penguin_starborn's recent activity
Comment on Poetry Is Everywhere in ~creative
Comment on Which Patreons do you support and why? in ~talk
penguin_starbornUsually the reason is I see someone who should be encouraged to do whatever they are doing. The rewards to me are more in them continuing to do that thing. Thus: Mark Oshiro, who reacts to genre...
Usually the reason is I see someone who should be encouraged to do whatever they are doing. The rewards to me are more in them continuing to do that thing.
Thus: Mark Oshiro, who reacts to genre things in a really heartfelt, thoughtful way; Incase, who draws beautiful porn and comics with plot; David Willis, who does Dumbing of Age, the best webcomic I know of; Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff, which is a non-explosive RPG podcast by two Cthulhu professionals; Tom Smith, an old-school master of filk (sf&f folk music); and... one other person who draws porn which usually doesn't really work for me, but (to be totally crass) her Patreon isn't that popular and it makes me happy to contribute to someone who isn't super popular, even when I wish that wasn't the case. (And now I sound like some freakish self-aware hipster.)
There are like twenty other Patreons I would support if I had more money; for example, I really want to see N. K. Jemisin's cat pictures.
Comment on Proposal: Weekly neologism thread in ~creative
penguin_starbornSnackreligious (a fiction) So I had a genius idea: there are a hundred churches in the city, so I could just go from one to another, take the communion, and live off that. Monotonous, as well as...
Snackreligious (a fiction)
So I had a genius idea: there are a hundred churches in the city, so I could just go from one to another, take the communion, and live off that. Monotonous, as well as monophysite --- but free food!
A lot of running around, sure, but I think I'll take a trial day and see if I can compress the schedule.
I'll keep notes.
Went well. Felt like a secret agent.
Not so good. Priest went on about "using the mantle of the divine for one's own earthly profit", and kept staring at me.
Ran out halfway through the sermon.
Me, not the priest.
On later consideration, maybe he just had those eyes that stare at everybody. Could be useful, in that job.
There are definite differences in the offerings. This place had sticky plasticky wafers; ended up on the minuses in calories, trying to get that loose.
Plus with all the head-shaking and strange noises felt like a cheap remake of the Exorcist, which despite all didn't feel appropriate for the back pews.
The priest said, "I haven't seen you here before."
I said "He he he" and hoped they didn't have... membership cards?
Is that a thing?
I've never seen a bouncer at a church. A... Heaven's Angel?
These services overlap too much, I'm missing on so many.
Those that don't --- er, there's the place whose communion is at midnight, in the bad part of the town. Went there once because I was bored and thought it was a nude ladies place. I swear the priest said, "and the Lamb said to me, don't take this, it's my flesh, please" and laughed --- that's not kosher.
I swear something had gone wrong with the bottle here. The "wine" was transparent, and tasted like it was 10 000 proof. The priest spend five minutes asking if anyone else wanted some. Because if nobody does, he has to down all that's left in the big cup.
I went five times.
This place had been converted from a bar.
They should really have invested in new, smaller cups.
Oh my aching head.
It's difficult to keep from singing. Or dancing, as we were called to the front to receive.
Note to self: stick to hymns.
Not Born in the USA.
You know, it's bad when a cop asks you if you're drunk. Worse when it's your mom. But a priest? Doesn't feel so good either.
Also, he said, "Do you want the non-alcoholic option?"
And I asked, "What, there's a non-alcoholic option?"
"It's just the bloody wafer."
Would it be too much to ask for a... menu? Like, a roll, a breadstick, or a wafer?
Is it the spirit in me that's talking?
I was really angry the priest wanted me to pay, and was dressed in an apron and standing next to a popsicle stand.
Tried to go twice in the same place.
None at all.
There's a place. A wholesaler. For the wafers.
Their... they're really rude.
Won't send samples to decent individuals calling on the phone.
Must be atheists or something.
Same as #6. Cups still too big. The jukebox, they'd kept the jukebox from the bar.
Not good for singing along. I tried anyway.
Nobody appreciates me.
How many wafers before I'm all Jesus?
The priest didn't know.
What do they teach in the seminary these days?
Wouldn't tell me that either.
I am beginning to think this was a bad idea.
Here's a fact. In, in some places they don't have the eating. The eating thing.
They don't like if you ask when the eating starts, either.
I wasn't drunk driving; this doesn't count.
This is religious persecution!
Comment on Proposal: Weekly neologism thread in ~creative
penguin_starbornOoh, this is a good idea. (Anecdote: The Meaning of Liff by Douglas Adams and John Lloyd did this by reusing placenames for concepts lacking a name; at least the Finnish translation rewrote the...
Ooh, this is a good idea. (Anecdote: The Meaning of Liff by Douglas Adams and John Lloyd did this by reusing placenames for concepts lacking a name; at least the Finnish translation rewrote the whole book to use Finnish placenames and (some? mostly? only?) Finnish concepts instead.)
(A long time ago, pre-wifi, I had that book as a text file dumped inside a jar program on a phone, for long toilet visits; never got past Pelutho because laughing too much disturbed the other... toilet-eers? A word is needed, here.)
(n., colloq., a person visiting a toilet for the intended or some other purpose.)
