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lost causes

Posted on January 20, 2019 at 6:01 pm
Mood: Platyarthrus
Now Playing: John Adams - The People Are The Heroes Now
58 days until the vernal equinox
There’s no such thing as a winter wonderland. It’s class 3 killstorm or nothing.

Renée had a skunk stripe of silver in her black hair and put an acute accent over the e in her name in marker.

[click for art]
A few of the objects belonged to the Peabody Essex Museum. Most of them were on loan from the Palace Museum in Beijing. One even came from Minnesota.

This one was on loan from the Smithsonian and is a painting of the Empress Cíxǐ (慈禧) by Katherine Carl. Dunno when they’re getting this back. The Mad Genius Club and others are advocating a perpetual shutdown. Anyhoo, I’ll post the pictures from my sketchbook when the government shutdown ends. Yes, that should give me adequate time for decent lighting.
Cíxǐ was herself a painter.

A jade book with a eulogy for the Empress Xiàoxiánchún. There was a listening station where you could hear it in English and Mandarin Chinese but not in Manchu, a language that very few people speak, even during the later days of the Qīng dynasty. Since it’s written vertically, you can see how computers would have problems. At least it’s like Egyptian, where there are plenty of things written in both Manchu and Chinese.

If you think Manchu looks like sideways Arabic, you’re on to something. Writing was introduced to Mongolia by the Uyghurs.
The woman in the green shirt pointed how much longer the Manchu text is compared to the Chinese text.
She says “yeah, English always takes more words.”
Except for Romance languages, I said. I don’t speak French but I’ll point out that the French editions of Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn were split into two books for publication. So were the Wheel of Time novels. It looks like Wheel of Time was split in German as well. I looked at the Hungarian page, intuited that “szavak” means “words” and then came to the conclusion that this refers to the English edition because there’s no way a Hungarian version would have the same exact number of words.

There are thirty six fenghuangs on this hat.
A woman pointed out that the flowers have tiny insects hovering above them and so when she walked, it woud look like the insects were moving.

From the back. Someone whose name was possibly Julia said that it looked heavy.

Not that she'd do much walking in these shoes. Manchus, being a horse-riding people, didn't bind their feet.

She said “she got hooked on opium.” The British Empire, back when it was a worldwide power and not just a chunk of Ireland and a few islands on the ass end of nowhere, was pretty much a glorified narcostate. They’re like 1980 Bolivia in that regard, except cocaine is a lot healthier.
⅔ of all drug overdose death is caused by some sort of opioid or opiate. No idea how many of the 15000 cocaine-related deaths are from speedballs, in which you mix cocaine and heroin. they negate each other but that just makes it easier to overdose. 10000 are methamphetamine deaths.

The British and French looted the Summer Palace and destroyed the Old Summer Palace. Cíxǐ had it rebuilt with money that was going to be used for the navy, it was destroyed again by the Eight Nation Alliance, and then rebuilt two years later.

the greatest irony of the post-colonial world is how resistant to change it is.

ha, found this one on Wikipedia. The dragon is the symbol of the Emperor and the fenghuang is the symbol of the Empress.

here’s a map of the Forbidden City.

A case for cosmetics.

A wine container.


This made the woman in the green shirt feel underdressed. Well, one of the robes made her feel that way.


寿 (longevity) shows up a lot. So does 囍 (double prosperity).

box of combs.

A collection of paintings depicting virtuous empresses of the Táng dynasty and earlier periods of Chinese history, covered in stamps of emperors and empresses who say "Behold! I had access to this." The stamps are the woman in green's
Someone asked about it and she said it's like when someone in Renaissance Italy paints a picture of the Roman empire.
This one is the Empress Rèn (reigned from 315 to 338) of the Sixteen Kingdoms period.
It's painted using western perspective techniques. The exhibition refers to the Beijing court as cosmopolitan.

Some things I couldn’t find decent pictures of, like a curio cabinet, court necklace with a long piece hangs down the back to counterbalance the weight of the beads. Doesn’t help that when i do a location search, I can go seven days before Instagram is like “yeah, nope, not going any further.” This happens in Safari and in Firefox so I can only assume it's their fault.
At the end of the exhibit was a scroll where you could write your thoughts. Someone said "an empress has more power than a first lady." Someone said "it's odd that the USA, the world's old constitutional democracy, has yet to elect a woman president." and a response was "there's still misogyny in the country" and I'm like "women are 'too emotional' to rule, although we have a president who acts like a four year old." Someone said women in power are most times relegated to the background."
Most people commented about how dark it was but otherwise liked it and one person said the air quality is better than it is in Beijing.

Meet MiRo, a biomimetic robot. He can echolocate, avoid falling off of things, and respond to being petted. If you press the button, he sounds a bit like a cross between a Tusken Raider and a dog.

because it’s Salem, there was a woman wearing a witch hat.

There’s a prosthetic leg for runners that is modeled after a cheetah’s hind leg and it’s funny because cheetahs are the opposite of humans. We can run, not very swiftly, but for much longer distances than most other animals and we’re smart enough to realize that these hunts will go even faster if we just chuck a rock or a sharpened stick at them.” Cheetahs are like “hide in the grass until the prey notices and hope that you’re close enough that it’s too late.”

There's a backpack modeled after a pangolin but I think of an isopod.

Someone wrote this:
всем добра
Хорошего частоешя
Along with some flowers.
That should be accurate.
I wrote it down in Latin, picking the closest thing I could find to its Russian equivalent, which is good for things like б and ok for things like д but not for things like ж or ю or ѯ, not that ѯ is used for anything.

Someone else wrote "eat the capitalists."

For whatever reason, they didn't have cookies. The salt and cracked pepper chips and the Asian salad with Chinese noodles, napa cabbage, jicama, broccoli, red bell peppers, scallions, roasted soy tofu, and ginger ponzu dressing was perfectly good.
I saw someone who looks like a Dravidian Leah with shorter hair.

Meanwhile, Nello was in the news for not allowing single women to eat at its bar.
burning question: how is Nello, of all the restaurants in the world, most of which are not extortion rackets, still open?


ashen like the sky

Posted on January 17, 2019 at 5:57 pm
Mood: Psettodes
Now Playing: A Winged Victory For The Sullen - All Farewells Are Sudden
61 days until the vernal equinox

Her name is Brooke. Brooke, while containining the letter E, does not start with the letter E. I chalk this up to Elizabeth.

As far as I know, our only new animal is a screech owl and maybe possibly another rodo. I dunno, Rob was busy in surgery so we didn't have rounds. Nothing died, it just smells that way.

Jane has a beardie who started out as Amos and then became Lady Amos and then just L’Amos.

Michael thinks that Kiwi Farms’ support of Gabbard might just be a way to sow chaos and that when the Gabbardites don’t get their way, they’ll vote for Trump or stay at home. On the other hand, I think they genuinely consider Gabbard sane, someone who will turn the Democratic Party into the conservative-lite party.

He said that back in 2013, you'd have to go out of your way to read some Nazi's opinion on My Little Pony or posts about how prostitution serves a vital role in society, with all the implications because I'm pretty sure nobody wants to be a prostitute.

I've got nothing.
So, the most recent Simpsons episode was basically “Lisa gets a new friend.” What I expected was Lisa to have a falling out with her new friend, like pretty much every other “Lisa gets a new friend" episode after the ones with Alex or Alison (Erin is different; it's the 1990s and they live far away from each other). Instead, what I got was the plot falling apart.

I got a pretty impressive book haul. Legacies I’ve never hard of. The Dream Millennium and A Door Into Ocean I have. Now Wait For Last Year, I haven’t but I know who Philip K. Dick is. The World Next Door I’ve never heard of. It’s his only non-Star Trek novel. A few other books caught my eye but they’re all second or third in a series.
I have to find Blueheart, which I’ve heard is better.

Trump gave the Clemson football team fast food and wasn't even clever enough to disguise it as his own cooking. If Principal Skinner showed up, he'd shake his head and walk away silently.

burning question: What the hell does this even mean? Was it run through a gibberish generator? Was he speaking Welsh but have the speech-to-text software set to English?
When they tell what r going to do Remember .Hitler hate for the Jew If they want to take America Over Don’t wait to get rolled for ever Libs are the first to be so fooled Born that way, dumbed in School So naive Libs without any Brains Remember .Hitlers hateful trains
Also, Drow retweeted it. Is this like Fallout 2, where Drow and this guy have a rapport with each other?


in our time

Posted on January 13, 2019 at 7:09 pm
Mood: Menopon
Now Playing: Cave In - Big Riff
65 days until the vernal equinox
And we've hit what is on average the worst week. Oddly, it hasn't snowed at all.

Olivia is not an artist but she appreciates art.
I met a woman with blue hair, a woman with green hair, a woman with half-red half-green hair.

