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Learning to Write

Death of the Author

Watching This video again reminded me of an exercise from Creative Writing that was at the time just intolerable and exciting all at once. Peer Reading.

Every day we would be presented with a writing prompt and then given time to create something from it. Being kids, often times these would be gross out sessions or confessionals. Pictures of birds would become poems and pieces of music would become stories.

Some of the class would use this chance to criticize the prompts rather than use the time to create something.

It’s those people that were missing out. Because they became the author and instead of using the time and space given them every day to create something new, they took the chance to snipe and attack at the very thing they were supposed to be inspired by. In a way, they were inspired, but they failed to engage in the very task they were set out. They were asked to create, and instead they took their time to destroy. “They Chose Violence” so to speak.

This image is a good example of one of the prompts, which was a penguin. Some people wrote short stories about lost penguins, some about loneliness. There was a poem about how there was nothing but penguins.

When it came time to discuss the writing that day some of the class seized on the notion that the poem about the lack of other birds was the author talking about the conformist nature of High School (where we were) and Society as a whole. That the Poem was about how a lack of diversity was dangerous. Or that the Poet was embodying a lonely penguin, seeking something more.

They were all wrong about the authors intent. The Author just dashed it off in moments: “Penguins! Everywhere Penguins! No Great Auks, no Eagles, no sparrows. Everywhere I look all I see are Tuxedo Birds. Everywhere, there’s penguins!”

Yeah, it was short and easy to put meaning on. It also was “just as it was” there was no deeper meaning to it. So the class, when faced with the idea that “It just was a complaint about the penguins” got hostile.

They insisted that there was deeper meaning in it, especially given who the author was. I’m told that they thought the author was stoned more than they were sober at this period. Which in itself was amazing, because they were 100% straight-edge.

That’s the thing, we put our own meaning and own message in our media. We hang our own emotions on every hook a piece gives us to do so. So that we can decorate it with meaning for ourselves.



Saving for the Future

If there was a way
to hold onto the things
that we wanted to
hold onto
forever

We’d be building boxes
and putting our love and our inspiration
into jars
and putting them in boxes
for the days when we’ve got none
to spare

Cleaners 4 Life

When CRISPR edits become legal for small size bio-doc firms to start doing, you know that during their down time, someone got the idea to try and hack those units beyond the manufacturing warranty. We’re talking professional grade gene editing and implementation tools in the hands of people who were “smart” and “motivated” but fond of very dark humour.

These gleaming white blocks of science would become the mothers of a whole new cottage industry of custom formula solutions to life’s problems. All you would needs is the formula, and you could take that on a chip or a QR code on a sticker or an image on your phone and you scan it, pay the fees and a syringe popped out with a cure for your impotence or new hair on your head, three inches on your member or for the really adventurous, all three at once.

Who knows how they tested this stuff, computer models be damned. They had to have been testing this stuff on someone, and it took decades for the world to figure out how to ID the poor bastards who survived and their kids’ kids. So you have these people making a quick buck figuring out the building blocks of life on a budget and the means to make those changes on the fly. You have entrepreneurs turning the actual working snake-oil of the ages that can be printed on cheap white paper and handed out on tickets for fractions of a penny, but at a cost of thousands to the buyers, that is until the copyright holders started to get wise and clamp down.

In the 90s and beyond in the United States, they made it legal to copyright genes, even those of the humans. So if you sequence a bit of genetic information, write it down and say “this is the sequence that defines hair colour” and stamp it and get all the forms and so on, you own the copyright on that gene sequence. So, those sequences have been bought and categorized and organized and collated, shared and updated and maintained for generations. And a great deal of that work underpinned those lovely machines.

Now the Corporations awoke from their torpor and looked at the world and said: “This is our money.”

So the machines all get locked up while the corporations who had for some decades been run by software that just endlessly moved resources around leaving people to just live. Thus the boredom.

So the Boxes had to make money for the corporations, and so there had to be profitable things to do with them that didn’t make “some kid in his teens” rich. So they started making custom people.

It happened that fast.

One day people were beautiful and lived for decades longer and the next we were neck deep in custom built kids that were nearly specialized for their jobs and pooping. It was a cruel joke that it even happened, because now we had all these kids that could only do one thing, their bodies twisted into very specialized functions. They all died, in time, having fulfilled their one task.

