Author Archives: -

How to do time in an untimely fashion

Trying to capture travelers from the future is an inherently disadvantageous situation. Being from the future, your prospective captives already know the lay of the land and the overall historical forces at work at the present moment; the great uncertainty of what is to come has become the epitome of certainty. While the particulars might elude their grasp, the general overall picture will serve them well enough for the purposes of escaping

However. This foreknowledge can be used against them, especially in cases when they try to blend in. Knowing the future means knowing things that are unthought of and possibly even unthinkable in the present, often to such a degree that the unthinkability has faded into the mists of time. Thus, the way to trap them is to make impossible statements invoking every flight of fancy imaginable, and see how ruffled they become. Those unaccustomed to telecommunication, for instance, will balk at the merest suggestion of it, while those whose lives are permeated by it at every turn will barely blink at the notion

And that is their undoing. That is how we shall get the bastards

On the playing of video games

Of the two words involved in the concept of “video games”, “games” have traditionally received a substantially larger attention than “video”. See, for instance Atkins and Krzywinska (2007), Flanagan (2009), Isbister (2016), Juul (2005), Huizinga (1949), de Koven (2013), Pearce (2009), Schmidt (2018), Taylor (2006) or Wittgenstein (1953). However, the “video” component also requires its theoretical due

A video is a device for encoding and decoding video tapes

 

 

References

Atkins, B., & Krzywinska, T. (ed) (2007). Videogame, player, text. Manchester: Manchester University Press.

Flanagan, M. (2009). Critical play: radical game design. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.

Isbister, K. (2016). How games move us: emotion by design. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.

Juul, J. (2005). Half-real: video games between real rules and fictional worlds. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.

Huizinga, J. (1949). Homo ludens: a study of the play-element in culture. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.

de Koven, B. (2013). The well-played games: a player’s philosophy. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press

Pearce, C. (2009). Communities of play: emergent cultures in multiplayer games and virtual worlds. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.

Schmidt, M. (2018). Gotta go fast: measured rationalities and rational measurements in the context of speedrunning. Master Thesis: Örebro University.

Taylor, T. L. (2006). Play between worlds: exploring online game culture. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.

Wittgenstein, L. (1953). Philosophical investigations. Oxford: Blackwell.

Exodus from the blockchain

Economists were baffled. This was a commodity with no possibility of a market whatsoever. It was simply impossible for a market to exist – at any point in time, simply using it would confer greater value than exchanging it ever would. Trading it would always be a net loss, regardless of time, place or circumstance

This is not to say it was worthless. Far from it. It’s just that its utility is of such magnitude that no monetary boon, favor or extracurricular recompense could compete with simply putting it to immediate use. There were simply never any reason to exchange it, ever, much to the chagrin of those ideologically committed to letting market forces dictate distribution. One can not force a market into being when there are no conditions for it

If only, a noted ideologue lamented, there were some theory that could explain this strange anomaly, in such a way that we could understand its implications

Time pockets

It began as a simple exercise in efficiency. Providing historically active clothing for time travelers turned out to be a costly enterprise, especially given the many varieties of fabrics used over the ages, all treated in different ways so as to suit geography, fashion and socioeconomic status. When seen in the long view, it all seemed a bit much. Thus, the time travel consortiums gradually begun setting up small historically appropriate fashion business all across their respective slices of the time-space continuum. The leading thought being that if you can’t beat them, joining them for a marginal profit is preferable

Naturally, things did not go according to plan. Instead of being marginal footnotes in the history of fashion, obscure yet recognizable garments appropriate across most relevant ages, the enterprises turned out to be economic juggernauts utterly dominating their respective settings. In other circumstances, this might have been a win; in the context of stealthily studying the natural evolution of societies undisturbed over long periods of time, it was anything but

Fortunately, given time travel, it was only a matter of going back to the first time this idea was broached and discourage it. As the saying goes: better luck next timeline

A horoscope of authorial demise

Aries

As you prick yourself with your golden quill pen, you ponder how ironic a cause of death this would be. This was indeed an ironic last thought to have

Taurus

No one will remember your works of fiction. Your fictional works, inserted into bibliographies of grand narratives, will however live on forever

Gemini

As a prolific author penning many avant-garde works, you only ever met with fledgling success at best. That one throwaway idyllic piece about the virtues of simple forest life, however, became an integral part of the national mythos for generations to come

Cancer

You fell asleep under a pile of cats and was never seen again. We envy you

Leo

Your books spawned a bustling empire of fan fiction; however, for reasons unknown, you yourself have been comprehensively banned from participating in said empire

Virgo

At one time during a subway commute, you thought of a great idea for a book. Then someone sneezed, and you forgot all about it

Libra

During generations to come, they might acknowledge wiki entries as authorial works with merit beyond zero-degree writing

Scorpio

No one could muster the energy to cite your works properly, and your ideas were retroactively attributed to Foucault

Sagittarius

You have one new notification

Capricorn

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. It is a truth universally acknowledged. But I digress

Aquarius

As the unimaginable horror from Beyond crept ever closer, an inexplicable impulse made you describe the process in extensive detail. It crept closer, closer. Now, it’s grabbing your leg, dragging you towards its gaping maw; as your extremities have all been devoured, you scribble one last final warni

Pisces

In English writing we seldom speak of tradition, though we occasionally apply its name in deploring its absence. We cannot refer to “the tradition” or to “a tradition”; at most, we employ the adjective in saying that the poetry of So-and-so is “traditional” or even “too traditional.” Seldom, perhaps, does the word appear except in a phrase of censure. If otherwise, it is vaguely approbative, with the implication, as to the work approved, of some pleasing archaeological reconstruction. You can hardly make the word agreeable to English ears without this comfortable reference to the reassuring science of archaeology