Molly remembered the time I drew her and Megan (and she says Caroline was there too) a few years ago. She says the three of them are in the picture. If she's who I'm thinking of, it was just Molly and Megan although maybe Caroline joined them later on.
She was with Caroline, who has rust red hair, and with Lizzy, which is short for Elizabeth, which is far too long for its own good, who had black hair in a topknot and wore a black coat and black shirt and black and white pants. They were at the MFA, where Molly got a print of a black cat and a tortoiseshell cat to hang on her wall. I asked her if she was Lithuanian and she said no, she’s mostly Irish, and you may prove it from her pale skin, but she recently found out her grandmother is from Israel.

This one. By Théophile Alexandre Steinlen. I disagree that no artist is more identified with cats. Louis Wain. Not David Wain; he voices Courtney on Bob’s Burgers.

Despite this, she has dogs. Two dogs who are siblings but don’t come from the same litter, one of whom always sleeps in the most bizarre and improbable positions, and a little white poofball dog.

I was there for the Ansel Adams exhibit and the Made In Boston jewelry exhibit.
Ansel Adams had a nose crooked to the left that he earned in the 1906 earthquake.

It's not just Adams' photographs.

Matthew Brandt made silkscreens with condiments like molé sauce, ketchup and mustard, or (not seen here) Laffy Taffy and Jello.

David Emitt Adams put tintype photographs on rusted cans and other unidentifiable bits of junk.

I believe that Meghann Reipenhoff would leave photosensitive cyanotype paper in the sand and let the tides wash over them.

I noticed that in a photo of Long Beach, CA, three of the houses were exactly the same.
I overheard part of a conversation about a documentary called The Pie Lady of Pietown, which is in the New Mexico desert, and she said there's this guy talking about an alien conspiracy about pies.

It’s not every day we have a knight conducting, the violinist said. It’s mostly symbolic now that leadership made chivalry obsolete. There’s a myth about Polish cavalry charges against German tanks in 1939. In reality, most of their weaponry and equipment was horse-drawn.

I don't really have much to say about Mozart's Piano Concerto no. 24, even if it is good. It's a concerto, which means it's fast-slow-fast, it's classical so it's more about form than mood.
Ralph Vaughan Williams' 5th symphony is this beautiful languid pastoral symphony and it makes me think not of winter but of that time between planting and harvest when the air is heavy and last time I checked, Andris Nelsons is from Latvia and the Earth’s axis of rotation is not fixed on the Galapagos Islands, which might mean that Latvia was tropical but I don’t have access to a globe right now (I might but it's a fairly long walk by the standards of the first half of the year and even if I did, I think it has a fixed axis of rotation.) and there is no 2D map that isn’t distorted and changing the Earth’s axis of rotation would change the climate of Boston radically because I’m pretty sure the only way that Boston and Latvia would have opposite seasons is if Boston was on the northern coast of an equatorial ocean, so never mind. Also, I don’t know if Ashley reads this but you never mind and also shut up.
It was finished in June 1943 at the height of World War II. Well, okay, by the time it premiered, things were starting to go south for the Axis. On the other hand, the dark, brooding, Bax-esque Symphony no. 4 premiered in 1935, and the intense no. 6 premiered in 1948.

In lieu of Harbison’s symphony no. 2, which I listened to and will describe anyway, we got Pizetti’s Requiem in honor of the founder of the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, which, as is true of many early masses, opens with a plainchant and evolves into contrapunctual. It's truncated; there is an introit with a brief kyrie attached, a dies irae, a sanctus, an agnus dei, and a libera me.
Harbison's second symphony is broken down into four movements: dawn, daylight, dusk, and dark. Dawn is shimmering and evokes birdsong. Daylight is a scherzo. Dusk is dreamy. Dark is quiet and brooding, and a new day begins.

Gabbard is officially running for president and she has the endorsement of Kiwi Farms.

burning question: why the hell is there a flickr group devoted to dead fish?


glimpses of hope in trying times

Posted on January 09, 2019 at 6:19 pm
Mood: Bulgarian Women's Choir - Полегнала е Тудора
Now Playing: Sladenia
69 days until the vernal equinox

I don’t think we have any new animals. We have some new interns, though, Elizabeth, who does not go by Liz or Beth because she believes Elizabeth is too long for its own good and has a terrier and was at the wildlife center before it moved to its current location, Julia, who wears glasses and has two black cats and a gray tabby, Dominique, who was eating ramen noodles, and someone whose name I can not quite remember now, but I'm pretty sure it started with an E but maybe I'm just mixing her up with Elizabeth.

Christabel told us of the time we got a kitten as a wildlife admit and we couldn't take it because it's not a stinking wild animal and she said she wanted to take it home. Elizabeth told us of the time a cat got loose and we told the owner to see a stinking cat vet after we got it back in its carrier.

Meanwhile, they're giving old Christmas trees to meerkats and apes to climb on and to hoard things underneath.

I have a Simpsons comic in which the Presidential campaign comes to Springfield along with the media and Lisa compares it to a circus that brings its own audience with them and one of the candidates is convinced to be pro-crime because crime means jobs.
My takeaway that real life is just as absurd as The Simpsons, it's just absurd in different ways.
In real life, we'd just enforce our more arcane laws... which happens in a Season 16 episode in which Springfield builds a Frank Gehry concert hall but doesn't appreciate arts and culture and Mr. Burns converts it to a private prison and has Homer arrested for a ridiculous law.
We don't talk about that episode.

So, I watched a movie called Final Encounter AKA For The Cause, the latter of which is the more fitting title and I do not recommend it. It's not quite good enough to be good, but it's not inept enough to be enjoyable. It was made by two special effects people and the special effects are actually pretty decent for 1998 standards, aside from one scene when they're fighting and an enemy soldier throws a grenade and she throws . The soundtrack also impressed me because it's fully orchestrated with a freaking SATB choir and not the synths or piano or public domain music you'd expcet from a low budget affair. It's the guy's only credit on IMDB and I don't know if he expected exposure or he was friends with the people who made it or what.
Star Wars didn't have a choir, but the rest of them do.
Titanic didn't have a choir. I found out that they had to use a synth choir because they went overbudget.
As for the plot, well, it's a good idea. Something happened to Earth and the settlement in Bulgaria split into two factions and they've been fighting a war for a century and now a generation is growing up fighting without knowing why, and there are some "witches" who fight a CGI scorpion in a room somewhere and meanwhile in post-communist Bulgaria, their actions help out the soldiers somewhere. That's never explained. Maybe if they had more budget, they could hire a scriptwriter.
You'd only know the backstory from looking at the box or going to IMDB, because the setting is mostly just Bulgaria. Yes, Star Wars made California and Norway and Tunisia look like alien worlds. I’d say something about Madagascar but there aren’t any Star Wars movies filmed there and Madagascar already looks like an alien world. In fact, I had this idea to film a Star Wars in Madagascar but just now I had the idea to convince the government of Madagascar that there’s going to be a Star Wars filmed there but unfortunately it’s in development hell but we’ll let them know as soon as its ready for filming and you can go back to wrecking the place when we're fucking done, okay. Jesus, Mary, and Josef Stalin, you're worse than Brazil.) look like alien worlds but they had a budget higher than 2.5 million dollars. They didn’t get the special effects work or the score done for free, either, so it balances out.
It's not the worst movie Dean Cain was in, I'll say that.

burning question: why does a show about giant transforming robots beating each other up have one of the better fandoms and a show about happy friendly ponies who are nice to each other have one of the more toxic fandoms?



Posted on January 03, 2019 at 6:49 pm
Mood: Passerella
Now Playing: Revma - Baiduska Kato Sti Roidopoula
75 days until the vernal equinox

I have come to the conclusion that Italian Fascism is just neoconservatism amped up to eleven. They both had problems with race but their problems with race can be summed up with “yes, we hate (insert ethnic group here) but that’s a problem with their culture and maybe if we bomb and invade them, we can replace their culture with our own.”
I think that our fascists nowadays are either Evola-style fascists or German fascists. There’s some Japanese fascism in there with their fanatical devotion to their God-Emperor, but if they were actually Japanese fascists, they’d be doing a lot more mass killings instead of trying to stir the pot until someone does go on a killing spree and then attempting to wash their hands of it.
I was wondering if Night Phoenix from Gamingforce would support Trump. Oh, and, hey, he has a twitter. I... have no idea, honestly. I don't know if he's angry because Trump is turning the Republicans into the party for white people or if he's angry because black people alienated themselves from the Republicans with their Narrative.
He's sexist and stupid, but that's not unusual for Gamingforce. Denicalis, whose politics are...uh... all over the place... dunno, he uses reactionary as a catch-all term for things he doesn't like, although I'm not entirely convinced that he knows what the word even means, says that women are catty even in their forties and anyone who has gotten involved in office politics knows this and if you don't believe this, you're stupid. It's also ironic because he's by far the most toxic person on Gamingforce and even on most sites that aren't Kiwi Farms or one of the chans.