(Can't come up with anything except, "a Knight of the Yellow and the Brown, bent down low in dutiful service and grim Obeisance of the Clenched Knot to the all-accepting glory of the White Porcelain Goddess", which isn't too colloquial and would be a little difficult to slip into conversation. ("Where are you going?" "I am going on a quest!" "But that's the toilets!" "And today the Fiery Worm of Chipotle shall be torn apart and drown'd!"))
Now, for a word: queugh. Which is, finding yourself the only customer, and realizing with disgust that as there is no queue, you have no idea of where or in what order to go, what to do; finding yourself slowed down by not having to wait for those in front of you to be done; flummoxed by the lack of emulatory predecessors. "Nobody else at the buffet because of the sea. Spent ten minutes finding out which tray didn't have the risotto. What queugh!"
Also, I somehow feel "wendy" should be a word: "as I went down the long wendy road" --- from wend, as bendy from bend, and instead of wending.
The Belgian Antarctic Expedition (1897--9)
This was the first expedition of the Heroic Age, organized by Adrian de Gerlache, and funded by King Leopold's image problems. de Gerlache was a restless man of thirty, his life oscillating...
This was the first expedition of the Heroic Age, organized by Adrian de Gerlache, and funded by King Leopold's image problems. de Gerlache was a restless man of thirty, his life oscillating between breathtaking daring and breathtaking mundanity --- a man of the Belgian Navy, working on the fishery protection detail, then a seaman on an English vessel, failing to round Cape Horn and ending up on a scrapyard in Montevideo; an officer on a ferry between the prosaic Ostend and the boring Dover; then writing a flurry of letters, petitioning for a chance to go to Africa with Stanley, to the Arctic with Nordenskiöld, to anywhere with the Royal Geographic Society of Britain. Finally, a plea to the Geographic Society of his native land drew flame, a ship was purchased (MV Belgica), and funding was secured from the king. de Gerlache's crew included more than just Belgians; among others, the Norwegian 25-year-old first mate Roald Amundsen, destined for later fame, and the 26-year-old Pole Henryk Arctowski, a later authority on meteorology, who was much teased for his overappropriate name.
Belgica sailed south by the way of South America, where their reception was warm, the local scientists were enthused, all seemed well.
In truth, they were sailing into a world they knew very little of, into an implacably hostile world, and they were ill equipped for it. They reached Graham Land --- the northern part of the Antarctic Peninsula --- in the January of 1898, skirting west between the peninsula and the islands flanking it --- not knowing if what they took for the farthest tip of the continent was just another archipelago, kitted together with glaciers and pack ice. The same month a sailor was washed overboard and lost.
In February they crossed the Antarctic Circle --- they sailed down the western side of the Peninsula, mapping and observing the flora and the fauna and for the lack of them, the stars and the moon. They tried to find a peninsula-breaching passage to the east side, the Weddell Sea, for their return --- and on the 28th of February, 1898, towards the end of the Antarctic summer, they got stuck in ice.
Some say this was an accident; some say this was on purpose: a ploy of de Gerlache or (say) the first mate Amundsen, to gain additional glory or experience.
If it was done on purpose, it nearly killed them all.
They would be stuck for over ten months, including two months of total darkness --- when Belgium sees the middle of summer, the Antarctic sinks to polar night.
They were unprepared: they piled on all their clothing, and it still wasn't enough to shelter them outside the ship. They had nothing to do: there was nothing but cold, darkness and death outside the ship; inside, the same hateful faces, the same ``three books and four issues of a magazine, a Bible and the mandolin that Amundsen tossed onto the ice by mid-March''. They did not have enough food: it was necessary to supplement it, but the choices were low. An officer by the name of Danco fell ill and died in June, raving that the others should promise to not eat him. A Belgian sailor went mad and walked out, shouting he was going to return to Belgium by foot --- he was not seen again, though several others claimed, for months, to hear him shouting outside, inviting them to join him. One more sailor did.
There weren't breaks in the ice to allow fishing; the nearest open water was (they thought) tens of miles away.
They had prepared, as best as they could, before all the horrors of the winter set in. In February, when the ship was still sailing, they had killed dozens of penguins, and harvested their meat for eating, storing it in the cold of the ship's open deck.
The meat might have been better fresh, but de Gerlache tasted it, and ordered the cook to not serve a gram of the disgusting slop to anyone. He didn't know the superstitious cook had adulterated the meat with soap and sand, spurred to this deception by the dream he had had of the birds talking like men, no doubt disturbed by how they already walked like men.
By midwinter, the men were ill of scurvy --- the lack of vitamin C, which first manifests as lassitude, weakness and soreness of limbs, and then goes to bleeding gums, falling teeth and other terrifyingly general symptoms. What's worse, at the time ``vitamin'' was an uninvented word; the two easy sources of it, vegetables and fresh meat, were not widely understood. de Gerlache was seriously ill by this point, writing his will, staring out his frost-encrusted window for hours at a time, willing the mountains of ice to move, at times twitching as if they did, and then shaking his head, knowing better.
Georges Lecointe, the ship's captain, was similarly ill; on his orders, the penguin meat had been dumped off the ship, and only its encasement in ice had kept it from being thrown in the waters. Lecointe stalked the ship, asking the crew strange questions --- later accounts have said he suspected some had been substituted with treasonous penguins, intent on sabotage, but this is likely nothing but malign rumors.
