Saturday, April 29, 2017

The Pink Paladin

For a long time I've had this idea in my head, set in a Power Rangers type setting.

This is rough.  Note, for instance, how it starts off in first person and then drops first person forever after.  And, more or less anything else.  It really is lacking in any kind of polish.

- - -

You live in this city and you know how to hide, how to cower, and above all else you know to run like hell when the fighting starts.  Knowing these things, however, doesn't necessarily mean you actually do them.

I was behind cover, but as close as I could get without being damaged.  A second floor bathroom had landed in pieces and made for a good spot.  A positively beautiful tile floor was now a short wall that kept me hidden from the action, and a bathtub on its side could be used as a more enclosed hide-spot if any of the fighters decided to take a look, which they likely wouldn't.

I had a good view.  The paladins were outmatched, but that was hardly unusual.  They tended to start off weak, have absurdly long fights, and win by having greater stamina.

Then everything changed.  A lucky blow, badly placed rubble, a building that just needed one more --insignificantly tiny-- nudge for another piece of fall off.  Put it all together and the pink paladin dropped like a rock.

By the time I got there her opponents had moved on.

"Are you o-- April!?" is what I said.  The armor had receded in the way that sufficiently advanced technological and/or magical armor is wont to do after someone is out of the fight.  It was definitely April.

She even raised a hand in a weak wave and and gave an equally lackluster, "Hi."

I pushed the surprise from my mind as I knelt down beside her and tried to start assessing her injuries.  "How are you feeling?" I asked.

The assessment proved damned impossible.  The armor had protected her clothing, meaning I couldn't actually see her injuries, whatever they might be.

"I've been better," she said, sounded pained, "but I'll live."

"Your unprofessional opinion as a non-doctor brings me great joy," was my response.  "Where hurts?"

"You're no more a doctor than me," she shot back, which was true.

"Whatever, tell me day of the week, where you are, the President of the United States, and wiggle your fingers and your toes."

"Thursday, in a partially collapsed building, I'd rather not, and," she showed me her fingers wiggling, but then looked distracted, a moment of fear, some concentration, and finally she said, "I can't feel my toes."

Her shoes were pink and white converse, I took her right foot and felt her toes through the shoe, "Wiggle." I said.

They definitely moved.

"Well, something's getting through, whatever that means," I said.  "We need to get you to someone who actually knows what they're doing."

I really didn't see the, "No!" she shouted at me coming.

"How are the others doing?" she asked at a normal volume.

I had to move around a bit to get a good look.  When I did, I saw about what you'd expect when a team of six that was already losing became a team of five.

"They're getting trounced," I said.  I'm almost positive that's the correct usage of the word "trounced".

"We've got to help them somehow."

"You cant feel your toes," I said, "I don't have mystical magical power armor from an alien planet."

"Alternate dimension."

"Something that's not from this dimension seems pretty alien to me."

"Not really the point," she said.

"You brought it up."

"My team needs help."

I brought myself so we were face to face, said, "Look--" realized how badly I was invading her personal space, backed the Hell off, said, "Sorry," and was about to make a really good point, when she surprised me and made the really good point get forgotten.

"Do that again," she said.

"Um," I said with full on eloquence, "what?"

"Come closer," she said.

I did, and she held up a necklace that I'd never seen before.  The chain looked normal enough, the rock, however, did not.  It was pink, sort of an uneven triangular bipyramid, and might have been reminiscent of bog standard rose quartz if not for the fact it was glowing.

"It likes you," she said.

"You've lost me."

She took off the necklace and offered it to me with her left hand, "Put it on, hold the gem in one hand on your chest," she made her right hand into a fist and held it to her chest just below the neck, "then just close your eyes."

"Are you sure you don't have a head injury?"

"You said you needed mystical magical power armor."

"Actually, I said--"

"Not the point," she said.  "Help my friends."

So I did what she said.

* * *

The change in the fight was unmistakable, but at first none of them were sure what caused it.  Things just got . . . easier.  It wasn't really until a small group of the attackers broke away to face away from from them that it became clear a new combatant had entered the fight on their side.

It was the purple paladin who got the first good look at the person helping them.  Unmistakable pink and white armor.

"April!?" she shouted even though the coms would have made a whisper sufficient, "You're ok?"

"Not April," a male voice replied.  "One word about the color, I leave.  You can go back to getting your asses kicked."

"Got it."

* * *

"What the fuck!?"

Fight over, everyone shut down their armor.  Five of the paladins were used to the changes that could mean, wearing colors that matched their armor was done to minimize it.

The replacement pink paladin, however, was completely unprepared and had taken no steps to cope.

There were a few snickers as the others looked at him in a pink tank top and white skirt with pink trim.  Given his outburst, it was obviously not what he'd been wearing before.

Susan, whose purple and black outfit had remained unchanged laid a hand on the replacement's shoulder.  "It always sucks the first time," she said in a way that was clearly meant to be reassuring.

"If you wear clothing that roughly matches the gem's preferences or expectations or whatever it is that the gem has in mind," Wendy, the green and black paladin, said, "then it usually doesn't make changes."

"It's why we all wear our colors," Matthew, the yellow and white paladin said, "in spite of it kind of screwing with the whole anonymity thing."

Jason, the peach and white paladin said, "Just trying not to laugh," when attention was turned to him.

"Anyway, if you've got something you really don't want to lose, you should take it off like Tim does with his coat," Susan said, pointing to the Blue and Black paladin.

"My coat," the replacement pink paladin said, walking to Tim, snatching the ankle length brown duster, and putting it on.

Tim said, "I want--"

"I saved your life, price was one coat," the replacement pink paladin said, "if you're unhappy with the deal, forfeit your life and I'll make sure the coat finds its way to your casket."

Susan laughed.

"I am not walking around looking like this," the replacement paladin said before closing the coat to hide what the gem had left him wearing.  "April is over there," he pointed, "and needs and ambulance.  I'm going home to change into something less absurd."

As he started to walk away, Wendy asked, "What was your name again?"


* * *

"Hey," April said from her hospital bed as Zach entered.

"Hey," Zach said back.  He looked around the room, found a chair, moved it next to the bed, and plopped into it.  "Couldn't have warned me about the clothes thing?"

"What would you have done?" April asked.

"I have no idea, but --"

"I heard you were in a dress."

"Skirt and tank top," Zach said.  "Still not an experience I have any desire to repeat."  Zach started to take off the necklace.

