That time I started a true crime podcast

Episode 1

Me, introducing a true crime podcast: he has done it before, more times than you can count, a crime so blatant and callous that it boggles the mind. yet, he still walks among us as a free man, unbothered & unpunished for his vile deeds. I am of course talking about the Jaywalker
Cohost, interjecting: uhm, jaywalking isn’t actually illegal, you’re just supposed to not do it by virtue of it being a really bad idea because of the danger to life & limb
Me, crisis managing: I can sense the premise for this episode falling apart as we speak

Me, introducing episode 2 which is now episode 1: the law is clear, and has been for thousands of years. Yet, he persists, and is preparing to break it again even now. this week, he will not rest on sabbath day
Cohost, sighing: also not illegal
Me: there is a trend emerging here

Me, introducing episode 3 which is now episode 1: contracts are-
Cohost, clearly in psychic pain: the fact that minors legally cannot enter into contracts, and thus are not allowed to buy things in stores, is an edge case and does not count as a crime
Me: how did you know

Me, introducing episode 4 which is now episode 1: as organizations grow bigger and more complex, power & influence tends to gather in small groups of people, regardless of how democratic the organization is initially
Cohost: the iron law of oligarchy is not a real law
Me: gosh darnit

Me, introducing episode 5 which is now episode 1: it is a demographic oddity that population density in countries trends towards one really big city, a few medium sized ones, and lots of smaller settlements
Cohost: power law distributions are a math thing
Me: could’ve fooled me

Me, introducing episode 6 which is now episode 1: Vriska did no-
Cohost: Vriska is a fictional character, and as such is not bound by laws other than grammatical. Only physical & legal persons are so bound, and thus able to commit crimes
Me: that’s what I was going to say

Me, introducing episode 7 which is now episode 1: in this episode
Cohost: if this is about the dril tweet about facing god and walking backwards into hell, then I swear to
Me: hello and welcome to episode 8, which is now episode 1
Cohost: buddy,
Me: …yeah, you got me

Me, introducing episode 9 which is now episode 1: as we all know, the vaccines gave us 5G superpowers, which allows us to download podcast episodes on the fly, and lift spoons through magnetism
Cohost: where is this going
Me: it’s a crime we didn’t get them sooner
Cohost: true

Me, introducing episode 10 which is now episode 1: they live in a legal gray zone, in the juridical inbetween, in the unclaimed no man’s land where the law has yet to make itself known
Cohost: that’s not what ‘paralegal’ means
Me: this kills my puns about parallel parking semis

An artful dodger

Art is a step forward, an ambition. It looks at what humanity as a whole – not just individual pockets of it, or even specific individuals, but all of it – can do, and seeks to find out if this really is all there is to it. is the present the limit case of human capability, or can it be pushed further, through intuition, invention or iteration? Are we to settle for what happens to exist – a contingent category if there ever was one – or can we, humanity, move things forward? Art is an endeavor that requires craftmanship, but which can not be reduced to it. There is always a step of transgression, transcendence, transubstantiation. In order to do art, you have to look at a map that says “you are here”, and respond with a forceful “fuck that, let’s get a move on”

To return to your original question, “do computer games have to be fun”, I say, it misses the point. The question is not even wrong. You are thinking too small. We can do better than that. Let’s get a move on

A brand new daylight saving’s horoscope

Aries

They said you’d lose an hour, but they never said which. So they took one that seemed unimportant. A Wednesday afternoon in middle school, geography class. You were taught about the importance of rivers and how you can predict where towns are simply by following their bends and curves. You used that knowledge to great effect in your storytelling efforts. Then they took that hour from you

Taurus

You know how you sometimes sit down and outwardly don’t seem to do very much, but inwardly your mind is a vat of liquid metal in a mental furnace of emotional processing, and while you don’t remember what you thought during that time, the fact that you actually did think it lets you approach the world in a calmer, more mature way? Yeah, you got another one of those hours