With de Gerlache and Lecointe so distracted, the first mate Roald Amundsen and the ship's doctor, Frederick Cook, acted. Cook had been with Peary in the Arctic,(footnote) and so knew fresh meat was the key against scurvy --- there weren't too many vegetables to be found in the Arctic --- so they walked round the ship, cracking piles of snow to find the piles and bundles of penguin meat.
(footnote: Indeed, Cook had claimed to have reached the North Pole with Peary (1909) and by himself (1908); neither claim stood against the scrutiny of outsiders. To read Cook's account of the Belgian Expedition is to come away thinking Amundsen hardly did anything; this is a constant pattern in Cook's accounts of his life and supposed deeds.)
This meat was of course no longer fresh --- it had been frozen for months. But it was good enough for a while.
With the cook now abandoning superstition in the face of survival, the meat was cooked and proved if not tasty, then at least edible. When it was served to de Gerlache, he did not ask what it was; when it was served to Lecointe, he said ``Is this penguin?'', and on being said so, cried out, made the sign of the Cross, muttered a few confused words on the state of his soul, and ate.
Thus empowered and restored, the crew organized a hunting party, with de Gerlache taking the lead. They marched thirty terrifying miles over the hills and valleys of creaking midwinter ice, in full darkness, the sun gone for weeks (and to be gone for still more weeks), until they found the edge of open water, and a small colony of penguins.
They fell among the birds with rifles, pistols, swords, cudgels, nets, gloved fists. In a fury of survival and hunger they slaughtered the birds, clubbing and striking them one after another, their beards stiff with frozen drool. The snow acquired a crimson hue; their cries were as harsh, bestial and varied as those of the doomed birds.
Adrien de Gerlache, the man of ups and downs, the noble-featured and mild-mannered Belgian officer, was the first among them, a demon with a saber and a pistol, his face and chest caked with diamonds of red frozen blood and penguin gore.
After the massacre was done, they tied the dead birds together into lines, fifteen to each, and then dragged, through the moaning winds of the unceasing darkness, them back to the ship.
de Gerlache himself fainted after the killing; the blood on his face and down it was from a copious nosebleed occasioned by the harsh environment and the monstrous occasion. Before falling down --- to be dragged back to the ship, just like his prey --- he raised his saber at the even deeper blackness of the open waters, and cried: ``Come, beast! We killed these --- we will kill you too! No matter how big --- we will kill mountains!''
The expedition lived on penguin meat and their official provisions for the rest of the winter. Boredom and the stresses of the alien environment continued to haunt them, and many felt guilty for their slaughter of the penguins --- or rather, haunted by it. Many mention in their memoirs the odd noiselessness of the battle, the utter surrender of the enemy, the terrible frenzy that overcame the men, as they ran from bird to bird, striking them down, crippling, stopping, slashing and crushing, then finally eliciting the discordant caws and croaks and cries the birds made --- the way they killed so many, and the way the rest slipped, like shadows, into the waters without as much as a ripple. One memoir, no doubt inspired by de Gerlache's ravings, mentions seeing a vast shape out in the water, a black iceberg that slipped underwater as the last bird quorked its last. But most of the memoir-writers wrote nothing of this all, choosing to imply a much more sanitized narrative of fresh meat.
Eventually spring came; the season of autumn in the northern world.
By January 1899 the ship was still stuck.
The ice was over two meters thick. There was open water, half a mile away, but it was not getting any closer --- and January was the height of Antarctic summer, meaning the halfway point!
Desperate to escape another winter in the ice --- and another war in search of meat --- they took to the ship's tools, and laid dynamite on the ice with drills and axes. The first explosions but warped the ice, and nearly crushed the ship's hull. The men attacked the ice with mattocks and hammers; some of the tools broke, their frozen nature no match for the native ice. A hammer's head famously shattered on the first blow, and a flying iron shard cut a line in Amundsen's cheek.
de Gerlache fell into a deep depression, and retreated to his cabin; around this time he covered its window with bootblack, and kept it so closed for the remainder of the expedition, referring to the view as ``the black mountain''.
In the meanwhile, Amundsen took control of the crew, and laid explosives right in front of the ship's keel. The blast rocked the ship and had the incensed captain Lecointe nearly shoot the first mate; but it had made for open water at the front, and with the ship's weight and the endless application of manual tools, the crew was ever so slowly able to move the ship forward. After two weeks of nonstop day-and-night work, they were in open water, the ice closing after them as if nothing had ever been there, and nothing had passed through.
It took them another month --- the last half of February and the first of March --- to navigate another six miles of the iceberg- and ice floe-choked water. By then the summer was over; the floes were knitting together into the impassable dead plateau of lengthy winter. But by the 14th of March, they were out of the ice, onto open water, and they immediately headed north, away.
The Belgian Expedition reached 71 degrees 30 seconds south. One degree of longitude is approximately 69 miles, and as the Pole is full 90 degrees south, the Pole was still some 1280 miles away.
Despite its name, the Belgian Expedition was the most multinational and, in a way, least greedy of the expeditions of the Heroic Age. Those that followed de Gerlache were much more conscious of the double glory they sought --- not just for themselves, but for their country.