We released a hawk, a swan, the barred owl, the saw-whet owl is going to have a new life as an educational animal, we released the turkey in between the time I left the wildlife center and the time I posted this on the internet and this is because I gave him a secret true name which is something that nobody will ever say, the swan might have a ligament sprain or he might be unreleasable and unlike geese, if swans can’t fly, we can’t release them, because swans are assholes and will most definitely attack him. We got a squirrel with head trauma and a fox sparrow also with head trauma. There’s a real balancing act between that and dealing with internal bleeding and blunt force trauma. We give him oxygen and keep him warm for a few days because it keeps the neurons from dying but that can cause other issues. We pulled some dead bone out of a rodo and will hopefully release him into Boston Common.

Today was someone's birthday. It wasn't Molly's, though, or Bella's, and it definitely wasn't mine. I wish it was my birthday, because then it would be July.

Michael has a gamebook in which aliens want to use time travel to let the Mongols conquer Europe. I’m not sure how they do that, unless they introduce large-scale farming methods to the Goths to keep Europe from reverting to woodland after the fall of the Roman Empire. The Mongols light cavalry was rivaled only by the Nʉmʉnʉʉ, and cavalry isn’t so great in wooded areas. I think the aliens wanted humans to be slaves, which is why they don't just nuke a few bands of australopithecines.
He has a toy frog that can raise one arm up, and it can squirt water, which is more than can be said about Jordan Peterson.
He knows someone who had to use a emulator to install a game. He doesn't know if he played the game outside the emulator.
I found out I can run Virtual PC or an equivalent in Sheepshaver.

Christine said “she said nope and moonwalked out of here.”
TJ said maybe she was a hologram, like Tupac. Tupac didn’t die, they just turned the volumetric imager off. On the other hand, Biggie Smalls was a hologram who wished so hard he became a real person.
I asked about dinosaur ghosts and Bella says that maybe there are brontosaurus ghosts and Christine says that we can only be haunted by Bruce Willis and all other ghosts are invisible.
Bruce Willis is perpetually middle-aged and loves to wear rubber feet.
Christine says that she’s going to make her road trip with an eleven pound lobster into a movie, in which Bruce Willis will provide the voice of the lobster and Christine will play herself. It never works out in movies but she’ll be the first one. There was a movie where some guys on a train played themselves. Or the one about the marathon bombing where they get some guys from Boston to play the roles and they’re terrible.
Apparently, lobsters die because they get too heavy and it’s to difficult to molt.
Marky Mark absorbed the rest of the Funky Bunch. The rest of them, Ashey Ace, Scottie Gee, Hector the Booty Inspector, and DJ-T don’t have their own Wikipedia pages. I suggested that they were murdered. Like the Spin Doctors.

Molly feels that the conversation wasn’t really happening because she understood none of it. I'm not sure if I've met Molly before. I think I have. But I think the name Molly might be more common in my life than the name Ashley.

Delvina says she's planning a mural for near the turtles.

We’re trying to staple sheets to the outdoor passerine cage so it doesn’t get too cold in there. Bella was there for emotional support.
Christine said “ok, JT, ten paces.”
TJ knew someone who took apart one of those staplers that can be used to staple hundreds of sheets of paper at once and modified it to launch staples.
TJ made a jelloon, which was a balloon he filled with red jello, played with for a while, and then tossed at the street, which caused all the jello to gloop out in chunks and looked like a bloody mess for a week.
Christine wanted to have kids go in during the Night of a Thousand Faces and we'd stand outside and chant "MYSTERY SHED! MYSTERY SHED! MYSTERY SHED!"

burning question: Would it be worth anyone’s time to whack the Spin Doctors? Unless Rob was asking about whacking the rest of the Funky Bunch, in which case, same question.


the way ahead feels lonely

Posted on December 31, 2018 at 6:39 pm
Mood: Grotella
Now Playing: 10,000 Maniacs - Verdi Cries
78 days until the Vernal Equinox

I read a post that can be summed up with “why are all musicians against trumpism and for da multi-culti?” And the reason is that when trumpists try to create music, we end up with four separate NPC songs, one of which has lyrics so dreadful I sometimes think they’re satirical, two of which consists of a vocoded “orange man bad” and other sloganeering or memes backed by unmelodic fart sounds, and one I’m pretty sure was a Chris RayGun-style 80s soft rock song but can’t be fucked to look up. And most religious conservatives, no matter which religion, aren't into music period. But I digress; musical retrospectives are for July.

Outside the Strand Theatre, it was merely freezing. In most of the building, it was chilly. In the bathroom, it was as hot as Dis.
We got a concert of concertos. And since they did four in two hours (including a couple of impromptu performances of 4’33” and the Iranian national anthem because someone broke her violin string), clearly baroque concertos are shorter than classical and romantic concertos.

The concerto for four violins is used for the Isaac Newton’s College wonder in Civ 2. Most of the time, each violinist plays a solo, but sometimes they combine. Bach transposed this for harpsichords.

Bach wrote only three violin concertos.

It's really hard to look dignified while playing a sopranino recorder, no matter how well-dressed you are.
Note: the Garkleinflötlein/Sopranissimo is even smaller, if you can believe it.

The 4th Brandenburg Concerto is for two alto recorders and a violin. Aldo stood mostly still and occasionally took a breath, while Priscilla wavered like a strand of kelp.

burning question: Oh, Shehekazeramesh, will you ever learn?


nowhere and everywhere at the same time

Posted on December 29, 2018 at 6:26 pm
Mood: Congiopodus
Now Playing: Arc Iris - Ditch
80 days until the vernal equinox
I'm not posting pictures because this isn't visual art, it's performance art. One of the exhibits there was homages to jazz clubs of the 1920s to the 1970s, complete with a player piano.

City of Abstracts: a video screen shows a distorted version of the room you are in.

The Fact of Matter is harder than it looks. Your objective is to get through the rings without touching the ground. The problem is that all the rings are suspended independently and they swing wildly in all directions.

Antipodes was inspired by a misunderstanding of gravity he had as a kid. He believed that if one were to stand at the south pole, their feet would be glued to the Earth but they’d be precariously dangling over the infinite abyss. And now you know where the Flat Earth Society comes from. He did dance routines on two screens.

Never Cease Knotting: tie rubber möbius strips into knots.

Toward the Diagnostic Gaze: Hold a feather duster absolutely still. The air stirring, your heart beating and your breaths will cause it, and its shadows, to visibly move.

A volume within which it is not possible for certain classes to arise.
I overheard this conversation.
“you look comfortable.”
“I’m lying on a hard floor with a low ceiling. You have low standards.”

Aufwand (German for “effort) is a door that is rather difficult (I wouldn’t say extremely) to open.

The Differential Room. There were six chalkboards, each with a task you could do.

without the use of the arms lie flat on your back in thirteen counts
without the use of the arms sit upright in thirteen counts
without the use of the arms bring the right shoulder to the mat
keeping the right shoulder and hip stationary on the mat,
increase the angle of the leg to torso to one hundred eighty degrees
in thirty-one counts without the use of the arms
arms held at the sides
lower the left shoulder forward to the mat in thirteen counts
keeping the elbows by the ribs, move the hands under the shoulders counting aloud to thirteen
slide the knees to the elbows with the use of the arms and then
slide the hands above the head as far as possible
until the angle of foot to thigh to torso to arm to hand, is one hundred eighty degrees.
while barely audibly counting down from thirty
stand up in three seconds without the use of the arms.

(Someone said “I like that you’re our guinea pig.” Our guinea pig thought the wording was confusing.)

standing on one leg
raise the heel
of the standing foot
as high as possible and maintain
that position
while hopping
until complete exhaustion
but not expressing
that exhaustion
or drawing any
attention to

starting at any corner, walk completely around
the bench
four times
walking alternately backwards or forwards
upon encountering each fifth, then eleventh side of the bench
adding a complete turn alternately left or right
at each fourth, then third corner
while alternately accelerating and decelerating
at every fifth side.

(the room was too crowded to actually attempt this)

walk nine steps away from the bench
with your eyes closed
walk backwards and sit down

(there is one missing from the interbutt. If you look up “point point line” you can watch Forsythe performing but not the actual instructions. For reasons known only to themselves, only three of them showed up on Instagram.)
(note: for some reason, the mobile internet ruins this thing I had going here)

⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎turning your eyes as far as possible
⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎to the left
⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎hold them there
⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎as you turn your head

⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎as far as possible
⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎to the right
⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎and rigorously⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎sustaining that relationship

⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎turn yourself five times
⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎⬛︎to the left.

Nowhere And Everywhere At The Same Time, no. 3.
Avoid the 80 independently-swinging pendulums. This is not difficult at all.

The other exhibit was a homage to jazz clubs from the 1920s to 1970s, complete with a player piano. Ashley would probably like this.

Boston was lit up in red and white and green. You know, I think that the most unrealistic thing about Home Alone 2 is not that the Sticky Bandits would be dead ten times over or how pretty much every exact thing from the first movie happens again, but that there is snow on the ground for several days right before Christmas and it snows on Christmas. In the days before climate change.

I had papaya salad. I'm pretty sure that I've had it from Siam Bistro before.

