Thursday, February 23, 2017

Ankle Update

Saw the surgeon.  The swelling didn't go down.  Or not enough.  Surgery was going to be tomorrow.  Reschduled to a week from tomorrow if the swelling goes down, which will be checked wednesday next week.

(This is a, "FUCK! Fuck, fuck, fuckity fucking fuck.  Fuck," situation.)

I have not been enough of a couch potato.  I've been ordered, not in these words, to be a constant one with elevated ankle.

This makes the fact that I just got a PS4 in the mail as a gift from my wishlist thing a very good thing.  Laptops are difficult when supine, controllers are just fine.  (Plus computer that can play games well is out for repair with no ETA.)

Here's the thing, as of right now I have one game for it.  A game with a "4" at the end of the title (Uncharted 4).

Help me follow the doctor's orders and be a couch potato with an elevated ankle, by getting me more games for the PS4, I really have wanted Gravity Rush forever (if the fact only electronic thing is a decent price is a problem {not sure how that works with wishlist gifting}, you could tell me, send me the money, and have me buy it myself) and I made sure to put the first three Uncharted games (all packed together in UNCHARTED: The Nathan Drake Collection) near the top.

So, here's what you do, you go to my "Oh My Fucking God, I broke my ankle in THREE places!" wishlist (not actually called that) and you see games I put on there.  If a 3DS is still at the top it means I don't have one, so don't buy a game for that unless the system itself is off the list.

You pick something for PS4 (unless the 3DS is off the list in which case you pick anything) and you get it for me.  Here's what I've been told about the process from a very reliable source:
It works! People need to make sure they have "Chris Witham's Gift Registry Address" checked when they go through the payment process, but it worked like a charm. :)
The reason"It works" is an exclamation is that when I fist set it up it didn't work.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Ways you can help me

Totally not trying to take eyes away from the Kim Possible piece labeled "Massive Anticlimax" or the thing before that about surviving Ragnarok by being dead at the time and sitting out the final battle.  But there are things to say and I'm going to try to get the in depth post about my thrice broken ankle up today anyway so:

If you want to help me there are things you can do.  This is broken into sections so you can completely skip something that isn't of interest to you:

short version:
  • my email: cpw [at] maine [dot] rr [dot] com.  If you need my home address, email me.
  • One time donation: donate button at upper right side of page, or use my email with paypal
  • Monthly donation: my patreon account 
  • Amazon wishlist related to me using video games to keep mind off pain, probably best not to get a 3DS game if the 3DS is still on the list
  • Want list that has a mix of actual stuff you could get and me being silly.
  • If enough people sent me their old gaming PC parts I might be able to Frankenstein something together and That.  Would.  Be.  AWESOME!
  • For the love of god if there's something (a march, a demonstration) to make the world/country/thing a better place, please stand up and be counted.  I was going to go to my first march in years and then I broke my ankle two days before.  So I can't stand up and be counted, but someone has to.
* * *

On the straight up money front one time donations are through Paypal.  There's a donate button in the upper right corner or you can use my email: cpw [at] maine [dot] rr [dot] com.

Monthly things, which wouldn't be about me being broken since I plan on healing, are best done through my patreon account because paypal always fucks up every attempt to do monthly things.

You probably already knew that.

* * *

I am very not-mobile.  This means that for the first time since high school a stationary computer is something that's not just "I should probably get one at some point, given the limitations on laptops" but instead, "That really makes more sense than a laptop."

Here's the problem, a gaming PC costs in the range of one to ten thousand dollars.  I'd never expect that of anyone, but one of the key features of gaming PCs is that they can be upgraded, so maybe people have stuff laying around that they don't need because they replaced it during upgrading, like say an old video card, an old this, an old that,  If enough people sent their cast offs I could Frankenstein something together.  If you do have a cast off and are willing to pay shipping, to get my shipping info email me: cpw [at] maine [dot] rr [dot] com.

* * *

Ana Mardoll suggested I create an Amazon wishlist so that people could directly buy things I'm interested in and have Amazon send them to me.  It was at this time that I notice that one can buy about three consoles for the cost of a low end gaming desktop.  I'd never expect someone to get me a gaming desktop because of the price, but consoles are more reasonable than I would have expected.

I've always wanted to play gravity rush, though I note that the decent price on it (well, the HD remaster) is for the electronic version and I'm not sure if it can be gifted in the same way.  Anyway.  That means PS4.  For other reasons a 3DS would be of interest.

I've made a wishlist that includes both the consoles themselves and some games for them, though I don't know much about console games because my usual response to learning something is a console game has been, "It doesn't have a PC version?  Well fuck."

So if you want to buy me stuff, that exists.

* * *

Before I broke myself I made a want list that varied from serious to silly never expecting anyone would do anything in response to it.

Then someone got me a gift certificate for socks.  Not the kind of socks I would buy myself.  Really nice socks.  Really, really nice socks.  I only got a chance to wear one of the pairs I spent the gift certificate on before I broke myself, but they were fucking awesome.

So, yeah, if you see something on the list you think you can help with, by all means. If it's reasonable.  As an example of something not-reasonable: as much as I want a donkey (I really do) there is no way in fucking hell I could care for one at this stage in my life (even before the broken ankle), and South Portland probably has some ordinance against keeping them in the city.

* * *

For the first time in years I was going to go to a demonstration.  A march.  I was going to do it on Saturday.  I broke my ankle two days (though less than 48 full hours) before the march.

The political situation in the US right now is bad, likewise in certain other countries, people need to stand up and be counted and make it known that intolerance, hate, callous disregard for human lives and human rights, and all of the other evils that have taken root in our power structures is not something that can be allowed to continue.

I can't stand for more than a few minutes.  I can't march.  I haven't left the fucking house since I got back from the emergency room (trying to make it down the porch stairs is a very risky endevor.)  I can't stand up and be counted.

Please stand for me.  Whenever you take a stand your doing it not just for yourself, but for others who can't.  Let me be one of those others.  Stand the fuck up, march, demonstrate, tell your city council to let in refugees, welcome the stranger rather than slamming the door, hold a sign with a compassionate slogan, oppose any attempts to take anything (food, healthcare, a place to stay, legal protections, so forth) away from the least of these.

What we are seeing now is a push to undo decades of progress and replace love with fear and hate.  It is an abomination unto morality, it is the worst of humanity being the loudest and most powerful, it is wrong, it is evil.

I can't stand up and be counted as one of those who is against this.  Someone has to.  Please, I beg you, stand against that which is wrong and stand for that which is right.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

HHII: "I couldn't tell you this when I was evil..." -or- Massive Anticlimax

Ok, trying to get a decent post about what happened with my ankle (which I indicated I'd give four days ago) will have to wait another day because I still haven't gotten a picture of the porch.  Why a picture of the porch?  You ask.  You said you broke it inside.  Yup.

After the pain lessened to the point I could move I crawled to the matress to wait for the pain to lessen more.  It didn't.  I crawled upstairs to the phone and called my dad to give me a ride to somewhere medical, didn't much care where.

He suggested maybe we should call an ambulance, I said not to.  His car wasn't quite within spitting distance, but definitely within a distance of two solid spits.  I thought I could make it.  It wasn't the ice.  I didn't slip.  I failed to keep my left foot from touching anything.  It was only the lightest graze but the pain was so great it overpowered everything else including but not limited to my sense of balance and control over my body.  I fell backward and broke the porch.  My dad said something like, "This is what I mean about an ambulance" or "I rest my case" or some such.

Thus I need a picture of the porch.  Until then, have random Kim Possible:


I was trying to get this on fanfiction dot net, but they like more meat on their dialog.  I seriously can't ever post Snarky Twilight there without breaking the rules because it's in script form.

So here's the context, in season 4 (the one after the show ended and a fan movement got it revived) there was an episode that was made to kind of throw a bone to the Kigo shippers in the audience.  Within the constraints they had (Kim/Ron is the OTP even if the chemistry isn't there, Disney doesn't acknowledge the existence of non-straight people, so on, so forth.)

So they had Shego zapped good and end up hanging out with Kim where they're instant best friends and . . . so forth.  Shortly before the episode ended they invoked the rule that Schrodinger's secret is more cool than any given state the waveform can collapse into and had this:
Kim: It was good to be on the same side.
Shego: Yeah.  Kimmie, I couldn’t tell you this while I was evil, but—
*Shego is zapped back to evil (which is her normal)*
A lot of people have made way too much of this line, though the comic that invoked Sailor Moon censorship and had it be "I want to be cousins," was admittedly hilarious.

Here's my stab at it, taking place well after the show is over.

It may be useful to know that the Wego twins have the power of multiplying themselves.  Or not.  You probably could figure that out from context.

As Kim looked contentedly up at the ceiling a thought took root in her mind: finally, at long last, she could get an answer.