Gemini

In the olden times, episodes of TV shows were exactly 43 minutes, so as to make room for commercials. Together, they would make up an hour of actual televised time. in these new times, episodes can be any length they want. This episode is one hour and five minutes

Cancer

Cats will gravitate towards you. But only for this one hour. Be sure to appreciate the gesture while it lasts

Leo

Popular belief is that time flies when you are having fun, and that it slows down to an unending crawl when you are bored. This belief is true, but not necessarily justified. All this saving of daylight this way and that causes ripples all along the time-space continuum. Be wary of blissful moments that seem to last forever; you might get stuck like that

Virgo

The clock will finally be correct once more, after having been one hour off for oh so long

Libra

Only you can save the space-time continuum. Synchronize your watches

Scorpio

There are places in this world that are heavy with the passage of time, as if history itself weighs down on them and demands tribute. As they do right now. That extra hour, cough it up

Sagittarius

It is amazing what things are committed to memory and which things are not. You can remember the phone number of a friend from 30 years ago – there were phones back then – but the entirety of last week is but a mere outline, whose transpiring you have to take on absolute faith. This has nothing to do with daylight saving’s, but you won’t remember that

Capricorn

You asked if we are there yet. Yes. Yes we are

Aquarius

If you think about it, life is all a matter of timer management. Every nibble of food you eat starts a timer until you starve, every bit of water you sip, every breath you take, – they all reset the timer. If any of them run out at any point, it’s game over, no insert coin for extra credits. Which is to say, when in doubt, feed your friends

Pisces

A common trope in science fiction is that there are an infinite number of worlds, one for each possible branching path. If you had turned right, that’s one world; if left, another. For each and every path not taken, a world. What they do not tell you is that daylight saving’s was instituted in order to avoid falling into hell world; the hour is nudged to and fro in such a way that the worst possible outcomes are deftly avoided, without overtly telling anyone that’s the point of it. What we are saving is metaphorical, rather than literal, daylight

Address to the first empath international

My fellow empaths,

[Editor’s note: no further words were spoken, and the lecturer simply stood very intently for a while after uttering these words, but the general consensus seems to be that some sort of message was conveyed through an undefined means of intuition, vibes and echolocation]

An intermediary horoscope

Aries

Cats gravitate towards you

Taurus

There will be a preponderance of spiders. You are advised to as much as possible move around them, and to avoid their central hub for the time being if it happened to spawn near your residence

Gemini

This is not a place of honor. Unless you are a bear. The bears have made it their home. They are very proud of it. Steer clear

Cancer

Get on the train. This offer will only be valid once. This is not a drill

Leo

For about five hours, the world will operate according to Shadowrun rules. If you happen to become an elf during this time, know that it is only temporary, and that you therefore should explore every avenue before they evaporate

Virgo

No gods, no master, only genders

Libra

Allow the birds to take you where you need to go. They do not know where it is, but will take you there. Go. Go now

Scorpio

You will host a party. It will be a mild party. Like Prophet of the Mormon Church mild. To your utter surprise, it will not be completely awful

Sagittarius

The snakes have abandoned you. Based on your decisions up to this point, you should either enjoy the reprieve or slither really really fast

Capricorn

You asked if we are there yet. Yes. Yes we are

Aquarius

At journey’s end you shall not be as you are nor may you turn back the way you have come. The times ahead of you will be filled with hardship and many times you will believe yourself far less significant than you truly are. In the days to come, you may stand at a critical juncture between Rythar and Mythar and if that comes to pass you should know this: A time comes for all things to die

Pisces

No one actually said you can’t become a catgirl, you know. It is an option that is available in the game of life. They just hide it behind other, less interesting prospects

One last job

“The time has come. The time for one last job”

“Oooh. Is it a big heist, where we gather everyone who might be remotely useful for an elaborate planning session?”

“No”

“Is it a small heist, where a select few conspire to move mountains through heroic acts of social engineering?”

“No”

“Is it a series of progressively bigger crimes, probing the edges of a newly formed occult society so as to find and kill its dark god?”

“…no?”

