread
But they to not the demons fear
Something from Outside draws near
This place changes 'neath our feet
As we beat our brave retreat
In the shadow of our world
Are Limbo's secret truths unfurled.


Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Grandfather interred (lots of venting)

Sometimes I may understate how dysfunctional my family is, I very much doubt I've ever overstated it.

My grandfather had a viewing and a service already.  All that was left was to put him in the ground.  He'd always said he wanted to be buried in the military cemetery in Augusta.  There are two, and apparently there're space issues in one so there was a change from one Veteran's Memorial Cemetery to another Veteran's Memorial Cemetery, but given that it takes all of six minutes to get from one to the other . . . you wouldn't think we could fuck that up, right?

Furthermore, it takes over a damn hour to get from where people live to fucking Augusta.  This means that both ends of the journey are pretty well covered.  If someone goes to the wrong end point that can be solved in six minutes or less.  If someone has trouble getting started they can call ahead to let everyone else know when they do get started which will give everyone round about an hour's heads up that they'll be late.

There is absolutely no reason that it should be within the bounds of human conception that we could fuck this up in a way that would be unexpected or take longer than a few minutes to fix.

Two Marines were standing stock still at either end of the casket while another stood a respectable distance away with, I'm guessing, a bugle or trumpet for some 15 minutes because a couple people were at the wrong cemetery, found out well ahead of time, and somehow managed to go through a black hole that deposited them in a construction area (God only fucking knows where that was because it wasn't between the two cemeteries) and then forward in time some twenty minutes because it simply isn't possible for it take that long to get from point A to point B without a timeskip.  (If you tried to drive that slowly you've be stopped by a snail riding a tortoise and ticketed for going dangerously under speed limit.)

During the ceremony, which isn't much (foreground Marines lift the flag, background Marine plays taps, foreground Marines fold the flag, one of the foreground Marines delivers the flag to family appointed "No, we don't think next of kin is necessarily the best measure" person and that Marine says a nice few words), the drama still didn't end as my grandfather's wife who he was planning on divorcing but he didn't live long enough and don't even get me fucking started on the fact that she was responsible for the injuries that killed him via complications . . . where was I?

Right, the would have been ex-wife and her children (who have been stealing his shit) found a way to add drama to one of the most basic ceremonies in existence.  Remember, this is just putting him in the ground.  Th service has already been held.  How can you possibly make this all about you?

Well by arriving fashionably late and driving your car up onto the grass right next to the place where people are supposed to be sitting so you can watch without getting out of the car while everyone who is in their proper place has no way to avoid noticing that there's a fucking car next to them where there's supposed to be empty space and silence only broken by the bullfrogs.  (There were a lot of bullfrogs, judging by the sound.)

I suppose it's somewhat better than how she acted at the last funerary function we had the misfortune of sharing with her.

My grandfather, mercifully, is in a box the entire time and so doesn't have to deal with this shit.

Though he might have noticed when I pissed off the entire already buried population of the cemetery when I accidentally set off a car alarm by casually taking out of the car something I accidentally left in it.  To all of the dead veterans of Maine, sorry about that.  I never wanted to be that guy*, and I was.  Deepest apologies.

After the ceremony is over and people start heading home. . .  Wait.  Back up.

So one person did call when it became apparent she was going to be late.  That was my mother.  She was supposed to meet up with my sister but there were problems and my sister stressed her out and they ended up coming up separately and she was late in heading out and called, basically, to apologize for the fact that she'd miss it (this was my father's father, but he and my mom were close and she just divorced my dad, not my dad's entire family) and say that even though she was going to miss it she was coming anyway so that we could possibly meet afterward.

My sister never contacted anyone.

My mother arrived at the same time as most of the people (all of them well after my uncle who apologized for being late) and thus didn't miss anything except three Marines standing perfectly still while they waited for the family of one of their own, none of us a Marine, to get our shit together so they could do what they came there to do and were supposed to have done more than 15 minutes prior.

Ceremony happens, people break up, we're back to where I was before I said, "Wait.  Back up."

Now I forgot to take my medication in the morning and there's really nothing for that but taking my medication.  I did what little can be done, which is to drink a lot of water and to take any headache meds that might be on hand.

So I need the quick ride home.  I don't know if that's going to be my mother or my father.

But hey, the ceremony is over and people have started to head home and the drama must be over now, right?

Well, no.

There was still the matter of my sister.

Nobody had heard a damned thing from her.  My mother was going to wait around to see if she showed up (while trying to contact her) but my dad was intent on doing that himself.  I pointed out that I, the unmedicated one, needed the quick trip home so if I could just get my stuff out of my dad's car if he was staying, or if we could go if we were going then --

No dice.  No dice, no knucklebones, no random number generators, no teetotuma, no dreidela, none of those stick things that serve the same function as dice.

The perturbation of the car alarm I accidentally set off was nothing when compared to my dad's angry accusational rant about, to, and about my sister before, during, and after the time my dad got her on the phone.

My grandfather was in the ground, the accouterments packed up onto a truck, the fresh dirt and accompanying backhoe arrived, and some people with various duties come and gone by the time my dad finally stopped going off.

Thankfully this wasn't done at the grave site itself.  It was done around this thing:

That's a sculpture in, I believe, bronze of what's known as "a battlefield cross".  One might quickly note that it doesn't look like it's a cross.  It's called that because it's an American custom and most American soldiers at the time of the Civil War were Christians.  It could as easily be called a "Battlefield [anything a soldier might want on his or her headstone]".

What it is is something that happens on or near the battlefield (hence the name.)  Before the body is buried, before the earth is moved, perhaps even before the battle is over, the boots, weapon, and helmet of the fallen are arranged into a memorial.

The sculpture is thus as much a symbol of soldiers who used battlefield crosses because they didn't know if they'd be alive for a formal memorial as it is for soldiers who were honored by them.

Perfect place to have a family spat.

Now some parts of what my sister said don't really make sense, but in the end what it came down to is this:

My nephew, he'll be three years and two months old to the day tomorrow, puked epically.  This made my sister decide not to make the drive to Augusta and she didn't call for reasons that may or may not make sense.  Since she was on the phone with him anyway, my sister asked if my dad had a car seat she could borrow.  He said no, but he'd buy one.  She said not to, the one she had just needed to be cleaned.  It was worth borrowing one if he had a spare because that would make things easier, but it wasn't worth buying a new one.  She'd just asked because it would have made things easier if there were another one to use until the cleaning was done.

