Sunday, May 31, 2009

Computer dead. Blagoposts will be (even more than usually) intermittent for a bit. Apologies.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

The story of shibboleth

Once in a place, there was a man. And in a land far away from this place, there was a man, who was the brother to another man, who was the man who lived in the land who was in the place from which the brother of the man who lived in the place that was far away from the place lived, he lived there. And the brother who lived in the place that was far away from the place said to the brother that lived in the place from which there was a brother who lived far away from the place, he said, "Brother, I am coming to the place from where there is a place which is far away from the place which existed in the first place, you must prepare for me there in that place which was the place in the first place." And the brother who lived in the place which was there in the place which the man lived and from where there was a place far from that place, he made the preparations for the arrival of the man from the place which was far from the place, from that place.

And this place was called Isse-Loundes, and the man who lived in this place was called Shibboleth, by his peers, and the brother of the man was called Sibboleth, and the place where he lived was called the City of Nikoulous, and it was in the place where the sun was strong, and there might have been rattlesnakes around.

And in the place which was called Isse-Loundes, where people would go and take their horse-drawn carriages in the spring or the summer seasons, in the night, when the weather was cool and damp, and they would go to the market square, where there was a stall, and in that stall there was a man, who was from foreign lands, and who sold desserts which were sweet and cold to the touch, and the people enjoyed these desserts greatly.

And the man who was called Shibboleth, by his peers, was a clergyman, and as such, he took it upon himself to study literature at the University, and he saw a young maid, and he was immediately enamoured of her, and he came to her, and he said that he would like to speak with her over tea and biscuits, and she said that she would do that with him, and he said that he would send a courier to her with the details, and he ran off, and he sent the courier, and he waited three days and three nights, and she did not come to him, and he became very worried indeed.

And when the man who was called Sibboleth came to the land of Isse-Lounds, and he saw his brother, who was called Shibboleth, and they embraced, and they came into his house, and they ate wine and figs, and they slept in the same clay-pot. And then the young girl to whom Shibboleth sent the courier to reach came to the house of him, and he became very excited, and his penis bulged within his linen tunic, and he turned in a pose to conceal it, and he said to her hallo, and she said it to him, and then she saw the man who was called Sibboleth, who was in the clay-pot, and she became instantly enamoured of him, and she went over to him, and she said to him hallo, and he said to her the same thing, and they talked for several hours thusforth on the subject of many things, and then the man who was called Sibboleth became enamoured of her as well, and they said that they would meet secretly in the alley behind the market square, and that they would make love, and they would eat figs and wine, and play games of chance. And the man who was called Shibboleth heard of this, and he became in a rage, and he cursed against his brother, and he bade him out of his house, that he may not return.

But the rage of Shibboleth was not quelled, for he plotted against his brother a terrible plot, and he wished his demise, and he came to the mountain pass whence they must cross, he knew this, and he implanted twenty mercenaries there, and he told to them that they should ask the name of any man who cross the mountain pass, and that if he say his name be Shibboleth, that they let him pass without injury, and if he say his name be Sibboleth, that they shall take him upon the ground, and run their swords through his body, such that he die.

But the mercenaries were not well versed in the language of the people of Isse-Loundes, and their prefectures, and thusly, when the man who was called Sibboleth went to cross the mountain pass, to meet with the young girl, the mercenaries asked of him what was his name, and he told them that it was Sibboleth, but the mercenaries heard that he said Shibboleth, and they let him pass without injury, and then when the man who was called Shibboleth came upon the mountain pass, the mercenaries asked him what is your name, and he said it was Shibboleth, but the mercenaries heard him say that it was Sibboleth, and they took him upon the ground, and ran their swords through him, such that he died.

And then the man who was called Sibboleth came upon the young girl in the alleyway of the market square, and they did the things which they said they were to do, and he penetrated her, and it was good.

Digging a Well

Let us presume that you are a dwarf.

You live in a happy community of dwarves, all hanging out together in your underground demense, eating bread, swigging mead, and so on. (Dwarves do love their alcohol.)

But sometimes there comes a time when you need not beer - but water. For instance, water can be rather helpful in preparing alcohol! (Some might even argue, essential.) Conveniently, you and your fellow dwarves live near an ample supply of water - a great, rushing river. Actually, it's right above your tunnels. How nice!

But the river is aboveground, and dwarves aren't all that fond of daylight. If needed, you could tramp all the way up to the surface and over to the river to get a drink of water - but that's a pain, and also more than a bit unsanitary! (Drinking directly from the river, eh?) Not a good solution.

You are a dwarf. You build things. You dig things. You can solve this problem. You can solve it... dwarvenly.

So, first problem is that the water is aboveground. So: dig a great big pipe for the water to drop into. Fwoosh! Now the water's underground - just where a dwarf likes it!

Now that you have the water, you need some way to get at it. The obvious solution - a mechanism for moving water upwards in small quantities - is the well. Just build a perfectly civilized well in your dwarf-tunnels, and you'll never go wanting for water ever again!

That would be because you will drown.

Remember: the river is above your dwarf-tunnels. (This is the problem that started all of this.) If you dig a hole beneath the river, water will fill it rather quickly, and, owing to the depth, become under a tremendous amount of pressure. When you dig a channel back up to your tunnels - for the well - the water will rush up and completely submerge your homes and families. It'll be very unpleasant! Also, soggy.

But why will this happen? It's most obvious if you look at simpler cases: digging a tunnel straight down from the river, or down and then into your tunnels from the side. In those cases, it's easy to see that the water will naturally rush down and fill the area. But the laws of fluid dynamics state that this will happen no matter what shape you dig your tunnels in. If you dig them directly, in a u-shape (as with our proposed well), or in some sort of maze of twisty passages, all alike, the water will still seek its own level - filling everything lower than that! (I.e., dwarfland.)

Conclusion to this poignant morality tale: Water is dangerous when you're underground! Also, fluid dynamics are nifty.