“Have you been unequivocally dishonored and have to commit a series of murders in order to reinstate the child empress after her mother had been unceremoniously assassinated?”

“What, no. It’s a box. The same kind of box I’ve delivered for years and years. I don’t know what’s in it or where it goes after I drop it off. It just happens to be the very last one I deliver before I resign. Which is today. After I deliver this box”

“One last Job”

“One last job”

An ode to furniture

The world has become more and more untrustworthy. All that is solid melts into air, every certainty is replaced with doubt, and even the very ground beneath our feet seems to shake with ever increasing regularity. Old truths become new lies, old virtues become new vices, old habits become burdens. Nothing lasts, and there seems to be nothing we can do about it

I am here to tell you that there is in fact something we can do, and that we can do it every day, often without thinking. In fact, the less we think about it, the more effective it is. if you are unconscious, you are doing it right

I am of course talking about our friendly life companions, furniture. The economy waxes and wanes, but a robust wardrobe will gladly contain clothes for every weather or situation. Trust is a fickle feature of our friends, but a good solid chair will keep you upright in every situation. Inspiration never sticks around for long, but a sturdy table will allow you to get the work done no matter what. And, let’s not kid ourselves, no one ever said that one of the most notable characteristic features of love is its propensity to last forever, but a high quality bed will last you through conscious and unconscious nights both

In short, furniture is the safe bet whatever you happen to be up to. Or down for. Whatever your preferred preposition, furniture is your friend, and will remain so for the foreseeable future. It is, in fact, the only thing we can predict with any certainty whatsoever

Triple-A games and beyond

Bringing your A game: efforting to your fullest, being the best you can be, really putting in the work to get it done; the maximum performance of one singular individual

Bringing your AA game: the result of a small friend group or neighborhood community coming together to get something done; the maximum performance of a small collection of individuals

Bringing your AAA game: the result of a big corporation focusing a non-trivial portion of its budget upon getting it done; the maximum performance of a large number of people with access to significant resources

Bringing your AAAA game: the result of an entire continent directing its attention to getting something done, Manhattan project style; the maximum performance of millions of people with access to entire supply chains’ worth of resources

Bringing your AAAAA game: a planet honing in on a task and buckling down to accomplish it at scale; the maximum performance of billions of people with access to planetary scale resources

Bringing your AAAAAA game: an entire solar system devoted towards a singular task, harnessing the remaining heat of the big bang to get it done

Bringing your AAAAAAA game: a local stellar group united by a single vision to perform a (1) thing at scale

Bringing your AAAAAAAA game: a galaxy, sprawling across light year after light year of stars and planets, whose inhabitants are all aligned and pointed towards a unified vision

Bringing your AAAAAAAAA game: a series of galaxies cranking out paperclips for the betterment of the universe, which shall in time become paperclip

Bringing your AAAAAAAAAA game: OUR HANDS HELD THEIR CHAINS. OUR MOUTHS SANG THEIR FATES. OUR MINDS, THEIR GODS

When the mood strikes (vending machine edition)

The mystery vending machine had become even more mysterious. For years, it had served up cans of obscure, foreign or (at times) discontinued brands of soda to those brave enough to insert a coin into it. No one knew where the money went, who refilled the machine or from whence the outlandish soda cans came, but nevertheless it had been a reliable source of unexpected delights for those in the know. The mystery machine had a small cult following who mostly accepted its gifts in grateful equanimity, keeping a lid on the enigma so as to not overburden their unknown benefactors. A few sought to discover who was behind this elusive dispensary of Eleusinian mysteries, but to no avail; not even the most donut-saturated of stakeouts revealed anything. One time, a vending enthusiast received a bog standard can of Coke, to much concern and consternation among those in the know

All this was accepted as the natural order of things until the mystery intensified. One morn, instead of the usual seemingly random can of pop, something completely different emerged from the unknown interior of the machine. It was, suitably enough, a paradox, something both rectangular and circular, a squared circle of confoundment. What the machine ejected on that morn was nothing else but a CD with mood music from 1997. Subsequent attempts at purchasing a refreshing can resulted in even more mood music CDs, featuring an abundance of pan flutes, wind chimes and no fewer than five different whales. At length, the machine ran out of these blasts from a very specific past, and returned to its usual programming of vaguely Slavic brands, Trocaderos and the occasional crystal Pepsi