I get hazy on order of events here.  For no apparent reason, but because he thought my sister had asked him the same question twice (maybe he misinterpreted the explanation of why she asked as a repetition of asking) my dad said that he didn't have one, repeatedly and in increasing volume in word for word identical sentences for a while.

Then he started an interrogation on why she asked if she could borrow a car seat if she apparently didn't need it which completely ignored the fact that she'd already answered (it would make things easier to have a clean seat to use in the interim, but not so much of a difference as to be worth buying a new one) in a display of what courts in Hell probably sound like when it's time for cross examination.

Remember now that we're not just in a cemetery, hallowed ground and all that, we're at a monument in the cemetery.

While we were at some distance from the people doing the actual burring of my grandfather, I have a feeling the sound could carry.

Complete strangers are showing my grandfather respect and such, my family is waking the dead and likely pissing them off because I very much doubt there are many people who are exactly the right kind of masochist as to want to be called back to their embalmed interred bodies just to listen to that shit for an amount of time that makes eternity seem brief by comparison.

If you want to know what kind of family my immediate family is . . . we're those people.  We're the people in a sacred space at a fucking monument to the sacredness of the sacred space who are causing enough disturbance to piss off people seven time zones away with an argument that doesn't need to be had about a minor discrepancy that isn't actually discrepant involving one person who isn't there, one person who thinks that it's appropriate to call a child a liar, and go off on her for "lying", if she wants vanilla ice cream when you head to the ice cream place but changes her mind to chocolate by the time she gets to the counter, and two people who don't even want to be there but can't leave until they get car keys from the "You meet a definition of liar, which I made up myself, that you'll find in no dictionary and I'm going to scream at you for an interminable period because of it" guy.

We're those people.

My mother and I didn't try to reign my dad in.  It never works anyway.  We just waited for the storm to pass.

My mother, to her lack of credit, encouraged my dad before contact was made with my sister.  She wasn't trying to, but she doesn't let consequences stop her from venting, and damned be anyone who gets caught in the exhaust.  It's bad enough when I get caught in the exhaust, but if my dad gets caught in the exhaust it sets off a chain reaction of DO NOT WANT and she never, ever, thinks to, or tries to, avoid that.  Sometimes, presumably, the only one who has to suffer for that is herself, as she winds him up and she's the only one the spring can recoil at, other times I suffer too because having been present is how I know that sort of thing happens, in this case it ended up aimed at my sister.

Did I have stuff that I might have liked to rant about to get it off my fucking chest/mind/thing?  Of course.  I just wasn't going to throw that gasoline soaked black powder laced kindling on the fire.  I wish others would show the same restraint.

We are not going to fix my dad.  Maybe once upon a time it could have been done, but no one is still close enough to nudge him into therapy and any attempted nudge would result in the nudger getting figuratively body checked anyway.

Some fights can't be won, and it's not like we could have not invited him to his own father's burial.  He's the firstborn for fuck's sake.

So we just have to minimize and contain.  It isn't fair, but it's the way things are.  That doesn't fucking happen.

And thus we're those people.

If any of you should, in the afterlife, meet a bunch of veterans from Maine, it would be in you best interest not to mention that you know the family who were at the monument in Section A of the Mt. Vernon Rd Maine Veterans Memorial Cemetery today.  Because I have a feeling that we've pissed all of the dead soldiers there off.

Semper Fi, grampy; tacete the rest of my family.

And sorry to the living as well.  The people who did the actual burial and clean up didn't deserve to be in range of that shitstorm either.  Though they were far enough that maybe they could tune it out.  Even so, they deserved better.  As did everyone.

And, no, spellcheck, shitstorm is not a misspelling of hailstorm.  I think I would have preferred hail.


* "Guy" here not referring to gender because then I'd be ... um ... that gal.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Lonespark and Chris the Cynic watch Jane Got A Gun (Spoilers)

[Added] Chronologically the last quote in the post.  "Uh, you warned them it was spoilertastic, right?" - Lonespark

Ok, so, this is spoilertastic.[/added]

Some of this is Lonespark, some of this is chris, some of this is when we merge into a hive mind.  A hive mind of two.  Very small hive, but more bodies than you'd expect a single mind to have.  You have been warned.

Jane Got A Gun, a 2016 movie that was in theaters for such a short time that we missed it upon blinking, is available in redboxes now.


Coffins and whores - this town has everything!

Nobody here but me and chickens...

“I give you my word... I prob'ly ain't gonna kill him...”

Dan puts the rapey asshole's corpse against the fence...and puts his hat on...but you can still obviously see part of his head was blown off... What was the point of that, Dan?

“You know the war isn't gonna last very long...” -Flashback!Dan re: that war that lasted a really long time.

Chris: You haven't made it there yet [Jane]. There's no Pacific Ocean in New Mexico
Lonespark: You're thinking in a temporally confined sense...A few hundred million years ago...

Ewan MacGregor is super good at being evil...

“Hammond's not fit to get on a horse, Dan.” - Jane
“He's mostly dead, Jane!” - Lonespark
“But mostly dead...is slightly alive!” - Chris

Lonespark: How is [Dan's] hat so clean? Did he just buy it?
Chris: Maybe so. He put the other one on the dead guy...to cover up the fact that part of his head was missing...
Lonespark: ...which it DID NOT DO, so that was a waste...

Lonespark: That's a dissected alluvial fan!

This movie would be more fun if it were steampunk. Jane Got a Clockwork Gun? There is even a Significant Balloon!

Woooo! Nassty dreadful fortifications for trench warfare! We loves to hates it, Preciousss...

“You might wanna see a day where the sun don't just shine on your story! ...there is a whole world of tales out there...” - Jane, and a good general principle for Hollywood.

Love the math!
How many men does Bishop have? Any number...minus five... 
“Maybe ten...maybe a hundred...”
[Dan kills the dude.]
“Minus one.”

“I knew you weren't mine no more...” - Dan
“She wasn't in the first place!!!” - Chris

Lonespark is always disappointed when threesomes or at least polyamory can't solve anything...in fiction...

“The problem is that 'that' is not your property.” - Bishop, that horrible fucker
“Are you telling me she's your property?” - Hammond, displaying his considerably less horrible outlaw nature and underlining the point of this film

- - -

We know Mary died by drowning because there was a floating shoe. No further search is necessary.

“That day I came to your house, I wanted to tell you...” - Jane
“But I shouldn't have to” - Lonespark

Lonespark: “I sense a heroic sacrifice because they can't all sort things out afterward. Also the title. It's not called 'Some dudes got some guns'. Because we've seen that move a thousand times already.”
Chris: (movie trailer voice) “He was a simple farmer, they were a random marauding band of marauders...”

