Sunday, June 30, 2013

(The movie) Percy Jackson and the Olympians annoys me

So I'm kind of sort of not really but similar enough to make describing it this way more useful than not making an inventory of my DVDs, seeing what still works, what doesn't, what has enough free space on it to justify leaving unfinalized even though the DVD machine is acting up, that sort of stuff.

So I came across Percy Jackson and The Olympians again.  Now it is by now probably common knowledge how I would do things, rather than having the main character be one of the big three (Zeus, Poseidon, Hades) I'd pick a lesser god (I'm thinking Ersa, goddess of Dew.)  Who you are stories are generally better than what you are stories and Percy Jackson is a "what you are" story by virtue of him being the biggest thing in demigods ever.

Part of that comes from him being a child of the ruling class of the ruling class.  He's not just the child of a god, which is necessary for the story to take place, he's the child of one of the big three gods.  He is therefore the coolest and most powerful halfblood and has everything handed to him on a silver platter (witness his fight with the daughter of Athena.)

But another part of that comes from him being the most loved god-child ever in the history of ever.

Seven months into his life Zeus felt like Poseidon was too close to his mortal son and created a law that no god may have any contact with any of their mortal children because no god had ever so loved a mortal child before.  In three to four thousand years or so.


I believe that. He's not just a special snowflake, he's THE special snowflake.  Every other half god can fuck off because none of them were loved as much in their entire lives by their divine parent as Poseidon loved young Percy in the first seven months.  He's so special of a snowflake that the extra special snowflake club is beneath him.

I call bullshit.

Also, is the sidekick whose mother was Athena* older or younger than Percy?  If she's older then sorry sidekick, your mother didn't love you as much as Percy's father loved him.  If younger than we can't say how much her mother loved her with certainty but we can say that the reason she's grown up without a mother is because Poseidon loved Percy on a scale that so surpassed all previous love that Zeus made it illegal.

My version of the story, I've said before, would go like this:

Main character is the child of Ersa and has the power to make water form on surfaces (child of dew, can fog windows like you wouldn't believe.  On the other hand filling a room with water by making the walls drip takes forever), basically comes to terms with the idea that in a fair fight he'd lose and takes the Jack Sparrow way out ("Well then that's not much incentive to fight fair, now is it?") rather than instantly being empowered the way Percy was.

I wouldn't have the helpful person turn out to be evil because I'm sick of the helpful person either being martyred or being evil.  The helpful person would just be helpful, and not killed off.

I wouldn't have the main character and mortal parent be stuck with an abusive parental figure/partner to hide main character.  I'd have the main character's gender switched so while everyone was looking for the daughter of dew they were overlooking this random male person. As mentioned somewhere or other I've been in a transfemale main character rut for a while and expect to remain in one until I actually finish a story.

Speaking of which when sorting through DVDs I noticed/remembered/was reminded by noticing that I recorded what looks to be a painfully bad movie about a mermaid, I assume for research purposes. Whether I'll actually be able to force myself to watch it to see an example of contemporary mermaid fiction remains to be seen, but since the DVD was already paid for recording it was free and since it was playing when I wasn't using the TV recording it took no time.  Even assuming the local library has a book, on the shelves, it takes more effort to get it.

Anyway, that would allow for a transformation as well as an "I am Maximus Decimus Merdius..." speech at the climax in which the character starting with, "Daughter of Ersa," traced her maternal line back to Nyx (if you can make it there, that's where you should go, Zeus is afraid of her) which is her come back, following Athena-child's suggestion to hit the books for lineage (almost everything in the universe descends from the same six entities, most things from several or all of them), to taunting based on things like, "I'm a child of [bigshot] you're the child of dew."

A lot of things would involve exploiting the character's water power (how many ways are there to make use of the ability to create water ex nihilo on a surface?) or hiding behind Athena-child when fighting was going on.  Trying to help, but very much hiding behind.

Part of the significance of water vs. lightning based powers, under explored in the movie, is that when you're wet it's not a good idea to bring large quantities of electricity into the mix.

The Lotus Eaters ate the lotus.  That's where their fucking name comes from.  They weren't a conspiracy intended to keep everyone else under the spell of the lotus, they were a commune that ever so innocently welcomed strangers by passing the bowl.  I don't know if I'd include them but if I did I sure as hell wouldn't have them be the opposite of what they were in the actual myth.

Stuff like that.