Vaguely inspired by Dwarf Fortress, which I haven't played in months. So I'm not sure why I was inspired by it. I blame wells.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Travel Woes

It is possible that, yesterday, I had a very strange dream. It is also possible that I considered blagging about it then, but did not. Why? These things are impossible to explain.


The story begins as I fly to the East Coast, to visit the inexplicable David Zhang at his Dartmouth-towne. (Why am I doing this? It is not clear; but the visit to Mr. Zhang may have been a side-benefit to the main purpose of the trip.) My trip is, unusually, not on a 747 or similar craft, but rather a smaller plane, a propeller-plane. (Probably inspired by this, which the infamous David Watson showed me.) I am somewhat nervous about travelling on the small plane - perhaps I fear incompetence of the pilot; but I land safely.

There is some difficulty on disembarkation, which I have sadly forgotten, and an issue with a guard of some sort once I get on the road; but these obstacles I surpass. My first stop is not Dartmouth, but an intermediate destination: BotCon. A Transformers convention. Why? Not because I'm into Transformers. Because there's this guy who is, and I want to see if I can meet him while I'm there. (Because I'm a big fan of his stuff.)

Note that this makes no sense for two reasons:

  1. BotCon is a convention. Conventions have admission fees. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be willing to pay just to meet the dude.
  2. In the post which I think is responsible for this part of the dream - this one - the dude explicitly mentions that the BotCon is on the West Coast. Whereas I, travelling to visit Mr. Zhang, am on the East Coast.
Well, dreams are confused. We move on, and into the Con.

So, I look for the guy. ("Walky", he calls himself.) First I'm stuck in this kind of awkward opening presentation in a big hall with lots of fold-up chairs - it's some kind of toy, I guess, being presented by a white-haired dude. I manage to escape into a back area (sort of a garden-terrace-thing?) and look at Walky's Livejournal on my iPhone, trying to figure out where he is. Turns out that he's co-doing the next presentation, so I head back in, see him on the stage...

I'm going to quote from my notes here.

"Then - monsters."

So, the presentation-hall is now mostly empty, dimly lit with a yellow glow. I'm in a dark corner, hiding - I appear to be Garrett. (No light gem.) This is some kind of tutorial - there's a big rock golem striding along, and then a stretch-cat appears. The stretch-cat stretches into the golem, utterly destroying it. Then it begins jumping onto a sort of tower-thing in a corner. (This is demonstrating for me the moves that I'll have to do later - but I guess I've seen this already, so I don't need the tutorial?) I know that I'll have to fight the stretch-cat later - along with its two brothers - so I start destroying the platforms on which the stretch-cat is jumping, using the Slash power from Okami. (I know that I can destroy them because they're marked with a specific graphic from L4D.)

(Look, you knew that this was a weird dream going into it. More warning than I got.)

Shortly thereafter, I wind up in a confrontation with the stretch-cats, in the area where I was using my iPhone earlier. Their master appears, transforming into one of them, and I get into a very painful fight. One cat stretches at me, and another compresses... it hurts like heck! Great big bruises on my neck, that kind of thing. Thankfully, I win the fight, and continue onward to another presentation.

This one's in the same hall as the first two, which has chairs and people again. (I have no idea who's presenting.) Idly examining myself as I sit, I notice a hole in my jeans. I look closer. There's a hole in my leg.

Rather panicked, I get myself to the infirmary, with help of a person sitting nearby. (Why is there an infirmary? Why is it staffed by a stubble-bearded doctor-guy? I have no idea!) He begins to treat me, but I then realize I need to go to the bathroom. He helps me up and walks with me, but we quickly realize that neither of us know where a bathroom is.

Vaguely guessing, I suggest we go down a ramp to some train tracks. En route, we encounter a pair of girls. They're slightly helpful re: bathroom, and accompany us. This is a procession to find the bathroom. And there's still a hole in my leg.

(Upper thigh. Not sure how deep it goes - was afraid to look. Not bleeding or anything.)

Around this point, I briefly panic. I'm taking this trip on Thursday, and I have a final on Friday! I'm either going to have to take a rather expensive trip back down to college for one day, or fail one of my classes! (Agh!) The doctor reassures me, noting that the final is next Friday. (This makes no sense - I have two finals on the specified Friday, and neither of them are the class I was worried about, Computation Linear Algebra - but it's dream logic, move on.)

We cross the tracks - the doctor and the two girls and I - and begin ascending a set of towers above the tracks. (Why? I don't know!) There's a pair of people standing around, Night Elves, NPCs from World of Warcraft - one of them has a more hostile reputation towards me, because she's part-way Infected...

Look, I don't even play World of Warcraft!

This is about as much of a coherent narrative thread as I can piece together, but there's a few other things that showed up at some point. A very strange narrative about people trapped in a small area of BotCon, surrounded by some sort of biological infection/organism/menace, trying to send off a distress message, but foiled by pernicious and difficult-to-detect failures in their systems, even as the infection draws ever closer... I don't appear in that one as a character, I'm just an omniscient watcher. The other unassociated plot thread is one in which I finally arrive at Dartmouth - I remember little from this one. I'm walking around somewhere with the terrifying Mr. Zhang, possibly lost, again...?

Sometimes, a dream is just so weird that it has to be shared.

I hope you enjoyed this one.

(Even though I'm worried that it says a little too much about me.)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Great Beard-Theft

The man awoke slowly; groggily. He attempted to rub his eyes, and found that he could not. He tried again; then with his other arm. But he seemed unable to make his hands move.

Provoked by this unusual contingency, the man opened his eyes. Immediately, he was blinded by a bright white light; his eyelids snapped shut like twin turtles, and then slowly reopened. A shape resolved; but blurry, so blurry! If only he could rub his eyes!

But even sans eye-rubbing, the shape he saw became presently clear. It was a man - a man with a beard - a Nikolas. This caused our protagonist some consternation; this consternation he expressed in a vocalization, namely, "But I'm Nikolas!" The sound of his voice was alien to him; the self-claimed Nikolas recoiled, as best he could while bound to an operating table. This was all terribly wrong!

He was in someone else's body - the Zhang's! The Zhang had stolen his body!