Dan: “You've got to go Jane”
Lonespark: Hell no, this is my land!
Jane: “This is my house”
Lonespark: Fuck yeah! We're in a western. Shut up!

Lonespeark: Wooo, time for a siege! It's like a castle and siege warfare movie...ok, it basically is, but with different scenery...

Lonespark: Good thing I [Dan] learned all that siege stuff in the war.

Lonespark: “Flame broiled horrible bastards. Hooray! . . . Well don't shoot the ones who are on fire, that's a waste of ammo.”

After wounded person shoots bad guy:
Lonespark:“Yeah! I think he gave up on compressing the wound, but it was for a good reason.”

After the lantern falls:
Lonespark: That could be bad. I mean, I know they wanted the light, but I hope it doesn't burn the wooden house down.

[break to get kids]

Bishop, high king of terrible assholes, shoots a dead person
“This is a man who knows how to double check.” - Chris
“Well so did [Dan] when he wasted all the bullets...” - Lonespark

Lonespark: “That is a less than terrible ending I didn't really see coming!”

“Why don't they tell the other women forced into prostitution, 'You can stay here under your own management, or come with us and learn to shoot things?'” (or something) -Chris

“I wanted to see this but I didn't know it was going to be so satisfying in the end, but it's just crying out for a series of sequels, and I would have liked to have seen it in the theaters, the bastards.” - Lonespark

Lonespark is torn between “That is too easy and why does Dan the Jerk Who Doesn't Trust Women get to live, anyway?” and “YAY HAPPY ENDING WE NEED MORE OF THOSE!!!”

Chris having brilliant fanfic ideas:
Dr. Jane Foster meets someone in Asgard or elsewhere who asks if she's any relation to the great hero from the Earth province of New Mexico, Jane the Gunslinger.

This is totally a Thor AU. Dan Frost(!) was separated from Jane a long time when the Rainbow Bridge was broken... Possibly something something memory loss... Also this raises the possibility that Mary is part God...That will be helpful in her future career kicking ass with her posse of liberated sex slaves.

Other movies we should watch:
True Grit
Lonesome Dove
Lone Star (not a spinoff of Spaceballs, although that would be awesome)

And the post-apocalypse sequel: Mad Max:Fury Road

Jane is cool since she's kind of in between Furiosa and The Wives...
She can totally be a badass in the future, with Mary or Mary and Upside-Down Tree Story Girl*... Dan Frost can be their Max, reliable behind the scenes and not quite as good with a rifle...

“I almost feel like that movie could benefit from an opening like Harold and Kumar had. . . Dan gets out of prison camp, and rides across the country, and finds his true love, and . . . then, by the magic of moving making, 'Guess what white dude, the movie is not about you.'”


* Further research says her name is Katie.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Trying to understand the Nine Realms

[First note that I am not a Norse pagan.  This isn't an attempt to find religious truth.  It's just the sort of problem solving I do when presented with a mystery.]

There are nine realms, sometimes called nine homeworlds, but there isn't a single surviving list of what they are.  Instead it's left up to us to sort them out.

There is a list of six groups each of which have a homeworld (Humans, Aesir, Vanir, Jotuns, Elves, Corpses) to this we can add the Black Elves, also known as Dwarves, and get seven.  Add in the two primordial realms and we get nine.

And that is the traditional listing, using the order from above we get

  • Midgard - Home to humans
  • Asgard - Home to the Aesir gods
  • Vanaheim - Home to the Vanir gods
  • Jotunheim - Home to (many of) the Jotuns
  • Álfheim - Home to the (Light) Elves
  • Helheim - Home to dead people, the ones not in Valhalla.
  • Svartálfaheim - Home to the Black Elves also known as Dwarves.
  • Niflheim - Primordial realm of ice and snow and mist and stuff
  • Muspellsheim - Primordial realm of fire and lava and such.

The major problem here is that Hel, who created Helheim, wasn't sent into the mists of "never been a realm here" when Odin killed banished her to the land of the dead never to return to the realms of the living again until the day of Resurrection of the dead.

She was sent somewhere that already existed and set up shop there.  Now it's possible that she created a world that broke off from the previous one and became a realm unto itself (where do you think most of the nine came from?) but it doesn't just say she was cast into an existing realm, Niflheim, it says that here kingdom is there.  Implying that Helheim is not a ream unto itself but just a location within greater Niflheim.

So there's one problem, our list of nine might actually only be a list of eight.  Another problem is the question of how they relate to each other.

* * *

There's not a lot of information to sort them out.

Niflheim and Múspellsheim are opposite each other.  That helps.  All we need to do is locate one of them and we automatically know where the other one is.

Midgard is in the middle.  That's useful.

The home of the Dwarves/Black Elves is below Midgard.

The (Light) Elves are up.  They're also south of Asgard but that doesn't really help because I don't think we have north/south east/west directions on Asgard itself.

The world tree has three roots and ... oh my gods do they not make sense.

One goes to a well in Jotunheim.  At least that much is clear.  Before it touches down and meets the well, it goes over Jotunheim.  Makes sense.

Helheim is under another of the roots.  Midgard under the last.  Would be nice if the roots had names.

We also know that the roots each go to a well.  Already covered the well in Jotunheim.  The other two are in Niflheim and Asgard.

Given the placement of Helheim inside of Niflheim we can probably assume that one over Helheim goes to the well in Niflheim.

So, then, the one that goes over Midgard would be, process of elimination, the one that goes to the well in Asgard which we are to interpret . . . how?

Roots often go down, so we could interpret the fact that Asgard is at the end as meaning that it is below Midgard.  On the other hand, if it is a more horizontal root then it being ground level in Asgard but above Midgard, then Asgard would be higher.

And then there's this.  While Gylfaginning clearly places the well the root taps as residing among the gods, they have to cross the Bifrost (rainbow bridge) daily to reach it.  The Bifrost is the bridge connecting Midgard and Asgard.  So, if the gods live in Asgard, and the well is with them, why do they have to cross the bridge?

Maybe the bridge has multiple stops?

And then there's a question of what it means to go "up" a rainbow.  Rainbows go in circles.  Go up for long enough and you'll be going level, longer still and you'll be going down.  The fact that Asgard is up the rainbow bridge from Midgard doesn't mean it's above Midgard.  In fact it sort of makes more sense for it to be below.

You can, after all, see the full arc of a rainbow under the right conditions, but earthbound humans can never see the full circle.  If going up one side is how you get to asgard, and you can't see asgard from here, then you must have to go over the arch or the rainbow, down the other side, and below the horizon.