I'd probably have gods have varying degrees of involvement in their children's lives but intentionally limited because the idea would be for the children to be around their own kind (mortals) and also to get a good feel for what the mundane world was like because at some point they'd have to decide between the two worlds. Not necessarily forever and for all time, but if you live and work in the hidden demigod filled world you're giving up the chance to live and work in the normal world and vice versa.

Um... stuff.


* Which how does that work? Athena doesn't have sex and gods who want kids without sex don't need to go to sperm banks because a god can just create children parthenogenicaly meaning that any child of hers should be as far from a halfblood as possible.

To a certain extent we're all halfbloods.  Roughly half of our makeup from sperm provider, roughly half from egg provider.**  A child of Athena wouldn't be.  A child of Athena would have only one parent and thus be a pureblood.  Pure divine blood.

**  If that seems impersonal it's because I recognize that your mother might not be the egg provider, your father might not be the sperm provider.  In the Avengers Thor had a good, short, speech on what it means to be brothers when Loki assumed that Thor still thinking of him as a brother was because he didn't know Loki was adopted.  Of course then, by following the rule of funny, Thor goes back on it when confronted with the fact that the person he just said was his brother has killed, if memory serves, 80 people in the last few days.  In response to that Thor hides behind, "Well he's adopted."

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Question about unfinalized DVDs

My DVD player has just declared, I'm pretty sure, that it doesn't want to be a DVD player anymore.  The only way to get the DVD holding part in a non ejected state is to cut the power and then force it shut.  As soon as it turns on it will again eject and act confused about why it's having trouble reading anything.

This probably means that I'll need a new one which I can't afford so all the DVDs in my house just turned into Frisbees well, not quite, I do have a handful of computers that don't work.  Like this one currently sitting in god knows how many pieces while I sit in a very strange and uncomfortable position in order to use a leg rest as a table to type on it while I look into the miscolored screen.  So some of them should in theory work on the broken computers.  Sort of.  After a fashion.

None of that is my primary concern.  I've never been a stickler for high quality so I can fit 3 movies on a DVD if they're two hours.  For what it's worth, I'm historically normal for valuing length over quality.  If people had preferred quality Betamax would have beaten VHS.

So you can't just tape and record and then finalize because there's two more movies left to go on the DVD, and when there's one movie left it isn't always the case you can get that next recording because the time it takes to switch from one DVD to another can be too long for the space between movies so you might have no choice but to record two in a row, and if you're in a hurry then it gets even more problematic because you might not have time to grab the DVD with empty time on it when a completely blank one is more easy to locate and closer at hand.

All of which is to say, recording onto DVDs tends to leave me with a pile of unfinalized DVDs that are waiting to be finalized in a finalizing session.

Finalizing is important because DVD player/recorder making companies are evil.  They could have gotten together and made a standard in process format so that anything could read a DVD recorded by one of their machines whether it is finalized or not.  Instead they collectively decided that no player should be able to read a DVD it has not personally recorded unless said disk is finalized.

Which means that even if I get a new DVD player, or if I get my laptops to start working reliably, a lot of my DVDs are still going to be Frisbees unless I:
1 Find a way to finalize DVDs in general.  I seem to recall that some not-free I-can't-afford-it burning software had done that so it is, in theory at least, possible.
2 Buy the exact same type of DVD player/recorder that I have right now and finalize every unfinalized disk using that.  This is again in the realm of: I can't afford it.

Anyone know of a way to finalize DVDs so you can access their content when you don't have access to a working version of the machine that recorded them?

Pretty sure that I asked this before.

Friday, June 28, 2013

MZAT: What to leave in, what to leave out

So, as Seger said, there's so much more, to think about, deadlines and committments, of course, but more importantly: what to leave in, what to leave out.

Another concern that crosses my mind on occasion is something that was said by the biggest zombie fan I know (or rather knew --don't worry; she's still alive) when she announced that she'd moved passed zombies. She realized that while she liked all the staples of zombie fiction there was one totally unnecessary part which could be left out changing little: the zombies.

Those two thoughts collide when considering questions like this:

My teleportation flute can't actually be used as a flute.  It has all of the physical attributes necessary, but on account of it being a magic teleportation device any attempt to play it would result in repeated teleporting to the same place over and over again in a brain frying (not literally, go with me here) exercise in futility.