Molly is far from an artist. I’m not sure what she meant by that because the train was exceptionally loud and bouncy.
Jake, who is not an artist, was talking to his artist friend and they were impressed by my ability to draw on an exceptionally bouncy train.
I didn't think to ask Julia or Jordan if they are artists.

burning question: what would happen if I asked Ask Ashley how to build a time machine? Would she call me a screwhead and inform me that stinking time machines aren’t real, or would she give meticulous, if patronizing, directions while berating me?


the end is where we start from. a new beginning always begins with an end.

Posted on December 25, 2018 at 8:33 pm
Mood: Myioborus
Now Playing: Julia Mark - See You On The Moon
84 days until the vernal equinox

I’ll never meet people like Ashley again. I’ll meet people who are left wing, who like jazz and stories about time travel and alternate realities. And I'll meet people who can barely hide their contempt for me.
This is probably a good thing. To say I hate her is to oversimplify a complicated situation. Yes, she's neurotic and fragile and she's been a thorn in my side for months, and I'll never get any sort of closure, but, hey, the world is a slightly place within it. I hope she's happy, wherever she is. Everyone deserves a happy ending. Even Ashley.
Okay, maybe not Laci Green. Laci Green is threatening to sue and people are recommending she join up with Peter Thiel because Vox (an unfortunate name. Yes, I know it's Latin for voice, so don't bother pointing it out) said she's alt-right adjacent.

I once said that I'll post photos of my sketchbook when Ashley is nice to me or when Robert Mugabe died. Right now, the sunlight is too feeble.

Sometimes it's hard to be optimistic.
With or without Ashley, the world continues to be fucked up. Trump is likely to get a third Supreme Court nominee handpicked by the Federalist Society. Burma's still persecuting Rohingya.
In Sudan, I’m hearing about police firing on protestors and the military firing on those police, or other police throwing down their uniforms in solidarity.
I said once Sudan's main advantage they have over Syria is the fact that Sudan has fought an actual war. But on the other hand, Omar Bashir is wanted by the ICC* and getting on that list is no easy task. There is not a single Asian wanted by the ICC, nor are there Yugoslavians** or Russians. Which means he doesn't have Syria's advantage of Iran and Russia flying in to save the day. And maybe the only other government that could fall is Algeria.
*Relocating their detention centre to South Georgia couldn't hurt.
**Maybe the fact that there was a seperate tribunal for Yugoslav war criminals means something.

I think yesterday was the longest time a cat has been friendly to me.

There’s a Jingle All The Way 2. It’s just like the first one, except a lot worse.

Michael says the lamp murders the I and looks at the audience as if to say "you're next."

Emily says that when she dies, she's getting cremated so she doesn't have to worry about coins in her eyes or getting them sown shut for the funeral.

Instead, we watched Home Alone. Michael and Emily thought that Angels With Dirty Faces was a real, if obscure, movie.
Emily says it's loud because there are two people of the sign of the Gigas, and she says that it takes hours to get warm but seconds to become cold when someone opens the door.
I’m shocked that there are English signs in the Paris airport. That might be true in real life, but still, I’m shocked. This is France, a country that banned the teaching of Breton and Occitan until the 1950s, wouldn’t allow a broadcast of Breton until 1964, had a president declare that there was no place for minority languages, and didn’t officially recognize them until 2008.
The subtitles don’t translate the French.

Samantha says that ballet dancers have terrible singing voices because the way they breathe is different.

burning question: did Kevin McAllister steal those mannequins from a store? (Emily asked this. Or did his family just have a bunch of them lying around in the basement? Someone who livestreamed Home Alone said they’re just lying around in their basement. We started watching around the time he went out the door on a toboggan). Why would they have a bunch of mannequins lying around? Also, why did his mind go to “I made my family disappear” and not “Aaaaaaa, my family went to Paris without me!”? He knew they were going on vacation.


in the deep and dark hours of the night

Posted on December 19, 2018 at 8:41 pm
Mood: Lesueurina
Now Playing: Kina Zoré - Tchova Nyolo
I slept better than I did last night, which ironically means I was still tired when I had to get up. I didn’t dream as well, dreaming about Ashley and atonement and why she hates me. Sadly, things probably aren't that way in life. Or maybe happily, I dunno. Something tells me she won't believe anything that comes out of Drow's mouth.

White Dragon suffers from multi-part battles and random fights that are just as hard as scripted fights, but really, I can't be angry at White Dragon (or Griloch's Revenge, for that matter, except Griloch's Revenge was mostly pretty easy with a few tough fights against invisible enemies that had really high initiative and are more like black shades than guardians) because I was way underleveled. Underleveled, the fight at the end of Lord Brierwood's Castle is tough but fair and the fight with the evil monks is mostly about summoning meatshields beforehand because they have high initiative and not even close to worth it.
Turns out I'm severely underleveled for Mythril Vault. While I know it has aliens and robots, I have no idea how it works said aliens and robots into the plot.
Probably better integrated than Wheel of Time, but then again.
This isn't a spoiler because it's a throwaway reference to John Glenn and the moon landing, to the Cold War, and to all people, Ann Landers, in the first 50 pages of a 11,196 page series and an inconsequential scene in the 4th book with an inconsequential character.
Right now, I've been listening to sad songs, Cthulhu-themed christmas carols, and Star Man’s theme from Mega Man 5.

On the bright side, I got Fallout to run in DosBox. I tried Sheepshaver but the cursor handles like a shopping cart with a jet engine attached to it. On the other hand, MS-DOS is obtuse, especially when you didn't grow up using it. Like me.

I found Realmz 1.2.2 which I think was on one of the Software of the Month Club’s disk (also, the first version I played) where the character classes had a special title based on their level. The only one I remembered is prestidigitator because it’s a great word. Also, I can spell it. I point this out because there are other, simpler words that I can not spell. Tim also talks about networked play, which remained a pipe dream.

As if we needed a new reason to hate ebola and Julius Evola, it’s killing gorillas too. On the bright side, there are more gorillas than originally thought.

Barred owl’s number is A18-1822. After this, we got a red-tailed hawk who was probably hit by a car and his clotting time is well over an hour, and you know what that means. We have a Canada goose who can’t really fly but he’s very fat and very mean, which means whatever he’s doing, he’s getting food fine, and they’re not migratory, so we’ll probably just send him on his way. After all, every animal we euthanize is some food that a predator or scavenger doesn’t get to eat. If we euthanize them, they have to be cremated.
Someone brought in a guinea pig named Bob to have his eyeball removed because it got infected.
We have a greater black-backed gull whom someone gave a seafood salad sandwich that someone donated, probably because it was somewhat expired.
She cut up some guinea pig fetuses once.
The lights were out because ambiance.

Sierra’s mother burninates carrots in the oven until they’re shriveled black things and then eats them.
Sierra’s father is Korean. Which makes sense.
TJ said there’s room in holding for Kydada to stay. Now that the turkey with a massive bruise has been put outside.

burning question: how the fuck can I spell anesthesia or prestidigitator without a problem but not marriage?


the last stage of sleep

Posted on December 13, 2018 at 4:43 pm
Mood: Stylophorum
Now Playing: Ralph Vaughan Williams - Oboe Concerto in A Minor
I think today is the last day of this seemingly-interminable cold snap.

Even the well-oiled PJMedia propaganda machine couldn’t get this guy off. Phrasing. Pajamas Media isn’t talking about it or at the very least, isn’t posting editorials about it but even commenters on center-right sites like Kiwi Farms and Free Republic are saying that he’s clearly innocent and Michael suggests it’s because of bad optics.

We released a goose and a few rodos. We have the world’s angriest great horned owl and he’s suffering from rodenticide toxicity and his blood won’t clot but he’s otherwise healthy. We have a DeKay’s brown snake and a goose with nerve damage and a few more rodos. There's an iguana in boarding.
I’ll talk about Griloch’s Revenge and White Dragon later. It’s obvious that they’re learning from their mistakes in earlier scenarios, though. And they learned that multi-part battles suck in a game where everything has to go right. The only good one is that climactic battle in Assault on Giant Mountain's ice giant castle.
Also, I wonder if some of it was "playtested in earlier versions only."

Baby puffins are called pufflings. Primrose was going to guess pufflet.

TJ wanted a cappuccino with tea instead of coffee. He knows nothing about cappuccinos, he says.
He said that the turtle pond filter thing looks like a weird big fuzzy condom.

There’s also that helpful note from the stairs since the elevator has been out of order for the past few weeks, except we didn’t photograph our own stairwells, they’re very obviously some stock photos.
Otherwise, I've got nothing. I've been having vivid dreams. Not about a white christmas, mind you, but of summer festivities, an eight-piece music ensemble with cello, a woman with a pockmarked face and far-set eyes with pastel silk scarves and crystal jewelry sitting in a holographic garden, underground lakes and lockdowns. I learned that at one point, Sudan was the only democracy in mainland Africa (couldn't make out the island countries) but their definition of a democracy excludes certain nascent democracies in which a peaceful transfer of power from democratically elected government to democratically elected government hasn't happened yet.

burning question: Are people supporting Tulsi Gabbard at the end of 2018 merely clueless or is it just further proof that progressives don't give a shit about anyone who isn't a white cis male?


quiet dusk coming early

Posted on December 07, 2018 at 4:38 pm
Mood: Rhaphiolepis
Now Playing: Jaggery - Spiral Staircase
Realmz is pretty much an unlicenced D&D game with all the serial numbers filed off. Clerics may be called priests but they're still spellcasters who can wear most types of armor but can only use blunt weapons, much like 17th century French war priests.