"What are you doing?"

"I figured you'd want your inter-dimensional trinket back."

"You haven't heard my prognosis, have you?"

"Unless it involved a prohibition on dealing with alien battle armor--"

"If I'm lucky I'll eventually be able to walk short distances," April said.

"Ok," Zach said, "I'm not sure whether I should be reacting with, 'That's great,' or, 'That sucks,' but either way, I'm less than clear on how it relates to the whole battle armor thing."

"The armor was made for someone who could do the whole 'running jumping climbing trees--'"

"--putting on make-up while your up there'," Zach finished the quotation.

". . . thing.  I can't do that, so I won't be able to use the armor properly.  It needs a new host."

"So we'll just hold auditions, 'Do you want to be a super secret warrior?  Try out here, don't think too hard about how we relate to the ‘super secret’ thing.'"

"It's already found a new host."

Wasn't hard to figure out what that meant.

"If it wanted to work with me it shouldn't have dumped me in a skirt with no warning."

"You won, didn't you?" April asked.

"I have no intention of becoming a super hero," Zach said.  "Helping out was a special circumstances one-time thing."

"Would you just hear me out?"

~ - ~ - ~
~ Time Passes ~
~ - ~ - ~

"It looked pretty brutal out there," April said.

"If things keep up like this," Zach said, "Tim is never getting his coat back."

"Did it again?"

"It does it always," Zach grumbled.

"Want to talk about something else?

"What's the agenda for today?"

~ - ~ - ~
~ Time Passes ~
~ - ~ - ~

"The others never want to spend time with me anymore," April said, "and whenever they do get stuck talking to me it's like I'm already dead or will be soon.  'Remember those things we used to do?'  I'm trapped in past tense.  We could do those things again if they'd just fucking think of me as a human being!"

There was some silence.

"Done?"  Zach asked.

"I think so."

"Think it over," Zach said.  "Be sure."

"I'm done."

"Ok," Zach said.  "That is the stupidest fucking shit I've ever heard!  You're in a wheelchair not a hearse for fuck's sake!  You can do all kinds of things and if they'd just pull their heads out of their asses and be actual friends they'd realize that."

"I know, right?" April said.

"That's a really shitty way for them to act," Zach said, "but I guess 'hero' is more of a profession than a state of mind."

"I don't care if they're noble or anything, I just wish I still had more than one friend," April said.  "At least you treat me like a person."

"I don't think that speaks highly of me so much as it condemns the rest of the world," Zach said.

~ - ~ - ~
~ Time Passes ~
~ - ~ - ~

For most intents and purposes Zach had dropped off the face of the earth.  That no one else had thought to actually go to his home and check on him spoke volumes for exactly how screwed up things were these days.

The good news was that the temporary ramp they'd set up had managed to be rather permanent in the persistent absence of its oft-delayed replacement.  There was no response to a knock at the door, but April hadn't really expected one.  If you can open a door, you can pick up a phone.

The problem was that, in spite of best efforts, Zach's home was very much not wheelchair accessible.

Twice April had to get out of the chair, fold it slightly, push it through a too-small doorway, and then drag herself across the floor, using only her arms, to reach the chair again.  She really, really wished the point when she could walk a step or two would hurry up and arrive.

Still, nothing she couldn't handle.

As she progressed further she began to notice white and pink clothing --likely what the gem had been sticking Zach with-- strewn about.

For some reason she didn't feel like calling out to Zach again.  She felt like going to the center of the mess, so she steered herself to where the clothing littering the floor was most dense and went that way.

It didn't take long to realize there was more 'white and pink' than her original hypothesis could account for.  That didn't change her plan or direction, though.  When she was finally able to see Zach, she found him standing in front of his bathroom mirror pulling on a gray tee-shirt.

He used the gem to transform into the pink paladin armor and back again.  He was left in a strapless pink and white dress.  He spun around and looked at himself in the mirror from all angles.

No part of this made sense to April, but if the pile of pink and white clothes on the floor were any indication, he'd been transforming a lot.

"What are you doing?" April asked.

Zach spun to face her, for a moment looked at her in shock, and then slowly let himself collapse to the ground.  He seemed on the verge of tears.

"Are you ok?" April asked as she wheeled herself closer.

"I think it's mocking me," Zach said.


"It gives me all of these clothes," Zach gestured all around.  "All of them would look great, but not on me.  It's like it's trying to remind me that no matter how I feel I'll never be a real girl and these things will never fit."

There was a very long silence.

"Ok," April said.  And then she didn't say anything for a bit.  "Let's just make sure I've got this right." She paused again.  "You want to be a girl?"

Zach nodded.

"And you think you don't look good right now?"

"How could I?" Zach asked.

"Ok, you know what?" April then stalled out.

More awkward silence.

"Um, let me start over," April said.  She took a breath.  "I've only found you attractive once.  Just one time.  In all of the time that I've known you, only the one time.  You know when?"

Zach shook her head.

"When you were modeling for yourself in the mirror right before I let you know I was here," April said.

Zach moved to look April in the eyes so fast April was afraid Zach would get whiplash.

"The thing is," April said, "I'm not attracted to boys, and despondency isn't exactly a turn on either."

"You mean . . ."

"If you weren't so sad right now," April said, "you'd be a really sexy girl."

~ ~
-  -  -
~ ~

The idea being, basically, the magic sci-fi armor leaves you in clothing it feels is appropriate, hence the traditional color-coding of even civilian clothes, but it's also trying to work with the user.  The problem it has is that it can't really work out the second half of, "My user would love to wear this, but that's a secret desire."

Thus, with total absence of malice, it's severely fucking with Zach because, since Zach is passing as cis-male, the costume changes end up being both humiliating and also hurtful at a deeper level, because Zach would love to wear such things, it's just that everyone looks at the clothing on Zach's body and sees a joke.

It, however, eventually works out in the end, starting with April finding out Zach is really a trans girl and working outward from there.

April's recovery will eventually take her to a point where she has dull feeling in her lower extremities and the ability to walk a step or two, but no more.  She does not magically revert to a 'running, jumping, climbing trees' capable person.

The five other paladins eventually come around both with respect to accepting Zach as female and recognizing that April is still a full person (even though her mobility has changed.)

Character Bio: Corv, from Patreon

[Originally posted at my Patreon Page in a patron only post on Jan 24th of this year, as noted, I have no intention of stuff there remaining exclusive forever.  This is actually overdue to be posted here.]
[Corv first appeared in the only extant chapter of Bunking Together, and her team first appeared in the second chapter of A Family Matter.]