"Hey," she said.

The response was somewhere between a groan and an "Mmmmph?"

"Hey," she said again, this time accompanying it with a gentle shoulder shake.

"Let me sleep, Princess," Shego said.

"I have a question," Kim said.

"I have a desire to sleep."

"There's something I've been wondering for ages."

"I don't care; give me sleep."

Kim propped herself up on an elbow so she could look directly at Shego.

"Come on, I've seriously wanted to know for years," Kim said.

Shego made a show of rolling so she was facing away from Kim.

"Just one question."

"Let. Me. Sleep."

"It'll only take a moment to answer."

"I liked you more when we were on opposite sides," Shego said. "Let's go back in time, prevent Dr. D from rapping, thus stopping the Lorwardians from ever coming here, and making it so you aren't keeping me from sleeping now."

Kim laughed.

"That kind of effort doesn't sound very much like you," Kim said while trying not to crack up again.

"Leave me alone."


"I could kill you."

"If you haven't killed your brothers yet-"

"We don't talk about Theego," Shego said, though she failed at pretending to be serious, "that doesn't mean it didn't happen."

"I think I'm safe," Kim said.

"Go away."

"I've been wondering about this for years," Kim said, "and now I'm finally in a position to-"



This was the longest silence there had been so far, just before Kim took action to make sure Shego hadn't managed to go back to sleep without her permission, Shego spoke:


"That, I will do," Kim said.

Shego finally acknowledged that Kim existed and was sitting across the table from her half way though her second cup. Two thirds of the way through the second cup she asked, "So what's more important than letting me sleep?"

"Remember the whole Reverse-Polarizer sitch?" Kim asked.

"As a rule I try not to remember times I was mind-controlled," Shego said.

"Right before Ron zapped you back-"

"As I recall," Shego said, "you and the buffoon thought me being freed was a bad thing-"

"That is manifestly unfair," Kim said, "we were caught up in the moment and-"

"Would have zapped me back into a mind-controlled state had I not been saved by the timely intervention of a streetlight-hoverpod collision," Shego said.

"I don't deny that," Kim said, "but we came to our senses and turned Electronique back to her real self less than 12 hours later and we would have done the same for you."

"Sure you would've."

Kim wasn't sure if Shego really believed Kim would have left her under the influence of the Reverse-Polarizer or was doing it to get a rise out of her.  If it was the first it was a horrible accusation, if it was the second it had worked.  She tried to think of how best to explain, then decided to just plow forward and hope she said the right thing.

"People were swapping from good to evil and back again so much that it just sort of lost . . ." Kim fumbled and couldn't find the words.

"Lost what?"

"It didn't seem like a big deal anymore," Kim said. "It just took Ron and I a little while to go from fifteen people swa-"

"You don't get to count every Wego instance," Shego said.

"That many people swapping from good to evil in less than two seconds made it seem jejune," Kim said.

"Have you been using a word a day calendar?"

"Don't smirk," Kim said. "You're right that switching Electronique and not wanting to make you you again was wrong; you deserve an explanation."

"I deserve more coffee," Shego said.

While Kim was getting Shego another cup, she said, "It just took us a while to go from the mindset we had during the fight to the reality that rewiring someone is horrific to the point that our language lacks appropriate words to describe it."

"It's got them," Shego said; "you just don't use them because you worry about setting a bad example."

Kim handed Shego her coffee.

"I can think of no profanity that conveys the wrongness of mind-control," Kim said as she sat down.

Shego took a sip of her coffee.

"So what is so important that you'll go through all this trouble just to ask?"

"When you were zapped you were midway through a sentence," Kim said.

"That was a while ago," Shego said. "And my brain was being rewired."

"You said that there was something you couldn't tell me when you were evil, but . . . something," Kim said. "That's when you were cut off. Right before you reached the actual point."

Shego thought for a moment, then she burst into laughter.

"Um . . ." Kim offered.

Shego just kept laughing.

"What's so funny?"

"You've been wondering about that for years?" Shego asked.

"Well, yeah," Kim said. "It's not often that your arch foe gets cut off just before making a dramatic confession."

"Not very dramatic," Shego said. "You're going to be let down."

"I've been wondering forever."

"It's not forever, Kimmie," Shego said; "but it might be better for you if it becomes forever. Less disappointment."

"I have to know," Kim said.

"Well, on the topic of forever," Shego said, "I was going to say, 'I've always . . .'"

Shego looked Kim over.

"Ok," Shego said, "you're looking at me like you're a small child and I'm the present that's going to make this the best Christmas ever."  She paused a moment and mulled over the sound of her own words. "It sounds kind of flattering when I put it that way, but the truth is it's actually rather disturbing."

Kim hadn't realized she'd been leaning forward, or how she'd been looking at Shego, but now that she noticed she tried to sit back in her chair and have a more neutral expression.  At least she succeeded on the first count.

She offered, "It's been bugging me since I was a senior in high school," by way of explanation.

"You really shouldn't have let one little sentence get to you like that," Shego said. "Even if it were something truly profound, it would be bound to fall short of your expectations after so much build up."

"You're switching into child development mode," Kim said.

"Am I?" Shego asked.

"You know you are."

"I guess it means I've had enough coffee."

"Then tell me already."

"I'm telling you," Shego said, "it won't live up to the hype. Just make up something interesting and believe that."

"I already did," Kim said.

For once Shego was the one at a disadvantage, if her, "Wha?" was anything to go by.

"Very articulate," Kim said.

"You're the one who said not to smirk."

This time Kim succeeded in returning her expression more neutral, but still quipped, "Couldn't help myself."

"What did you make up?"

Kim looked away. She blushed slightly.

"Well, it was after we met again when I was in college," Kim said, "I was thinking maybe-"

"Whoa!" Shego said. "Stop right there. No-no-no, no, no. No."

"Well shatter my hopes and dreams, why don't you?" Kim said playfully.

"I said, 'always', Princess," Shego said. "I said that I'd always, and our 'always' started when you were fifteen. You were just some kid."

"So it really is something you've been keeping from me since we first met," Kim said.

"Again with the blowing out of proportion, I still can't believe you've been waiting all this time on that one sentence," Shego said.

"So get it over with, already."

"Ok," Shego said. "Talk about an anti-climax. I was going to say that I've always liked you. Actual 'liked', not a euphemism for something more."

"You always liked me?" Kim asked.

"Ever since you 'for lunch'ed Dr. D while he had you over his shark enclosure," Shego said.

"Oh God," Kim said. "I'd forgotten about that. 'My pets are famished,'" she said doing a Drakken impression, "'perhaps you two could . . .'"

"I even liked Stoppable a bit when he got in on the action," Shego said.

"You're right," Kim said. "Massive anticlimax."

"Told you."

"Don't start."

⁂ ⁂

The members of Team Go, the team formed by Shego and her brothers after they were origin-storied into having super powers all have names of the form [English pronoun ending in "e"]go.  With "He", "She", "Me", and "We" already taken they'd really have very few options for additional names "Theego" is the only one I can think of.

The scene referenced, which is indeed the first time Kim and Shego meet, goes like this:
[Kim and Ron are on a small platform in the middle of a shark pool, Drakken and Shego are standing off to the side of the pool, Drakken has the thingy that can drop them in the tank in his hands]

Drakken: Enough chitchat! My pets are famished.  Perhaps you two could stay...
Kim: For lunch?
Drakken: I wasn't going to say that.
Ron: Oh dude, you were so 'for lunch'.
Drakken: Argh, yes! Then, stay for lunch!
*Drakken pushes the button that dumps them into a shark tank*

The non-vengful will inherit the universe - My thoughts on Helheim and surviving Ragnarok

Greek myth is hard enough.  It isn't well preserved and we need to do a lot of filling in the blanks and attempts at reconstruction and reading things as if the smallest connotation of every word is intensely meaningful because there's little else we can do if we want to have the story, the whole story.

Reconstruction is hard.

Compared to just about everything else, Greek and Roman mythology is the gold standard of preserved that all others strive for but fall short of.  Even Christian Myth has a kind crap preservation status (because of attempts to stamp out heresy) and that's the dominant culture's myth.

So with Norse Myth we're left with a lot of questions and a lot of trying to infer things from limited material.

And Ragnarok is very much an example of this.  It comes to us almost entirely through the two big Eddas which are later compilations of earlier traditions, one of which (the prose one) shows clear signs of a Christian author trying to get shit past Christian censors via painful editing.

So the thing is, Ragnarok is the reckoning, the end of the old order, the end of the nine realms, the end of Yggdrasil itself.  But not the end of all things.

A new earth and a new . . . --well it isn't called Asgard anymore what with it being swept mostly clean of most everything-- arise from the waters and a new sun has been born to the sky.  Things start again,

On earth two people survive, in former-Asgard four gods survive, and these people don't interest me much.  What interests me is that Baldr and Höðr show up to join the surviving gods.