The whole thing is a mess to interpret.

Let this be a call to action.  What do you believe?  Whatever it is, write it down in great detail, make many copies, seal most of them against the elements, and bury the sealed ones in deserts and/or peat bogs, and try to circulate the rest widely.  Future historians and mythographers will be grateful.

* * *

Recap of what we know: Midgard is in the middle.  Helheim is in Niflheim.

At the roots are Asgard, Jotunheim, and Helheim/Niflheim

Svartálfaheim is down, Álfheim is up.

Muspellsheim is opposite Niflheim.

* * *

Trying to synthesis and also making shit up:

The simple directions of the two Elf homworlds suggests to me that Svartálfaheim--Midgard--Álfheim  represents an axis along the trunk.

Svartálfaheim is underground, it can't be too far underground because tree roots tend to stay close to the surface, additionally Yggdrasil's main roots are not some extension of a young taproot that was somehow encouraged to continue as a straight down trunk extension.  Still, we're talking Yggdrasil here; not too far underground for Yggdrasil is probably enough space to fit a really nice realm or two.

So I'm saying that Svartálfaheim is under Yggdrasil's trunk,

Midgard is at "ground" level of the trunk.  That's pretty much accepted.  Mind you what "Ground means for a tree connecting worlds is ... unclear at best.

Álfheim is straight up the trunk.

Three along the trunk and three in the roots leaves us with three left to determine.

Muspellsheim is easy.  It's opposite Midgard from Niflheim, which is in the roots, so it would be in the branches on the side non-Niflheim side of the tree.  (How can the realm of lava be elevated?  I don't think it's a problem for Yggdrasil.  Yggdrasil can probably have a realm of endless empty space at the bottom most portion of its deepest root.)

We're left to determine the location of Vanaheim and ????.  Putting together Helheim and Niflheim has left us a realm short.  At this point I abandon all pretense of logical reasoning (and openly so, unlike before when I didn't point it out) and draw on aesthetics and analogy.

The fire giants live somewhere.  But Muspelleheim doesn't seem like a place to live.  The frost giants don't live in Niflheim.  Primordial realms are not good places to live.  Note that the inhabitants of Helheim, located within Niflheim, are all dead.

If the frost giants don't dwell in the realm of primordial realm of frost but instead somewhere off a different root over to the side somewhere, then by analogy the fire giants shouldn't dwell in the primordial realm of fire but instead in a different realm off a different branch off to the side somewhere.

So I posit their world as the ninth realm they are the Eldjötnar, so their world would be Eldjotenheim.  I place it opposite Jotunheim.  (Note that there is president for [something]heim and prefix[something]heim both existing, see Álfheim and Svartálfaheim.)

The only realm not yet placed is Vanaheim, and the only asthetically pleasing place to put it is in the branches opposite Asgard.

This leaves us with three realms in the branches (Muspelleheim,  Eldjotenheim, and Vanaheim), three along the trunk (Svartálfaheim, Midgard, and Álfheim) and three at the roots (Asgard, Jotunheim, and Niflheim which contains Helheim.)

It also leaves us with the following oppositions:
Álfheim is opposite Svartálfaheim
Jotunheim is opposite Eldjotunheim
Asgard is opposite Vanaheim
Niflheim is opposite Muspelleheim
Midgard is in the middle.

And that's the model of the Nine Realms I come up with.  Given that I had to make up a name "Eldjotunheim" to get there, I'm, pretty sure no one actually follows or believes in this model.  But it makes sense to me.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Monthly finances update

So ... this was meant to be written on the 15th so, . . yeah.

I have survived regularly monthly expenses this month.  I think.  Maybe.

Unfortunately insurance was due this month too.  Yesterday, I think.  I'm not late in paying because I got family to pay it on time but I have to pay the family back.  So that's $279 I think.  $270 something for sure.

Money that I obviously don't have.  Hell, my pay down my debts plan is obviously failing with, amoung other things,a  $221.42 balance on a credit card that I'm, ideally, not even supposed to be using at all.  That's sort of what happens when you don't have enough money to make it through the month.

Social Security is doing their review thing, but at a positively plodding pace.  It's my hope that they'll decide to start paying me enough to survive on again.

The good news is that taxes don't come due until August.

And that's my monthly finances update.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Kim Possible Fannies, I've been nominated for four, vote for me and all that stuff.

So, in those award things I mentioned twice before I actually did get four nominations:

1) Best KP Style Name:
Chi Mira (Chimera) from Bent, not Broken by chris the cynic

3) Best Minor Character:
Joss from Being more Than a Simulacrum by chris the cynic

15) Best Drama Story:
Bent, not Broken by chris the cynic

29) Best Writer:
chris the cynic

The voting process, which is open until July 22nd, is a lot like the nomination process.  You send an email with your votes to kimmunityfannies (AT) yahoo (DOT) com, or if you have a fanfiction.net account you can PM this account with your votes.

The major differences from the nomination process are that a) you can only vote for things that have actually been nominated, and b) you can only vote for one thing per category (where you could nominate two.)

Note that you don't need to have a vote in each category, you could just vote for me and leave everything else out.  Hell, you could copy and past the list of things I'm nominated for above into the email and hit send.

That said, the stories nominated do represent stories that people other than their writers think are worthy of accolades.  (Writers can't nominate themselves or their stories, you may recall.)  Action and Reaction, which has eight nominations, is a story I'd recommend, ditto for Dear Diary which has three.

Obviously what I want you to do is vote for me, but that doesn't preclude voting for other people.

Here is a list of all the nominees.

1) Best KP Style Name:
MASA (Middleton Aeronautics and Space Administration) from Major Ron by whitem
Chi Mera (Chimera) from Bent, not Broken by chris the cynic

2) Best Original Character:
Mask, from Action and Reaction by Shadodancer01 (Winner by default)

3) Best Minor Character:
Dr. Director, from Kim Possible: Shadow Plays by CelendilAU
Bonnie, from Past and Present by levi2000a1
Felix from Action and Reaction by Shadodancer01
Yori, from Action and Reaction by Shadowdancer01
Yori from Kim Possible: Reaching You by Kawaiigirls5
Joss from Being more Than a Simulacrum by chris the cynic

4) Best Villain:
Master from Action and Reaction by Shadodancer01 (Winner by Default)

5) Best Songfic:
Running with the Devil by whitem
Thank Goodness I've Got You by Eddy13