I was trying to start doing an overview of the teams I've introduced so far in super person universe, but instead this popped out:


Corvida of the Outland Reach is a half-demon who was intended to be an Antichrist figure but was taken in and raised by some of the nicer inhabitants of Hell.

Between her 12th and 13th birthdays her power started to manifest in significantly greater force than it had before.  If she remained in Hell she would have been a beacon that drew her full-demon father and his forces not just to her but also to those who raised and protected her.  She fled to earth where the power of her father and his followers was significantly weaker.

Initially she tried to find heroes who would help her in the inevitable fight against her father.  That failed.  Many were wary of of joining forces with a demon while others who would have helped were unable to do so for reasons of politics.  Also, she was a kid talking about apocalyptic prophecies.  There were quite a few (ones who couldn't sense her nature or the truth of her words) who just didn't take her seriously.

She wandered the United States for more than a year.

When she was 14 she found herself in the middle of a citywide disaster.  She did what she could to help, which was when she met Java --a former sidekick who was about her age.  When adults in authority came to the area she and Java were working in, they shunted the two aside "children" aside.

Corv and Java were placed with three other would-be heroes in the same age group.  The group would later refer to this event as, "Being put at the kiddie table."  Rather than sit idly by, all five slipped away and ended up solving the problem on their own.

Their effectiveness, as well as Java's fame from his sidekicking days, caused the city to officially recognize them as a legitimate team of heroes, one that would step in when others super powered threats arose.

A few of the heroes that Corv had previously written off had some hand in this, behind the scenes, as getting Corv her own team was seen as a potentially viable compromise solution.

Those who didn't want to work with demons or children could be comfortable knowing that she was in a provincial minor league team.  Those who thought that Corv deserved help could be comfortable knowing she had found it.

Corv's team became the model on which various subsequent young adult teams were based, and the flagship of a franchise of such teams.

The moment Corv turned 18 the inevitable battle with her father began.  It was a confusing and complex thing as Corv, someone who never wanted the role, was intended to be the instrument of her father's will, and the executor of his power, on earth.  Much of the battle involved the fight for Corv's mind and soul itself.

After the eventual victory, Corv and her team returned to being guardians of a single city and fighting the lesser threats that presented themselves.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Tried and didn't die -- The Wishgiver

[Ana Mardoll wrote The Wish Giver wish you should read, before writing it she described the idea on twitter which included this "Ugh, now I wanna write a fantasy narrative where the local dragon can grant wishes but only to people who defeat her.  If you're coming with intent to become world-king or wev, she will CRUSH you but SOMEHOW the folk who come for body alterations always win."]
[Someone asked "what would happen to those who had a wish that was morally very sympathetic but ultimately wrong?"  This non-canonical (I'm not Ana), but I maintain that it is, at least, a possible outcome.  Originally posted at Ana Mardoll's Ramblings.]

Every part of me ached, I tried to push it away and return to the unfeeling darkness I'd been in, but the ache called me back to my body and soon I was mostly awake. I let my eyes stay closed and held on to the last pain dulling vestiges of sleep as I tried to call forth where I was, what had happened, and why I ached so much.

Things came to me slowly. I was on a quest to the wish-giver. I'd finally reached my destination but my horses were both exhausted. I'd hired a local and her donkey to carry my armor as I walked to the great dragon's den, and help me don it when I arrived.

The fight began, it seemed impossible to touch the beast, such was her skill in combat, the battle dragged on and then . . . nothing.

How could there be nothing? Any fight must end. Had I injured my head? My whole body ached, but I didn't sense the kind of pain that such an injury would create.

I allowed myself to cross the final threshold into wakefulness, and I groaned.

"It took you long enough," I heard someone say. The voice was familiar.

I opened my eyes to see the donkey-having local. I'd never seen the room before, but I guessed I was in an inn.

"What happened?" I asked.

"You collapsed from exhaustion," she said. "I warned you about using such heavy armor."

"Exhaustion?" I asked.

"The wish-giver was playful today, it seems," she said. "You should count yourself lucky and return whence you came; I doubt she'll be as kind if you challenge her again after she spared you injury when she could have easily killed you."

I wanted to protest, but she was right. I'd been hopelessly outmatched. If the dragon had wished it, she could have simply devoured me and I wouldn't have even been able to scratch the inside of her mouth as she did.

I would return to my village in failure. The only outcome I'd been unprepared for. I'd been prepared to die, I'd been prepared to succeed, but how would I explain that I hadn't even managed to die trying?

"How did I get here?" I asked. "And why are you with me when your job is done?"

"I brought you here," she said, "and I have stayed to make sure you will not speak ill of me for raiding your coin purse to pay for the room you now rest in."

I smiled. I'm not sure why.

"Raid it again," I said. "Buy something nice for you or your donkey."

She gave me a strange look.

"Consider it payment for bringing me back from the wish-giver's den," I said. Our arrangement had included no such provision. "Such kindness deserves to be reciprocated."

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Things are bad

It hurts too much.  I can't write it up.

The situation in question will turn out perfectly, more or less on its own, if people can keep their shit together and not be assholes for two to three weeks.  After more than eight god damned months.

So it seems like everyone is trying to break all the things as much as possible.

And that's not even the problem.  There's something that should have been obvious for a long time, but I've either missed it or been in denial.  I've been confronted with it now and it has me in an emotional state that's almost indescribable.  Things are really fucking bad.  It hurts so much.

The things I have to do to keep things from falling apart even as others take this last little home stretch as the sign they should ruin everything, mean that I'm not able to help out where I would otherwise.

I am not the Kwisatz Haderach, I cannot be in many places at once.  If I drop everything to help out in Place B then that means that I can't be helping out in Place A the way I originally planned.

Fred Clark once pointed out that 
You just call out my name
And you know wherever I am
I'll come running . . . to see you again
is untenable when more than one person is counting on you.  You've got to prioritize, and I am.

Doesn't change the fact that I'm not in Place A, helping like I planned to.  I'm doing more than missing out on time spent with people I love, and who love me.  If there's someone to watch the kids, work can be done.  It's not steady work, it's unpredictable, but figure a loss of $280 to $560 dollars.  (I said it was unpredictable.)  That's damaging.