"Worse than that!" the Nikolas-in-Zhang cried. "You've stolen my beard!"

Mr. Zhang, contained within Mr. Nikolas's body, finished the notes he had been taking. Then, stroking his beard lovingly, he pressed a button on a nearby console and walked away. Helpfully, the console displayed a message in large print: squinting, the Nikolas-in-Zhang could just barely read it. "LOBOTOMY PROCEDURE INITIATED," it read. "LOBOTOMY WILL COMMENCE IN 278 SECONDS."

"You magnficent bastard!" the Nikolas-in-Zhang shouted at the receding Zhang-in-Nikolas's back. "You think you can get away with this? You think you can steal my beard and use it for your womon-baiting schemes? I'll get you for this! I'll get you! Just you wait!"

"LOBOTOMY WILL COMMENCE IN 263 SECONDS," the console display helpfully informed the Nikolas-in-Zhang.

"All right," the Nikolas-in-Zhang said to himself, his voice not entirely calm. "Gotta stay rational, gotta think my way out of this. My hands and legs are bound; I can't seem to loosen them at all. Can I? No. Okay. Okay. It's cool. It's totally fine. I can work with this. I can - I've got my mouth, right? Not gagged. So... Can I gnaw my way through the bonds? I'll try. Just gotta turn my head - yeah - now bite - ow! - bite the knot..."

A brief silence followed.

"Man, that tastes disgusting," the Nikolas-in-Zhang opined; though he continued to gnaw nonetheless.

Minute after minute passed. Nikolas-in-Zhang loosed his left shoulder-binding; arm-binding; wrist-binding. "All right!" he crowed, waving his free arm wildly. "Now I can really get somewhere! How much time do I have left?"


The Nikolas-in-Zhang paused.

"Er. This kinda sucks," he noted.

Elsewhere, a pair of Nikolases met. They appeared remarkably similar, differing only in clothing and beard-length.

"Hey!" the longer-bearded Nikolas said to the other. "Just decanted a new clone?"

A scream sounded in the distance, abruptly cut off.

"Yeah," the shorter-bearded Nikolas said. "Gonna go out on the town, see if this beard can work some magic on a womon. She answered my email, you know. (I think she hates me.)"

"Good luck with that," the long-bearded Nikolas replied.

The shorter-bearded Nikolas - who was, of course, Zhang-in-Nikolas - nodded glumly and made to leave.

The long-bearded Nikolas stopped him. "I know you're just harvesting the Nikolas-clones so that you can use their beards, because you've been unable to successfully isolated the beard," the long-bearded Nikolas said. "But have you ever considered that it might be a bit - unethical?"

Zhang-in-Nikolas shrugged. "They're just Nikolases," he said, and walked away.

Long-bearded Nikolas nodded, bemused; then stopped. A look of concern appeared on his face. "I'm just a Nikolas!" he realized out-loud.

This could be a problem! Long-beard Nikolas knew he should really do something about it.

So he solved the problem the Nikolas way. He played video-games until he forgot about it!

Based on a true story.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

The most shamefull encounter of the nikouls

"Mr president," he explained, "I was simply doing my duty to be a good citisen and to entertain the guestes of state, at the exectuitive mannor, you must understand." Nikolas was deeply ashamed. He was found out the actions of having the most impropertious actions at a "party" which was held last night, at which there were several heads of state present to celebrate the treatie of Ghent, and nikolas was the master of the ceremonies.

Here is the proof! The president exclaimed:

Nikolas could deny this proof and he swiftly resigned his post.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Tribulations of Mr. Roberts

"Why do you do this thing to me?" Mr. Roberts asked of his captors. "Am I not kind and gentle? Do I not do any thing that a Christian might not be required to do were he not not of the blood of those that lack not? Whatever have I done, that you trouble me so greatly?"

"You're growing a beard," Mr. Roberts' captors informed him.

"And is this now a crime?" Mr. Roberts asked histrionically. "If you prick my beard, does it not bleed?"

"Well, first, no," one captor replied.

"And secondly, it's a pretty dang scruffy beard," the other told the rope-bound Roberts.

"And if it is?" Mr. Roberts asked, his beard frizzling in defiance. "Who are you to aggress upon me so, for such a trivial crime? The Fashion Police?"

"And if we are?" one of the captors asked Roberts.

"Then you're a pretty awful one!" Mr. Roberts rebutted.

"We're doing the best we can, for gargoyles!" one of the captors shouted back.

(They were gargoyles.)

(It is very hard for gargoyles to be fashionable. Owing to being hideous, and also made of stone.)

Roberts shook his head sadly. "I'm sorry. I don't mean to hurt your feelings. All I mean to hurt... IS YOUR BODIES!" With a roar, he burst free of his bonds, shattering them into a mess of loose fibers. His eyes glowed. His clenched fists also glowed. And most of all, his beard glowed, shining a deep red light into the cavern of the gargoyles. "By these powers combined: Python! Anime! Manga! Beard! I am Cristopher Roberts, and woe bedite to any that stands in my way!"

Promptly, a gargoyle stood in his way.

Mr. Roberts produced a hammer from nowhere. With a glance, he surrounded it with a field of red energy; with the wave of a hand, he set it floating upwards; with the flick of his beard, he sent it crashing down, shattering the gargoyle unto dust.

He stalked forward. Another gargoyle appeared to oppose him. Mr. Roberts drew in a deep breath, and cried out a piercing tone, "NANIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII!" For a moment the gargoyle appeared to vibrate; then it flew apart in a spray of stone shards and rock dust.

The entrance to the outside world appeared; but before it lurked a gang of gargoyles, undeterred by the grisly demises of their colleagues. Their leader cried, "Not one step further, Mr. Roberts!", and with a cry the gargoyles hurled themselves at our hero -

Who calmly scribed two words into the air and sent the gargoyles flying helplessly away. They wailed as they were hurled into the horizon, dwindling into the distance; Mr. Roberts moved on without breaking step. Behind him, the words lingered in the air, slowly fading: import antigravity.