A list of free podcast names

Symptoms of the algorithm

Fan art of the simulacrum

They said there would be cats

The blank spaces are talking to me

I preordered this podcast and all I got was an RSS feed

The sound of rain falling on rooftops during a non-stressful Sunday morning

When in doubt, ask Kate

This, my friends, is slightly too many spiders

Listeners are discursive anomalies

I don’t know who needs to hear this, but

We like unfinished adventure games, and play them for the lore

After reading the book, we are both more and less impressed than we thought we would be

The good news is, but the bad news has yet to come

Whatever it is, it bears repeating

Support us on patreon and we will get a better microphone

Just you wait until the next episode

For every bird, there is an equal and opposite bird

Your listicle is wrong, and here’s why

History ended in 1878, and we are living in the postapocalypse

I can’t believe the university let us use their studio

Snakes on an icosahedron

The moon landing wasn’t fake, but I question its ethical foundation

How to escape the podcast-industrial complex

Everything you ever wanted to know about the Civilization 4 mod Fall from Heaven 2, but never knew who to ask

The vague specificities of urban everyday life

More longer friend, did you ever actually see that sky?

The sum of all nostalgia

Out of the blue, she was struck by a sense of nostalgia. Emboldened, she threw caution and deadlines to the wind and installed it, the game that had occupied her so many hours back in the days. She double-clicked the install icon, and

It did not start

Remembering this part, she knew she had a CD with fixes to this very problem on it somewhere. The hunt was on. When she found it, she realized that her new computer did not have a CD player. No biggie, she had a spare one of those somewhere too. Which should have just worked after being plugged in, but didn’t, so it had to be troubleshot (for both cables and drivers) for a couple of hours before finally spinning up. But she did, and it did. Thus, finally having installed the game, she double-clicked the desktop icon, and

It did not start

Right, patches. There was one that made the whole thing work post-DOS. After an amazing number of dead links in mausoleums thinly disguised as forums, she finally found the necessary files and applied the update. Thus, finally, several hours in and only just now able to start the game, did she realize

This was the true nostalgic experience all along

Character classes from an unfinished adventure game

Store scout

Knows exactly what everything costs everywhere. Can make a shoestring budget last for days

Unfortunate telepath

Can read people’s minds, but does not care enough about others to do so

Porn connoisseur

Can instantly become friends with just about anyone. The details of the bonding process remain unknown

Fandom lore explicator

Can escalate any conflict to levels previously unthought of

Unwitting sagaciousness

Can give sage advice, but only on topics of which they know nothing; +3 lore

60s kid

Never lost touch with the far out realms of human experience; receives massive penalties to social interaction skill checks

90s kid

Remembers everything: -5 dexterity

Adventure game protagonist

Is constantly baffled by other people getting stuck in seemingly random situations

Visual novel protagonist

Seems to know everything about everyone despite having just met

Storekeeper

Can transform any item into local currency; is not allowed to run any kind of business whatsoever

Horoscope crafter

Can create a horoscope appropriate to any situation; refuses to get a driver’s license for ideological reasons

World’s fair expert

Has a nigh-encyclopedic knowledge about everything relating to world’s fairs; gains -10 morale during the Olympic Games

Store clerk

Will discuss the logistics of Death Star construction and maintenance at all possible moments

Youtube celebrity

Has an audience in the millions; not a single one of them lives nearby

Local single

Can instantly teleport to any area; +15 to locate people skill

Single mom

+500 endurance

App developer

The UI is turned off during gameplay; cannot save

Actually an alien

Clueless about pop cultural references; +30 morale in Canadian forests

Soccer fan

Enters states of hyper rage or euphoria seemingly at random

Bitcoin enthusiast

Cannot buy or sell items; -20 to barter

Delinquent youth

Have read every book in the library; can talk circles around adults, landing them into all sorts of trouble

Poet

Secretly never learnt the difference between blank verse and free verse; +5 lore

Librarian

In possession of unimaginable superpowers; have for their own inscrutable reasons chosen to use these to serve the public

Spawn from Beyond

Attends local high school; +25 relationship points with goths

Hermione

Protagonist from a famous series of fantasy novels; only available as an Easter egg

Hypermasculine sidekick

No one must know your secret shame

Wearer of white, pink and blue

The only character that can unlock the true ending

Cat whisperer

Cats gravitate towards you

The last word on virtue signalling

I am here to tell you that I am not qualified for this position. I have no relevant experience, and no qualifications worth mentioning. I would bring nothing new to the table, my contribution would be substandard in every way, and in every aspect finding someone better than me would be as easy as pointing in a random direction. I do not justify this in any way – indeed, I have no redeeming qualities whatsoever. Whoever you pick instead of me will be the correct, better choice. Thank you all for indulging my unwarranted presence

Pater noster

Imagine, if you will, a person who is thrown into a situation without necessarily knowing what it will demand of him. However voluntarily he might have entered into it, the situation will find ways and opportunities to surprise and overwhelm him in ways unsuspected until it happens. Being in the situation, the only option available to him is to deal with it best he can; whatever his skill or proficiency at the time, that will be the extent to which he is successful at coping. This may lead to surprising discoveries of hidden talents, or the slightly more expected realization that the proficiency simply is not there. However, he must go on, come what may; exit is not an option. Thus, he persists, and cracks one dad joke after another. It is, by definition, the best he can do. In this essay, I will