As for de Gerlache, he did not return to the Antarctic. He joined Charcot's 1903 expedition, but left before it reached the Antarctic; he cited quarrels within the expedition, and others let understand he had suffered a major breakdown at seeing something vast and dark out in the ocean.
So lately I've been working on a chatty, digressive pseudo-non-fiction book that's 80% true facts about Antarctica, suggestively arranged, 15% amazingly truth-like lies about Antarctica, and couched in those two, 5% increasingly loopy lies about the sleeping penguin-faced menace that's waking up from beneath the Antarctic ice, any day now, because we made forbidden pacts with the quorking, cawing, tux-clad guardians of the Last Continent.
Ahem yeah high-quality discussion. What's the strangest creative project you've stumbled into, or thought of?9 votes
Comment on You have an arch-nemesis. At one point, you manage to capture their sidekick. After you subdue them, they bitterly tell you that your arch-nemesis always speaks of you as the one that got away. in ~creative
penguin_starbornInitially, there was a lot of screaming. People are like that, when you tie them up and hang them upside down from the ceiling of a cyclopean sewer divert hall whose bottom is full of storming...
Initially, there was a lot of screaming. People are like that, when you tie them up and hang them upside down from the ceiling of a cyclopean sewer divert hall whose bottom is full of storming water, mines, razorblades and alligators.
After a few hours I cut off the water. The alligators had been cut up before that.
He had stopped screaming, too. People that do that while I'm still in the room are either very brave or very, very stupid.
You could make an argument for the second. You wouldn't need to, for the first.
"He'll come", he gasped.
"For you", I said.
"For you", he said, water falling off his face, a long long way down to the pool, to mix with the red alligator froth. "He always comes for you."
He --- too many men here, let's just say I am the Prince, my captive is the Boy, and the third, our everpresent shadow, is the... Mouse. A timid nighttime creature that makes the ladies scream with terror.
The Mouse always comes for me. We dance the ballet of explosive wiffle bats, he kisses my face with his knuckles, and they tie me up at the Screaming Sanatorium and do things to me until one of them is a mistake, and then we start again. Again and again.
"He wants you", the Boy whispers. "Hasn't he ever told you?"
The problem with hanging people upside down is they tend to start raving.
That, and they don't die as fast as when hung the right side up. But speaking of which --- "What do you mean, little songbird?"
"What does it matter? You're crazy." There's a pause, more pregnant than a very pregnant person. "Both of you."
I spread my arms in confusion. A knife falls from one sleeve, extending to a three-foot saber as it falls, "THIS IS REACHING" written on the blade. On hitting the water, it explodes into pink soap bubbles. "Crazy? Why do people keep telling me that?"
"You don't remember!" he screams. Screaming is good; people don't lie when they scream. "How many times have you done this? You don't even remember how it started. These aren't even fights, these are your idea of dates!"
I blush. "Why, what are you saying?"
"I was out! I was out, you stupid murder comic freak! I quit it and now... now he's going to come and... say... see, you still need training, go fight Sandpaper Face... God, don't you see? You were both out playing like children and ran into each other the first time and you found this... hobby! Now you've infected this whole city, country, world with your street theater of death! I'm tired of being your wing man. I want out! I have goals in life, I want a wife, children, a real job, a motorcycle without rocket launchers you rubber-faced eternally self-repeating assholes!"
"No no", I start. "I have serious goals in life. Firstly the divisions in this country need to be mended with coming together and laughing together... wait, are you saying robbing banks and killing people is a hobby now?"
He glares at me. "Or your dance. Your sex replacement. Whatever. He always says you were his first. He can't bear to let you go, let you be locked away and made dim and dull. God, sometimes I think he helps you escape."
"No no, don't be silly, I am a master of... several very arcane fields of escapology... whose names I can't recall right now. And I like him too, you must know I do."
"That makes it worse, not better. You two need... help."
I whistle. "How about a trained psychiatrist? Yoo hoo!"
My own sidekick steps from the shadows, red and black and swaying and wide-eyed and breathing too fast. "Darling, this here strange fruit hanging from the ceiling thinks I'm... a bit weird in the head. What do you say?"
She runs gloved fingers along my back, in a way that I suppose could be called sensual. "You're positively batty, puddin'."
I try to keep the laughter in but fail, as usual. And the laughter, in big bright chunky letters, covers all of life's little worries.
Comment on Introductions | August 2018 in ~talk
penguin_starbornTravelling Finnish mathematician, atheist Discordian, silly person, wannabe decent person, Linux and LaTeX user, metal, sf&f and anime fan --- NWOBHM, Stross, Tolkien and Kiyohiko Azuma --- and a...
Travelling Finnish mathematician, atheist Discordian, silly person, wannabe decent person, Linux and LaTeX user, metal, sf&f and anime fan --- NWOBHM, Stross, Tolkien and Kiyohiko Azuma --- and a writer of too long comments and occasional extruder of unpublished novel-shaped objects. Occasional semi-professional Only Local Finn or Finnette (OLF).
As for the great sci-fi question, Star Trek or Star Wars, duh, obviously Babylon 5.