The people put a stop to it, after a generation of genetic crimes, the people put an end to the production of human machines. All of them had passed away and the world mourned a whole generation of children, except The Cleaners. They lived on.

Turns out that despite the best efforts of those literally greedy Corporations, a miracle happened. The Cleaners lived! They were hardy, and strong and they could take on anything, it’s why they came to be called “The Cleaners” they were able to go into any waste, any broken, poisoned place and just clean it out. They made their homes in the former Superfund sites that made up most of the Western United States and Canada. Mostly they took up around the Yellowstone crater.

The Cleaners marched out around the world, like Superheroes from an old Comic or Ancient Statues of Greek Gods come to life, if your Gods ran to thick, short and hairy.

After the sorrows and hackers and the miracle of The Cleaners, humanity could look out to the stars, and it was only right that the Cleaners should go first, because they could survive pretty much anything. They took to Venus and Mars with equal measure, colonists and then terraformers before the end of that Century. The footprint of Earth was all over the Inner planets.

The Cleaners led the way into interstellar space, lives were measured in centuries now and people could live everywhere. Pretty soon all of humanity was “a little bit Cleaner” and you know how it is Cleaners 4 Life!

After the dust settled

I know you’re worried. You came here, killed my friend, tried to kill me and you definitely killed all those people three levels down. So I’m gonna take your eye, before anything else, I AM TAKING YOUR EYE. I am going to reach into the socket and pull it right out, and show it to you. That’s not the torture. You killed my friend, you took Fred right out of my life. So I’m gonna take your Eye.

You told me I’ve lost, that’s fine. I’ve lost before. I’ll lose again, I’m a loser. But, this Loser and You; they are gonna have a meeting of minds and at the end you’ll tell me everything you know and if you’re honest you won’t have to deal with the consequences of what you’ve done.

Fred was my friend.

You, are most decidedly not. <Snatches Eye>

My imaginary version of an interrogation scene from The Expanse, it incensed me.

The Solar Farms

Alright, so this is a pitch for a story at DC about Superman using the Kryptonian propensity for Energy Storage as a way to grew and sell living beings as batteries.

So the setting is like this.  Centuries before Krypton was poisoned and Kryptonians could still leave the planet without special aids a “Tropey” Grey Alien is found kidnapping Kryptonians of every station and house.  The Grey Alien ignores their indignation, some of them talk about a truce or an agreement with “the Grey” and the Alien just turns away and proceeds to stretch them on a medical device to the point they call out in pain and several devices appear from arms around them and extract matter from every part of them.  They scream or complaint, the Grey looks on dispassionately, gesturing to a machine that displays “memory alteration” and we see the Kryptonian returned to where they presumably came from, like they had stumbled or had a bad dream.

Earth, START LABS YEAR CURRENT -5 a scientist has been sequencing Kryptonian DNA from samples from Superman when he has been de-powered here and there (they are all over the place if you look!) and has determined that while cloning a perfect copy is out of the question due to handwaved technology limits for the story.  Buuut, there is the possibility that they could tease out a few features of Kryptonian Physiology, namely the ability to absorb and retain solar energy in order to use that stored energy to “Dealers Choice of Supermans Powers”  only one power at a time, but you could potentially be super strong, or have eye blasts, or something, but there’s no way to control it.

So we’ve set up two threads.

Somewhere in Sector 7821 Green Lantern Grtan of The Osmis Cluster runs into a space cruiser stuck in a null sector, a sector of space with a negative infraction ratio it absorbs light like a black hole.  It has shut down the craft.  On investigation the Green Lantern digs in the bowels of the craft and discovers a humanoid baby inside a massive solar reactor,.  Grtan ignites their ring and orders it to create a stable yellow sun radiation field.  At which point the child appears to swell as it absorbs the light, slowly at first and eventually to a grotesque extent, until it’s flesh touches a contact point on the reactor and THE REACTOR LIGHTS!!!

The craft explodes from the Null sector, the Green Lanterns corpse is expelled from the craft by an unseen person and the spacecraft zooms into the stars, leaving Grtan floating in space.  A ring distress signal summons “Dealers Choice Green Lantern” who takes Grtan to a nearby planet.