A small smile on his face, Mr. Roberts unfolded his scooter - left abandoned on the ground at the entrance to the gargoyles' cave - got on, and calmly scooted away. It would take quite some time to scoot back to college from the mountains of Peru, of course; but he might as well begin now.


Alternate title for this post:
"mr robert

how he did not blog
34 weks"

Friday, May 22, 2009

The heart of darkness

Kelsey stared ate the space around him. He was knowing that some thing was up, but he did not know what. He knew that he sent a messige to the the head quarters but he did not know if they received it or not. He definitely did not get any feed back in his earpiece! But he was a professional , he told himself. I would not let that be distracting for me. Then a rouge agent came at him suddenly from the bushes. This was most unexpected for Kelsey! So he took his knife and stabbed him in the chest, and it was very painful. So then he died. He thought to himself, that was too easy. There must be some thing up, but I do not know what. Then he checked his earphone again for a signal from headquarters. There was no thing on the channel. Kesley was getting more anxious at the moment. "Damn" I said to myself! "When will that single come in from HQ?" I could not stand the tension. Then, a couple of thugs came to Kelsey by the docks. They were very scary looking and they had a lot of scars and tattoos on their skins. But Kelsey was a professional, they said. He took care for them very fast. A while passed. Kelsey was getting tired of waiting around. He was starting to fell asleep in his chair. Just then the message that he was waiting for came in from head quarters on his earphone. "Kelsey, it's a bomb!" "A bomb." Kelsey said, in shock and horror! He quickly leapt into the air, out of harm's way. "That was close" he said, after wards. And that was the end of that.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Wisdom of Vatysayana

(j). By the help of this woman I shall kill an enemy of the king,
who has taken shelter with her, and whom I am ordered by
the king to destroy.
Vatsyayana looked around.

The forces of the United Congress had long striven against the King, and in their treachery wreaked great harm upon the loyal persons of the country. Therefore the King had given forth a decree: that, in the interest of the destruction of the United Congress, that any man should, upon seeing a member of that organization, at once be permitted to kill him, and render him unto death, but by no means torture him, or cripple him, or otherwise inflict undue suffering, or inconvenience, for that should be a thing bestowing of ill karma. And upon this subject, Vatsyayana was in full agreement.

Therefore he considered the subject of the woman Hladini, who was known to be married to one of the chiefs of the United Congress. Vatsyayana was known to her, but not well; but if he came into congress with her, then she might betray her husband, and therefore forward the cause of the King. Vatsyayana considered this to be right and proper, and therefore proceeded to attempt to seduce her.

"Hladini," he suggested, "We ought to come into congress, that being of the type of the horse, and also that of the mare; in this way will we both find pleasure."

Hladini then made her response. "In this suggestion, there are three problems," she began. "This is the first: that you are of the type of the hare, and I of the elephant; therefore our congress could only be that of the lowest sort, which is proscribed by the wise; and even should you inflame your lingam with berries and thorns, there will be great difficulty and trouble."

"This is not insurmountable," Vatsyayana observed. "Shall we not then enter into union?"

"I have not finished," Hladini reprimanded. "This is the second problem: that I am a woman born between the Ganges and the Jumna, and therefore have no liking for disgraceful practices, such as you might suggest."

"But is Suvarnanabha not of the opinion that that which is agreeable to the nature of a particular person, is of more consequence than that which is agreeable to a whole nation; and that therefore the peculiarities of the country should not be observed in such cases? The various pleasures, the dress, and the sports of one country are in time borrowed by another, and in such a case these things must be considered as belonging originally to that country! Surely we ought to enter into union."

"I am not finished," Hladini reprimanded for the second time. "This is the third problem: that you attempt to enter into congress with me only that you might kill an enemy of the king,
who has taken shelter with me, and whom you are ordered by the king to destroy."

It is possible that Vatsyayana appeared somewhat sheepish. "This is the case," he conceded.

And their courtship proceeded no further; for such was the wisdom of Vatsyayana.

Sacs de Peix Fresc



omono, mono nomonomono, ono mono nomonomo mono om mono no om, o mon nono mononomonono omono.


Nowe, wee alle know off the Tymes when the Ratte-Kinge Nikkoulouse reined over the Lande of the Swampes and the Mud-Forestes, and Kessler was upon the Throune of the Bone-Skulles, but what of the oft halcyone Dayes before the Epoches of these Rullers, yea, before the Struggels of Men upon the Lande whence they were bourne, and souffered upon the Yock of hardnesse, and fought in great Wars, upon whiche they employed their Genetales, as Weapones, in the manner of Wormes, who are flatte, and who live in the See, yea, before the Birthe of the Heroe Desmonde, from whence came mane Leggends, and Storyes, and who syred many Childrens, and who took at least two-score-and-five Wifes, who weilded the Sweorde Durendal, and who vanckwished the Kinge of the Rattes, yea, that one, indeede, and nowe wee shall disckover the passings of the Tymes be-fore that Tyme, and off the adventures of his fore Fathers, in the manner of a man in a Brothelle, who took five pence for a Prostitutte, and who enjoyed him self vigourously.

Thus, it came to pass, that, in a Land which was not farr off of the modern Parts of Isse-Lounde, there was a Man, who was called Nikkoulouse to his Peeres, yea, though this was notte the very samme as the Nikkoulouse who was the Ratte-Kinge, in latter Years, though he ressembled him greatley, in the manner of his Goatee, and his Cheste-Hairs. Now this Man, who was Knight-Errant, and who was a Stone-Mason by Trade, and who was six-and-one-half Foot in Stature, and who weighted twelfe Stone, and who had a full Head of Haires, and who had a Genital Piece, which was long, and wyde, and sharpe, and fleicksible. Yea, indeede, he was also a Scolaire, at the Universite, upon Cambridge, and the River which crosses betwixt itte, and a menber of the Clergie, and a player of Foot-Balls, which was a Populaire Game at the Tyme, though it has fallen out of Favour in modern Tymes, due to its Necessitation of Homosexuelle Acts, during the play of the Game, however, wee shall not linger upon this, being Men of Chrisiten Faithe.