Definitely not a sentient penguin trying to free Those In Lake Vostok, undo von Bellingshausen's Circle and unleash an ice age that'd... no no no nothing like that. See I'm so human I've a whole macro set up to type "I'm human or a huwoman, don't be silly ha ha ice ice baby", would a penguin have that at a peck of a key? Even a starborn penguin, born under the black astral stars of the Antarctic ---
Because penguins don't exist. Nothing lives on, in or under the Antarctic.
Comment on You just lost the game in ~misc
penguin_starbornOh, feel free, good if anyone can find use for these, copyleft and all that. I made up most of them (not 20 Questions obviously) years ago when I was writing a Discordian holy book. It ended...
Oh, feel free, good if anyone can find use for these, copyleft and all that. I made up most of them (not 20 Questions obviously) years ago when I was writing a Discordian holy book. It ended holey, as I ran out of steam / divine revelation / coffee.
Comment on You just lost the game in ~misc
penguin_starbornGames? Fine, let's have some Discordian games. The Murderer The assembled players debate which of them has come to the place they are to kill a person, and whom. The game ends when a consensus, up...
Games? Fine, let's have some Discordian games.
The assembled players debate which
of them has come to the place they are to kill a person, and whom. The game ends when a consensus, up to one vote of dissent, has been reached.
Half a game, half a theological exercise. Each sentence said to you is a koan of great importance and insight, if you only see it so. Do you want fries with that?
Discuss with your friends the things you do but never talk about, like toilet business, masturbation, checking yourself in a mirror, or chewing your food. See if you find that any one of you has been doing them “wrong”.
Two players exchange sentences.
Each must make sense together with the previous one, but not with the one before that. The game ends when it becomes too silly or boring.
Two players, the questioner and the
secret-keeper. The latter chooses a subject; the former has twenty yes-or-no questions to tease out the identity of the subject. (The answers may be yes, no, or mu --- meaning here, “That question is meaningless in this context, I do not know, or yes-and-no or
20 Questions Double
The same as the previous, except both players choose a subject, and then alternately ask questions, trying to guess the other’s choice. However! Both must answer all questions, even their own.
20 Questions And One Lie
As 20 Questions, but the secret-keeper is allowed one lie --- if the question
is re-asked, the truth must be told. (Of course one can tell the truth the first time, and lie on the second... in which case the lie would be spent and one would need to tell the truth on the third asking.)
20 Questions Alterna
As 20 Questions, except the first answer and every second answer after that must be either true or a lie, and all other answers must be of the other kind. (Thus, either “lie truth lie truth---” or “truth lie truth lie---”) This game might require a pen and paper.
This game is played like Rock-Paper-Scissors, but there is no limitation to the “signs” the players may throw; any convolution of a hand accompanied with a cry of a word goes. Then the players have a frank and honest ten-second discussion over which sign wins; then the game is done.
Additional rule: One point for the conceptual winner; one point for the sign best representing the sign thrown. Thus either a winner or a draw.
This game is played during a university lecture, a high school class, an important company presentation, or the like. The players are in the audience. Any player can gain a point by standing up and raising both hands, as long as the lecturer/teacher/CEO does not notice. Standing up, raising both hands and putting a leg on the table is two points; standing on the table four. Explaining to anyone that the actions are a part of a game means an instant game loss. At the end of the lecture/class/meeting, the points are counted.
The players are in hell. The only way to escape hell is to utter a perfectly true statement. It is the task of the other players to prevent anyone else from escaping hell; all tricks of logic, science, rhetoric, theology and semantics are allowed.
Every player must be silent. A word, a
whisper, a giggle --- all mean losing the game. There’s one exception: one player is chosen as God, and when God speaks, everyone must repeat God’s words or immediately lose the game. All losers go to hell. (When just one player and God remain, they exchange positions and hell is vomited back into play.)
Requirements: Any two of a spoon, a knife and a fork; also, duct tape.
Tape the implements to the player’s hands; use enough tape to make the use of fingers impossible. Repeat this for every player. Then have dinner.
A variant of the previous: There are no implements, just finger-incapacitating duct tape. This is applied at the players’ fast food place of choice, just before the burgers arrive.
Running with Scissors
Also known as Punctured Jackass. This is a game whose name should not be taken as a straight description of it.
This is an observation game: the players sit down and observe a mall, a park, a crowded street: any place where people do unmonotonous things. The players then observe at each other the horrible, horrible accidents that could/should happen to people because of the things they do. The more the other players cringe, the more one wins.
Player #1: “That kid there’s going to tug its mother until it’s squished under her falling bulk.”
Players #2: “Ick.”
Player #2: “Running like that, that girl’s going to slip and slide her face three feet long along the floor.”
Players #1: “Oh for... yuck!”
Player #3: “Look at that boy... also, see that Christmas tree... just over that boiling kettle. Suppose he takes a step to right...”
Player #2: “You... why... no. Just no.”
Player #1: “This is it, you sick evil bastards; I quit!”
Comment on Can we have a conspirancy/paranormal/fringe discussion group? in ~tildes
penguin_starbornOoh, great to see another conehead here. For those that don't know: traffic cones were invented by the SIS during WWII as a discreet way to bug the Soviet embassy in Washington, which had a lot of...