Baldr and Höðr survived, if you want to put it that way, by being dead at the time.  They were in Hel and, like Hel herself (apparently) declined to go off and fight the last battle.  This could be a simple conflict of interest, as Hel's subjects they'd be part of Loki's army fighting against he Aesir, as Aesir they'd be . . . well, guess.

Or it could be something else.

They were dead at the time.  They are absolute proof that not everyone in Helheim followed Loki into battle.  They are the only evidence we have of what happened to the people who stayed in Helhiem for Ragnarok.  And what happened?  They got to leave the afterlife and live in the new world.

It's not clear if this is a one time thing that lasts through Ragnarok into the aftermath, or if Hel's gates are now permanently open, but either way it seems like you can get out now leaving the new world to the forgotten, abandoned, mythless dead.

Everyone who didn't go off to fight in Ragnarok.  Remember, almost everyone who lives goes to Helhiem when they die.  If you're not taken to Fólkvangr or Valhalla after a noble death in battle, you go to Helheim.  (Don't worry, there is a prison there, Nifelhelheim, so evil people won't be fucking up your afterlife.)  Many of them go off to fight in Ragnarok, but clearly not all.

So what happens to the non-militant dead?  Well our only example, the thing from which we must extrapolate and draw conclusions, is Baldr and Höðr.  They live.  They go free.  The inherit the new universe which, hopefully, will be less fucked up than the old universe.

Don't get me wrong, it'll be fucked up, but hopefully less so.  It'll be fucked up because god or mortal we're all flawed.  We fuck things up.  It's what we do.  But we also strive to make things less fucked up than when we found them.  So we'd try to make the new world better than the old.

And so the old order is completely upended.  The abandoned forgotten discounted dead rise to inherit what remains.  And that's probably a good thing.  Baldr and Hel between them could craft a better universe.

Odin and Loki were wise and cunning, but also assholes.  Baldr is basically distilled goodness, Hel is someone who has spent her while life being a host to all comers (she set up luxury accommodations for Baldr.)  Thus the new world appears to be set up to run on new rules.  Rules that won't be made by cheaters and tricksters but by people who might not be the wise, but make up for it in compassion.

The ones who live through Ragnarok are a hodgepodge.  The ones who live after it, though, are in my reading the ones who were dead in Helheim and decided not to fight under Loki in Ragnarok.  The non-vengeful dead.

Monday, February 20, 2017

If you find yourself suddenly unable to walk, don't fuck up like I did

Cue story that I'm not sure if it's embarrassing, degrading, humiliating, disgusting, or something else.

(icky content note: urine)


Light makes it really hard for me to sleep.  When I sleep in daylight I'm usually sick or exhausted beyond all reasonable limits.  My anti-depressant, which I cannot stress enough is the only one that works,* makes this so god damned much worse.  In fact I won't sleep at all without a separate sleep med which is no good because sleep deprivation is dangerous and has very similar symptoms to depression anyway.  Even with sleep med I tend to need dark, with exceptions (other than sickness and prior sleep deprivation) following no pattern and thus being entirely unpredictable.

In search of dark I moved down stairs.  The downstairs windows are small since the downstairs is mostly below ground level.  Think the height of a bog standard porch, subtract the distance between a floor and the ceiling below, and you've discovered how far above ground the downstairs ceiling is.  Result: they can be blacked out by a well placed towel.

Downstairs is also largely lacking in electronics so none of those lights from microwaves, stoves, VCRs/DVD players/Blu-Ray players/other shit that insist on telling the time.  (And who in fuck came up with the idea of adding "off" lights to things.  We know it's off because it isn't working.)  No router lights.  So on, so forth.

Plus, for reasons unknown to me, there was a matress there.  Combine this with the fact that boxspring the matress in my room is on happens to be fucked up beyond all recognition, and it was a smart move.

Going down stairs with crutches is Hell.  Upstairs is decent but you have to get them down first and it never really occurred to me to to just toss them from the top of the stairs.  Going downstairs is a butt-sliding expedition.  As much as I dislike butt-sliding myself, I'll have you know that that my mother once (or was it twice? we did it twice, but I'm only convinced once involved butt-sliding) traversed the knife edge at Katahdin via butt-sliding, or I suppose you could call it butt-scooting.  Doing the knife edge is a mark of great . . . um, something.  It's epic is the point.  So clearly butt-sliding/scooting is nothing to be scoffed at.

Around now we come to the point.  At this stage I have five jobs.  I was originally going to say three so . . . No one expects the Spanish Inquisition! I need to eat, hydrate, sleep, not get injured again, and try to keep my broken ankle elevated in spite of not having enough pillows to put in a solid effort.

From the injury to the end of the first day, through into more than an hour of the second day, everything was about getting to the ER, waiting in the ER, having stuff done in the ER, and waiting in the ER.

On the second day I shoved things that might have been easily cleaned into heaps that will be very difficult to clean in order to create crutch safe paths through the points I need to reach in my house.

On the third day, my dad got me some microwavable food, so eat is covered for the moment.

Sleep hasn't really been a problem.

Not injuring myself is a moment to moment thing.  The lack of pillows to stack under my ankle makes elevation more of something I do my meaningless best at.

Hydration is the problem.  I've talked about it before.  My body is badly calibrated.  The amount of water my body will hold is lower than the amount of water it takes for me to be well hydrated.  If I want to be hydrated (and as a rule, I do) I have to put up with going to the bathroom a lot.

Crutches are a mode of transportation with decent speed, it's been annoying more than a real problem.  Until I woke up a bit after midnight this morning with a very powerful need to pee.  I think you can see where this is going.  It isn't exactly sanitary.

By the time I normally would have been done and heading back downstairs, I was still crawling up the stairs.  Good news: totally not a failure and it all comes out at once situation.  Bad news, crawling around (without knee pads) while your ankle yelps in pain and your bladder keeps on causing spurts is the exact opposite of fun.

When I got to the crutches there was no way in hell I could use them.  Do you know how you move on crutches?  Call it a hop, call it a bound, call it a vault, call it what you will, but for our purposes the important thing is you move by fucking bouncing up and down.

So the crawl, which is slower than crutching, continued until I reached the bathroom and my ordeal wasn't over.

See, I don't have one of those shower seats, even if I did I don't have "Use this plastic bag and duct tape to keep your splint and wrappings from getting wet, and a bath was right out.  Try giving yourself a sponge bath when you don't have a sponge and you can't get your left lower leg wet but you do have to clean right up to the edge of it because motherfucking urine.

* * *

So if you should find yourself suddenly unable to walk, make god damned sure you're sleeping on a floor with a bathroom.  Moral of the story.

I somewhat wonder if I just drove away half of my readers.

For those that are sticking with me through the Ankle Chronicles and the disgusting anecdote, I swear I'll try to get something story-like at some point.

* * *

* Since it's so expensive my insurance forced me to try out one that uses almost exactly the same principles on the grounds that given the extreme similarity to the one that works it should have worked too.  It was Hell.  My depression was back in full force rather fast, they made me stay on might-as-well-be-a-placebo (less the placebo effect) for a full month, it was difficult to get out of the depression again both in terms of time and dose.  We had to double my dose which now has me at maximum allowable dose, your doctor will periodically have to write to the state (or maybe insurance company, but for me that is the state) saying, "No my patient is not a drug dealer, yes she really needs that much, fuck off."

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Sickness and Wheelchairs

I'm sick today.  Not "I'm gonna die" sick or "Keep away contageous sick" just my digestive system being pissed off sick.  It's actually overdue.

I get sick when my sleep is significantly disrupted and since I rise with dawn on account of the cursed day star flooding the world with too much light for my sleep to endure, I have to go to bed early.  Small children whose age is measured in single digits stay up later than me.

I got out of the ER at about 1:20-1:30 AM, which was naturally on the day after I got in because getting out of the ER isn't something you can do in an hour and a half.  Likely the reason I wasn't sick immediately after was that I was basically empty (remember, it's a digestive system thing) on account of it being very difficult to prepare food with a recently broken ankle.  I'm still trying to get the hang of this.  I still have spectacular failures.

We'll get back to spectacular failures in a paragraph, but first what changed is that yesterday my dad bought and brought me a bunch of microwavable stuff so that I could deal with the food preparation problem the easy way.  No longer -- a few days isn't enough to call it starving, I've been starving and I know what it feels like.  What do you call it?  I'll go with "fasting".  No longer fasting myself, have stuff in me and am eating like someone who can afford microwavable food.