In later versions, there are the core classes and alternatives to those, like fencers, who are fighters who can only used edged weapons, or cabalists, who are sorcerers who are even worse physical fighters.

It’s funny because a lot of D&D stuff was basically Lord of the Rings with the serial numbers filed off. Here’s a Realmz thing: Halflings are hobbits with the serial numbers filed off. Realmz took the new serial numbers that TSR scrawled on with crayons, filed those off, and called them furfoots.
Kobolds, despite being from German folklore, hence "cobalt," are now called Krise.
Bugbears (boogeyman, not hemiptera) are folkloric creatures as well. Older editions depicted a bear with a jack-o-lantern for a head and it was replaced in later editions of D&D with hairier bigger goblins, which we already have in orcs and ogres and hobgoblins.
Gnolls are from a Lord Dunsany story. They started out as gnome-trolls. Michael described third and future edition gnolls as humanoid hyenas without any of the interesting aspects of hyena society, like their matriarchal structure and their high rate of stillbirths.
Even drow are from Shetlandic folklore, although they're ugly and love music (I'm not sure if they're ugly-cute or just ugly like cutelildrow), while the elves that live in an underground dystopia are either TSR or svartálfar.
Fire giants and ice giants show up but really, they're just jötunn and eldjötnar.

Let me tell you a story about Realmz. So, in the scenario Destroy the Necronomicon (I think you could pull it off in Griloch’s Revenge), you could bypass the registration gates at a specific time in the scenario, however, the game would know that you somehow bypassed the registration process and would occasionally kick you out, and I got through the three bastions by quick-saving every step I took. For whatever reason, he put a second registration checkpoint when you get to the Abyss.
As a middle-schooler, I had a lot more patience.

During my replay of Destroy the Necronomicon, I came to the conclusion that these scenarios were not playtested enough and they were playtested by people who know what an optimal party and optimal spell selection is. Barring something ridiculous like an all-bard party. So the "optimal levels" for the scenarios are way too low and if your levels are above the optimal levels, you take a hit to your experience.
The aging mechanic is terrible but so far, no scenario has taken more than 250 days to complete (I'm about to start White Dagron). Enemies that age you shouldn't exist.
I can't complain too much about the battles with the exploding Hellions because there's a bug that allows me to enter the other mini-bastions without the Deadstones. The fight with the obsidian statues is clever, or would be
I swear all the scenarios have a a really terrible mandatory fight. AoGM had that fight with the anti'ids in which you start out in "helpless" (read: paralyzed and also one hit will KO you) and they get to move first. I hope you saved that annihilate scroll you got in City of Bywater. Everyone talks about the 12 Skeletal Knights in Castle in the Clouds but that fight isn't that bad if everyone has decent agility. Cosmic Blast early on to knock out their spellcasting and then Cloud of Cleavers because it hits every time someone walks into it and the AI, when it can't reach you, likes to move back and forth. It's unfair, really.
I remember Griloch's Revenge being a lot emptier.

I know Sword Dream had alignment but I’m not sure what it affected. I checked Realmz 2.0 (I know I have an earlier version around with character portraits from Dragonlance covers but can’t find the disc its on. I also have version 3.x but I don’t know what MacAddict CD it was on and the only reason I care about that one is because the scenario listed five unreleased scenarios: Griloch’s Revenge, White Dragon, Mythril Vault, and two others and I'm not sure if one of those is Half Truth. I read something about Siege of Natari) and alignment is a thing and I guess paladins can only be orderly. And order is described as “puts the needs of the many above the needs of the few” and chaos is putting themselves as the deciding factor and good is justice and morality and neutral is acting according to circumstances and evil is acting without regard to consequences. Karma was a thing. It’s basically charisma. Michael said he likes the idea of charisma being used for resisting mental effects.

Also, in the older version of Realmz, there was a spell called traverse plane. I believed that using it would open up entirely new areas to me. I think it was supposed to be used in that one part of Destroy the Necronomicon. It also had a bunch of skills that I can only assume were meant to be used in future scenarios and then removed. I'm not sure if hold portal still exists.

I haven’t been keeping up with politics because Realmz but here are a few things: Bush the Elder died. Michael says he was 30 years too late. I said that he was the third best president of my lifetime and that’s just sad. Meanwhile, in Europe, part of Spain elected a far-right party for the first time since Franco. And also, the Republicans are corrupt assholes and want to strip incoming governors of power because they aren’t Republican. The Hoydens and Hoyts are becoming increasingly deranged. On the bright side, things aren’t going too well for James Alex Fields.

The things that keep me up at night:
1. would capture soul even work on Ashley?
2. Do golems have souls in folklore? You can capture a golem in a soul crystal.
3. I’m pretty sure the only mythological creature that specifically doesn’t have a soul is a vampire, which is why they don’t have reflections. Liches have souls but (in D&D, lifted wholesale from the legend of King Koshchey the Deathless) they store them elsewhere.
4. I’m going by a FFXIII definition of souls when I say Ashley’s an empty vessel. Although I think we’re talking soul crystals, which can captures vampires. If I did create a simulacrum of Ashley, it would last ten turns and not do anything useful. Going by Avernum logic, she’d just be a generic townsperson and would serve little purpose, not even as a meat shield.
4a. I did like create illusions in vanilla Avernum, because a. it summoned six of them, b. they dealt damage, and c. the enemy AI didn't ignore them or wipe them out with an attack that would also damage you.
5. Firefox spell check doesn't recognize golem?

Michael knew someone who played a lich character in D&D simply because it saved him the trouble of creating a new character whenever he died.

Courtney has a bunny named Benjamin. He has gray splotches.

Primrose had a dream about the dogs talking to her. Daisy had an angry British accent.

Jess was eating curried chicken from Whole Foods.
The night before, I had some really amazing pizza: d.o.p. san marzano tomatoes, spinach, mozzarella, bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, kalamata olives, mushrooms, red onions, hot cherry peppers, balsamic reduction.

One of the hawks picked a guinea pig's leg bones clean and Dova ate a DOA robin.

I'm not sure why armor rating and magic resist are dodge and take no damage respectively, rather than a damage reduction. Okay, I understand why they are for a tabletop game but in Realmz, the computer does all the math.
burning question: who's better at math than a robot? They're made of math.



Posted on November 27, 2018 at 6:11 pm
Mood: Zephroniodesmus
Now Playing: Bheki Mseleku - Celebration
Mary (not that Mary, kupo) had dark purple and black hair and now has icy radiant lavender hair.

I found yet another NPC song. Their lyrics are so dreadful and their insults so juvenile that I can't help but think some leftist created Emperor Washington as a parody of what right-wingers think.
Michael took my "worst lyrics of all time" as a challenge.

We got a hawk that was hit by a car and a rodo with a pellet lodged in its wing. The eagle is gone, probably because his injuries were treated and he’s just hanging out somewhere waiting to be released.

Someone found a bearded dragon in a dumpster. He's doing well. I'm not sure what we're planning to do with him.

Erica bought some cookie dough. TJ once ate a hot cookie. All at once. Michael thinks that someone needs to sync up Kermit the Frog's mouth movement with things Jordan Peterson says. It's been done, apparently. I'm also imagining him stealing Christmas to take it back from the pagans or something. Jesus was born on either September 11 or April 17, 6 BC, depending on what you think the Star of Bethlehem was.
I read somewhere that comets were seen as an ill omen. Still are, really. In 1910, people sold anti-comet potions, gas masks, and umbrellas. In 1997, a bunch of people killed themselves.
There is some apocrypha out there claiming Jesus is from the Moon amd one in which Jesus tames a dagron.