 

STAR labs has some test subject, animals that have been given one each of Superman’s powers, so they have a dog that can fly and horse that can stomp and cause damage and a cat that is VERY fast, but it has to be coated in a special suit because it keeps tearing it’s fur out. Jimmy Olsen comes across a mouse that seems to be able to find treats no matter where they are hidden, and discovers a tattoo on it that leads back to start labs. The little mouse escaped the lab (because it has Superman’s prodigious senses) and so it was able to navigate to the open air where Jimmy Found it and snatched it up and “saved it” from being stomped on by a passerby.

So we have two threads, Earth Scientists are using Superman’s Genetics to create potential weapons and the Grey who has turned Kryptonian Clones into batteries.

Neat!

Legions of Things

It took what seemed like years to finish “Watch Dogs: Legion” and literal Years for me to sit down and finish “Legion” from Marvel Television and I didn’t plan it, but I finished them both the same night.

Watchdogs: Legion is the continuation of the series started with “Watchdogs”, continued in “Watchdogs 2: Silicon Valley Monsters!” and now “Watchdogs: Legion” and I think this latest edition might have finally figured out the formula for the games, and that is to not have a primary character.

“Watchdogs: Legion” is (like the previous games and pretty much every Ubisoft game) an open world with a bunch of stuff to do while following a main mission. The “twist” for WD:Legion is that you can recruit “anyone” to join your fight. Including “bad guys” which is really where the game play system shines, you recruit someone, do a couple missions (sadly repetitive ones) and they join your team. All you can customize is their clothes, and the clothes and “battle mask” (my name, but you put it on to fight so “battle mask”) The main plot takes FOREVER to get through, there were what seemed like over 100 plot missions to get through and who you embody (the operative) matters, so choose your team wisely! I had a blast in the game, but the writing was kind of weak for the main plot, I had it sussed out in the first cinematic so I spent the whole game waiting for what I saw coming in the first minutes of the game. Which is sad, but there are only so many plots in the world and when it looked like I was going to be wrong, I was intrigued, but the mystery the game does a masterful job setting up really doesn’t “matter” in the game, you had to seek it out and the payoff isn’t great storytelling, but it *is* good world building, I think they were going to go somewhere else and left in the bits. I’m tiptoeing around the plot details as i don’t want to spoil it for anyone. The game is good, I WANTED to finish it, so yeah.

LEGION (from Marvel TV) WAS great, but I think they had wanted to go in a direction and had to swap motivations around a bit to make drama and it all got very “Manson with Powers” and if I’m honest, they went all cosmic, they didn’t need to ground so much of it after that.

What I loved: Behind Blue eyes!
What I hated: Problematic Protagonist and a heel turn that wasn’t

Not Looking

It’s Wednesday November 4, 2020 and I’m afraid to open a web page that I don’t have control over the content of,

I know there are only a few possible realities that exist right now

  1. Joe Biden got enough votes to win decisively. (Didn’t happen)
  2. Donald Trump got enough votes to win decisively. (I wasn’t watching, so I don’t know)
  3. Donald Trump got enough votes to declare himself the winner and the ‘net is awash with
    smiling images of him and his followers.
  4. Joe Biden got enough votes to be declared the winner but Trump is Contesting it everywhere he can.

The uncertainty is killing me, but simply knowing might be worse. Last night I checked how things were going about 11pm and got that familiar sinking feeling.

Good Morning November 4, 2020.

The Starting Pistol and The Funeral Bell

On September the 12th the Globe was still ringing. The Echos of the destruction of Symbols of Capitalistic Glory and “American Power” were still passing through the world.

The whole world held its breath, expecting the Cowboy President to run off half-cocked and do something insane to the whole world.

It didn’t happen.

Instead what happened was like a Funeral for Freedom, a long form WAKE for Liberty began and it ended some time in 2003.

So the falling of the Twin Towers, it wasn’t just a symbol that was destroyed, it was the tolling of the Funeral Bell of the American Experiment.

But it was also the sound of the Starting Pistol, the promise of the Militias of the 90s, who did the same thing to Americans, their country-persons. This was the thing they had been waiting for, a way to dissolve “Liberal Democracy” and they have achieved it in Donald Trump, a man so enamoured with his own image that he can’t even comprehend the damage he has done and is doing.

The Fascists love him, because he is doing what they want, ignoring the world in favour of the mirror. They can work without limit and change the face of America and the World.