Yesterday I was positioning myself to get on the couch when I lost my balance, dropped at least one of my crutches, and landed pretty much exactly where I'd wanted to end up, but with way too much force.  My ankle was jarred like "OH MY FUCKING GOD!  KILLER DEATH PAIN!  IT GODDAMN HURTS," but the story doesn't end there because the crutch that I know for sure I dropped managed to hit the couch before me, my butt landed right on top of it, leverage and what not made the other end shoot straight up into my broken ankle which was still in all-caps mode from the force with which I'd landed.

Good fucking God is this harder than a sprain.

So that's not fun.  But I said, "and Wheelchairs" so it's time for a topic change.

* * *

The absolutely essential areas of my house are now crutch-safe because of the massive amounts of work I did on Friday.  (After I'd caught a few hours sleep.)  They are not remotely wheelchair accessible.

I want a narrow gauge wheelchair.  I could build a narrow gauge wheelchair if not for the fact that I have a broken ankle.  (I.e. if I didn't need it, I could make it.)  It would be simple.  Take your basic no-nonsense no-frills minimalist dining chair (seat just barely big enough to hold a butt, legs go straight down from there, no arm rests for they add width and everyone puts their elbows on the table anyway) and add a basic swivel wheel to the bottom of each leg.

The lack of connection between wheels and arms makes this a specialty device, but I could power and steer it with my good foot or pole it along using crutches.  The small size would allow it to move in smaller places than a standard wheelchair, and being swivel wheels would give a certain maneuverability.


When all this is over and I no longer have use for one, I'm going to build a full size wheelchair to the specifications I've always wanted.

Why not do it now when it would be useful?  I cannot sit cross legged, I cannot get off the ground easily.  I cannot pace.  I cannot wander like someone whose muse is coming and going faster and more often than a cat at an open door.

Also I'm broke until next month (use the donation button, become my patron; wow that was a shameless "give me money" plug) and in no shape to deal with construction materials.  It'll probably involve walking to home depot, buying materials (likely wood because I don't have the equipment to work with metal) and . . . wait.

It'll probably involve walking to Toys Я Us, buying a fucking wagon, walking back, waiting until I have more money, walking to Home Depot (anti-union bastards; did you know they force their employees to watch anti-union indoctrination films?), buying construction materials, putting them in the wagon, and walking home.

A that point there will be sitting, standing, cutting, doubt, despair, despondency, giving up, restarting, and so forth.

Hopefully at the end of it all I get a wheelchair with these properties:

Via the cunning use of gears, the push-pull dynamic is reversed.  Whenever I'm using a wheelchair I want it to be the pull that moves me forward because the pull in question comes more naturally to me (and with more strength and endurance) than the push in question.

Linking - I want to be able to use it one handed.  This requires an axle that can be made to engage and disengage.  When engaged turning either wheel turns both wheels, when disengaged the wheels are independent like normal.

Reversed linking - With the wheels linked as above it is impossible to turn the chair.  The addition of a single gear on one of the wheel's axle engagement point changes this so that when one wheel goes forward the other goes backwards thus turning the chair.

One could expand this to allow speeds of turns by having gears of various sizes be the enagement points (steal them from a bike) thus having gradations between "straight forward" and "turn in place" but that is not something for a prototype and would likely be a luxury item.

That almost entirely covers one handed use.  The last thing for one handed:

Break linking - I'm sure this already exists, but it didn't on one of the chairs I was in at the ER which caused me to wonder why I was moving when the break was supposed to be on.  Turned out that only one of the breaks had engaged properly.

Foot rest angling - This never would have occurred to me, but before my ankle was splinted the only position that didn't cause unendurable pain was with the foot pointed straight down in line with the leg.  You can't tilt the foot rest to accommodate that.  At least not on the chairs they had at the hospital.  The foot rest is 90 degrees or swiveled out of the way.  The solution we had to use was get the thing out of the way (leaving my injury unsupported) and count on the leg rest to keep it elevated.  This seems sub-optimal.

I've probably had other ideas, but they don't come to mind.


While I was in the hospital I imagined a tread chair that could climb stairs.  But I want to make a wheel chair so that invitation to disaster isn't going to happen.  Much of what I'm thinking comes from a certain comfort with gears gained as a result of being on the South Portland High School Robotics Team (Riot Crew).

The FIRST Robotics competition in which we participated was founded by Dean Kamen.  He invented a wheelchair that can go up stairs (all terrain in fact) using the same balancing technology to be found on the Segway (the Segway was actually more of an afterthought along the lines of "what else can we do with this tech?"), but it was just way too expensive.  And was only on the market for six years.

The idea is great: Yes, places should be wheelchair accessible by default, but that doesn't change the fact that some aren't yet and (I'm guessing this based on the "all terrain" bit) some can't be.  Those who need chairs shouldn't be limited by the inability (or bigoted refusal) of others to make places accessible.

The problem is that while being able to use stairs, traverse difficult curbs, travel sand, gravel, three foot deep water, and even psuedo-stand (it can make rider 'round about six feet tall, where in that range depends on the distance from the rider's butt to their head; it can't climb stairs in this mode, but it can go anywhere a normal wheelchair can go) it's not worth the price tag given that people are not, on the whole, rich.

On May 21st of last the Toyota announced that it's going to partner with his company to produce a new version of said chair.  One hopes it will be cheaper.  Even if it is, and even if insurance covers it, human powered chairs have a lot of advantages: they don't need a charge, they're not as heavy as a machine, they give you a feeling of control (in my opinion equal to walking), they're much cheaper, they're a lot smaller, so on, so forth.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Four good videogames, free to good home.

Today, for the first time in ages I was going to walk from South Portland to Portland (not a first time in ages thing) and join a march (yes a first time in ages thing).  I was going to be politically involved.  I was going to stand up and be counted.

Then ankle.  So not doing that.  So when I found out about a Humble Bundle where 100% of the proceeds go to charities of importance, and saw it had good stuff, I decided to buy it and thus feel a little bit better about myself (and get good stuff) for a mere $30 increase in my credit card debt.

So, here's the thing, some of this stuff I already own.  Thus I'm looking to give away the excess on a first come first served basis to whoever wants it.

If you want one, contact me via email: cpw [at] maine [dot] rr [dot] com

Day of the Tentacle - An adventure game, a classic, one of the best in its genre.  Guide people through three points in time in an effort to stop the world from being conquered by an evil tentacle.  Like I said, one of the best of its genre.  Even if you have no interest in games whatsoever, you're supposed to be familiar with it for cultural reasons.

This is the remastered version so no dealing with pixelated crap unless you want to (you can switch between original mode and remastered mode at will.)

World of Goo - one of the 25 best puzzle games of all time, no I'm not going to look up its exact ranking.  Build structure out of sticks with the goo as the adhesive, motors, and (basically) everything else, watch as they crumble to the ground because you didn't have enough structural support, repeat until you can get the goo to go into the level's goal.  Be fucking amazed that a game with such a simple premise could be so incredibly awesome.

System Shock Pack - Includes the enhanced edition of the first game, and System Shock 2.  These games have massive historical significance for the work they did blending FPS and RPG and various other things.  The greatest game of all time had as head of development a System Shock Almunus.

Bioshock and Deus Ex are often considered spiritual successors which puts them as the originators of the lineages of a diverse set of games (for example, Dishonored.)

So what are they?  Horror games set on space stations.  In the first game a hacker is hired by a corrupt executive to disable the ethics programming on an AI.  Corrupt executive didn't think this through, the AI, now without a conscience, had plans that are way beyond helping corrupt executive.  By the time the game starts she's taken over the space station she calls home, killed a lot of the crew, and converted the rest into deadly cyborgs she controls.

Horror FPS RPG.  Seminal work.  Set new standards for video games.  So on, so forth.

Also, as a side note, any time the first code you encounter is 0451 it's either a reference to the System Shock (2 I think) reference to Fahrenheit 451 or a reference to one of the many games referencing that reference.

Whoa that's a lot of words.


Huh, I thought there were more than that.  Better change the title.  Original title was:

Games for free, games for free, games for fucking free, seriously, contact me on this because games for free.

I might end up adding to this list because some of the games that I don't have are ones  think I decided weren't for me in the past, but determining if that still holds true when I've already paid for them takes longer than just checking what games I already have.

Friday, February 17, 2017

It's the little things.

I need to water the hanging plants.  This is not negotiable.  I must be done.  I keep on forgetting until I'm out of state for a week to ten days.  They are dying and if I don't want that to become "dead" the plants must be watered.

It quickly became apparent that there was no way in Hell I could get an open container of water . . . anywhere.  Maybe if it were a sprain, thus not a lightning rod for death=pain lightning, and it didn't have the added dead weight of a splint and wrapping.  I'm actually pretty good on crutches n those circumstances, it takes me a bit to get reacclimated, and then all is well.  No sure if I'm carrying liquid in open container good, but I was't actually dong that on crutches.  I was using a chair as a walker.