I found the spiritual prequel to MAGA 2020 AND BEYOND. Somebody was nice enough to provide summaries for most of the stories. One day, when I have some strange great sins to atone for, I'll read them and go into more detail. It's a lot more heavy-handed than MAGA 2020. On the other hand, these are actual stories. Maybe it's because it's easier to write a dystopia than a utopia.
Milo Yannipolis wrote the introduction, and it's about how the left doesn't read SFF, and I know what you're thinking, or at least, Michael had this thought. Wasn't Milo thouroughly anathemized? And, yes, yes he was. But when this thing was published, Ashley and I were still friends.
Nick Cole wrote a story about how a spaceship’s voyage is a disaster because the crew was selected for diversity and not competence. They're all thinly-veiled fellow writers and of course Larry Correia is the only competent one.
EJ Shumak wrote a story about a guy pranking a robot but since liberals run the world, robots are considered minorities and he committed a hate crime.
Matthew Ward wrote THE CODE which is about a world run by liberals in which legal contracts are required for any romantic interaction and he’s trying to figure out if his date is into him or if she just wants to manipulate him into kissing her or touching her so she can sue him. Spoiler alert: the latter.
Joshua Young wrote a story about a barbarian tribe going to a city where everyone hides their gender and finds out that liberals refused to let anyone accomplish anything.
David Hallquist wrote a story about a couple who decided they wanted a daughter so they force their son to get a sex-change and it doesn’t work, so they try to have him aborted. AM Freeman wrote a story about a 12 year old boy getting a broken arm and being difficult to care for so he gets aborted. And you're probably thinking "Wait, that's the same exact story"
In "Chrome Oxide’s" story, the world is run by liberals and white males are forbidden from going to school and Arabs and other non-whites are allowed to rape and murder white people with scimitars by the way, so this white guy hacks into the Karl Marx Safe Space Educational Gulag (seriously?) so he can see his daughter and what race and gender she identifies as.
Brad Torgersen wrote a story about an all-female society where men are degraded and made into a slave caste by women. This story made Michael think of Spock’s Brain, an episode of Star Trek that I can’t help but think Raising Gazorpazorp is a parody of and which Michael thinks could have been good if it got rid of the gender politics and made it about people who live with technology but have no idea how it works.
John C. Wright wrote a story about a world run by oppressive liberals and they try to astrally project into alternate universes in order to make them liberal. and a woman goes to a utopian world where women never got the right to vote and she wants to stay there because it’s the only time she ever felt valued as a woman and then Jesus shows up and what the fuck? I said that only a man could write a story like that.
Jane Lebak writes a story about Christianity being banned and priests use technology to remake their brains in the image of saints, and one of them ends up becoming Oscar Romero and not St. Faustina. Oscar Romero, by the way, was the Archbishop fo San Salvador, who spoke out against poverty, social injustice, and death squads, and found himself assassinated by the far-right government. I’m not sure why she picked Romero and not Stjepinac.
Theodore Beale wrote a story about a mercenary captain being assigned female soldiers and teaches them that they can't win a battle by force and instead use "feminine wiles." Again, only a man could write a story like that.
Jagi Lamplighter wrote a story about evil djinn and a Muslim converting to Christianity, but wait, if there are djinni, that would mean that Islam is the true religion.

agree or disagree: Someone should put together an anthology with these stories given as prompts to decent authors capable of actual nuance.
I disagree. These stories are so heavy-handed that nobody can make them good. Maybe the one about the saints.


drifting time misplaced

Posted on November 22, 2018 at 7:45 pm
Mood: Adamussium
Now Playing: Benjamin Britten - Hymn to St. Cecilia
Me: It’s too cold to be in the Christmas spirit to listen to Christmas music. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph Stalin, it’s only St. Cecilia’s Day and the high temperature is in the 20s. I swear, the polar vortex comes earlier and earlier every year and leaves later and later.
Also me: *listens to wistful guitar pop and wistful piano pop and wistful cello-marimba whatever genre of music Goli is considered*

From what I've read, it's supposed to get better. Not good, and also rainy as fuck, but better.

Muffin has grown deaf in her old age, and Emily has to move her out of the way when she vacuums. Emily got her as a kitten but since she barely knows her own age, she doesn't know how old she is.

I’m thankful for dogs and that Rachel didn’t pick a June, July, or August wedding. Emily is emphatically not thankful for people who can easily climb the social ladder because they’re so busy pushing others down and emphatically not thankful for post-industrial capitalism. You’d think it’d be Sam but maybe you too are from an alternate reality. Nobody knows what Lauren is thankful for because Emily had a story to tell about a broken cigarette machine and we got sidetracked and about the time she wanted to find a photo of the Milky Way and coudn't find one and it dawned on her that it the reason there weren't any photos is because we're inside it, and how she named a funnel spider Muffet.

We heard the most annoying ad and this is right after campaign ads and during Christmas ads.

Rachel says that Japan is less conservative than us when it comes to things like health care but more conservative than us because you can’t become a citizen unless you’re of Japanese descent. She’s finding it hard because the Trump administration. Something about making more than 1.5 times the poverty limit and the length of your relationship. She has a friend who ended a relationship because her boyfriend voted third party. I clapped. I asked about Japan's music scene and she reminesced about a Panic at the Disco concert where the singer talked to the audience as if they could understand him and they just kind of danced politely. She's been kicked out of places for not being Japanese. I told her to throw around words like "minden" and "a" and "meg" and "asszonal"
She wants to visit Thailand and China but won't visit India alone. I have a friend who went to Kerala and my advice is to avoid Uttar Pradesh because every time I hear something bad coming out of India, it's always Uttar Pradesh.
And you want to know something terrifying? I've heard that there are worse Indian states for women than Uttar Pradesh.

Emily wonders who says "tom-ah-to" and thinks it's just a dumb expression. The answer is "Australians."

burning question: why walk a thousand miles when you can just drive a piano?


a mortal coldness

Posted on November 19, 2018 at 6:15 pm
Mood: Sarkidiornis
Now Playing: trash girl - mass ave
The election was a nice fuck you to people like Drow and Daisy Dead Head with Question 3, a marginal victory in Congress and a long-term victory in Florida, assuming the Republicans don't try to take it from us.
This is the populists' and far right's Moscow.

It was so cold that most of the reptiles were moved to warmer rooms to spend the winter on the first day in a while someone came in to get a tour (actually, there were people taking their bunny to get neutered and then some people came in just to look around) and there were no cookies. Let me tell you how fucked up the climate is: it rained in the Atacama. And I wanted to convince Donald Trump there was oil there.

This is a totally different juvenile bald eagle with some sort of sepsis and bacterial infection but no rodenticide or lead toxicity (although I think someone said later that he has rodenticide poisoning, although I haven't been there for 14 days). I think what they mean by “we’ve never treated a bald eagle in our 35 years of veterinary care,” they mean “the last bald eagle came in too messed up to treat” or maybe “that paradox effect hit us” because that one thing hasn’t been cleared up.

We have a saw-whet owl. Unfortunately, this is the picture they went with. I can't tell if one of his eyes is messed up or it's just the lighting.

We have a black scoter who got away from Jess.

We got a new hooded merganser today. Her number is 18-1778. She had some fishing wire around her head; she looks okay but we are looking at her to make sure.
We release some geese, a swan, and the barred owl.

We found out just why wombat poop is cube-shaped and it's because they have stretchy, ridged colons.
Wombats stack that poop as a territory marker to their fellow wombats.

Blue jays have been heard mimicking raptors.

Michael found a kitchen utensil that looked like either an African throwing knife or a tool for mountain climbing.
He thinks that Gamingforce is a money-laundering scheme at this point.

I heard a guy play flamenco guitar and included a medley of Paul Dukas’ L’apprenti sorcier and Charles Gounod’s Marche funèbre d’une marionnette and his take on Paint it Black, in which he said he once thought the key to a long life was clean living and a healthy diet but the Rolling Stones prove him wrong and a song that broke a guitar string and forced him to improvise.

burning question: why the fuck would anyone want 3.66 gigs of Moon Man Moon Man Can’t You See? Unless it’s flac or video or something. That’s a bit more understandable, although quite frankly, even one Moon Man song is more than enough Moon Man. Unless Moon Man was a Mega Man boss. This is that moment where I confess I have no idea how much music 3.66 gigs of flac is. 3.66 gigs of mp3 is at least 36 hours. I don’t know, the largest band in my library is about 2.07 gigs and 21:38. Or it could be videos, which is still too much Moon Man. I said I would download this out of morbid curiosity but Mega Upload says that Safari has an insufficient buffer to decrypt data in this browser, which means it’s basically forcing me to use Mega’s dumb probably spyware and adware and bitcoin mining infested desktop app and I trust that less than I trust Ashley. The weird thing is that it says you can use Chrome as an alternative and people have said that Chrome also has an insufficient buffer to decrypt data. Quite frankly, I don't care that much.


the autumn elegy

Posted on November 06, 2018 at 8:37 pm
Mood: Margarobyas
Now Playing: Celer - Torn To Ribbons

Sadly, this guy succumbed to rodenticide poisoning or his injuries, or more likely, because his blood won't clot, both.
An apt metaphor for the state of this country.
If you want to hear the Star Spangled Banner played upsidedown, here you go.

We were washing the oil out of a very vocal loon. Kydada tried to do her own impersonation of one but it came out sounding like a train.

The skunk smells like someone tried to light him on fire before he sprayed them.

I get the feeling this is head injury guy and not glue trap guy.

Michael says that What Can You Get A Wookiee For Christmas is worse than he imagined. And since I described it as "C-3PO, R2-D2, a chorus of nasally-voiced 'droids' and Bon Jovi," that means he imagined it was pretty bad. You know, the way I felt when I listened to Insane Clown Posse for the first time.