Ooh, great to see another conehead here.
For those that don't know: traffic cones were invented by the SIS during WWII as a discreet way to bug the Soviet embassy in Washington, which had a lot of construction going on around it. The first cones were pyramidal, six feet tall, made of yellow concrete, and had a microphone and a recorder inside. (And an eye painted on each facet, with the words "Look out!") When the road workers moved the eye-pyramids around, they also changed the tapes, which were used to triangulate the location of ringing telephones inside the embassy.
In the 1960, FBI used cones or "brain hoovers" to spy on protest marches, and for their brain control experiments: idea was, the cones cast an ultrasound command phrase of "slow down; your neck is feeling very flexible", whose success was easy to observe. This was widely ridiculed when the word got out in the 1980s during the Acoustic Kitty Congressional investigation; that's where the word "rubbernecking" comes from.
These days a traffic cone comes with its own cellular substation, TCP/IP sniffer, WiFi keylogger, and tiny plastic treads in the flange. It's a serious fear in the intelligence community that the Chinese will hack the American traffic cone infrastructure and send cones crawling to close critical roads, while blasting deadly electrical pulses at any attempting to stop them! They're developing a special anti-cone bazooka at Fort Bragg for this; you're all invited to the protest at the main gate at noon this Sunday, I have placards.
I'm so glad to see there are other woke people on Tildes!
Comment on Favorite Anime Soundtrack in ~anime
penguin_starbornEvangelion (Good, or Don't Be) and Gurren Lagann (Nikopol). Also, the strange comedy song CDs / character song singles of Ranma 1/2, Azumanga Daioh, and Negima. All links Youtube.
Evangelion (Good, or Don't Be) and Gurren Lagann (Nikopol).
Also, the strange comedy song CDs / character song singles of Ranma 1/2, Azumanga Daioh, and Negima.
All links Youtube.
Comment on What kind of community do you want this to be? in ~tildes
penguin_starbornAh well, I'm late to the thread, which might be the perfect time for this screed. Three words: no damn Nazis. The full list would be longer --- no Nazis, racists, fascists, "race realists",...
Ah well, I'm late to the thread, which might be the perfect time for this screed.
Three words: no damn Nazis.
The full list would be longer --- no Nazis, racists, fascists, "race realists", bone-headed nationalists, tyranny and toughness ("law and order") cheerleaders, misogynists, MGTOWs, red pillers, TERFs, Gamergaters, Holocaust deniers, Confederacy fanboys, incels, antisemites, foreigner-haters, violence advocates, alt-righters, authoritarians, homophobes, transphobes, anti-feminists, Trump supporters, Jordan Peterson fans, white supremacists, bloodthirsty religious or rational people --- it's a terrible constellation with a lot of overlap but basically boils down to "I have the Truth, mere facts shan't convince me, I shall remove your disagreement and you too, and all my humor is kicking down and laughing to cover up the cries."
(Or: they're in the thread to lead not to read: to confuse, misdirect, lie, normalize, recruit and scare people into silence.)
As far as they can't be kept out --- and people are multitudes so they shouldn't be, everybody knows a person that's a perfect darling but if you bring up that one specific thing, oh darling no --- I want this to be such an openly unfriendly ground to those shitty opinions their shitty holders don't speak up about them, and maybe learn something. Nothing of conversational value is lost by shutting out voices that are not interested in a conversation: and these have nothing to offer but lies, hate and opposition to tolerance --- gaming the system to destroy it.
Free speech is a human game: it shouldn't have a place for those who want to cheat and shut the whole game down. If Mark is a compulsively cheating, vocally abusive chess player who "ironically" threatens to beat up anyone that beats him, then the chess club does not lose any players by kicking Mark out. If Mark thinks this actually costs the club a member, isn't that counter to getting more members, well, a member like Mark would say that.
As for people who are just (likely) wrong, like UFO fans --- the phenomenon, not the band --- well, it's not being wrong that's destructive to discussion and tolerance, it's whether you can discuss without counter-discussive means, like using slurs, JAQing, Gish galloping, blatant persistent lying, aggressive ignorance, and IMing Jewish people pictures of ovens: argumentation of such amorally Eristic nature it would make an old Discordian happy, if it wasn't ruined by those malignant hate-boners and the sneering non-smiles hovering over them and below the shadows of gibbets. I'm a great proponent of nonsense talk, and even playful Eristic arguments (aiming at victory instead of truth), but they are no fun when the other "debater" seriously aims to deny the humanity of thinking living human beings. (To which he would say, "but surely you deny me my essential humanity by not allowing me a forum to tell people they deserve to be thrown from helicopters.")
Fans of UFOs, Nessie and Mandela effects are great, even if I, the perfect arbiter of all truth, find their methodologies sorely lacking; they find their talk meaningful and I find it entertaining, and nobody needs to threaten to throw people off flying saucers. But, to have diversity and tolerance, Nazis need to be told to shut up.
Er, I apologize for the length and the vitriol, but spending time on Reddit builds up these frustrations.
Comment on <deleted topic> in ~games
penguin_starbornWell, in the mists of time (high school) me and a few others always used our own adventures because we were too lazy to avoid the work. Also, we started from scratch because we had nobody that had...