I have two gallon containers in the fridge that I use for my water.  That way when one is emptied and needs to be refilled the other is already cooled.  My tap water is so good it's spoiled me, and thus the containers don't need anything fancy like built in filters or whatnot.  They're actually old orange juice containers.  Topicana Grove Stand (most pulp, so you know it's the juice of oranges rather than juice that is orange, though orange juice is more yellow.)

It was easiest to take the full one.

I hadn't even left the kitchen when catastrophic failure occurred.  It hit the floor, it stopped being a container, uncontained water went everywhere.  A gallon of it.

At this point it is important to remember what I said earlier about clearing vs. cleaning.  I've cleared paths so I can get around the house.  I have not done that by cleaning.  I've done it by making every mess worse through the process of shoving it out of the way into a nice heterogeneous heap.

I have no idea what got wet, but I know enough to fear mold.

Now, the little things I talked about in the title?  I don't trust myself to make it across a puddle on a smooth kitchen floor using crutches.  Everything I might have used to sop up the puddle was and is on the other side of the puddle.

If I weren't on crutches I could fix the problem that happened because I was on crutches, but since I am on crutches there's a gallon of water spreading across my floor lookng for anything ready to rot or mold.

Crossing a shallow puddle: little thing.

Things, which I'm pretty sure don't exist, that would be useful right now.

I was just starting, as in step one, to clean up my house when I broke my ankle.  House is not crutch accessible.

If I don't want to die, I've got to change that.  Lots of moving around on my butt.

Why my butt?  I can't crawl.  The splint has my ankle locked into a right angle position, needs to be in line with my leg to crawl.

So thing one:

An Ankle Cart

Very small thing with two to four wheels, as necessary for stability and maneuverability, that keeps my broken ankle off the ground and has it roll wherever the leg pulls it thus allowing me to crawl on hands and knee by taking "broken ankle" out of the equation.  If everything is worked out just so then I could even crawl on hands and knees, plural.

The problem with being on the ground, though, is that eventually you need to get off it.  From sitting to standing can be tricky, but from ground to standing is Hell, so thing two:

Floor to sitting elevator

Think of it like a car jack, except probably with a square dolly base.  You start out not high off the ground.  Low enough that one can easily get from the ground onto it even in an injured state.  Then you crank until you're high enough to easily transition to standing.

Why a square dolly base?

Well obviously you want to be able to take it with you, but there's more.  When you've elevated it to the height of a chair/stool/thing then what you've got is a narrow gauge wheel chair.  Down side: you need to find a way to power it when you have no way of contacting the wheels.  (good foot, crutches, whatever)  Up side: it can fit in spaces ordinary wheel chairs never could.

Now with the crawling and chairing there's a question of how you're keeping the crutches with you.  So:

Crutch holding blimp/hover thingy

High enough to be out of your way, low enough to be within reach, programmed to follow you so your crutches are always within grabbing distance.

RC Trash Can and Recycle Bin

When I got broken I was cleaning.  I am no longer.  I'm clearing.  I'm making paths big enough to crutch through, but on the cleaning front I'm probably making everything worse.  Almost certainly, in fact.

Hey, I found my dagger.  Now I can open mail easily again.  Woo!

Back on point, think about it like needing to get stuff off the table so you can eat off the table.  You could clean the table, throw out trash, bin recyclables, put the stuff you keep back where it belongs, so forth.  Or you could just shove everything off of the table and onto the floor (thus quickly clearing off the table, but destroying any organization the stuff on the table might have had, mixing everything into one large heap, and possibly breaking shit.)

Putting stuff where it belongs is a firm no-go, but if I could call the trash can and recycle bin to me (or drive them to me) then I could at least dispose of that stuff.

Emergency backup bed

I sleep downstairs, stairs are death.  Of the three beds that were once upstairs, one is gone I know not where, one is in an addition to the house made by people who didn't believe in insulation (or, indeed, making sure air could not freely flow from inside to outside), and the final one, mine, is atop a broken box spring (I fully intend to destroy that thing that vexed m for so much of my life) in a room that needs way more work than I can afford just to reach the bed.

I need an easy to set up, small, emergency back up bed so I can sleep on the kitchen floor or something.


Hey, peanuts.


Self preparing, delivering, and cleaning food and drink

I had enough trouble keeping myself fed and watered before, what do I do now when it's an ordeal to make it to the kitchen and I can only have hands free if I'm sitting down?  You wouldn't believe how hard it was just to pour a glass of water today.  Actually, I'm lucky that "glass" is figurative because the attempt saw it crash to the ground with enough force to break some of the plastic that it's actually made of clean off.

People who answer their phones

I had only one job to do today: call the orthopedic surgeon --

Ask and you shall receive. Apparently.  They called back right where the break above is.  Mind you I couldn't make it to the phone in time and had to call them back three or four times before they did answer the phone, but I meet with the suregon in a week.

And I learned why I can't contact my mom, who is the other notable non-answerer.  She's in equador.  Some warning would have been nice, even before I was broken I'd been trying to get in touch with her because I need to give her approximately $650 she spotted me an her Sam's club membership would really help make my food money last.

But on the subject of phones:

Phone Drone

I need it to come from the charging dock to me wherever in the house I may be.  Taking it with me runs down the charge and risks it getting lost.  It needs to be in the charger before the call is made, come to me while things are still ringing, and return after I'm done with it.

Cat Communicator

I need to be able to get across the message: I'm useless right now, act as you would when I'm not in the house because your attempts to command may attention are anti-clearing.

Heli-Watering Can

The hanging plants need to be watered.  The hanging plants needed to be watered last month.  The hanging plants are god damned hard to get to.  Worse with me broken than ever before.

I need a no nonsense plant waterer that flies in, does the job, and flies back out again.

Pain killers that actually kill fucking pain

Kills pain dead.  None of this live kind of killing.

A peg leg that can be worn when you still have the leg

It's easy to see how it would work.  Your knee rests on it like you're kneeling on it, your leg sticks out straight back, supported or not as the need presents itself.  Walking is taken care of.  When you need to not have peg leg and flesh leg at right ankles you release the break and ease the flesh leg down into the peg leg (which is built to accommodate such by being composed of two pegs, on on either side of where flesh leg goes.  Probably a bar across the bottom to keep them aligned.)  Holding the knee in position while walking is done by a strap on the upper shin which is attached to the swivel part of the peg leg.

And so forth



A secondary pair of arms

One pair operates the crutches, another picks up, carries, moves, puts down, and otherwise manipulates objects.

That leaves me one pair short.

Stopgap ankle post

Until I write things up proper like, here are some short versions I've posted elsewhere:
* * *

So, in this time of trouble it's important to stand up and be counted rather than being the silent masses. If anyone should wonder why I'm not doing that, yesterday evening I broke my left ankle in three places.

Sorry, you'll all have to save the country without me.
* * *

Slacktivist (Don't know a soul who's not been battered):
Don't have a friend who feels at ease
Don't know a dream that's not been shattered
Or driven to its knees

Yesterday I slipped and fell all the way down the entire flight of stairs from ground floor to the basement. It felt like my left foot, specifically the ankle, hit every fucking one.

I broke it in three places. It's splinted now, which is good for making the constant pain bearable, not having it flop around in ways that were frankly disturbing and caused indescribable pain, and such. Also means I can't crawl. It's been a bad six months, and I don't thing it was all that good before then, house cleaning has suffered immensely and things are not really crutch accessible.

So fuck and fuck and fuckity fucking fuck.

But there is another point in here. Why am I not utterly fucked over for all time by this experience? The welfare state. I'm on SSI as permanently disabled (I don't plan to be permanently disabled, I may have hit the depression and related mental illness jackpot, but someday I intended to earn a living anyway*) which means I'm automatically on medicaid (MaineCare in my state) which means the scary sounding surgery that may involve screws and rods and the subsequent rehabilitation will be covered.

I am the leech on good capitalist society. I am every white American thing that people like Trump hate (and that's before we mention that I'm a trans lesbian who has always been a solid democrat.)

Thank you fucking taxpayers.

Also, for the record, I think that we should offer Medicaid to everyone (fuck income and ability, everyone needs access to good healthcare) and I wouldn't have minded if my 6 hour+ journey through the emergency room had taken longer because there were refugees who were higher on the triage list than me.

Certainly I think we should work to reduce wait times (hire more medical type people than are needed so things are faster) but not at the expense of giving refugees refuge and aid.


I ain't gonna be marching any time soon. Please, stand up and be counted for me. We'll survive this, but we need to work for it, and I just benched myself.


* I've been meaning to mention that I have a patreon account now. Been saving it for a Sunday post post so I wouldn't take away from weightier conversation. I'll probably still do that, but this is part of trying to get off the permanently disabled list (though I don't know what I'll do about health care then) so it kind of fits.