I’m sad to say that there’s not much happening in my life for the rest of 2018.
I’ve been listening to Verdi Cries by 10,000 Maniacs repeatedly. That’s not really helping my mood any.

I'm optimistic about Question 3. Even the most Anglized person I've ever met, and by that, I mean, she writes "mum" and has been to Londinium, will likely vote yes. With 2, Michael says that both sides want yes. With 1, well, of course the hospitals can't afford to hire new nurses, they spent so much on campaigning. I just hope things get better by the time I'll need it. The rest of it is a foregone conclusion.

Also, for whatever dumb reason, I have to reset the dumbass DNS every time I want to open a page on Livejournal, and it works fine for a few minutes and then goes back to loading the page eternally. And it's obviously just me, which means I'm screwed. It works fine in proxy, and I found out I can use a proxy to post if I get desperate, but not in a different browser or on a different device on the same network. Even when I use Google's DNS, it works for a minute and then goes back to what it was doing without constant prodding.
Burning Question: Has anybody in the history of the universe ever looked up a problem they were having and found a working solution for it?


Tora! Tora! Tora! (Cadenza Apocalittica)

Posted on November 05, 2018 at 12:43 am
Mood: hypolycaena
Now Playing: Shalabi Effect - Saint Orange
Somebody spilt coffee on Ashley. On most days, this would be the high point. Oh, it was still great, I mean. But later on, on the way home, I met Lily, who is a really soft, fluffy doberman collie mix, who is mostly black with a little bit of brown on her face and brown and white on her paws, and was kind of freaked out by riding on a train and expressed it in the best way she could, by barking occasionally.

Erin works at the ICA and strongly recommends that current exhibition (I'll try to see it when I have some free time, that is to say, the end of December or the beginning of January). Her girlfriend Steph, whom I drew from a strange vantage point, is not much of an artist.

I didn't find anything I wanted at Brookline Booksmith but I did finally replace the Light Ages and also bought Ship of Fools, Green Phoenix: The Last Stand of the Prehumans, and Record of a Spaceborn Few. I'll have to pick up the second Amberlough book when I can, even though I have yet to read the first one because the publishing cycle moves a lot faster than I go through my to-read pile. Also, I saw a used copy of All Those Vanished Engines and I've been seeing it in a bunch of used bookstores. Which is weird, because the only reason I didn't buy it new is because I could never find the fucking thing.

On the church door is a poster saying Brookline welcomes, in different language, including ones I recognized, like Arabic (أهلا بك), Hungarian (Üdvözöljük), and Russian (добро пожаловать) and Thai (ยินดีต้อนรับ), and languages I didn't recognize, like Hawaiian (Welina), Polish (Witamy), or Finnish (Tervetuloa). I'd never expect Hawaiian. I'd expect languages spoken in and around Brookline. I'm still not sure what Karibu and Akeye are.

There was a centipede on the bathroom wall.
Later on, it had merely vanished and there wasn’t a smear of legs and hemocyanin and hemolymph on the wall.

Look, I've already been afflicted with some kind of dread curse for the last few months. I had to be around Ashley four times last week. Also, I'm pretty sure the curse only applies to actors. So I can say Macbeth all I want. Macbeth, Macbeth, Macbeth, Macbeth.
Macbeth receives a prophecy from the three Weird Sisters telling him he'd rule Scotland, so Lady Macbeth pushes him into murdering Duncan and his heir, and are driven mad by it. Lady Macbeth tries to wash out invisible blood stains and Macbeth is in too deep and continues to murder. After all, none of woman born can hurt him, and that only gives him a lot more confidence. Macduff, however, was ripped from his womb prematurely so that doesn't count, and so he beheads Macbeth.
Macbeth was written around the time King James I took the throne. Banquo in real life was a distant ancestor of James.
It was a modern verse translation, something the Oregon Shakespeare Company commissioned, and I’m not sure how it differs from the original play. The Artery points out one line, in the original, about a cat in an adage. In 1618, everyone knew that the adage was about a cat who wanted a fish but didn’t want to get his feet wet. In 2018, people don’t. I'm not sure if it was necessary but they did a good job with it. If you ask me, it'd have made more sense 'twere it a comedy.
Also, one of the lines that stuck out to me was one of the Sisters talking about using Macbeth’s nocturnal emissions in sorcery. I’d not be surprised if something like that was in the original.
Macbeth’s kilt was black, saffron, and scarlet, with a motif of triangles, and the weird sisters wore crowns of detritus, and Lady Macbeth.
The stage was perfect. The church was dark and shadowy.

Someone in the audience pointed out that Macbeth left his head behind.

Stacey sometimes paints.

She spells her name Kseniya. Makes sense, the Cyrillic ѯ was eliminated in 1708 and was never used for anything but Greek loanwords. I just assumed with Daria.

burning question: Male centipedes leave globs of sperm around in hopes that a female will find it. Is that why people on THE_DONALD call themselves centipedes?


sadly, the future is no longer what it was

Posted on October 30, 2018 at 1:21 pm
Mood: Gryllus
Now Playing: Arc Iris - Ditch
Brazil is now fascist again I’m surprised fascism got a foothold in Brazil because it seems that fascism is so tied up in whiteness, and the last time Brazil was fascist, fascism was imposed on them. On the bright side, there were a bunch of Rice Krispie treats Primrose made left over and halfway across the world, a chimpanzee was taken from her parents and is being housed in a sanctuary because she can't survive in the world and she doesn't know how to interact with chimpanzees. But that's still good.

There’s no talk about the synagogue shooting on The Dan Simmons Forums and I can imagine way.
I had that thought on Sunday; there’s a thread about protestors heckling a Republican Senate candidate, the real victim of this. Meanwhile, on According To Hoyt, a lot of the Hoydens and Hoyts are saying that the pipe bombs are a false flag. It's as Leah said, they believe their own conspiracy theories. What Leah did not say is that the Republicans have decided that all crimes are equal.
I meant to post yesterday, kupo. I just forgot to hit post. Which means that the Republicans have found ways to sink even lower since I wrote this.

The barred owl is looking better but we think his feathers might still be too damaged for him to be released, which means we have to wait. The good news is that nothing else is wrong with him.
The waterfowl with lead poisoning have their lead levels at an acceptable level and now we just have to deal with the consequences.
The flying squirrel has been transferred to winter.
A bunch of people brought beardies and Jackie brought her rats Lucky and Lotus. Lucky's black and white and super-friendly, while Lotus is shy and slate-gray.

Jess was eating lo mein and Kaylee was eating some other kind of leftover Chinese.
Kaylee was listening to the radio and said they were talking about the World Series on every channel. didn’t realize that was the final game of the World Series. I just knew the Red Sox won last game, although it does explain why someone nearby was setting off fireworks at 11:45 PM or so.
Christabel says that once a cookie fortune called her fat. Well, it said something about an exercise routine but that’s pretty much the same thing.
Jess has a couple of fortunes taped to her laptop.

burning question: So they're phasing out Apu, but how much longer do you think the Simpsons will be on for?

mervyn pumpkinhead


Posted on October 26, 2018 at 10:53 pm
Mood: Phrixocnemis
Now Playing: Airiel - Cloudburst
It should be against FCC regulations to play Earth Angel without playing Johnny B. Goode after it. It’s more appropriate than the Monster Mash for this time at least. I’d say something about how Chapel of Love might be suitable for this time of year because my cousin had an outdoor wedding in October without sacrificing something to the rain gods. It mentions spring, though, so it only works for Argentina and Rand McNally, where people dress as Santa Claus on Thanksgiving, Cupids on Christmas, Easter Bunnies with pumpkins on Valentine’s Day, turkeys on St. Ajora’s Day, and the Pope on Passover. Wait a minute, that’s Providence.

Because of the unremitting rain and fierce winds tomorrow, we only had one night of pumpkin trails. I can live with that. Even if the rain stops by nightfall, which it probably won't, the pumpkins will be too waterlogged to light them again. The trails were packed from 6:30 to 8 or so, after which it slowly wound down because apparently people didn’t get the memo. Sapir said that everyone else abandoned her.
Parts of the trail were a morass. I'm pretty sure that parts of New England are now classified as a rain forest. Priya was around and I blame her. I like to blame Ashley but we had shit weather when she was in Europe, so I can't.
It's getting to the point at which I mistook Krissy for Ashley. She was wearing a hat.

When I arrived, Jen and … ugh, someone, possibly Lucy… was bathing the owl. Raisa, who has short abyssopelagic hair and a nose ring and spent the better part of three hours carving a raccoon on a tree branch into that giant pumpkin while listening to Mura Masa, who is a electronic musician and not a swordsmith, says they bathed him in peanut butter to dissolve the glue and were washing that out of his feathers.
Some visitors were speaking Swedish. Apparently, barred owls are called Kråsuggla there. Not often, I'd imagine, because they only live in North America.

Tyler and Amelia had with them an adorable sheep who was white with black splotches and two alpacas.
TJ strewed some bones on the vernal pool model upstairs.