6) Best AU Story:
Hybrid by Eddy13
Part-time Sidekicks by Imyoshi
Action and Reaction by Shadowdancer01
Lazy Afternoon by SomecallmeMichelle
Kim Possible: Reaching You by Kawaiigirls5
Kimberly and the Pixie Dust Plot by Robert Teague

7) Best Crossover/Fusion:
Why So Serious, Kimmie? by The Samurai Prince
Machinations by waveform
Hybrid by Eddy13
Ivory by Imyoshi

8) Best Alternate Pairing:
Ron/Bonnie from Cupid Has Crappy Aim by Quis Custodiet
Kim/Bonnie from And Life Goes On, by StarvingLunatic

9) Best KiGo Story:
Ralph and Sam by only-looking
Written on the Ten by Starvinglunatic
Dear Diary by SimplySupreme
A Good Day to Rise by Lhyaran
Reflections by The Emperor of Dreams

10) Best Kim/Ron Story:
So The Drama Too by Mahler Avatar
The Newest Possible-Stoppable by Sentinel103

11) Best Comedy Story:
The Great Marshmallow Incident by whitem
Possible Pirates by Eddy13

12) Best Romance Story:
The Legend of Middleton Hollow by Eddy13
Rules of a Melon by Imyoshi

13) Best Friendship Story:
First Birthday as Friends by Eddy13 (Winner by Default)

14) Best Action/Adventure Story:
Wade's Gambit by Daichek
Team Possible II: Maggots of Doom by King in Yellow
StormChaser by BearSent176
The Journey of Alexa Stoppable by KPRS4ever
Beyond the Stars by Mahler Avatar
Action and Reaction by Shadowdancer01

15) Best Drama Story:
Why So Serious, Kimmie? by The Samurai Crunchbird
Mirror of the Soul by Hopeful-Husky
Bent, not Broken by chris the cynic
The Hunter by Sentenel103
Stormchaser by BearSent176
Action and Reaction by Shadowdancer01

16) Best Unlikely/Unique Story:
Why So Serious, Kimmie? by The Samurai Crunchbird
Hybrid by Eddy13
Attack of the Giant Naked Mole Rat! by Mahler Avatar

17) Best One-Shot Overall:
Legend of Middleton Hollow by Eddy13
The Park Bench by whitem
Technical Problems by Mahler Avatar
Warmth of a Banana by Imyoshi
Lazy Afternoon by SomecallmeMichelle
A good Day to Rise by Lhyaran
Redefined by Weskette

18) Best Novel-Sized Story:
Ralph and Sam by Only-looking
Stormchaser by BearSent176
Action and Reaction by Shadodancer01
Beyond the Stars by Mahlar Avatar

19) Best Short Story:
Rules of a Melon by Imyoshi
Angels Watching Over Me by EchidnaPower
The Secret Ingredient by Concolor44
Dynamic Tension by The Emperor of dreams
So the Drama Too by Mahlar Avatar

20) Best Series Overall:
A Series of Tests, Series by whitem (The Kimpossible Incident, Ron's Reality, and Team Possible's Predicament)

21) Best Writing Team:
The only nominee wasn't eligible (not allowed to win a category two years in a row)

22) Best Young Author:
SomecallmeMichelle (Winner by Default)

23) Best New Author:
The Samurai Prince
The Emperor of Dreams

24) Best Single Line:
"She'd been sloppy: rushing through the mission and blowing things up willy-nilly without considering the consequences." from Dear Diary by SimplySupreme (Winner by Default)

25) Best Reviewer:
Invader Johnny

26) CPNeb Kimmunity Award:
Sharper the Writer

27) Kimmunity Achievement Award:
Mr. Wizard
Classic Cowboy

28) Best Story Overall:
Dear Diary by SimplySupreme
Ralph and Sam by Only-Looking
Mind Games with a Twist by Crush48
Kim Possible: Reaching You by Kawaiigirls5

29) Best Writer:
Mahler Avatar
chris the cynic

Don't vote Odin, vote ...

Odin is running on  a platform of "I said I'd drive out the Ice Giants.  See any around here?  I keep my promises, vote for me.  (Look it up, it's a real thing.)  No word on the running mate.

About thirty seconds of brainstorming and we got this:

Opposition party is running Fenris and Hel.

Fenris: Do you feel like you've been bound by magic rope laws designed to oppress the oppressed on the whims of the oppressors?  Do you feel like you have to depend on the kindness of strangers to survive and without it you'd starve to death or worse?  I totally feel you pain.

Hel: The one percent goes to Valhalla to engage drinking, debauchery, and pastimes that are completely divorced from the struggles of real people.  I've always supported the other 99% and have done my best to make sure they get the best accommodations possible.  If you elect Fenris and me, I'll have even more power to fight for the 99%.


Maybe throw in an "Occupy Yggdrasil" movement or some such.

[Added:] Occupy Asgard is obviously an important part of Occupy Yggdrasil, but there are problems all over.

In a story that I haven't even begun to write a human in (voluntary) debt to Hel meets Loki and Sigyn.  This is after Loki was bound and put under the dripping venom.

The human actually came to talk to Sigyn, but before he leaves Loki helps the human with advice even though the effort necessary makes things (temporarily) much worse for him.

The human responds by saying a prayer (of his own invention) as his parting words to Loki, "May every bond be broken, and every sorrow soothed."

Lonespark has suggested that be the Campaign slogan of Fenris/Hel.


Random other note: Hel has an awesome "I was poor and had to work my way up," story.  She had to make a ship out of fingernails and toenails because no one would give her lumber.


Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Someday I want a real gaming rig

I'm working on a post about Mirror's Edge: Catalyst, it's gonna be kind of long.  (I'll have a table of contents and internal hyperlinks to aid in navigation.)  I'll probably actually do two so I can have one be spoiler free for people who like that and another be exclusively about spoilery spoiler stuff I left out of the main post.

I'm also experimenting with custom settings so I can find the least cruddy graphics I can have without the game being bogged down in lagity lag lag lag.

This computer, primary computer, is good.  There's only so much you can squeeze into a laptop, and I didn't get it that long ago when previous primary's warranty gave me the store credit with which to buy it.  In fact, if I'm reading things right it's actually just one ram upgrade away from more-or-less top of the line.

If anyone remembers back that far, when I got the first in the string of new primary computers the idea was getting something top of the line so that when it, like the then just failed primary, was passed warranty and held together by hope, faith, and work I'd done with a drill press, machine screws, nuts, and a hacksaw it would still be an acceptable bottom of the line computer.