Another month I might be able to help offset that, though never afford enough for it to be a gift rather than a loan, but this month I'm totally cleaned out.  Bills are paid, sky won't fall on me and make me homeless, money is gone.  I've got nothing but the minimum needed to keep my bank account open and some stuff I already owe someone but don't want to take out until I'm sure everything went through.  (Overdraft fees are evil.)

Things are bad.

Everything hurts and nothing is beautiful.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

What things are the size of a phone booth?

I've had Doctor Who on the mind more than a bit of late.  It got me thinking, what else would really work for a Tardis?  I don't just mean, "Well we could stick it in without giving too much thought," which is something they tended to do in the show when they wanted to show someone else's Tardis.  That results in questions like, "How easy is it to get inside of a grandfather clock, really?"

The police box worked because it had doors you could use to easily enter or exit, it was big enough that someone coming out of it didn't raise eyebrows, and it was small enough that it could fit in a lot of places without getting too much in the way.  Anything smaller and it's hard to get in and out of, anything bigger and it's cumbersome to place.

A phone booth works, and is something people are more familiar with than a police box* (even if they are extremely rare these days.)

If we were looking for something that would fit in most anywhere, and we weren't limiting ourselves by factors such as taste, a porta-potty is the logical choice.  From there it's a small step to add "outhouse" to the list, though that would be a good deal more conspicuous in an urban setting.

A full sized freezer is just about the right size, but a little bit small.  You could certainly use one, but an individual of average height would have to duck to get in and out of the door.

Bare bones showers fit the bill to the point that people have actually converted phone booths to showers.

Wardrobes are known to have entire pocket dimensions with talking animals inside of them, and they can fit the size requirements.

And at that point I think I'm out of ideas.


It has been noted that a much simpler thing to do than having your Tardis be a free standing object would be to have it be a doorway, then all you need is a wall and doesn't stand out too much unless the architectural style is extremely divergent.  That's not what I'm asking about here, though.

More of, how many things are there --and what are they-- that are large enough for people to come out of, but not much larger than that, which have doors or equivalent reasonable entrance/exits?


* There are people who think that there's never been such a thing as a police box and Doctor Who just made it up.  This is true to the point that in court the police lost to the BBC over who had the rights to a police box because the judge said (more or less) that basically no one thinks of the police or police boxes when they see one, they think only of the fictional representation of a fake police box in Doctor Who.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Always derivative, but asymptotically approaching infinity

I'm the kind of person who has big, detailed, ambitious ideas . . . for other people's work.

For my own work I'm lucky to get a premise and a paragraph.

When people talked about being let down by the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who I came up with an idea for a rebooted franchise with a hundred year plan that wove together various divergent narratives, made the 50th an event rather than an episode (which the four previous decade-events crescendoed up to), had built in mechanisms to deal the possibility of unplanned actor departures (be they due to getting a better deal, creative differences, or less healthy reasons) took every plot-hole as a jumping off point to do something interesting, and . . .

Could not possibly have the serial numbers filed off.*  I did that without even really trying.  It just happened.

When I try to come up with an idea of my own I usually stall out before I write a single word.

If I can create a plot then I can't create any actual scenes.  All outline and no substance.  If I can create some actual substance, a scene or two that might be written, there's no story for it to fit into.  If I have characters I probably can't conceive of a setting.  If I have setting, I probably can't conceive of characters.  If I try to mash two ideas together so I have both . . . they don't fit, don't mesh.

Yet if I'm trying to tell the story of Bella Swan, Tsukasa, and JC Denton facing the zombie apocalypse (while I hide behind Bella, in a sort of cowering way) . . . well that has a timeline, it's got a general overview, it has a couple scenes, it's got . . . ok, honestly not that much.  But way more than The Princess Story, and way less than Edith and Ben, which is kind of the point.

The more original something is, the less I can actually pull it off.

I'm writing this when I've been on an extended dry spell with respect to everything, so it might not seem to have much punch given that I'm not writing anything be it derivative or original, but this too shall pass and when it eventually does I think it's a fair bet that I'll be having a much easier time writing something set in a world Ana Mardoll or Fred Clark is deconstructing than something entirely of my own.

But, the thing is, even though my works are derivative, it's not like they're copies.  Writing copies of Left Behind or Twilight would hardly be rewarding, more like mind-flaying.  Tons of original thought and world building and characterization goes into that stuff.  World building and characterization that wasn't present in the original.  So if I'm doing all of this stuff, why can't I do it without some execrable work as my jumping off point?

I think part of it is seeing things from a Watsonian perspective and asking, "Ok, why the Hell did that happen?" instead of taking the external Doyalist perspective which lends itself to, "What the fuck were you thinking author?  There's no way in fuck that should have happened!"

Bad writing, or even merely inconsistent writing, leads to a complex world because you need to be able to reconcile things that are nigh impossible to reconcile.  If you take it as a given that X, Y, and Z happened and ask, in-universe, why and how, you start developing strange and interesting theories that may take you to places you never expected to go.  (Or epileptic trees.)  That doesn't happen if you take a more reasonable approach and recognize that the author(s) simply fucked up and/or didn't care.

But, at the same time, you become tied to the original by the very problems that create such fertile grounds.  If your setting depends on X, Y, and Z because your world building was literally started by, and laid upon the foundation of, the question, "How can X, Y, and Z all happen in the same universe?" then these things become too important to throw away.  Take them away and your foundation is gone, the building crumbles, things fall apart, the center cannot hold, mass and moment are released, other poetry as well.

So maybe it's absolutely fundamental that you have a sparklepire who saves a depressed girl from an out of control van spinning counterclockwise across an ambiguously full parking lot on a day when school really should have been cancelled because WHAT THE FUCKING FUCK FICTIONAL FORKS, WASHINGTON!?  (Not to be confused with actual Forks, Washington which I'm sure is a nice place that cares about the lives of their teenagers.)

And at that point you're really not going to get away with, "No, really, it's not Twilight, it just happens to have a gaggle of --two adult and five teenage-- sparklepires who have been living in Forks since the depressed main character stopped coming to there to visit her police chief dad during the summers."

Or maybe it really matters that your protagonists are a star reporter, an airline pilot, an college student who is daughter of the pilot, and a pastor to the previous two, who all have the unwanted attention of the Antichrist because he's already got the flight attendant linking three out of four of them and (with the un-linked pastor for the free space) if he can catch them all he'll have bingo.  (Nicolae Lanakila, he's got to be the very best, like no one ever was.)