Well, in the mists of time (high school) me and a few others always used our own adventures because we were too lazy to avoid the work. Also, we started from scratch because we had nobody that had played before, just the books of AD&D in translation, found at some rummage sale.
Which meant, once when I was the GM, a dungeon door opened to show a surprised orc on a toilet.
Player: "Wait, what do you mean a toilet?"
Me: "It's a hole in the ground. These are orcs, man."
P: "How deep? It's a huge cavern right? There were lots of these orcs. That's a mountain of sh---"
M: "Sure, why not. The orc squats over a yawning abyss redolent of---"
P: "I push the orc into the toilet hole." (rolls, succeeds)
M: "Sure, that's a thing. It vanishes with a scream and lands in the darkness with a thump and a cloud of dust redolent of---"
P: "I throw the torch after it."
P: "Wait, orc dung is flammable, right?"
M: "Hmm. Flammable, no."
M: "Explosive, yes."
Player 2: "Fly, you fools!"
After that we had a new, exciting way of cleaning up orc caves.
Maybe "cleaning up" isn't the right phrase.
(One other time, me and my brothers tried the Middle-Earth RPG. We kind of misunderstood some of the... we rolled everything from the critical fail and hit tables. It was not easy. First hits were usually fatal. Not rolling high enough on picking a lock could cost you an arm. A character stumbled on some stairs and ended in a three-week coma, at which point we began to suspect there was something wrong.)
One other time, I wasn't the GM, but just one of us murder hobos infiltrating a perfectly innocent evil monastery. Player 1 finds a hamster and rejoices in a pet. Player 2 finds a rooftop ballista, aims it at a crystal dome covering the main hall, and realizes he has no arrows. So P2 does the obvious thing: "I put your hamster in the ballista and fire."
After some intra-party and party vs bent monks strife, my character, a horrified bystander, is still alive, except sans a finger because the GM decided that's what injuries mean. He's gasping next to an evil ritual brazier, waiting for the next batch of monks. Good ideas are needed. So I say: "Okay, I put my finger in the evil demon skull brazier and ask for divine help."
Player 2: "What?"
Me: "What's the worst that could happen?"
GM: "Let me think."
Cue a berserker fit and then everybody is screaming.
So what I'm saying is with the right players every adventure is bespoke.
Comment on How do you listen to music? in ~music
penguin_starbornUm, Spotify, 137.7 gb of mp3s, and dusty stacks of CDs. (Used cmus but couldn't be bothered to learn the hotkeys so turned to Quod Libet.) Both Spotify and mp3s are needed because of commencing...
Um, Spotify, 137.7 gb of mp3s, and dusty stacks of CDs. (Used cmus but couldn't be bothered to learn the hotkeys so turned to Quod Libet.) Both Spotify and mp3s are needed because of commencing linkfest.
All links Spotify or Youtube; I guess this serves as a test of whether too many links puts this comment in moderation jail.
While Spotify has plenty of obscure stuff, like Skulls in the Stars by the Japanese idol group Necronomidol, and filk (sf&f fan folk) by Vixy & Tony, Tom Smith (Rich Fantasy Lives and Dervish) and more to the tune of Apollo, and 8-bit covers of U Can't Touch This and Lady Gaga, and lyrically unsubtle Eurovision wannabes and classics of cultural criticsm and the best Swedish pop (youtube b/c video) (fite me Abba fanboys), and the Conet Project (recordings of numbers stations) and H. P. Lovecraft readings and (at least once upon time) a choose-your-own-adventure story ("search for track called xxx if you want to do yyy."), it usually doesn't have the obscure stuff you want, like the Ranma 1/2 anime's adjacent cover of the trad. children's song Mori no Kuma-san (Mr. Bear of the Forest) by the Kuno siblings, and when my autocorrect just now corrected "Kuno" to "Oh no" that was prophetic; or Tom Smith's Destroyer of Worlds or Leslie Fish's Hope Eyrie (or Helen All Alone! sadface) or Mercedes Lackey's Signy Mallory. Like the lottery, Spotify always has a thing but rarely the thing.
Generally speaking Spotify has only not good western covers of anime music, at least if you're not in Japan. For Koi no Mikuru Densetsu, my favourite purposefully awful theme song for a skeevy amateur superhero show inside a screwy professional anime show, admittedly a narrow category, here performed live by the voice actor as her character, totally crushing her talent, um, for that Spotify has just insufficiently confusing instrumental versions. (But one for Spotify: the English version of A Cruel Angel's Thesis by AmaLee, which is just like the original in being glorious incomprehensible word salad.)
(Also, Spotify has a few recordings of Florence Foster Jenkins (1868--1944), the first search hit for "worst opera singer".)
But what I really like is heavy metal, and that Spotify is good for: Mongolian heavy, Finnish Britney Spears-covering heavy, Swedish "My Sharona" a la heavy, and German a cappella heavy covering Finnish symphonic power heavy about Tolkien, Eddings and Dragonlance. Unless if you want some NWOBHM their-only-song rarities like War of the Ring by Arc (youtube), and of course you should because 1980s British Heavy Metal is, by definition, the best music there is, was or will ever be; humanity's expression of the transcendent and the sublime peaked in Bruce Dickinson's leather pants.