Thus, it came to pass, that, in the Course of Humain Events, the Man who was called Nikkoulousse by his Peeres, came unto the Lecture Halles of the Universite, to be instructed in the ways of the Philosophies, and the Arts of Modern Tymes, and the Litterature, and he did that so such then there. However, upon the Riviere, there was another Man, who was called Desmonde, by his Peeres, and who knew the Man who was called Nikkoulouse, in his Youthe, yea, however, this is not the samme Desmonde, who did slay the Ratte-Kinge, and who Urinated upon the Forest, and who Climbed the Mountein on Surrey-upon-the-Thames, and who collected the Excremente of Woodland creatures, such that he may inhale their Fumes, nay, it was a different Tyme, and a different Place, and wee shall not linger upon this, being Men of the Christien Faithe.

And thus, Desmonde, being also a Scolaire, upon the Universite, however he was situated across the Copse, at Oxforde, such that they were able to communicate by the Carrier Pidgeone, withe messages attached to the Legges of the Birdes, who flew across the Rivere, and who were sometimes shotte down by Hounters, and then consumed with a Sauce made of Fermented Wyne. And one day, in the Course of Humain Events, there came a message from the Man who was called Nikkoulouse, to the Man who was called Desmonde, and it said some thing Like this:

Senyor President, he de dir que d'una circumstància més meravelloses que m'ha ocorregut recentment, es tractava d'una trobada casual als passadissos del pati, on ens va prendre el nostre te, que era de vegades assaonats amb una salsa de vi fermentat, però apartar, senyor, ara he d'explicar la meva predicament. En un principi, quan tot estava fosc (per la nit que era), em vaig decidir a anar a una reunió d'una societat secreta a la Universitat, que m'havia promès no només l'oportunitat de multa discurs intel lectual, sinó també a molts que aquestes disposicions gratuïtes se'm permet al meu magatzem de subministrament d'aliments per al solitari hivern propers dies. Tanmateix, en arribar al meu destí, que es troba en una galeria de més meravelloses invencions i novetats estrany, jo estava una mica desconcertada en el disseny de la situació, i jo em va obligar a ocupar el seient al costat d'una jove, qui va ser també existeix sobre les empreses, i he fet una petita forma de discurs amb ella, ja que és la meva manera habitual i, a continuació, hi havia un pensament de sobte me, que jo proposició llavors el seu dret i, tanmateix, no en la forma que usted espera, si bé No estic segur que vostè fins i tot el que, essent un bon cristià. De fet, jo vaig fer tal cosa, i m'ha negat fermament, però, no abandonar l'esperança, vaig pensar que no airadamente sortir de la construcció van marxar a casa i utilitzar el gat-o-de nou cues a mi mateix. Els dies van passar lentament com un recompte dels meus contes als veïns, i de sobte el destí em com un cop d'un ou dur i ràpid-home. En tres dies que la vaig veure tres vegades, i cada vegada que una escalada del meu nivell de discurs i els meus òrgans. En el primer dia, vaig dir hola molt tímida, com jo temia per la meva vida sota la pressió de les erupcions solars. En el segon dia, la meva camisa oberta a rodanxes, per tal d'exposar els meus músculs del pit, i va ser degudament impressionat. Al tercer dia, finalment proposition ella, en la forma que caldria esperar, i va ser quelcom acceptable per a ella, però, encara no han rebut un dia concret per al grandiós esdeveniment, i em temo que no pot succeir , i que tot el meu treball ha estat en va. Si aquest és el cas, sens dubte vaig a inscriure en el monestir amb gran pressa!

Nikolous VIII, rei d'Alsace-sur-la-Seine

And the Desmonde saw this Note, and he took it upon his Hande, and tore it into Small Pieces, and threw them in to the Hearthe, and That was the End of That.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Something Remarkably Peculiar

You may have heard of settings like Shadowrun - a world much like our own, but with magic and technology co-existing; spell-slinging sorcerors walking around with a staff in one hand and a gun and the other, etc, etc.. (And what an etc!)

You may have heard of the Christian Rapture.

The combination is really quite something.
(If you've got a few hours to spare.)

Free Agency

Mssr. N. was at the chalkboard, illustrating the solution to a quiz problem for a group of fellow students.

"According to the problem description," he said to the young lady to his right, "Gamma is not additive - but specific heat is. That means that Cv*m = (Cv1*m1 + Cv2*m2)/(m1+m2)."

"Where's that m come from?" the young lady asked.

Mssr. N reconsidered. "Ah - yeah, it equals Cv, not Cv*m, sorry. Anyway - since we're looking for a percentage, we can set total mass to 1; then the denominator vanishes, and the equation becomes Cv = Cv1*m1 + Cv2*(1-m1). Cv = R/(1-gamma); so we get that R/(1-gamma) = R*m1/(1-gamma1) + R*(1-m1)/(1-gamma2). Then we can divide out by R, and we're left by only constant terms and m1, letting us solve - ah -" Uncertainty entered his voice. But then -

"Yes, that's exactly correct," said the class professor, approaching from behind.

Mssr. N was feeling pretty good - and that's even before the young lady inquired about his course schedule, allowing to note that he was, in fact, in another major - just taking the more advanced class for fun! Yes, Mssr. N was on the top of his game, 'high on life', as the children put it -

But then came the sound of an amplified voice, shouting from outside. "AGENT N! WE KNOW YOU ARE IN THERE! COME OUT WITH YOUR HANDS RAISED, OR WE WILL RESPOND WITH EXTREME FORCE!"

The other students drew back from Mssr. N, shocked. "Why are they after you?" one asked. "Are you a criminal?"

Mssr. N froze - and then snapped into action, pulling his wallet from his pocket. "No, I'm not," he said. "The truth is, I am a student. But I'm also - something more!" With a dramatic snap, his wallet flew open, and within it appeared the card identifying him as AGENT N - Ground Operative of the Interstellar Patrol!