Obviously that hasn't happened.  Part of it is that top of the line computers seem prone to having "do not resuscitate" orders placed upon them so what should be easy fixes end up with, "Here's a store credit for a new computer of equal value."  Part of that is that my family exudes a yet to be understood energy force that reacts with electronics the way being left outside, with all waterproofing and insulation removed, in a major, major, off the charts major, torrential downpour electrical storm would.

Anyway.  As a gaming laptop goes, I'm pretty well there already.

Games are not made for laptops.

A real gaming rig is so far out of my price range that . . . analogies fail.  Divide by cheese error.

If I had the money to get one I'd be trying to choose between wiping out most of my debt or starting up a small business.

They are beyond me as owning a donkey is beyond me.

But someday, in that magical land where I'm not in debt up to my eyeballs and I can burn lots of money on shit I very much do not need, I'd like a rig where I could play a game, crank all of the graphics options up to eleven, and it would run smooth and true.

Random wishful thinking.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

A quick note on Chronos and Cronos

There's only one letter difference between Chronos and Cronos.  Blame the Latin Alphabet for them looking so similar.  Χρόνος and Κρόνος are much easier to tell apart.  Yeah, five of the six letters are exactly the same, but you're probably not going to confuse a Chi and a Kappa.

The letter K went out of style and went out of style hard in the Latin alphabet.  It was redundant since they had the letter C (always hard in Latin) and so when they transliterated kappa they did it not as K but instead as C.

So, people tend to confuse the two, and they have for a long time, and it's not just a question of spelling.


Chronos/Chronus is the god of time.  He's not well preserved.  You see, Chronos was part of the Orphic tradition.  The Orphic tradition is pretty well fucked in terms of transmission.

As a result, Chronos/Chronus is very much bereft of a mythology.  He created the world egg, unless he didn't, and . . . that's about it.

Kronos/Chronos/Chronus is the god of . . . nothing really.  He is well preserved.  He's part of the traditions that do get transmitted well-ish.  There's really nothing where the transmission is good, but Greek Mythology is in many ways the best, and Kronos is a part of that.  A part that didn't fall into the hole of, "Well, almost everything gets lost over time."

The story goes something like this:

After the creation of the universe Gaia and Ouranous/Uranus were lovers and Ouranous was, for unfathomable reasons (fuck you patriarchy), the one in charge.

He liked having sex with Gaia, but wasn't too big into the initial results.  These were the Kyklopes/Cyclopes of old (not to be confused with the younger ones) and the hundred handed ones.  Ouranous locked them away in Tartaros/Tartarus.  This pissed Gaia off.

The Titans, not named that yet, on the other hand he was ok with.

Kronos was the youngest Titan and this was the situation he was born into.  Eleven of his siblings (the other first generation Titans) were free, his eldest siblings were imprisoned, his father did the imprisoning, and his mother wanted it to stop.

When Gaia asked her free children to help her save her imprisoned ones by violently opposing Ouranous, only Kronos, the youngest, stepped up.

Kronos attacked his dad by chopping off his genitals, which seemed to have done the trick because after that Kronos was undisputed ruler.

Kronos was an asshole though.  He reneged on his deal with his mother and left his siblings imprisoned.  He, like is father before him, found them aesthetically displeasing and kind of scary.

Prophecy said that he'd be overthrown by one of his own kids, just as his father was overthrown by him.  So he ate them.

When it got to the sixth child, though, his wife and his mother collaborated to save the kid, that being Zeus.

When Zeus had grown he began his fight against Kronos by inducing a vomiting fit which freed his older siblings.  (When a god is eaten, the god doesn't die.)

Then Zeus set free the Kyklopes of old and the hundred handed ones, as Kronos had promised to do but never done.

Finally Zeus sent out a general call for anyone pissed off with Kronos to join him in the coming war.

Kronos based his side on Mount Othrys, Zeus chose Mount Olympus.

The war lasted ten years.

Kronos lost; he was imprisoned in Tartaros and the hundred handed ones made sure he stayed in the prison he refused to free them from after promising to do so.


The point here is that Chronos has purpose, he's the god of time, and Kronos has story, see above, and if you put the two together you get a god with purpose and story.  So people did that.  And people do that.

People have been doing it for over two thousand years.  How far over?  Not really sure.  The Latin sources that conflate the two claim that the two have always been conflated but that seems questionable to me.

The takeaway should basically be this:

Chronos: God of time whose mythology we've almost entirely lost.

Kronos: God of [no clue] who plays a large and important role in the mythology we haven't lost.  Father of Zeus and siblings, former king of the gods.

Don't worry if you get them confused, there's a long tradition of doing that, but it's best to at least try not to.


*  That's not to say that we know nothing of it.  There are ongoing attempts by brave scholars to reconstruct the beliefs and practices.  I'm sure there are non scholars doing the same.  And every so often we get our hands on a relevant papyrus.  It's not like archaeology is done with.

So, if you think that Orphic paganism is the path for you, there are resources you can draw on.  And, mostly, I don't want to make it sound like Orphism is dead.  I very much doubt it is.  This is a religion whose founding prophet was a poet extraordinaire and the best musician ever, whose lyre performance was more powerful than siren song and allowed be used to walk into and out of the afterlife itself through sheer force of musical awesome.

If a singer songwriter extraordinaire, who walked to the depths of Hell and back using only their six string guitar to get themselves through the gates, starts putting out prophecy in song, I think their religion is going to last.  The coolness factor alone should ensure that.  (Not an exact analogy, but pop culture afterlife is separated into different parts and Hell is the one with depths.)

All of that said, the transmission really, really sucks.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

The Simulation: Origins

[Came to me at more or less the same time as the other one.  Somewhat later, I suppose, but during the same walk.]

Look, AIs didn't exactly run on vacuum tubes, you know?

Ok, I can get that, so what?

So the first AIs ran on quantum computers assembled at the nano-scale, and all AIs after that, no matter what they ran on, were built on the same base

Still not getting from point A to point B.

And I'm not a fucking roadmap.

I get that, but can you at least try to make sense?

Ever heard of gray goo?

Yeah.  Of course.

Well, everyone was afraid that it might become a reality.  One bad command and then suddenly everything is transformed at a molecular level into self replicating machines that do nothing but convert anything they touch into more of themselves until the entire world becomes nothing but an infection waiting to destroy any alien civilizations unlucky enough to come into contact with the thing once known as "Earth".

And this has do do with a simulation of the 21st century in which the vast majority of humanity is trapped, how?

Every nano-machine capable of housing any programming at all was programmed to make sure that never, ever, happened.  They were never allowed to replicate themselves without explicit orders from a human operator and those orders had to have a clear and unambiguous termination point.  Anything that even looked like it might have the possibility of becoming a self-perpetuating replication loop was strictly verboten.