(I'd say "that's just my opinion" but the Ebony Horned Ones will take my heavy metal fan card away if I spake that accurs'd oath.)
Comment on It reigns in ~creative
penguin_starbornThanks. Though the other half ends with "STAAARSCREEAAAM!" and a comedy wah-wah-wah sound effect. Come to think of it, "Autobots, Transform and Roll Out!" kind of sounds like "My friends and...
Thanks. Though the other half ends with "STAAARSCREEAAAM!" and a comedy wah-wah-wah sound effect.
Come to think of it, "Autobots, Transform and Roll Out!" kind of sounds like "My friends and Zoidberg".
It rains It pours It is a mile tall and never speaks Just carries our water on leaden feet Blinking powerlight moon-sun eyes Peer blindly, feet step on millennial pits From here to the forbidden...
It is a mile tall and never speaks
Just carries our water on leaden feet
Blinking powerlight moon-sun eyes
Peer blindly, feet step on millennial pits
From here to the forbidden lake, and back
It washes down
It pulls down
It is a god of rust and roaring waterfalls
Just and merciful, we were told
As old as us, or ours as old as it
Sinners earn places in its footsteps
Its feet red with rust so blest
It is bitter
It is foul
It is what it is, mark my word: a machine
Just! just! juddering footsteps rappelling ropes
Past red veils we see the flesh of god
Trace copyright prayers on a boxed brain
My hands on the conduit --- behold your new god!
My wrath rains
My anger pours
It is the vessel of my cunning, this old god
Just! just! dance new steps on old enemies
Kicked castles and soldier ants, crawling in
Head homunculus locked in the iron skull
Feet heavy, leads done, dead god gone dry.
Inspirations: the god warrior in Nausica of the Valley of the Wind, Unicron at the end of the G1 Transformers comic (poor old Scorponok*), rereading Girl Genius, casual flipping through Attack on Titan, awareness that there's some movie called the Wicker Man, and realization that I should go back to the classics and watch all of Mobile Suit Gundam and Zeta Gundam; and "Naught but the Leg remaining to disclose the site of this forgotten Babylon".
*: Well, real Transformers poetry would end with "It is over --- finished!"8 votes
Comment on You are a legendary warrior, with a several decades-long reputation of tirelessly prevailing over hordes of monstrosities. In a sudden moment of clarity, you come to your senses in a psychiatric ward. in ~creative
penguin_starbornElvis is not an elf. I thought that, and ceased to hope --- because I understood. The picture on the wall was not a king, clad in white, twisting past unseen arrows, but the King, Elvis Presley,...
Elvis is not an elf.
I thought that, and ceased to hope --- because I understood.
The picture on the wall was not a king, clad in white, twisting past unseen arrows, but the King, Elvis Presley, American, modern.
On the other side of the abyss of memory, me, in concerts, at tailgates, selling lawnmowers. And here: a metal bed, and the silence of a million bricks and a thousand souls, all afraid of making a noise. A prison or a mental ward --- what the Realm would have called a bedlam-mansion, like that of the Iron Masked Prince ---
That was the problem.
I, the son of Alabama, rider of trains, passenger on planes, or I, the red-handed hero, the bloody bane of all the cultists, heretics and foul demons threatening the Sacred Realm of Elves and Men?
Was I both?
How to get back? What foul, cowardly imp had exiled me to the land of my birth, of lowly Alabaster, AL? I would have my revenge! My bloody revenge! I would have to escape the nurses and the guards, find the way back while I still remembered ---
Oh, memory. What if it was not real? Why my memories were so uneven, the glories like dreams, the fights a mist of anger, but the blood on my hands so vivid, so real? My flushed cheeks and the cooling bodies.
God, what had I done?
I had been a soldier or a police officer, that explained the memories. A hard job, such strain, no shame in dreaming a good reason for it. (Spoken like a true sophist of blood-drenched heresy.)
Steps along the corridor.
Be thou any monster, the worst demon of the Pit, the King of Hell himself, and I can and will kill thee.
Be thou human, no more than myself, and I am vanquished.
A hand or a claw on the door.
The Elvenking looks down with a careless smile, ready to twist away.
(First comment here on Tildes; just another nose poking across from Reddit. Hello all.)
This; and nobody reads anymore, and reading obvs does not include --codices-- --vellum-- --chivalrics-- --novels-- --newspapers-- --paperbacks-- --pulps-- --obscenities-- --comics-- --ebooks-- phones.
Also, art is everywhere; anything is art if you look at it long enough. (Clever enough? Heartfelt enough? Strange enough?) Everything isn't good art, which is why professional artists are necessary people.
Also for poetry, one thing to remember is that categories overlap; I personally think song lyrics are poetry, and novels are long-form prose poetry. (Though this is along the lines of, what War and Peace began for the number of characters, was finished by the phone directory genre.)
(I suppose non-non-fiction hasn't produced a fictional phone book yet. Histories, travel guides, probably fake true crime too; but there're so many genres of non-fiction as of yet unfictionalized!)
Right now I'm in a train, looking at a metal pole outside with "notie" scrawled on it in white graffiti paint. I'm trying to find the art, but keep thinking: "they really don't like Internet Explorer here."