If you would like to give me recurring monthly payments go to my patreon.

If you would like to give me a one time payment, use paypal. cpw [at] maine [dot] rr [dot] com. Donate button available at Stealing Commas.
* * *

Short version: My ankle is broken in three places, it'll need surgery but first we need to wait for the swelling to go down.

Full version:

Actually, no. I'll make a post on that. (it was getting way too long) Slightly more detailed version:

I was about to start on the complex and difficult project of cleaning up my house. I was in the process of starting in fact. I slipped on the top step, and didn't stop until I was on the basement floor. I think my left foot hit every damned step on the way down. The pain was so great all I could do was scream profanity for a while.

After much pain and crawling I was on crutches ready for my dad to drive me to anywhere medical. Going down stairs on crutches is the hardest fucking thing you can do on crutches. I failed. my left foot just grazed something. The pain was too much, I fell over backwards and broke my porch. (Butt landing, no injury.)

Ambulance. Not exactly high on the triage list and it was a busy night. Results from my over-six hour stay in the emergency room: ankle broken in 3 places. It's splinted now. Good for keeping the pain endurable (the pain never stops) makes it fucking impossible to crawl.

Surgery will probably wait a week for the swelling to go down. May involve rods and screws.

I've never had surgery. As in, the only time I've been intentionally cut into was splinter removal and the result was that I decided I'm never fucking doing that again and have done a lot of research into alternative splinter removal with varying results.

It sounds scary. Is it scary?

My first post on this, which may have less detail than I just gave, is here.
First time I've ever been inside an ambulance. Now I have as much life experience as the elder weasel.
Oh, I forgot (I'm going to fill this thread with just me posting repeatedly) I'm not going to be doing much standing up and being counted. So if something is happening, a rally, a march, a whatever, and you think, "Well maybe I could, but it's not like it'll make a difference/other reason for not going," please do try to make the world a better place in my place.

I was seriously going to try to be part of a march, for the first time in years, tomorrow.

I broke myself

Tomorrow, by which I mean later today when one is supposed to start their tomorrow, I'll likely have more to say.  There wasn't much to do as I was waiting there for hours, low on the triage list, so I took a note or two.

For now the short version:
The news is horrible but it could be worse.
The short version:
FUCK!  Fucking fuckity fuck; it hurts!
The short version:
My good ankle is now my bad ankle.
The short version:
"It hit a step?"
"It hit a flight of stairs."

I broke my left ankle, my good ankle, in three places.  It'll be a week before the swelling goes down enough for the surgery I'm going to need.  I'll repeat the salient detail: I'm going to need surgery.

Ow: pain.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Returning to projects on hold, abandoned, forgotten, or some combination of the previous.

[For those who want to skip to the point, you'll find it after the second break.]

A while back it was looking like secondary computer was on the verge of breaking down, that would be bad.  Someone had a computer they weren't using and offered to send it to me.  That's what I was talking about when I said at Ana Mardoll's that people sending me stuff tends to be a "stars align" kind of thing.  People generally don't have working computer they're willing to give away (pay money to give away because they have to cover shipping) just because I happen to --maybe-- be in desperate need of one.

Hence trying to make a list of things that people might see as junk to be disposed of that would be of interest to me.  It seems more likely that people would be willing to part with junk than with marketable goods.

But, anyway, the problems with secondary computer turned out to be a passing thing and as a result I now have two secondary computers.  With so many other things going on in my life I didn't even unbox the replacement secondary computer until this week.  It just sat in the package it was mailed in for a while.

* * *

When I did unbox it I came to a fortuitous discovery: it has a DVD drive.  I haven't had a built in disk drive since two or more primary computers ago when I was forced to take a step down in most arenas in order to get a 4k screen.  (Oh my fucking god do my photos look fantastic in 4k.  I was worried that it would turn out to not be worth the loss in other areas, but it's really, really fucking worth it when you're a photographer, which I am, even if I'm not a particularly good one.)

So, here's why this matters: with all of the really, really bad shit happening to my family for these past six months things have kind of fallen apart, I've metaphorically curled up into a semi-depressed ball (thank you medication for keeping it from being a totally depressed ball) and let everything fall apart around me.

Even getting to the home entertainment center/column/shelf/thing --where the DVD player, VCR, Blu-Ray Player, record player, CD player, tape deck, and CRT TV that's too fucking heavy to move so it just sits there like some idol on a very high pedestal all live-- is an expedition.  The entropy known as "cat" has pushed everything that was sorted and clean on the edges of the room into a pile of mess in the center of the room and, quite simply, one does not want to go through that just to put a DVD in the player and turn on the TV.

One does not simply walk to the DVD player is my point.  You arrange a nine person expedition with two humans, four hobbits, an elf, a dwarf, and a wizard, fracture it at the end of the first volume which is technically the end of book two since each of the three volumes contains two "Books" find yourself an untrustworthy guide, sneak through the spider's den, and stumble toward the DVD player while a magical artifact destroys your willpower.

But now I can watch a DVD just by putting it into the drive on this computer which means that . . .

* * *

I never intended to stop my close readings of Deus Ex and .hack//Sign, nor my one of Kim Possible.

However, it's been so long that I'm not in the frame of mind for any of those things.  So what I was thinking was this: I could restart them all with updated posts.  The Deus Ex and .hack//Sign posts are entirely lacking in images, as I recall, and could do with a lot of clean up anyway.  The Kim Possible ones have images, but none of the completed episodes are in the format that I finally realized would be best (four posts for every one episode.)

So all of them could do with do-overs when it comes to format, and some of them could really do with overhauls when it comes to content.

Thus starting over and working my way back to where I left off would be useful in itself and also, hopefully, put me back in the right frame of mind for things.

What does this have to do with everything above the break?

Guess what format I have all three things in.  No, not DVD, cast a slightly wider net.

Deus Ex I have as a CD, the other two are DVD.  Having a computer with a working DVD/CD drive is thus a major help with all three.

It's not as if it's the only way I could continue some of the stuff, Kim Possible is available online for free, though how that works at any given moment depends on the ever-changing whims of Disney, and I picked up Deus Ex on Steam to save myself from constantly having to find the fucking CD, but .hack//Sign I only have on DVD and it really does feel like the best possible place to start.

So projects on hold: the deconstruction-like ones.

* * *

Being able to stick a .hack disk into the computer has reminded me of abandoned and forgotten projects.

The first is: how do you rip an audio track from a DVD, because I want to do that.

The next is a bit more complicated, still related to audio.

I've somehow done the above and ripped the audio from the DVD.  The track I'm interested in is the music-only track.  (Music is such an important part of .hack//Sign that when deciding what audio tracks to have they went with: Original Japanese, Local Language of place where we're selling the disk, music with no words or sound effects getting in the way.)

A big part of what I want to do with it is music matching.  There's been massive amounts of work in this field, mostly to help identify songs that aren't labeled (for when the CD tracks are labeled 1, 2, 3, and so forth) but also to identify different versions of songs.

I know almost nothing about the work that's been done beyond the fact that at least one method converts the audio into an image and then uses existing image comparison stuff to do the matching.

What I want to do is this:

I have the soundtrack CDs, I want to get the audio from the DVDs, then I want to compare the first against the second to determine:
  1. When a given song from the sound track is being used in the DVD audio
  2. What music on the DVD audio isn't on the sound track CDs.
I have no fucking clue how to do that.

Ideally part 1 would take the form of a time-stamped index, actually, as long as one is going for ideal, it would also include if the soundtrack track was played all the way through or just partially, anyway ideally something like this:

Track Uses Complete?
Track 01 [time]-[time]
Track 02 [time]-[time]

Or I suppose the last column could be what part of the track was played with "complete" corresponding to with [0:00.00] to [end time]

* * *

Thinking about cartoons (two of them, three if you count Teen Titans in the back of my mind) has me thinking of something I've wanted to do for a while with images.

Cartoons are kind of ideal for simple image matching rather than the more complex forms because they avoid angle changing like the plague: fervently but incompletely.

Usually you'll get levels:
  • unchanging or largely unchanging background
  • Far action
  • near action
  • overlay

Any given scene may have less than all of these things, the simplest shots are two levels: background and action.

Regardless, what I'd like to be able to do is automatically group together shots with the same background.  This requires being able to deal with obstructions (the moving foreground objects), tilts, pans, and zooms.

Obstructions are probably the easiest, just do a difference transform on the two images and if more than X% comes out as near black (smallest difference) then you've probably got the same background with only foreground differences.

Pans and tilts are next since unlike real world filming they're just showing different parts of the same flat image.  Do the above except do it repeatedly while moving one of the images relative to the other.  If they overlap one of the iterations should have close to zero difference in the overlapping area.