Or perhaps there's a really strong reason why it matters that these people came through a picture, onto a ship, were briefly enslaved, discovered a burnt out island, had one turn into a dragon, another meet a fallen star who did body-horror to his slaves, and . . . the estate of C.S. Lewis would like a word with you.

Those are over the top examples, and I don't really know where I'm going with this.

Other people's works are like puzzles to be solved.

We ignore, for a moment, that the author was a horrible racist and the character traits are an expression of that racism, and instead ask, "What could reasonably lead to someone in this situation having these traits, thinking these thoughts, and doing these things?"  If we do it right, then we'll end up with a much more interesting character, one who isn't from stock racist caricatures (I can never fucking spell that word right; thank you spell checker) and subverts the racist tropes the original enforced.

We ignore, for the moment, that the author had the plot go A, B, C because they had an outside agenda they were going to follow whether it made sense or not, and ask how could B follow from A when at first, second, and third glance that seems not just implausible but impossible.  Then we ask how this could lead to the right conditions for C when B would seem to negate any such conditions.

When the puzzle is worked out we've done more world building and more characterization and more solid fiction than the author ever did.

But, for whatever reason, I can't seem to do it on my own.  I've worked out how to re-work The Last of Us into a story with three main campaigns** in which Riley never dies but everything canonically shown happens, the world is significantly more fleshed out, and so forth.

Seriously, look at the size of that fucking footnote.  That's just a general overview.

For my own zombie stuff . . . I got nothing.

Ok, not nothing.  One scene where a trans character is accepted.  Pretty close to nothing when you compare it to what goes on in my head re:The Last of Us.

I can fill a world with stories and details and so forth, provided it's not my world.

I don't know why I felt like writing about that, but at least there's a post here.

* * *

* I could maybe get away with the idea for a series that follows what the Tardis does with itself after the Doctor is finally well and truly dead.  Just don't call it a "Tardis", don't have it look like a blue box on the outside, find another name for the low frequency torsion inducers (things that use sound to induce a twisting motion and can thus be used to embed or extract the helical threaded fasteners --usually metal-- so common in the universe) cut all ties to the rest of the franchise, change the background mythology, and . . .

Oh, and it's also the part of the concept where I have the least idea of what would happen.

Pattern continues.  The more original something is, the less I'm able to follow it down the winding paths that eventually lead to, you know, actual produced fiction.


** The first campaign is Joel, it's like the main game but the Ellie parts are cut out.  When Joel is unconscious the story skips over that.

The second campaign is Ellie it starts with the flashback Left Behind content, follows from there to the next . . . three weeks, was it?  Her getting back into quarantine, her ducking the military, her meeting Marlene, fast forwards through the parts where Joel is doing all the work, shows follows her perspective on getting the handgun and saving Joel, continues to skip to the parts where she's separated and independent, all the way through to saving Joel at the university, at which point we get the non-flashback Left Behind content, the Ellie parts of winter, and then what little of the ending she's there for.

It ends on her talking about Riley and asking about the fireflies (no flashbacks to what Joel knows, this is Ellie perspective.)

The third campaign is Riley.  It starts with her slipping out of a firefly safehouse and crossing occupied Boston to reach Ellie.  The Left Behind content is mostly done in excerpted cut-scenes, ones that take into account decisions the player made in the Ellie campaign, but don't spend too much time making you rehash the same stuff.

Then there's the two of them getting infected.  While Left Behind strongly implies that they were bitten by different zombies, her hand (the one that got bitten) came dangerously close to the mouth of the zombie that bit Ellie so it's not too hard to say they were infected by the same zombie, at the same time, in the same place.  Add in saliva mixing if you want.

After the cut-scenes of excerpts from the date with Ellie in Left Behind Riley wakes up.  Turns out she didn't turn.  Like the last survivor of the helicopter crash, entirely non-zombie illness caused her to become dangerously violent.  She attacked Ellie, Ellie thought Riley turned, Ellie thought she killed Riley.

An injured Riley makes her way through occupied Boston looking for Ellie.  She's hiding from fireflies and government alike because she's AWOL from one and a terrorist to the other.

The Boston section is made of short bursts and large gaps.  She's healing from a near-fatal wound, she can't trust any doctors.  As a result she's always several steps behind until the very end of the Boston section.  She finds out where Ellie is going to be taken just before the Boston events of the Joel campaign.

She makes it to the original meet point before Ellie, Joel, and Tess.  The fireflies are still alive and, when they learn Riley is immune too, decide one immune girl is as good as another.  They capture Riley*** and split up.  Half of them take Riley to the university, half of them stay to wait for Ellie.  (Obviously the second half die, but that's not what this story is about.)

Riley wakes up at the university when it's still a firefly base.  She learns that they're looking for a vaccine, not a cure, she learns that extracting what they want will kill her, she realizes that the same thing will be done to Ellie if they get the chance.  Riley fights her way out (the damage she does is part of why the fireflies abandon the university.)

Riley sticks around, out of sight, as the fireflies abandon the university.  She was waiting for Ellie, but instead of Ellie showing up, she learns where the fireflies are relocating to.  She knows that that's where Ellie will be taken if Ellie is still alive.  She's on foot, so her trip to Utah takes a different route and a different amount of time than Joel and Ellie's.

She finally catches up with Joel and Ellie at St. Mary's.  In an extended version of the cutscene where Joel gets his weapons back we learn that Joel wasn't guarded by one easy to distract and disarm solider (because that would be profoundly stupid, make no sense, and be a plot hole one could pilot a fully loaded 747 through.)  Riley kills the second soldier --the one Joel didn't know about-- who would have killed Joel before his rescue attempt even started.

After a quick introduction, she and he split up to thin out the guards and make it more likely one will reach Ellie in time.  (The idea is that worst case they split the guards in half, best case most of the guards are after one intruder and the other has minimal resistance.  Gameplay-wise it'll turn out to be worst case with neither one having it easier.)

Riley fights her way to Ellie via a different route and arrives just after Joel saves her.  She stays behind so that Joel can escape with Ellie in spite of carrying her making him significantly slower than the various armed fireflies out to stop them.

Before they separate, though, they make a plan to meet up again. Riley nixes the standard 'just outside of town' idea, and tells Joel to keep going until he reaches a safe place, Joel tells Riley about the dam.  Riley says not to tell Ellie about her being there, either she'll tell Ellie herself, or (if she doesn't live to do that) it's better that Ellie not have to deal with Riley dying twice.