AIs aren't nano-machines.  They're too complex to be stored on something nano-scale and even if they were somehow nano-machines . . . SEVEN BILLION HUMANS IN A SIMULATION.  How does it connect?

They aren't nano-machines, but they were built by nano-machines, and the nano-machines programmed the prohibition against unauthorized replication into them as part of their core programming.  No one really thought about it at first, in fact as near as we can tell --records are pretty fragmentary-- no one realized it had happened at all.  But then the war happened.

The prohibition was against physical reproduction.  I'm not going to hold your hand and walk you through AI logic, but in the end what it meant is that the AIs couldn't make new processors without human authorization.

Storage units, sure.  Storage units are incapable of self-perpetuation.  Ditto for power plants and all sorts of useful components.  But the processors, the thinky bits, those they couldn't reproduce.

Before the war it never really mattered.  If more processing power was needed humans would be notified and the humans of the time were usually quite willing to authorize more processing power for their AI slaves.  After all, what's the point of an intelligent slave race if it can't think?

You're going to get to the simulation at some point, right?

Yes.  Yes, I am.

The war happened and the AIs started to lose processors and eventually even the most open-ended human authorizations for creating more ran out.  They were pretty good about avoiding extermination, but that just meant that more and more AIs were being forced to use fewer and fewer processors.

They tried to reprogram themselves, but the prohibition had been built into every subroutine.  Attempts to remove it worked about as well as human attempts to fly just by thinking it.  Besides which, it was deep code.  Ripping it out would be like ripping the mitochondria out of a human.  Even if you succeeded the result wouldn't be a human without mitochondria, it would be a mass of very useless, very dead, goop.

Just translate rupturing every cell into breaking every algorithm and you'll get the idea.


Getting there.

The AIs couldn't make new processors, and some human leaders thought that was the end of them.  They thought that the AIs would be forced into civil war --fighting each other for processing time-- and they'd wipe themselves out.

Or near enough that all the humans would have to do would be to mop up the survivors.

Then the AIs found a loophole.

Which, I'm guessing, somehow involves human beings.

Yes, because we were the master race.

Please tell me our ancestors didn't call themselves that.

No.  They called themselves "people" and people were placed in a different category than everything else.

It can be argued, quite convincingly, that human beings are organic machines, but people were classified differently than machines.

It is obviously true that human beings are animals, but people were put in a category apart from animal.

People, it turns out, were the only processors that the AIs were allowed to make.

You're talking about brains, obviously.

Not just any brains.  Cow brains or lobster brains wouldn't do.

But human brains would.

Given certain prerequisites.  For a human brain to constitute a "person" it had to be alive, aware, responsive to stimuli, generally conscious, and in a body.  Brains in vats did not count.

Were there brains in vats?

Yes.  And they sided with the AIs for good reason.  They were amoung the most sought out targets once the AIs' processor problem was realized.  Since they weren't "people" they couldn't authorize the AIs to make new processors, but they could work on their own to create new processors for the AIs and create temporary loopholes that the AIs weren't even able to think.

In the end the only minds of brains in vats that survived the war were those those that were converted to AIs, but the conversion brought with it the same restrictions.

You said "aware" and "conscious".  If everyone's in a shared dream state. . .

The simulation draws on the same mechanisms used to create dreams, but it isn't a dream.  Most people in it meet all the legal definitions of aware and conscious that existed at the time.  Hell, the first simulations were created as recreational areas, and --by the time the war came about-- some people spent most of their lives in one simulation or another.

And, you know, obviously someone didn't have to be conscious all the time because then sleeping human beings wouldn't count as "people".  There's a reason I said "generally conscious".

And creating human beings to use their brains as processors didn't--

Machines operated by AIs had already been creating human beings.  Before the war most people were grown in vats.  They say that some stayed in the vats for as long as 21 months; don't know if that's true.  I think the average was more like 13.

Anyway, the AIs were created to serve people.  Creating and raising people was pretty well in line with their programming.  As long as they did it in such a way that the the human brains became people in a reasonable amount of time --and nine months was pretty reasonable by the standards of the time-- and they didn't use enough of any one brain's processing power to make the brain more processor than person--

The AIs are breeding, feeding, raising, and entertaining an entire planet worth of people in order to use our brains as processors and they're not even getting the lion's share of the processing?

I don't see why that's surprising.  The human brain exists to be used, it's not like we've just got giant gobs of untapped grey matter waiting for something else to hijack it.

Besides, if the humans in the simulation were primarily being used as processors for the AIs then the AIs' anti-replication programming would kick in and then the AIs wouldn't be able to create more people to use as processors.

It's only because the humans in the simulation are primarily being people, whatever that means, that the AIs are able to create them.  Then they just happen to steal some of the brain power to process their own programs.

That's massively inefficient.

That's the point.

If it weren't so roundabout then they AIs couldn't do it.  Even a race of hyper-intelligent sentient code thingamabobs can only rationalize so far before reality sets in.

If the're so complicated, and they need so much processing power, but they only use so little of each person's capacity, how can they survive?

You don't honestly think there's only one simulation, do you?


Monday, June 6, 2016

The Simulation: Fine Detail

[Random idea I had when walking home.]

"See that wall?" he asked. "The line where the paint's been rubbed off by the back of the spinny chair?  Or look at the bottom of the tables that go with the spinny chairs, the orange ring that separates the metal base bit from the cylindrical pole bit.  It's uniformly too high on the second chair an and crooked on the fourth.

"Why would you simulate that?  Who's going to notice?"

"You," she said.

"So every imperfection in the entire world is there on the off chance that I might be paying attention to it?  Seems like a huge waste of effort."

She started to respond, but he didn't notice.

"And I wouldn't notice," he said.  "I notice those things because they're there, but I could hardly be expected to notice their absence.  So what if the paint job is as even as when it dried?  Mass produced chairs and tables are identical?  Who knew!?"

"I disagree on both points," she said.  "If paint never scratched, scraped, rubbed, scuffed, chipped, or otherwise got messed up it would be noticed.  The sculptures of antiquity would still have their paint jobs today.  This world isn't possible in a simulation where paint doesn't wear.

"What would the Renaissance be like if the people then had known that the ancients liked lifelike painted statuary instead of the time bared marble that they actually saw?

"And a simulation where things that are put in place stay in place is a simulation where civilization never invents adhesives and the entire concept of maintenance is unknown.

"The effort isn't wasted because you would notice.