Zooms would seem annoying as all hell, but I could be overthinking the problem

Here's the annoying part: I know how to do this (well, where to look for the tools to do this) for more complicated things.  There has been so much work put into determining "these two images are pictures of the same thing taken from different positions" that grouping things that way is worked out in great detail.  The problem is that, since all the work is built to deal with a more complex problem, using those tools would be making the computer do way too much work for the task at hand and thus would significantly slow down any of the things I want to use this background matching for.

* * *



Things and Stuff

* * *

The above is probably full of typos, still getting used to a new keyboard.  For some reason more screw-ups in that arena have led to more screw ups of a less easily explained sort ("to" instead of "do".)

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Magical World Building that makes sense, vs. stuff that doesn't, using examples from Pirates of the Carribian

The first Pirates of the Caribbean movie had magic in it that, in general, made sense.  It was simple, straightforward, and accounted for pretty much everything.  Not quite everything, but close enough.

The island could only be found by those who knew where it was.  Jack had a magic compass to point the way, so it was easy for him to triangulate the island's position.  After the position was found, he shared it with Barbarossa (big mistake) and Norrington.

Thus everyone who found the island did so by following the simple magical rule: you've got to know where you're going before you get there.

Presumably if someone didn't know where it was, and took the same route (at a different time since following someone who does know where it is probably counts as being led) they'd find open ocean.

The giant major magic thing, though, was the cursed treasure.

Cortés was an asshole so the gods placed a curse on the treasure.  The treasure and the stone box it is kept in are now magical.  Take any treasure out of the box and you're cursed.  The curse isn't lifted until all of the treasure is returned to the box along with blood from everyone who took treasure.

The stone box has writing on it explaining the curse and what needs to be done to lift it.

The pirates took the treasure, realized the curse was real when they were unable to experience anything pleasurable ever again and noticed that in direct moonlight their bodies and clothes had turned to something resembling what would happen if you left a dead body out for crows to feed upon.

In order to lift the curse they had to translate the box.

Their early translation revealed that they had to return all of the treasure.  At this point Will's dad thinks they deserve to be cursed and sends a piece of the treasure off to his son.

Since he can't be executed, Barbosa ties him to a canon and dumps him in deep ocean.

Additional translation reveals they needed that guy's blood.  Oops.

They collect all of the treasure save Will's piece and all of the blood save Will's dad's before the main action of the movie begins.


This has set up all of the magic seen in the entire movie.  They need to return all of the treasure but they're one piece short, they need a substitute for Will's dad's blood, that being Will's blood, but they've already contributed the rest of the needed blood.

It's short, simple, complete, and it makes sense.  The god's cursed the treasure and stone box, explanation for the how it works is written on the box.

There's no major problem.  No, "Wait, what?"  It works and makes sense.

* * *

Pirates of the Carribian: On Stranger tides, a movie I really wish I hadn't seen because as much as I might like certain characters, good fuck did that movie suck, revolves around the fountain of youth.

Here's how the fountain works:
  1. You have to find the fountain in which requires smacking two silver Spanish chalices together and having their resonating sound set off a magic thingy.
  2. You need a mermaid tear.
  3. You need to fill the two previously mentioned silver Spanish chalices with fountain of youth water, put the mermaid tear into one of them, and have two people drink at the same time, one from each chalices.
  4. One person dies, the other gets the dead one's life force.

How the fuck does that work?

I'm completely serious here.  The only purpose of the chalices is to be used in a fountain of youth ceremony, implying they were made after the fountain was discovered, but you can't find the fountain without the chalices.

And even if we are to assume that chalices were somehow made pre-fountain with all of the fountain specific magic within them, what then?

Are we to believe that that someone traveled every nook and cranny of Florida smacking the chalices together every step of the way in hopes they would magically lead to the fountain?

And once they got there, how did they figure out that you needed two people to drink for it to work, how did they figure out that there was need for a mermaid tear?  Did they try adding a drop of every fluid not to mention a sprinkle of every possible soluble thing?
"Well, buffalo piss and sea salt doesn't do anything, what's next?"

"We're going to try buffalo bile and sea salt.  Then buffalo brain fluid, then buffalo blood, and so forth until we've exhausted every single sea salt / buffalo combination."
Remember how easily these questions were resolved in the first movie.  The stone box and cursed coins were created by the same entities for the purpose of working together and an explanation of how they worked was carved into the sides of the stone box.

There certainly could have been something like that here.  Pictograms would have been enough, mind you there still would have been a question of why the fucking Spanish chalices.  But if that were the only problem we could handwave.  Maybe the original drinking vessels were damaged beyond repair and the Spanish chalices were created to exacting specifications to replace them.

As is, though, we have:

Fountain - can only be gotten to via land unless you can breathe under water (mermaids can get in, but don't expect them to just show up and give you a tear.)

Mermaid tears - very hard to get if you have a mermaid, and mermaids are even harder to get than the tears.  generally found in a cove where the fountain most definitely is not.

Chalices: From Spain which is nowhere near the other shit.

Ritual: Doesn't appear to be recorded anywhere, requires all there of the previous things, and seems very, very unlikely to have been arrived at through trial and error.

Absent Tiresias himself showing up and telling you how to put all of this shit together, it seems like the connection between the fountain and mermaid tears would never have been discovered, the chalices would never have been made, and none of this would ever happen.

We need all three things to, by extraordinary coincidence, appear together just for anyone to have the slightest inkling something might be going on.
Did she just cry in your silver chalice --created by order of the prophet who can see all things even the end result of self-fulfilling prophecy-- and then swim away?
I think it was the smell of my onion sandwich.
Whatever, lets have some spring water and toast to our continued partnership.
Yeah, lets do that.
*they clink, they drink*
*horrible magic starts killing him*
Oh God, what's happening to me?
[partner]!  Oh my God, what can I do?  Tell me what to do!
*he dies*
Hey, I feel reinvigorated.
I don't buy it.  The whole thing is bullshit.

* * *

In Curse of the Black Pearl (the first movie) it was clear they'd put thought into how to make the magic make sense.

Why didn't the pirates need blood from everyone with whom the cursed treasure had changed hands?  Because the treasure and the stone box were linked and only taking the treasure out of the box cursed you.

Will got his piece of the treasure so the curse wouldn't be lifted and then the people pissed off about it disposed of the blood they needed every bit as much as that piece of the treasure?  How does that make sense?  Because they still hadn't fully translated the explanation of the curse and how it was lifted.  Will Sr. (Bootstrap Bill) sent away the piece as soon as he learned they needed to return it, he was tied to a canon and thrown overboard shortly thereafter, then, later still, they realized they got further in their translation and realized they needed his blood.

So on, so forth.

Watching On Stranger Tides, on the other hand, it's clear that no one even considered how any of it would work.

It's possible that this is a result of On Stranger Tides being a kitbash that takes elements from an '80s book of the same name and attempts to make them into a Pirates of the Caribbean movie.  Or it could be no one gave a damn.

In large part what makes Curse of the Black Pearl work is that the creators thought about the first time.  The cursed treasure was still there to be taken meaning that Cortes put it back.  Cursed Cortes isn't marauding all over, meaning he put it back right.

As soon as you've answered why he put it back and how he did it right, you've basically got all of the magic in the movie figured out as much as it needs to be.  Not quite all because Jack has his compass which has no explanation in the movie, but a compass that points toward what you're looking to find is pretty self-explanatory.

It's clear that no one did the same, "What happened previous times?" thinking regarding the fountain of youth stuff, because they've created a system where nothing outside of absurdist magical slapstick (with dark undertones) could possibly result in the first time ever actually happening.

* * *

Magic makes it easy to have character's collecting plot tokens: This ritual requires mystical ingredients X, Y, and Z.  A story can be made out of needing to collect X, Y, and Z.

But it needs to be thought out.  Often times ingredients can be made general, that can reduce the "What the fuck?" factor of how people figured out these things in combination did something of note.  If it had been "water from a sacred spring, the tear of a magical creature, and twin goblets of an alchemist," then it would be a lot easier to believe that someone somewhere somewhen discovered that the given result was produced.

Other times the ingredients are specific, but in a set.  (For example, the unbreakable sword, impenetrable breastplate, and invulnerable helmet.)  Again, this can make sense because the things are designed to work together.

Where it doesn't work is when you do random asspulls (water from this one specific fountain, in these two specific chalices, and a mermaid tear in one of them) without ever asking, "Ok, how did someone find out that combining these seeming unrelated things in this rather random and counter-intuitive way, would produce the desired result?"

Magic lets you get away with a lot of shit, but there has to be sense rather that nonsense.  Even if someone's magical power is THE POWER OF NONSENSE it's going to have to be applied in sensible way.