That's done fairly quickly, so perhaps not the best thought out plan, and probably not communicated in full sentences.

The final combat section of Riley's campaign sees her between Joel/Ellie and the heavily armed fireflies all converging on them.  She doesn't have to beat the fireflies, just slow them down enough that they never reach Joel/Ellie.

Once that's done she comes to the garage, walks over Marlene's corpse, slits the tires (or pops hoods and yanks wires) on all but one vehicle, and drives that one away.

In her ending she arrives just in time to hear:

Ellie: . . . that everything you said about the fireflies is true.
Joel: I swear.
Ellie: Okay.

Which is when she announces her presence:

Something like:

Riley: I don't know what he said, but the fireflies are gone.  They gave up on a cure, their last base got shot up, and Marlene is dead.  All that's left are angry people with guns.

No, that's too long winded.  Just something about the fireflies being past tense.  Riley knows that they stopped looking for a cure even before they abandoned the university because they were going to vivisect her for a mere vaccine (same as Ellie.)

Anyway, fade out on an long overdue Ellie-Riley kiss.  Joel can be in the background visibly not-disapproving.  Maybe even a smile.

Put all three together and you get canon The Last of Us (including Left Behind) but with final-level plot-holes . . . not quite filled in, but at least smaller, our interracial same sex couple not doomed to being half zombified the moment they decide to be a couple, a happier ending, and so forth.

Joel is learning to be fully human again, Ellie is searching for meaning after she seems to have lost everything (and finds it in her companion, not her quest individual people, not the abstract idea of saving humanity), Riley is fighting for love.

For Joel the climax is saving Ellie, for Ellie the climax is saving Joel in "Winter" (which would include escaping the horrible Reaver settlement) and maybe a bit of bonding with him over giraffes, with the actual journey's end being denouement, for Riley the climax waits until the very end when she and Ellie are together with no one trying to eat or vivisect them.


*** Riley would have gone willingly but the fireflies in question believe that they shouldn't put all their eggs, all two of them, in one basket.  They refuse to let her wait for Ellie because they figure that if the two girls are sent in different expeditions there's a better chance that at least one will make it through.

Thus they take her against her will.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Monthly Financial Post

I'm in an interesting state.  There was money that I planned to use to pay off two credit cards.  It was going to be great.  Get rid of the highest interest debt, $70 less per month in minimum payments, so on, so forth.

Life sort of happened at me.  The cost of oil and some marginal expenses wiped out enough of the money that the most I could do was hope to pay for one.  Then that hope went away.

As it stands:
If I took all of my money on hand and put it toward paying off my worst debt in terms of interest rate, I'd fall $364.08 short of paying it off.  But I can't do anyway that because my other accounts are empty and I still have $165.73 worth of bills due this month (first on the 20th.)

So more like $529.81 short.  But then on the 11th of next month I have $647 due.

So here's that interesting state I mentioned.  I'm not short of money right now.  I've got what I need to pay things and survive into the next month including the taxes that come due then.  That said, I am $1,176.81 short of paying off the fucking high interest debt that I so foolishly expected it would be possible to pay off.

No cataclysm.  Sky isn't falling.  Just stupid unrealistic hopes failing to be realized.

~ ~ ~

It's time for me to start walking.  My shoes are utter crap.  I'd really like to just get good shoes to replace them.  Good shoes last longer, keep my feet safer, and cut down on sprained ankles (though they wouldn't have kept me from breaking my left ankle since I go barefoot in the house.)  Good shoes also cost a ton.

These are to my taste.  That's a hundred dollars that . . . yeah.  I don't have a shoe fund.

I'm also somewhat surprised to see how much the insoles I've transferred from shoe to shoe for years, if not a decade, actually cost.  I really should get new ones.  Without them my feet hurt themselves severely, but the ones I have are ancient and fall apart at a glance.  Fifty bucks.  I had no idea.

So if I want to properly welcome my left foot back to the land of the walking, $150 (less two cents I suppose) that I sure as fuck haven't set aside.

On the topic of walking I also need shorts or yoga pants or something in that vicinity otherwise my lack of the highly coveted thigh gap causes my legs to rub each other raw, sometimes even vaguely bloody.  I don't even have a price tag on that one.  I just know that leading up to breaking my ankle I'd worn right through most of the clothes I used for that purpose and I think I have only one or two such things left, no idea how long before I wear holes through that/those.
~ ~ ~
But, in general, the sky isn't falling right now.  I may not be able to pay off the debt I'd wanted to pay off, but bills in the near future can be covered.  And I think at least half of the sole on my right shoe is still attached (the left shoe should be better since it's had two months off), so I don't actually have to replace my shoes right away either.

And those are my finances.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

A bell, though . . .

My dad has introduced me to a lot of auditory things.  The music tends to be good, the spoken word often leaves something to be desired, but I'll always treasure this particular Easter thing.

A youtube vid that consists of the whole story is at the end, but for those who'd prefer an excerpted transcript, that's right here:

The story is of Easter coming up in an adult French class.  One student, a Moroccan woman, didn't know what Easter was and others tried to explain using the limited vocabulary and basic grammar they had managed to learn thus far.  After all attempts at explaining the religious aspects failed, the conversation moved to food and in particular to chocolate.

The speaker, David Sedaris, said the Easter Bunny brought chocolate.  Once it was established that he really did mean to say bunny, the part that I treasure begins:

The Morrcan rolled her eyes and the the teacher sadly shook her head as if this explained everything that was wrong with my country, “No, no,” she said. “Here in France the chocolate is brought by a big bell that flies in from Rome.”

I called for a time-out.  “But how do the bell know where you live?”

“Well,” she said, “how does a rabbit?”

It was a decent point, but at least a rabbit has eyes; that’s a start.  Rabbits move from place to place, while most bells can only go back and forth . . . and they can’t even do that on their own power.  On top of that, the Easter Bunny has character.   He’s someone you’d like to meet.   A bell has all the personality of a cast-iron skillet.   It’s like saying that come Christmas the magic dustpan flies in from the North Pole, led by eight flying cinder blocks.

Who wants to stay up all night so they can see a bell?  And why fly one in from Rome when they’ve got more bells than they know what do to with right there in Paris?  That’s the most implausible aspect of the whole story, as there’s no way the bells of France would allow a foreign worker to fly in and take their job.  That Roman bell would be lucky to get work cleaning up after a French bell’s dog.