There was Dr. Robotnik, whom Harry did not recognize, but maybe he just knows him as Eggman, there was a pumpkin with a big open mouth and toothpick teeth, an intricate Day of the Dead skull, and inside, there was a lion with a mane of flowers and cheeks and ears of oranges.
Raisa carved a zen pumpkin. She carved a hole and took out the guts and someone thought “oh, this IS the carving” so it just looks like a circle.

One of us was dressed as an ewok without the hood up and a jawa walrus with the hood up. Maybe next year I'll find a styrofoam ball, paint it red, and be a really half-assed moogle.

Emily, as in Jack’s sister, has new tattoos of flowers and butterflies and a black bear, a leafless tree against the full moon and a flock* of bats, the world, in blacks and grays. Later on, her face was painted with a sunflower.
*a colony? a cloud? Whatever, it’s not as cool as murder or parliament*.
*I stand by what I said about woodcocks.
Emily, as in the winter intern from a few years back, has no tattoos as far as I know, but then again, she was wearing a coat and a sweater.
Emily, last year's intern, wasn't around as far as I could tell.
Maggie showed up, now with abyssopelagic black hair but I only got to talk to her for a minute.

A kid had a laser sword that broke up into red and blue and green when he swung it.
I stood under the pumpkmojis, as someone put it, and also the alien from Toy Story.
Arinda is just a cool name. It may or may not be Albanian or Indonesian.

There was a pawprint pumpkin so someone yelled “darn furries are at it again!”

burning question: Utto nye usabia atoonyoba?

mervyn pumpkinhead

cold stars watch us

Posted on October 25, 2018 at 7:37 pm
Mood: Lagenaria
Now Playing: Boyz 4 Now - I Love U So Much (It's Scary)
We have a flying squirrel who was attacked by some kind of animal, most likely a cat but maybe an owl tried to grab it. Walker is confident that he'll be ok and we're going to send him to winter at a rehabber somewhere else. Because of this, I carved World's Greatest Nogoodnik, Boris Badenov, into a pumpkin. I also tried to carve Bob and Linda Belcher. Someone else tried to carve Tina and then said it was just a girl with bangs.
Lucy was around too.
I said to Amelia who has orange dye in her hair and knows where camelids originated could be a sugar glider we were taking care of but I’m pretty sure we don’t use gauntlets to handle sugar gliders.
We have two barred owls now, one with head trauma and one who got caught in a glue trap.
We have a red-breasted nuthatch.
The two raccoons we have left are getting figs and beets to eat. And also dog food but they're not complaining.

Primrose has hair the color of drought-stricken wheat fields now.

Bella, a different Bella, carved a beardie and liked the way the consummate v's on its tail turned out so she used a similar motif on her tyrannosaurus pumpkin. Her friend carved an owl and the moon. The owl had horns, so it obviously isn't barred.
Someone carved a knot, an octopus, Frankenstein's monster, and there's a really impressive one of a face.
Someone was like "you'd think the turtles would be afraid of the alligator" but it wasn't actually doing anything.

Zack says that the facility on the cape is a renovated house so it’s not really better or anything but they do have a huge tank for seabirds that is a pain in the ass to maintain but is really helpful.

The radio was playing Halloween-themed music like Thriller and the Toccata and Fugue and the Funeral March and also.
burning question: The Monster Mash? But it’s not Valentine’s Day!

mervyn pumpkinhead

the best of all possible worlds

Posted on October 24, 2018 at 12:47 am
Mood: Tropidischia
Now Playing: Avia Gardner - If You Lose The Keys, Throw Away The House
There was a woman noshing on something from Moe’s, which is not a tavern or even a family feedbag like it should be but a southwestern grill.
Me, I didn't have much time to eat, so I had a salad and wasn't able to finish it. And I had a bag of chips later.

Candide is an opera about the comically tragic or tragically comic misadventures of Candide; Cunegonede, the daughter of the Baron and Baroness; Maximilian, her brother who is utterly in love with himself; and Paquette, the maid, narrated by Voltaire at a lecture podium, who didn’t actually say "To determine the true rulers of any society, all you must do is ask yourself this question: Who is it that I am not permitted to criticize?” (not to come off as an apologist for Enlightenment Liberalism) That was in fact was Kevin Adolf Strom, a man whose predilections are so shameful they should be buried in the dreams of the people in his dreams. Occasionally, Voltaire would join in as Dr. Pangloss o the Governor. Dr. Pangloss delivers a lecture about how this is the best of all possible worlds and everything, from war to the fall of man, served its purpose in making this the best of all possible worlds, and then moves on to advanced physics with Paquette. That’s a euphemism. Candide tries this on Cunegonde but her brother Maximilian will have none of that, so he kicks them out of Westphalia, where he laments his situation and is conscripted into the Bulgarian Army, which wipes out Westphalia. You'd think the Bulgarian Army would be a joke but I guess they weren't a joke in 1944/1945 Serbia, Hungary, and Kosovo either. Candide finds Dr. Pangloss, who has lost his nose to syphilis, in Lisbon, and there, Pangloss talks about original sin and they are captured by the Lisbon Inquisition, who are just as unexpected as their Spanish counterparts and a lot better at their jobs too. In Paris, Cunegonde is ravished by Don Issachar and the Archbishop on alternating days, and Candide accidentally kills them both and they run off with The Old Lady off to Cadiz and then to the New World.
The second act has Maximilian and Paquette in Montevideo, where the women wear flower hats and where the Governor falls in love with Maximilian and gets married to him and then finds out he’s a man and then he goes off to a monastery or whatever. The Old Lady tells Candide the story about how she lost one of her butt cheeks and then pirates attack them. Maximilian still says “no, you can’t marry her” so Candide gets angry and kills him with the conductor’s baton. Candide and Paquette head to El Dorado, here a hippie commune, where they obtain gold and sheep, played by two women wearing oven mitts and fuzzy slippers and white dresses and pink leggings, but Paquette says she’ll go crazy if she lives in a place like this for the rest of her life, so they head off to Cartagena with the two sheep in tow, who gnaw their way through the dense jungle, and the Governor offers them an inflatable raft that will take them to Constantinople, which is what they called Istanbul in those days. There they run into Cunegonde and Maximilian shows up alive too but nobody cares about his story. They decide that Dr. Pangloss has no idea what he’s talking about and instead try toiling in the fields for a few years.

There are multiple versions of this, 1956, 1973 (which is just the 1956 version with a few new Sondheim-written songs), and 1989. I’m pretty sure we got the 1989 version because Paquette has one line in the 1956 version and there was a character named Martin who joined them whilst in Suriname.
I posed the question “what if this is the best of all possible worlds?” a long time ago, I think in reference to the Course of the Heart. It was 2014, if you're wondering. And I know it isn't, because a rock from outer space hasn't punctured Vox Day's skull in this one. Also, Ashley hates me.

During the intermission, the woman behind me, who is a soprano vocalist, made a noise like a theremin. The woman next to me, her friend, had a dagger tattoo on her arm.

Katie reminds me of someone I know: abyssopelagic and copper hair and a pointed chin and big dark eyes, hoop earrings and a white coat.
I’m not sure if she was Arab or Hispanic or something else.

Leah is an artist, mostly in sculpture, but she lacks glasses and has hair of a rusted blonde. She tries to use water-based clays but finds them too fragile. She says it’s hard to take pictures of rainbows and the moon. I think I need steadier hands. A week ago, she dressed as a Valkyrie and wore a winged helmet and an utterly nonauthentic dress. There was a guy on another train car dressed as a pirate and another guy with a fox ear headband and a bushy tail. She went in the wrong direction at first so she didn't see them. She thinks that everything is too damned expensive, especially housing. She's not good at pumpkin carving but her mother is. She can understand how Bob Belcher might be difficult.
I said Leah. Then I said Leah as in L e a h to confirm. And then Leah again because I like the sound of the name. I showed her pictures of the barred owl we had. She told me she saw a bird that was the size of a mango and brown and it had a long beak and I recognized it as a woodcock.

She was having a relatively bad day and was out later than she usually is, but did see a movie that you’d think would be a dumb action movie but turns out to be a parody of dumb action movies.
It was late and I'm glad it wasn't Wagner.
One of her friends moved to Wollaston, expecting an easy commute, right before they announced that they were rebuilding the station. She thinks that endless construction and nothing being truly winterized is the nature of things.
She thinks that people who believe in trickle down economics who aren't rich are people who think they'll eventually be rich. I saw a few comments saying that people who don't believe in trickle-down economics are incapable of being happy for other people. A lot of them also believe that they should be allowed a platform but sites that allow left-wingers to congregate should be shut down.
She says that they believe in their own conspiracy theories.

She got off at Quincy Adams and missed a guy yelling at the bus driver because he needed to get to Ashmont, and I’m like “Jesus, Mary, and Josef Stalin. You got on a Braintree train. You got off at North Quincy. You got on a bus going to Quincy Adams. I can’t blame drugs, because the amount of any drug you’d have to be on is well above the lethal dose.”

I found some old music survey.
burning question: Tantric put out how many albums?

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