"Last summer, my natural curiosity led me to investigate certain things perhaps best left uninvestigated," Mssr. N related, rummaging through his pack as he spoke. "Instead of imprisoning me on some distant star, the Interstellar Patrol recruited me - "

"On some distant star?" another student asked. "But - surely that's science fiction!"

"Not at all," Mssr. N told him. "Our planet has been isolated - blocked off from knowledge of the intergalactic community to which we truly belong! The Interstellar Patrol recruited me as a native agent, to find out who would do such a thing, and what they might have to gain. But from the sound of that voice from outside - it appears they have found me!"

"That's a very strong claim - interstellar travel and world-wide conspiracies," the professor told Mssr. N. "You will need a strong proof -"

But at that moment, a jackbooted thug burst through the classroom door, armoured in black metal and wielding a long, jagged gun! The thug turned, beginning to aim toward Mssr. N - but that latter gentleman was faster to react, and at last found what he was looking for within his pack, bringing it forth and unleashing it! A spear of light shot toward the intruder, splitting in two just before hitting him and going in opposite-directions - then splitting again, and again, building a geometric cage about the interloper!

"Fortunate I recieved those packages in the mail today," Mssr. N observed. "The Interstellar Patrol provides indeed. But now I need some way to escape - "

"You can't just fight them?" another student asked. "We could help -"

"I only have one of these," Mssr. N said, waving the implement which he had just employed to such good effect, "and only one gun. And I cannot count on these being the sorts of thugs that have never learned how to aim -"

"What's the hurry?" the young lady earlier learning about the gamma now inquired. "That one guy you imprisoned is blocking the door - "

"That would be fine if the only way in or out of this room was that door," Mssr. N said, now drawing from his pack a serrated, faintly glowing triangle. "But it is merely the only door."

"What?" the young lady asked, confused. "The ceiling vent?"

"Think simpler," Mssr. N advised, shooting through the rear wall; a thug lurking on the other side flew backwards, flaring with yellow-red light around the edges. "And get down!"

Mssr. N followed his own advice, measuring his own length upon the floor; the quicker-witted of his classmates followed suit. And a good thing - for moments later, beam-fire shot through the room as the thugs in front shot their way through the front wall; the shots that hit the caged thug reflected wildly, killing two of the villains and setting a nearby tree on fire. But Mssr. N was surrounded - for now thugs came in from the back, as well, setting up a deadly crossfire. With his geo-cube, Mssr. N established a sort of shield around himself, firing with his spare hand - but it was only a time before the thugs' continuous firing refracted their way through his defenses. The other students were fleeing, injured, dying; or dead. The young lady's eyes stared at Mssr. N endlessly, no longer having need to blink...

And to think, Mssr. N's day had been going so promisingly just moments before!

(Don't worry. Mssr. N eventually escapes by stalling the thugs long enough that the police arrive, forcing the thugs to retreat rather than be seen. Of course, then he has to explain what, exactly he was doing in the centre of the fiery devastation that was once Warren Lecture Hall 2208...

But it's okay! He's Mssr. N! He'll make it out all right.)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Troubles of Mr. Munat

Mr. Munat was deeply in love.

But he had a problem.

He was in love with cigarettes!


So foul!

So when he propositioned the lady-types - persons of a distinctly feminine nature - they all rejected him! They cried out, "Oh, Mr. Munat, never, never! Your breath is far too disgusting, your habits too distateful, for any of us to ever reciprocate your affections! We would rather enter our graves and rot - 13 times! - than go to your domicile and perform the activities which you suggest!"

Enraged and dismayed, Mr. Munat upended an ash-holder, dislodging all his many cigarettes from its interior.

And then he wept - for he knew he would never find happiness.

Oh, Mr. Munat! When will you ever give up your foul and repulsive habits?

Professor Zhang and the Great Big Dog

Another lecture by the internationally famed Professor Zhang! Everyone give him a warm round of applause as he delivers to us his newest opus, The Wonderful Dog.

once opon

a time

in a magic


there was a terrible plague

and it caused much


and destructin

(How terrible!)

so the gods said

to the people

you must go and dispell

the plague

and then

there was a

big tree

there was this dog

who lived under the big tree

and he said to himself


i think i can help

so the dog

walked around

and he thought to him self

and then he wondered in to town


so the dog saw some big




so the gods said to him

you must save the land

from the curse

so they gave him some

supper powers

and he could like

run really fast

and like

hit things

with his head

so the dog saw some boxes on the ground

and he knew there was some


good meats

or something


but he could not open them

so he said to the gods

how can i open this box

and they said you must use the powers that you have been given

so he concentrated

and he cut open the box

and he found some good meats

inside the box

and then he said

to himself


i am not hungry right now

i will save this food

for later

and he put it in his bag

and he wondered off

then he saw the village

it was on fire


of the curses

he was very distressed

at this

so he said

to the gods

how can i help put out the fire

in the villege

and they said

you must use the power that we gave you


he hufed

and he pufed

and he blew the fire away

then he saw

a man

in the distance

it was a very strange man

so he came to the dude and the dude said

look man

i am the strongest man in the world

i can cut you down

but the dog was like

the dog said to the strong man


you have to help save the world

from the curse

of the land

but the man said

no i cant

im very busy


he wondered off

but the dog saw what he was doing

he saw that he was in the back

of his house



and like


and he said

what a shame

and then everyone died

from the plague

the end

What a heartwarming story! One of Prof. Zhang's best. We can only hope that we'll see him again soon!