And how does the bell hold the candy if it doesn't have any arms?  How does it get into your house without being heard?   It just didn't add up.

I suppose similar questions could be asked of the Easter Bunny; I just never thought of it that hard.

Nothing we said was of any help whatsoever to the Moroccan woman.  Clearly disgusted she just sat there, her lips positioned as if to spit.

I wondered then if, without the language barrier, my classmates and I could have done a better job making sense of Christianity, an idea that sounds pretty far-fetched to begin with.

In communicating any religious belief, the operative word is faith, a concept illustrated by our very presence in that classroom.  A concept illustrated by our very presence in that classroom.  If I could hope to one day carry on a fluent conversation, it was a relatively short leap to believing that a rabbit might visit my home in the middle of the night, leaving behind a handful of chocolate kisses and a carton of menthol cigarettes.  So why stop there?  If I could believe in myself, why not give other improbabilities the benefit of the doubt?

I told myself that despite her past behavior, my teacher was a kind and loving woman who had only my best interests at heart.  I accepted the idea that an omniscient God had cast me in his own image and that he watched over me and guided me from one place to the next.  The Virgin Birth, the Resurrection, and the countless miracles — my heart expanded to encompass all the wonders and possibilities of the universe.

A bell, though . . . that’s *&^%$# up.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Holy Saturday, walking, jumping off a bridge, trudging through life, metaphorical marshmallows

Before I share what I wrote, some scene setting.

Originally posted in 2010, Fred Clark is in the habit of reposting his Holy Saturday post on the day before Easter.  If one reads the link address it's "holy-saturday-6" so either he hasn't done it every year, or he's changed up the name at least once.  (The original wouldn't have a number, thus out of eight years he's done it seven.)  But it's consistent enough that it's a bit of a tradition.

The point of the post is that for those of us not coming face to face with miracles and proof and so forth, every day is this Saturday.  Jesus died on Friday, he doesn't rise till Sunday.  This is the point in which any wondrous fantastical things are in the past, any certainty has yet to come, and there is no proof that things will ever get better, that promises will be kept, that . . .

It's a very human part of Christian holy week.  Things fall apart.  The center cannot hold.

We can hope, we can pray, we can have faith, we can believe, but we cannot know.

Or something like that.

Anyway, that's a bit of context.  I posted this in the comments:

~ ~ ~

Monday is the day when Cadbury Eggs are on sale. A truly wonderful day indeed. Unfortunately I don't think I can partake this year.

I may finally be able to move from crutching to crutch assisted walking, but getting to a store and back? That's beyond me, I think.

After working so hard to keep my left foot from so much as grazing up against anything for two months, it's mentally difficult to walk. The first time I intentionally put my weight on my left foot most of the effort was involved in forcing myself to lift my right foot. Yes the X-rays came in and I was told left-foot could take the weight I'd be putting on it, yes I was keeping more than half my weight on the right crutch so the left foot wouldn't have to carry too heavy of a load, but it was . . . like jumping off a bridge.

You stand at the edge of a bridge and tell your body to jump. It doesn't. You look at the water beneath, you remind yourself that you've done it many times before and there's nothing to be afraid of. You close your eyes, gather your resolve, open them, and try to jump. You don't move. You step away from the edge, pace a bit, convince yourself that your ready, go back to the edge. And don't jump. It's like your body isn't listening to you.

Eventually, though, you do jump. Eventually. Maybe it even gets easier with time. It's fun jumping off bridges, after all, and you kind of want to invite all your friends because if you get to jump off a bridge then all your friends should too, right?

But before "eventually" when you're at the edge of the bridge with open air before you and a long drop below you, that's what it was like.

It was like my body wouldn't listen to me. Like I told it, "Right foot, lift up," and it had a mind of its own with which it said, "WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU!? If I do that the then left foot will take the weight and the pain will defy description. I'm not fucking moving one bit!"

But as of yesterday I am walking. As of yesterday I'm back on my hormones and hopefully this mood-fucked state of pseudo-depression, and every muse refusing to communicate with me, and lacking the motivation to brush my teeth so I end up never getting to bed, and so forth, will lift.

Things, could, perhaps, go back to normal.

And normal is a series of Saturdays.

I never really have reason to believe that things will work out. Because of financial fuckery every time non-monthly expenses come up (e.g. $647 due on the 11th of May) it seems like the end is nigh. A lot of times I have no hope. The police put a gun to my sister and beat up her boyfriend eight months ago when even they say they had no reason (the only charge is resisting arrest when they never said anyone was under arrest, everyone complied with their commands, and they fully admit there was no cause to make an arrest) and the fallout still hasn't fucking ended. Things seem to get worse and not better.

But I always trudge on, not so much literally these days, and the sky seems to persist in not falling.

I wouldn't call it faith, and I'm not sure it qualifies as hope, but from experience I've learned that if you just survive long enough, eventually something good will happen.

Maybe that's what the endless string of Saturdays really teach us: if you endure and try to do the right thing, maybe things won't all turn out horribly all the time. Sure, things might crash and burn, but if you survive and persist maybe you can roast marshmallows on the flames.

- - -

I added a second post to note that the bridge I generally jump off of if I'm jumping off of a bridge is precisely high enough to shout, "Holy Zarquon's singing fish!" between when you leave the bridge and you hit the water.  I feel this is a perfectly good way to evaluate bridge height.

Also, anyone who wants to help my sister right now, vote for her grant proposal.  You can do it once per day.  Anyone who wants to help me, I've talked about how I accept donations so much you've probably got it memorized.  Monthly financial post will be a bit delayed because of a bunny that delivers eggs or some such.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Predawn light (ankle and general health post)

They took new X-rays and all is good.  I'm to start walking with crutches, which is very different from straight up crutching.

Straight up crutching uses one leg and two crutches and has you moving via a series of vaults.  Plant crutches ahead of you, push off good leg, move in crutch-defined arc, land on good leg, repeat.  It's fast, somewhat intensive, and nothing like walking.  The entire point is to never let the bad leg/foot/thing touch anything.

Walking with crutches is entirely different.  As far as your leg movement is concerned you're just walking.  Where the difference comes in is that when your good leg is up the crutch (or crutches, but usually just the one) is down.  This distributes your weight across two or three (again, usually one crutch so just two) ground contacts and keeps your bad leg from taking the full force of your weight.

From walking with a crutch I'm to use my own judgement as to when I just plain walk (there will be a brace involved) and again to when I walk entirely unassisted.

