log (2008/03/14 to 2008/03/20)

"That's an impressive simulation," Voy said politely, taking his face away from the viewing cup, which for psychological satisfaction was placed by the window of the satellite that looked down on the planet below.

Privately he had his reservations, his doubts, on whether a planetwide simulation of the depth that he had seen in the viewer could be entirely clean, consciousness-wise, but he was too polite to voice them here.

"Not a simulation," Slyt's voice was amused, something like triumphant, something like contemptuous.

"Pardon me?" Voy asked, thinking of the horribly unenhanced things he had seem, scenes of suffering, of limitation, of futility. "You can't have that many volunteers --"

"Not volunteers. People. Naturals." and Slyt was openly sneering now, "They live down there; are born, and live, and die."

Voy just stared at him, silent, recalling in particular one face seen in the viewer, one face looking down at one death, and the depths and the mundane agony in the eyes.

"You can't mean --"

"They are born," Slyt repeated, "and live, and die forever. It's all they ever know. And they are mine."

"No. No you cannot --"

"You're a long way from the Hub, Domiciliant Voy," he said, spitting the honorific like a curse, "This is my world. There are no sorcerors out here to protect you." And at this he gestured with a finger, and Voy heard a door open behind him, and felt armed men stepping out, about to touch him.

Of course, as Slyt should have expected but had persuaded himself was impossible, Voy was a sorceror himself, and in less than an eyeblink a certain amount of his ponderous mass had exfoliated and replicated and gained control of not only Slyt and his minions, but all the automatic and semi-automatic functions of the satellite, and in less than a day they had spread themselves planetward and outward, finding brains and fixing the usual bugs, finding wars and ending them, finding hunger and feeding it, finding the recently dead and reviving them, and in general converting the entire terrifyingly awful planet into a basic unadorned Hubworld, way out here on the edge of nowhere.

Voy would have to cut his itinerary short now, and return to the Hub, to sort out what punishements were to be meted and what was to be done with this unplanned new member of the family. Before leaving, on a whim, he went down to the planet, and his systems found one particular face in one particular city.

The particular death those eyes had been looking at when Voy saw them in the viewing cup was now again a particular life. Voy came up to them in a park, his bulk moving lightly over the new-risen grass; the man of the eyes was dandling the small live-again girl on his knee. They both looked around at him, all their eyes met, smiling, civilized, something amazed and joyous, confident and young, in the man and the child.

He drifted away again, toward the node that would take him back into space and back home. But he carried with him still his first sight of those eyes, as they had looked without hope on that death, and something moved uneasily within him.

Goodbye to Arthur C. Clarke, with deep gratitude. I have for some reason a very vivid memory of sitting somewhere (at Gramma Jean's house?), curled up, reading a battered copy of Tales from the White Hart, and even in those relatively light and rather gimmicky stories feeling a certain sense of wonder.

I don't know who Galatea Gynoid was talking about here, but the words will do nicely for Clarke. I think he would have liked them. (Heck, maybe he even read them.)

I'm liking this new Governor Paterson-who-is-legally-blind. It may turn out that one of the decade's most significant positive developments in the Progressive movement in New York was brought about by an introduction service and some investigators with politically-suspect motives.

He's for gay marriage, he's for abortion rights, his father (Basil Paterson-who-is-legally-blind) was a real Heavy Hitter in the Progressive cabal. In sharp contrast to Spitzer, Paterson-who-is-legally-blind seems to be liked by all.

And in the hijinks department, not only did Paterson-who-is-legally-blind and his wife both have affairs (how equitable is that, eh?), but he obtained his extramarital sex for free (as far as we know), rather than for the tens of thousands of dollars that Spitzer spent on it. This can only bode well for the fiscal health of the state.

Ian, who is always a forgiving and understanding guy, suggests that we should regard Spitzer's prosecution of escort agencies, not as sleazy above-the-law hypocrisy, but as a cry for help, an attempt to save others from the addictive snares of lust in which he found himself involuntarily and through no fault of his own entrapped.

"It's too late for me," we imagine him saying, "but you others can save yourselves! Run while you still can, I'll stay behind!"

This inspired notion caused great hilarity at the lunch table.

And speaking of Ian:

I noticed this a while ago but forgot to mention it -- Garfield minus Garfield. I love it.

And so do we, dear reader, and so will you!

Also from Ian, a very good video interview explaining the origins of and solutions to the financial crisis (the British accents make it especially effective).

(Speaking of which Diana points us to the related story about the time the front fell off.)

And finally, also on the subject of the financial crisis, the Subprime Primer also throws great clarity on the situation, using stick figures.

Your attempt to log out failed, you have been automatically logged out. If you still wish to log out, please log in again and retry the log out operation.