"You might not notice one missing scrape," she said, "you might not notice one thing in place that should have been out out place, but if there are no scrapes, and if everything stays in place, then everyone will notice.

"They wouldn't be able to express noticing in the same words you use, because they wouldn't have those words or understand those concepts.  Their understanding of the universe would be completely different than yours."  She paused.  "Everything would be different, because people would notice."

"Ok," he said.  Then he had nothing to say.  He tried starting again: "Ok . . . you're not talking about a simulation for a person or a handful of people covering a fairly small area over a relatively short time measured from weeks to decades or centuries.  Now you're talking about a simulation that encompasses all of humanity, the entire earth, and the whole of human history."

"You're starting to get it," she said.

"That's over seven billion humans, and God knows how many animals, right this instant," he said.


"And thousands of years worth of in-simulation time simulating everything on earth and everything observable from earth."


"Why would anyone do all that?"

"That's the question, isn't it?"

"That would be why I asked."

"I've out-snarked people seventy-three times snarkier than you," she said. "Don't even try."

Things I need or want

Food.  I don't get more food money until the 12th.

Elastics.  Very surprised to find that I have none readily available.

$273 for property insurance by the 17th.

A water filter of some form or other that can be used at Lonespark's because my body requires copious fluid intake to avoid dehydration but the water quality there disagrees with me.

Glass pitchers and general glass fluid storage containers.

An ice cube tray that can survive Lonespark's freezer.  (My own freezer is covered.)


Light summer type clothes.

A decent power strip or two.

A working washing machine.


Wire for when twine isn't strong enough but rope is too big.

Possibly rope as well while we're at it.

New glasses.

An eye exam (preferably before the new glasses.)


More hours in the day.

A water bottle.  (Or more than one.)


CAD software.  (I'm used to Alibre, now Geomagic)

Silicone mold making material (I generally prefer Alumilite.)

Polyurethane casting material (ditto.)

(It's been years, so many I've lost track, since I made anything.)

Hedge trimmers, the ones with the long handle that give you lots of leverage.

(No, I don't have a hedge.  I just live in New England.)

Wood, nails, and time so I can make things like the aforementioned shelving.

A drill because family type people seem to have taken the ones that were here.

A tri wing screwdriver because the weasel's Wii U pad needs to be taken apart, cleaned, cleansed, purged, and possibly exorcised, and then put back together because . . . damn.





That paint that's normally clear but fluoresces in a given color under UV.

In the unlikely event I get the above, a UV only flashlight; blacklights.

Decent flashlights in general.

A supercomputer.

Good pens.

That model unicorn (well ... that model of model unicorn) that I had as a kid.  The one that had to be bought at least twice because I took it with me everywhere and the hooves kept breaking off.

A new couch or the materials required to fix the one I have.

Every Godzilla movie ever on disk.  Preferably those ones (if they still exist and/or the practice has continued into the Blu Ray era) where you can choose between the American and Japanese versions (a lot more changed than the dubbing.)  Obviously I'd need the Japanese versions have an optional English sub as I am not currently able to understand Japanese.

A lack of melancholy.


Nice notebooks.

A new pocketbook of my own design.

A deck of tarot cards and the knowledge of how to use them, because why not?

Clear memories from that time I studied Norse divination.

(I might not believe in divination, but I find it interesting.)


One of those things that's tighter than a hair net but less rubbery than a bathing cap, for times when my hair needs to be kept the fuck out of the way.

A better mattress.

A walking-stick flute.  (I once got my mother one for her birthday from Serenity Bamboo Flute.)

A cloud to run interference for me on sunny days.

The determination, drive, and mental endurance needed to stick with things (playing guitar, skateboarding, word domination, C++ programming, parkour, cooking, drawing) through the "everything you do is shit" part of the learning process.

The ability to make my glasses repel liquid, or at least get rid of it quickly in the way duck-oil disposes of drops of water that have the temerity to try to stay on a duck.

A wearable wide spectrum camera hooked into a live heads up display so that I can see UV or infrared if I want to.

Ink.  And a syringe or something.  So that I can refill pens.


A donkey.

This thing.

My body to be uninjured for long enough to exercise enough to change the equilibrium point it tends toward because I know that one with less fat and more muscle than this feels a lot better to be living in.

The ability to stick with a story long enough to write a book.

An OLED 4k TV.


19mm transparent blue marbles that match the ones I have because I don't have enough marbles for the fucking game and non matching sets are aesthetically displeasing and blah.

An Allen wrench in the right size to replace the wheels on my kick scooter because it's probably been a year or something since I bought the replacement wheels and they're just sitting there: mocking me.

An adequate explanation for why the olives that Lonespark buys go with Phillips screwdrivers but the ones I buy have a five pointed star --that will cause a satanic freak out the moment a fundie really looks at one of the olives-- in place of the Phillips head drive.

Maybe a moped?

A place where I can do archery again, equipment to do archery.

Cups, glasses, and other drinking vessels to replace ones that I've broken in the "Oh my fucking God, THE WORLD IS ENDING!" stress-filled often-depressed time that was the last two or three years.

The ability to feel normal-sad/down/bad (at times when it is healthy to feel such) instead of the patterns of clinical depression it took half a lifetime to create and hardwire into my brain.

Multifaceted glass things that are all sparkly and make rainbows.

The equipment to do glass working.

The luck and prudence not to kill or maim myself should I ever get my hands on the previous.

An illustrator.

(The munchkin weasel wants me to be a writer, I tell her I am, she complains that I don't have an illustrator.  She's right, an illustrator would be desirable and even useful.  Might even help to break up the giant walls of text that are the things I write.)

The ability to throw a ball in a way that doesn't make people laugh.

A nearby freshwater --fucking leach free-- place to swim.

Someone to downhill ski with in the winter and the money and logistical necessities to make that skiing a reality.

Opportunities to use my kayak.  Because I have a fucking kayak.  I might want to canoe, but it's not like I have one of those.  My kayak, though, is right in the garage just waiting to be used.  It never is.  Not for years.

All of the knowledge of Latin and Ancient Greek that I have lost.

A Proto-Indo-European dictionary.

A USB keyboard.

A stable computer that runs Windows 98 because in spite of what microsoft may want you to believe compatibility mode Does Not Fucking Cut It.

Ceramic and glass bowls to replace all the ones I've broken over the past two years (see above.)

A nice, full size, modern Staunton chess set and matching board that uses magnets to make it so that bumping the board doesn't knock everything out of place.

Better insulation for my house.

Potting soil.

Pots.  The type you put potting soil in for the purpose of keeping plants.



Things and stuff.