So, today I start walking, by the time of my next check up, which is another six weeks, I should be walking without any outside help.  Obviously the metal crap inside of my foot will be providing inside help.

~ ~ ~

Honestly, I don't give much of a shit about that.  My prognosis was always good.  Someday I'll be back to 100% and yada, yada, yada.  Another week or two before I could try walking wouldn't have bothered me too much.

Here's what I give significant shits about: We've reached the point where surgery related blood-clot risk is no longer enough of a concern to keep me off of my hormones.

It takes time to change a system, things won't get better overnight any more than they got worse.  In fact, in my experience it usually takes a longer for mood to recover than it does for it to degrade.  But at least it can start getting better.

At least this fucking pseudo-depression can start to go away.

At least the fog in my brain can start to lift.

I have no idea how long the change for the better will take, but it begins today.  A new day is coming at some point.  It might not be light yet, but there's a glimmer.

Characters from a game idea, (transplanted comment)

[I wanted to do a proper write up of the concept, by my ability to produce stuff is touch and go, and I lost touch with it (it went) between the comment and trying to expand on it for a post.  So this is just the comment from Ana Mardoll's Ramblings with perhaps a bit of clarification added in.]

So, εν νω εχω an action-adventure game where the player can choose the main character's gender but not assigned at birth sex. Main character was AFAB, period.

The game would follow main character seeking out and rescuing pansexual (cis) girlfriend's little brother. Little brother is ace, but I might want to underplay that because he's been snatched up by a Lovecrafitian cult for their virgin sacrifice and the message "Being asexual will get you kidnapped by evil people who live in strange geometries" is hardly a good message to send.

There isn't a village crazy lady (sorry Tala, not every place has someone to fill that role) but there is an older woman who can perhaps dispense some wisdom at the underground Esheresque village the player character meets nir first allies at. She's outlived her lovers, but was once part of a poly relationship where the love triangle was closed.*  (She's bisexual and her first lover was a likewise bisexual female, the one who was added to make it poly was male of some gynephilic persuasion.)

The village was originally entirely composed of people whose thinking was so different from our own that language (including things like ASL, writing, and so forth) is impossible for them (and understanding them in fullness is impossible for those who have language) --they still vocalize, it's just that they only ever use nonsense "words" and those words don't have any pattern to them (a given word may seem to mean X this "sentence" but it'll probably never mean that again)-- but they're nice people who will accept anyone who needs a place to stay and doesn't cause trouble, so by the time the character comes upon it the village has a mix of speakers and non-speakers, including some village-born children who are speakers and have been raised alongside the non-speaker children.

The older woman from two paragraphs up was the first speaker to come across the village, and moved to it full time after her lovers passed on.  She therefore has the most experience interpreting the sounds, gestures, and so forth the non-speakers make, though that doesn't necessarily mean she's the best at it, and she's quick to point out that even after all this time she still doesn't actually understand them.

I figure while main character is there ne will see children of both sorts listening to "Jabberwocky", probably read by older woman, enraptured. Also, when ne gets a sword I see this exchange:

The sword is delivered by two young apprentices, one speaker and one non-speaker:
Player character: *in jest* Is it vorpal?
Speaker: The vorpalist!
Non-speaker: Vorp, vorp. *each "vorp" accompanied by a thursting/stabbing motion*


Anyway, I'd likely play the game through with the main character as a cis girl/young woman, thus not fulfilling my desire for a trans* character in game, but when I was thinking about it, it occurred to me that there's no reason that choosing character gender needs to be linked to character biology, and in the cases where you don't have full control over the details of the character maybe it shouldn't be all the time. Maybe sometimes we should have, "Ok, you picked X but character was assigned at birth Y, certain bodily features may show this**, and your character will be shown taking hormones every so often." (Not that all transitions involve hormones.)

Of course, part of what needs to happen is for there to be so many representations that no one representation is ever placed under the crushing weight of, "This is what trans* people (as a whole) are like." Which wouldn't take much time if the games industry didn't, as a whole, suck. So one figures it will take a really long time.


* All three legs link lovers, unlike the standard set up in fiction where there's love between A and B, and love between B and C, but not so much between A and C.  The points A, B, and C are in a triangle, but only the legs AB and BC are actually filled in.

** I don't pay much attention to Adam's apples, in spite of the name screaming: GENDER! Apparently there are a lot of people who would like the kind of character creation where you have control over minute detail, which the above described game wouldn't feature, to include the option to have women with larger ones and men with smaller ones.  (Absent some disease or mutation I don't know about, or surgery I suppose, all human beings have one.  It's the visibility that varies.)

Monday, April 10, 2017

The post that was here

So, I made a post, and if you're looking for it you won't find it because I decided to revert it to draft form pending looking it over in a calmer state of mind.

Today is not a good day, and life is not good today.  I called up my mom because a change in her routine means that I won't be able to pay her money I owed her as I once did.  The conversation got derailed almost immediately, covered basically my whole lifetime, and especially the past 8ish months that everyone has been under tremendous stress.

I may have burned all of my bridges with my mother, which would be extremely unfortunate.  Though she's been increasingly distant since she moved in with her boyfriend.  I don't even remember the last time she came to see me, as opposed to using my house as a pit-stop while doing something else.

Still, even if things had become estranged, they were definitely much better yesterday than they are today.

I didn't really like the post I wrote, full of raw emotion and not enough context.  Hence taking it down.

It's especially a concern given that I know that at least one person who means my family harm has been reading Stealing Commas.  Raw emotion doesn't always lend itself to perfect fact checking.  Usually that's not much of a problem; errors may exist, but there can be later corrections and clarifications.  These days, though, it seems wiser to hold back.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Help save the farm

So, I'm not exactly inspired these days because my hormones are way the fuck out of whack on account of not being allowed to go back on the ones I take by hand, instead of produce by glands, yet.

Brain is foggy, words don't come, so on, so forth.

My sister is trying to get a grant to help with overhauling and thus saving the farm.  If she gets the grant depends on if she can turn out people to vote for it online, which is where you can help.  Go here and vote for it.  Every fucking day.  That's the thing, you can vote once per day.  So do that and help save the farm.

If my mood weren't screwed over for medical reasons I'd like to think that I could write something engaging that would inspire people to actually click over and click vote, and keep doing it until voting closed, but my mood is fucked over, so you just get this.

Kind of a crap post.  Sorry.