Explaining the gap in your resume

A tornado of biblical proportions tore through the geographical region wherein I resided and flatlined the local economy, possibly for decades to come. During the initial stages, a ragtag band of survivors and I traversed the surprisingly reforested ruins of the civilization that once thrived there, until we finally found sanctuary hundreds of miles away. After that, we staged several rescue expeditions into the disaster area to save as many as could be saved. It took a while, but we eventually managed to save enough to ensure that there will be some semblance of an organized societal presence in the area during our lifetime

Oh yeah I logged into Final Fantasy 14 and then time had passed, it was weird

My cat took possession of my arm every time I attempted to apply for a job. No matter how much I tried to lure, cajole or otherwise distract my feline companion, it found a way to circle back to the activity of embracing my arm such that any and all computer use became a spectator sport at best. As a result, we spent a good couple of months bonding with each other, and I am pretty sure it is Christian canon that we will go to heaven together when the time comes

So I had just been laid off from my last job – pandemic economic downturn, you know – and decided that the thing to do was to commence a tremendous eat and then sleep as if the concept had just been invented. Thus, I got myself one of those pizzas that is also a kebab that is also a salad that also a serving of French fries. Eating it always puts me to solid sleep, and so it did this time around as well. As I woke up, a stranger asked me for a password (turns out it was “nostalgia”), and then we had to explore something called the Zone where all signs were in Russian, except those small yellow triangular ones with three circle bits on them, which I assume mean the same thing in all languages

Here’s the thing. I’m going to assume that you are relatively averse to lying. Not in a deontological sense of considering it wrong to lie under literally every circumstance, but in the slightly less severe way of having a general intuition that lying is to be avoided if possible. A little white lie every once in a while doesn’t hurt anybody, but it’s not a virtue to go out seeking opportunities to commit such minor falsities. Just be honest whenever possible, and leave it at that. In this case, however, it comes down to circumstances that are so convoluted, bogged down in context and mired in accumulated semiotics that any partial account will by necessity become a falsehood in some way or other. Seeing that we are both committed to telling the truth whenever possible, we are by circumstance both inclined towards just leaving this blank space alone and moving on to more pressing matters

You know how the I Ching has 64 different moods a situation can be in, and how it is important to match your own mood with that of the situation’s? Anyway, turns out I had stumbled into a massive case of mood 12, stagnation, such that there were no leaving or entering. Nothing changed, nothing grew, nothing became either more or less of itself, the passage of time just progressed with everything else at a standstill. Turns out the mood was so bad that my going to work didn’t even register with my employer, so I can’t readily put it on my resume. Which is why there is a gap there

Okay, you’re not gonna believe this. When the pandemic hit, I was in Australia. Yes, I know that it did not strike all at once, and that its arrival was a prolonged fact spanning many months. However, I was in Australia, and just as I was about to go home, they instituted a national quarantine. This meant that no one who wasn’t a citizen could get in, and most people who were citizens couldn’t get in either. It also meant that no one could get out, which meant I was stuck down under. Seeing as my previous employment contract did not include global pandemics as a valid reason not to come to work, that was that

Every time I woke up, it was the same day all over again. No matter what I did, no matter how I tried to vary the time loop, no matter how many times I failed whatever untold objective the gods of time had set for me, I always returned to the same point in space and time. After coming to terms with the situation, I used my newfound powers of consequenceless repetition to learn more about myself and my peers. I also learned five new languages, visited every restaurant in the city, figured out you can get into just about any building if you have a hardhat and a clipboard, and read enough books that I could probably write master’s theses in four different subjects. For some reason, one day, the time loop broke, and it was several months later. Anyway, the restaurant owners somehow wizened up and now I have to pay them all back