Sadly I can't say that I've had this exact error message, but it seems entirely possible; we were talking at lunch about various applications that make you log in before you can log out, if your "session" "times out" or something.

I've got a monster in my pants
  and it does a nasty dance

That's a subset of the B-52's, apparently from a 1991 album called "Fred Schneider & The Shake Society", and as featured memorably here and there on YouTube. (Not to be confused with some sort of naughty movie with a similar name.)

Speaking of Eliot Spitzer (narf narf), here are some Salon person and Susie Bright saying rational things about the whole mess.

Although we tend to get crazy about things sexual in this culture, there are in this case good reasons to be down on Spritzer (who the news on TV just now rather amusingly referred to as "the resigned Governor"). Primarily there's the hypocrisy; if he'd been prosecuting adulterers and then turned out to be one himself, that'd be a similar bad thing; same for Internet gambling, marijuana distribution, or anything else in that general category.

There's also what or whatever he's done to his wife and family. But, as I'm sure I commented somewhere back around Clinton, we don't really know, or deserve to know, what actually happened there. They could have an open marriage, with all sorts of permitted hijinks on both sides, and we'd never know it (see remarks above about getting crazy about things sexual). The Masses would probably be more freaked out by a politician with a nontraditional marriage than we are by one that clandestinely hires sex workers.

This particular class of starship comes from a rather dark time in your future history. Indeed, the NCC-1701 was the spearhead for a 5 year campaign of economic and ideological conquest by a crypto-socialist federation of planets. Their activities largely consisted of seeking out new life and new civilizations, and lecturing said civilizations on some perceived ideological flaw in their society, which they then corrected through the application of various forms of super-science and heavy weaponry. These lectures were usually delivered by the ship's captain, by all accounts a rampant egotist, whose duties also included sexual intercourse with local females in an attempt to spread the Federations genetic legacy throughout the stars...

That from a noteable Second Life weblog, from a noteable series of posts about a cross-country trek. It reminds me, of course, of my own less well-documented Trek from Hughes Rise to Chief, 'way back when I was just a month or so old.

I have as usual been doing too many things to even mention all of in SL. The above weblog and others that I've been reading are by the folks that have put up a bunch of sims called "Extropia", on a utopian-futurist theme (as opposed to the so common as to be a cliche now dystopia-futurist theme that's all over the grid). Extropia has lovely builds and a nice clean website, and for just 250L / week (less than a dollar), one can rent a little chunk of land with a 224m2 cross-section and space for 100 or so prims, which I've done and am so far enjoying decorating and meeting the neighbors, although things keep distracting me.

One of those distractions was a sudden invitation (apparently the originally scheduled audience somehow didn't show up) to the first show (I think) of the ZeroG Skydancers' latest piece, which was lovely and fun, at which someone introduced me to a guy who works for the SS Galaxy, an absolutely enormous (three whole sims!) cruise ship which is wildly famous, but of which I hadn't heard before (the grid is So Big).

A few days later the guy pinged me and asked if I'd like a helicopter tour of the ship. I was waiting for a friend to log in at the time, but when she did I asked her what she thought, and she said cool, so we got a very memorable aerial tour; said friend (the formidable Callipygian Christensen) has posted some postcards to her Snapzilla stream. (I took some, too, but they're all up in SL, and besides she's a way better photographer than I am.) And when we were all done, the guy gave me a certificate for a free week's rent in one of the ship's staterooms; woot!

At some other time, a different friend teleported me off to an Extremely Amazing build based on a Sims 2 neighborhood (an obvious thing to do in retrospect). Here's a hysterical video of the SL build and AVs in action; nearly the same video could have been made in TS2. (The other Nylon Pinkney videos there are also well worth watching; we've got such fantastic creatives!)

So that's all been very amazing (and I didn't even mention the Giant Snail Races, the live music at the opening of a new BDSM-themed sim, planting sunflowers for charity, etc, etc). Back in Real Life, the little boy seems to be gradually shaking off this flu or whatever it is, the little daughter isn't sleeping enough, no more college acceptances have arrived since the last update, and M and I are in the constant state of proud fatigue that comes from having two teenagers in the house.

All the data in the world, only organized! I wanted to use this to find the name of the most-recently-born Catholic Saint, but as far as I can tell I'd have to learn some special query language and API to do it, and that just seems Wrong.

Due presumably to our long-standing interest in toad sucking, a reader points us at toad suck dot org, which (among other fun things) includes another explanation of the origin of "toad suck", which doesn't involve the hallucinogenic properties of toad exudate (and perhaps for that reason doesn't really convince us). But give it a look; it includes a picture of a toad in a straw hat!

Also watch Animator vs Animation, just because it's so well done.

Which came first?

med pharmacy



"At long last we know," said the Chicken to the Egg, as they lit their post-coital cigarettes.


broken koan

oooooo, nice one!