(This story is totally not Okami, by the way.)

scarborough fair

dedicated to: mr nikoulous, who was instrumental in this compilation from the dead sea

pourquoi toutes les femmes sont-elles les homosexuelles ? parce qu'il n'y a pas autant de raisons pour elles ?. j'avais eu beaucoup d'expériences avec ces choses donc je suis bien preparé pour écrire de ceci. donne-moi un morceau de ce tarte aux pénis, copain, je te dirai mes histoires. juste vois, et entends, t'assieds là-bas, M. Kessler, te souviens ce que j'ai pour dire à toi. c'était il y a même trois ans je, pour la première fois me suis couché avec une femme, bien, tu sais, ce n'est pas la vérité . c'est le lycée, copain, tu sais, les fardeaux. te souviens-tu quand nous courions dans les champs de l'école, c'était nos temps-de-pénis, absolument. laisse-moi te dire une histore de comment j'aimais une femme au lycée et puis plus tard nous arriverons chez nous, tu sais, copain . non, tu, ne fais pas l'idiot , tu le sais! c'est trop ennuyeux les temps au lycée. c'est pour les petits enfants ! je ne la connais plus même , homme. tiens, nous sommes les deux les étudiants de l'université, n'est-ce pas ? tu le sais, fiche-moi la paix! je suis chrétien , de la bonne foi,je ne crois pas à ce physique-là qu'ils nous enseignent en classe. mais, mais, elle était là, copain, dans la classe, les gars, j'ai senti qu'elle m'attendait, je le savais de temps en temps , c'était le destiné, je l'ai vue dans mes rêves. sang de dieu! c'était aujourd'hui ! peux-tu y croire ? ah, oui ! et hier aussi. c'était hier qu'elle m'a vu sur l'éscalier, elle m'attendait elle-même, j'en suis sûr ! vas meurs dans un feu! et aujourd'hui, n'était-ce pas elle qui s'est couchée avec elle-même, la bête! n'était-ce pas je, qui, quand elle m'a demandé « comment ça va?» et qu'est-ce que j'ai dit, hein? « euh, eh bien, sais pas» . c'est dégoûtant. le seul souvenir elle a de moi, c'est ça, c'est plein de pénis-gaz, tu le sais. et alors, copain, le gars, le gars qui m'a demandé si je voulais faire la fête avec eux ? comment puis-je ?c'est impossible. quel bâtard que je suis. je suis haut comme trois pommes.

The Dawn of the Last Age

In the time following the Human invention of the Hyperdrive and the shattering of the interstellar gate network, seven Major Races rose to interstellar prominence. For one year, they expanded into the stars without war, planting the flag upon a hundred virgin worlds. Two races grew thus without any knowledge of the others. The Altarians, a peaceful race with a strange resemblance to humanity, expanded from their homeworld into the surrounding star cluster; the Torians, a former slave race, did likewise. But the star cluster of the Altarians was a small one, surrounded by a terrible void not even the Hyperdrive could readily surpass; so their dominion was equally small, and they found themselves nearly powerless when they encountered the other Major Races; first of which was the newborn Terran Empire. Unlike the Altarians, the star cluster in which the Torians were isolated was vast, and the Torians expanded into a great sphere, many times the size of the Altarian dominion; they found themselves a Great Power when first they encountered the other Major Races, the first of which they met was the Arceans.

The Arceans were a race of Stoics, whose skill at war was already known to be great from the days of the Interstellar Gates; but for the game of interstellar expansion they were not so well prepared. Both they and their neighbors, the Yor, a race of malevolent robots who had exterminated their creators, grew outwards as best they could; but each claimed barely half a dozen stars before they found the rest claimed by another race. The Thalans, last of the residents of that star cluster, had grown faster and further than the Arceans and Yor alike; both were thereby relegated to secondary status, leaving the Thalans to take on the mantle of Power. The Thalans were a strange race; they claimed themselves to be time travellers from an era in which humanity had brought devastation upon all thinking creatures, and although they started on par with the other races technologically, the rate at which they progressed upwards was remarkable, leaving the others hard-pressed to catch-up, even in that first year. Whether or not they were truly from the future was unclear; they certainly showed no evidence of further time travel, but certain artefacts on their homeworld seemed far more advanced than anything the Major Races could produce, and their bias against humanity seemed a strange thing to simply invent.

At last we turn to the last two of the Major Races; humanity, united at last under the Terran Alliance, and their nearest neighbors. The Terrans grew swiftly, building an empire of stars close to that of the Torians and the Thalans; they became the third Power, and though somewhat lesser than the others in size and technology respectively, their diplomatic, manipulative abilities was second to none. Their neighbors, the Korath, were quite the opposite. Limited by the presence of the Terrans, they found themselves relegated to a handful of stars, as were the Yor and Arceans; but unlike those races, there was a malevolent drive within the Korath, whose philosophy called for the ultimate extinction of all other races. They manufactured war-ships as swiftly as any of the Great Powers, despite their smaller size, aided by their willingness to act as brokers for technology trades between the races. By diplomatic means they gained wealth, and spent it just as quickly for quite different purposes; a small armada of warships and troop transports was stealthily assembling itself by the Terran border at the end of that first year, the year of peace.

The Torians had been enslaved by the Korath, once, in the days of the Interstellar Gates; the shattering of that network allowed them to throw off their chains. Now, many times more powerful than the Korath, they struck. Attacking the planet the Korath dubbed "Bloodthorn", the Torians landed with a hundred troop transports and took the planet for their own. Torian warships fluttered about the system, rendering ruin unto Korath troop transports hastily summoned from the Terran border in an attempt to recapture Bloodthorn; the Korath ships, individually superior to their Torian equivalents but strongly outnumbered, were unable to secure the planet. Had the Torians continued the attack into the Korath home system, it seems likely that the Korath would have been crushed.

But they halted; perhaps to consolidate their gains, or to manufacture more troop transports and warships to replace their losses. While their fleets swarmed around Bloodthorn, the Korath ships launched themselves toward the Torian cluster, two months travel away by the best drives the Korath could build. There, they launched an attack on the Torians' greatest weakness: their neighbors.