* * *

Have I mentioned that I have no heat and it's cold in here?  The oil's coming today so I seem to have survived, but as I was out re-shoveling the path so it can actually be delivered, the absurdity of the On Stranger Tides magical system popped into my head (again, this is hardly first time) and demanded I write a post about magic that makes sense and thus works as a narrative element, vs magic that doesn't.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Death and The Lovers - My proposed Angelic Tarot

I have been reunited with secondary computer, though primary isn't yet sent off for repairs, I hear there's a blizzard incoming.

So clearly the time has come to talk about tarot cards that don't exist.

I mentioned them in the "Things I need or want" post, these falling firmly on the "want" side of the divide.  Here is what I said:
A tarot deck where the imagery mostly features people with wings (angels if you like) who are fucking poor and just trying to survive.  (Bonus points if "The Lovers" are female-Gabriel and Mary.)
~The Lovers~

So I've already talked about The Lovers, we'll start with that even though when I started this post I'd forgotten I already made reference to the card, and thus planned to start with death.

Rather than try to be historically accurate to what a betrothed woman in first century Judea might look like, we'll be going with modern day stuff.

The card shows Mary and female-Gabriel in Mary's hovel.  Mary's hovel lives down to the name (hovel has "squalid" in the definition, which is unusually evocative as definitions go.)  Her clothes are marred by tears and stains, and she's wearing her jacket inside because the heating is out again.  One assumes she's a young adult.

Gabriel, being an immortal being that doesn't age, is appears about the same age as Mary.

She's God's messenger so she has tattered bike gloves, shoes that were once comfortable for a variety of things motion related things but have seen too much mileage, and a beat up leather messenger bag (that is, the kind of bag that hangs at your side using one strap over the opposite shoulder.)  Her clothes, even her coat, are all light-weight because you never know when the boss is gonna call on her, and when she does she needs to move.  Can't have anything slowing her down.

A bit of trumpet (modern, not heraldic) is poking out of the back of the bag.  The feathers of her wings are shades of blue, they're pulled in rather close as there's not a lot of space in the room.

The two of them stand on opposite sides of the scene, Random crap is on the floor between them because Mary wasn't expecting company.  Even so a smile plays on Mary's lips and the two gaze into each others eyes in a way only evangelicals at college possibly can.


Death is sitting cross legged on the ground, her scythe is propped over her right shoulder with the blade end up and the other end held from sliding forward by her legs.  Obviously it has a grain cradle because death is a very tech forward kind of person.

The ground where she sits is covered in verdant green grass, though a wheat field may or may not be visible a ways behind her.  Either way, the horizon line isn't far above her legs and all background above that is monochromatic blue sky.

Her right wing is at rest, she's scratching the top of her head against her left wing which is outstretched.  Think crow wings for shape and color.  (Don't forget that they're iridescent, there's more than just flat black here.)

Her hands are resting on her legs, her expression is carefree, with the fact that her head itches enough to scratch not registering on her face.

The scene should look peaceful, serene even.  This is Death, after all, it's kind of hard to perturb her.  (In her place, I'd have a nervous breakdown within moments of starting her job.  She manages to be fine, as evidenced by the lack of a zombie apocalypse signifying that she's gone on strike.)

It's a warm day, her arms are bare up to the elbow.  She's wearing jeans and a sturdy shirt.  Consider: she's got a scythe.  She should look like she's ready to do manual labor on a farm.


If I come up with 76 more descriptions I'll have proposed a full deck.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Help me deal with backup bloat

Ok, so, computer kaput and I'm borrowing someone else's to write this.  We've got that covered.

I'll soon be sending the computer in for repairs, the mistake of not having my secondary close at hand will soon be over, so on, so forth.

This is ritual I know well.  My family, a family that got into computer-tech before it was cool,* is one that is computer kryptonite.  We never ask our dad for help when there are computer problems in spite of the fact that he'll know how to fix them because he likes being hands on rather than explaining from a distance and if he's even in the same room the laws of physics will bend in incomprehensible ways that will ruin everything in ways previously thought impossible.

As in:
"Why did we bother making this error message?  There is nothing that could possibly produce this problem within our universe."

My mother is largely immune because, even though she's still a Witham (she divorced my dad, not my aunts and uncles and cousins and grandparents) she was not born that way.

My sister and I were, but we're watered down.  We're as much Syska as we are Witham.  We grew up with our only regular quasi-religious tradition of any kind being "Polish Supper" which was when we went to a big communal meal at the area Polish church circa Christmas* and Easter.  (My mother's mother would occasionally drag us to Catholic church services, but there was never any regularity.)

Still, we're also as much Witham as we are Syska and that means we mix with electronics the same way water elementals do: badly.


This brings us to the heart of the matter: I've needed to back up data for computer after computer after computer because --oh my fucking god-- only one outlived its warranty and most become irreparably damaged before the warranty has had chance to stretch its legs.

All of these backups take up space, and many of them duplicate things.

What I need, which may or may not exist, is a program that crawls a hard drive looking for duplicated files and folders (exact duplicates) shoves one version of the file into some "common" folder and replaces the files in the original location with not-exactly-shortcuts.

Not-exactly-shortcuts?  That's not a real term.  You just made that up.

Yes I did.  It needs to be more than a forwarding address, it needs to tell (almost?) anything that calls it, "no, do what you were supposed to do to me to that thing over there."  If something is supposed to read line three of the file named [something] at [place] I need it to not read line three of the pointer file that's holding that name in that place but line three of the original file the pointer file points to.

If something is displaying image files I need it to treat the pointer file for an image file as the image file its pointing to instead of going, "That's a shortcut, not my bailiwick."

So on, so forth.

Anything that can do what I need?  I'd appreciate the help greatly.


* My mom was once a punch card operator and she was totally a programmer before anyone knew what that was, decades later when I was child, my dad was the one on the mono-molecular edge and my mom was still a force with which to be reckoned, even if my sister and I didn't really grasp that as children since, unlike our dad, she didn't work with computers for a living or a hobby.

* My little ceramic Christmas tree is something my mom won at a raffle at Polish Supper.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

My computer died (in story form)

Short version:

As noted two days ago I knew it was having problems and I would have to take it in eventually, things got a lot worse.  Now even more so.  (And in a completely different way.)  It's clearly decided to force the issue of repairs.

If it paid attention it would know that I won't be able to bring it in until Sunday at the earliest so there's no point in kaputing itself now.  It should have waited.  This time it isn't bouncing back, it's entirely out of commission and I'm using someone else's computer to type this.


The long version: Since I now have a patreon account I figured I should put a notice there and when you make a text post it actually says, "Tell a story." so this is what I wrote (yesterday if it matters, I waited till today to say it here because I wanted to see if the computer had another bounce back left in it):


It says to tell a story, so here is one:

Once upon a time there was a girl named chris the cynic and she had a computer that was surprisingly decent considering her means.  It had a good warranty but chris did not like to bring it in to be repaired because, even when things went perfectly, repairs would take at least two weeks.

Thus she tried to ignore minor faults with her computer while planning to have it repaired "at some point" and went on doing that, more or less, till yesterday.

At that point the computer lost its ability to draw power, and thus had only a partial charge remaining before it was but a paperweight.  Lowercase chris raced against time to create copies of the hopes and dreams that were stored within the strange an powerful black box in hopes that she would not be without them for the time of restoration and could avoid paying an $80 (or was it $100?) data backup fee at the Buy called "Best" before the Squad of the Geeks attempted to repair box that stored the hopes and dreams.

Dreams and hopes, however, were mixed with narratives of a different sort and chris was never good at keeping things neatly sorted so the tiny text file of hope might be mixed in with the giant program of ludologic significance in which one raced through the clouds from platform to platform in a perspective of primacy.

And so while the platformer of the person who is first might not need to be backed up, it was easier to just tell the strange and powerful black box of computing to copy everything including the profanity inducing entity known as "Cloudbuilt".

Thus it came to pass that even after the computer of chris had regained its ability to draw power, it was still not done copying the hopes and the dreams to a place where they would be safe.

And then, just today, the strange and powerful black box, whose binary rituals trace their roots to African sand divination, decided that it would sleep forevermore before the transmission of hopes, dreams, and ludatorial entities had been completed.

So now chris has a box that will, at most, give the appearance of waking up, without ever actually waking.  It refuses to even allow chris to access the deep and esoteric magic of the bios, though the box may have been imbued with a more modern magic known as "uefi", but chris does not know because she cannot access any of the magic the box is meant to use.

She will not be able to bring the computer to the Squad of the Geeks at the Buy which is Best until the week that is next has begun.

Therefore the girl known as chris the cynic fears that she will not produce content to share with those who are to her as Maecenas was to Vergil and Horace.


tl;dr: My computer is broken, this could mean that content, already slow in coming, is even more sparse.