There were seven Major Races, as has been related previously; these being those sentient races who expanded outwards upon the discovery of the Hyperdrive. Some of them grew to a greater extent, some lesser, but each possessed an empire. But to the attention of the Major Races came also another sort of species, which we will call the Minor Race: a species which, by some quirk of circumstance or disposition, gained the Hyperdrive but remained relegated to their home star. The Torians seemed adept at finding these species; three of the four known were either in or bordering Torian territory. The Minor Races had proven useful for the Korath in the past; they were perpetually technologically backwards, meaning that any innovations they created could be easily bought, and technology traded back to them would fetch a handsome price. But their time was up; the Korath could use their planets better than they could. The Korath struck twice by surprise, wiping the skies clear of any ship before the transports came raining down. Two planets they took, exterminating the inhabiting Minor Races entirely; their manufactoriums the Korath took for their own, setting them to produce warships on the Torian doorstep. With this triumphant momentum they took two Torian worlds in the same brutal way; but then they, too, faltered.

For months no more planets were taken by either side; instead, there was only a battle of brutal attrition. Torian mass cannons pounded against Korath hull armour while plasma lances cut through the Torian warships with disdainful ease. The Korath armada was better designed for the opponent it faced, making one Korath frigate more than a match for two Torian ships of the same size; but the Torians could build three frigates for each Korath one, and did. So the war dragged on, as countless ships were reduced to superheated scrap by ever-slightly-better weapons.

It was a Korath innovation, researched over the course of the long stalemate, that allowed them to break the stall. Troop transports, necessary to conquer planets, were expensive: they cost nearly as much as a frigate of the same generation, and the number of slaves required to fill them to capacity could cripple the economies of smaller worlds required to launch them. (The Torians used volunteers to man their troop transports; the Korath did not.) The expense of troop transports - and their extreme fragility, readily destroyed by even the smallest fighter-craft - had been a large contributor to the stalemate that persisted for most of the length of the war. So the Korath devoted their scientists to finding a better way: and they did. Spore Weapons: small ships, manned by a skeleton crew, that were designed to slip into the atmospheres of enemy planets and attack with a virulent suite of germ weapons. The entire population of the afflicted planet would be wiped out, the atmosphere would be rendered toxic; and the Korath, who had already prepared themselves for such toxic conditions, would be free to take the planet at leisure.

The Torian empire fell. Bloodthorn was the first to be taken; then the Korath struck against the worlds in the Torian sphere, moving from the outside in. As the balance of manufacturing power began to tilt towards the Korath, they gained an ever-greater control of Torian space. With three months of the discovery of Spore Weapons, no ship could venture off the Torian homeworld without facing destruction. The Torians' fair-weather friends, the Terrans and Thalans, opportunistically attacked the defenseless Torian worlds, taking with troop transports any worlds the Korath had not yet reduced to virus-filled wastelands. With a pathetic handful of worlds left from their once-great empire, the Torians surrendered.

To the Thalans.

The Terrans had not been idle in the meanwhile. Midway through the Torian-Korath war, they had launched a surprise attack on the Altarians, winning several battles. They conquered no worlds, seemingly intent on rooting out all armed opposition off-planet before sending vulnerable troop-transports into battle. This state persisted through the end of the Torian-Korath war; at which point the Korath, irritated at Terran opportunism, decided to play the same trick. They sent their now-idle warfleets to Altaria and, once all were in position, attacked at a stroke. By the end of the week, half of the tiny Altarian empire had been virus-bombed and taken by the Korath. Their military was in a shambles. They surrendered.

To the Thalans.

It grew increasingly clear, to Thalan, Terran, and Korath alike, that the newborn peace could not last. The Thalans and Terrans were closely allied; together they controlled two-thirds of Known Space. The Korath, thanks to their recent conquests, held a fifth, much of which had been taken by use of spore weapons. The Terrans and Thalans had no interest in the same happening to them; the Korath knew that they could not oppose both at once. Over the next month and a half, they called their armadas back from the far-away Altarian star-cluster, setting them in a ring about the Terran empire. The Korath planned a surprise attack, as had served them against the Altarians; with the Terrans, if not completely conquered, than certainly reduced in strength, they would be in a much better position when the war came.

The week before the Korath battle preparations would have been complete, both the Thalans and the Terrans declared war.

Known Space might readily be divided into four quarters; not equal in size, but similarly distant from each-other. The first quarter holds only the star-cluster which was the Altarians', and now was split between the Thalans and Korath. It had been an irrelevant backwater for the past three year, and would remain so in the Great War. The second quarter had been the Torians'; now a fifth of it was in Terran hands, with the remainder evenly split between the Thalans and the Terrans. Its worlds had been powerful once; now ruined by warfare, they were unable to contribute to the initial stages of the war. (A notable exception would be the planets of the Minor Races, taken by the Korath before they invented Spore Weapons; their manufacturing might would prove vital for the war to come.) The third quarter was largely in Thalan control, with a few pockets reserved for the Arceans and the Yor (now at war with each-other), as well as isolated Terran and Korath colonies. From the latter the Korath would launch occasional raids, but the Thalan heartland was thickly filled with war-fleets, and the meagre Korath presence could make no impact on them. So we come to the last quarter of Known Space, the major theater for the first part of the war: the cluster split between Korath and Terran.


The Thallasians were armed with a small fleet of 33 capable spacecraft, which they defended their border with adamantine grit and determination. The Korths on the other hand had only a handful of small unimpressive space frigates but their determination to fight to the death would prove a powerful weapon. On the forefront of battle the commander of the Korths forces cried out over the telecommunications, "Prepare to be penetrated like a nubile virgin." The Thallasians, not prepared to withstand such an offense retorted, "That I shall be glad to take it, in any position, at any time, so bring it on." The interchange continued, "You shall be ravaged in every lustful manner known to either of our races" "Come and get me, you muscular cretine". The battle began. Amidst the firing the captains of the main Thallasian spacecraft captured the frigate of the Korenth commander and they proceeded to brawl physically as soon as they saw each other. But then things took a turn for the unexpected as the commander of the Koreth suddenly stripped off the battle armour of the Thalassian captains trousers. Then they embraced and ripped off all of their clothes in full view of the subordinate officers on board. Compelled by this the subordinate officers too joined in and commenced a bacchanalian event of immense magnitude. They remained in each others embrace until such times as the Teran space command took a laser to the space craft and demolished, thus ending a most bloody war.


(Draft written Oct. 20, 2008; conclusion written May 19, 2009.)