Bella and I both saw this as a sort of a flaw, it is a flute after all. Flutes should be played.  Instead it was like the iPhone, a "phone" that cannot be used as a phone.  And one that, worse still, forces you to choose between Verizon ("Can you here me now?" "I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT YOU'RE SAYING BECAUSE I CAN'T HEAR ANYTHING!  GET A DIFFERENT NETWORK!" "Well I didn't hear them say, 'No,' so Good,") and AT&T (Motto: "Mildly less shitty than Verizon.")

So Bella looked to get a flute that would work but because the hole configuration is slightly odd (most twelve holers have hole 12 in a different spot) she ended up buying on that rather than, say, key.  This left her with a nice small ceramic ray-gun shaped flute (the shape does matter) with a glossy black glaze and a range keyed to soprano G.  The range was one octave with two notes in the major key on either side.  Way too high.

When you opened all the holes it felt like you were trying to break a pane of glass.  The note would ring out clear and true, but also ear splitting.

But for it's problems it was still a decent flute, and could play the Star Wars theme nicely, and you don't just get rid of a good flute.

So Bella gave it to me.  Because why not.

That's boring, right?  Makes you think, "Why the hell would that be included?" and seems like something to leave out.

Except it has to be left in if I want to talk about this next part that happened well afterward.

Everything had been moving at a frenetic heart pounding pace and then everything stopped. Bella had been out running me so I missed the initial set up and just saw the results, five people guns drawn on Bella.  Pistols all.

A short listen and I worked out which was the leader, asked myself, "What would Edith Do?" took out the flute Bella had given me, and, holding it as if it were a gun, approached from behind.


Tap to the back of the leader's head to let him know I was there then pulled back far enough he wouldn't know where the flute was and thus couldn't have the belief he'd get it away from me.

"You're using guns?  With barrels?  That fire bullets?" I asked with laughter in my voice that I had to force myself to not make it sound forced.  Instead I did my best to make the whole thing sound absurd.

"When I was growing up --which we won't say when it was because I'm told it's rude to talk about people's ages and if I say mine you might feel pressured to say yours, gun pointed to the back of your head might make that pressure feel higher, and we don't want that-- the year two thousand was the future.

"Not just the future, or the Future with a capital F, but the entirely capitalized FUTURE! with an exclamation point.  Jet packs and aliens and space ships and stuff.  This is 52 years after that.  For fuck's sake the space age was the 1960s and they started more than 90 years ago.

"So here we are in the year THE FUTURE! plus 52 and you're using a weapon that requires a set of mechanical linkages to bring a hammer down on a primer to create a small explosion in hopes of creating a somewhat larger small explosion," by this time I could see that Bella had gotten her hand on a weapon, her actions unnoticed since the attention had shifted to me, "in order to propel a rock down a tube that has a spiral pattern cut into it to give the rock a nice pretty spin.

"You are hilarious.

"Your problem, you'll come to learn, is that you brought your little pea shooter to a raygun fight."  Short pause.  For effect.  "Hell, my weapon doesn't even have a trigger, it fires based on thought.  It's a good deal faster, but it is prone to going off based on imagination (cutting edge technology always has glitches) so you'd better keep me thinking happy thoughts."

Once we had the group disarmed and secured with zip ties, they truly have no end to their uses, Bella commented on the bluff and I said that you work with what you have even, I played the Star Wars theme, if what you have was a flute.  Only then did the group realize I'd held them at flute point.


That event had no zombies in it.  Just the breakdown in civilization that one comes to expect with zombies leading to gangs feeling free to operated in broad daylight in what should be safe areas because the police are otherwise occupied, dead, or zombified.

Does it get left in, left out?  If it does get left in I have to describe where the flute came from otherwise you're left scratching your head on that point.

I mean I can't tell everything that happened while we in the future working against the zombie hordes, so what to leave in, what to leave out?


Thursday, June 27, 2013

One of my computer games has become self aware.

It's an older computer, meaning it's had more time to think than most computers in use today.  The game has had a while to think as well.

A character says, "You will die by my hand," I think it unlikely.  I'm not cheating per se, but I've used an exploit that gives me three saber blades (double bladed saber staff in my right hand, single saber in my left; light sais have yet to show up) which gives me a hell of an advantage when it comes to blocking and parrying power.  In addition I can win in a fair fight AND I'm not planning to fight fair. I'm planning to use the force to throw him in to an in-use smelting pot and walking away while he melts.  It's his own fault for choosing this as an attack point.  Almost as bad as his allies who chose to attack on the catwalks... over lava.

Besides which, even if he did somehow gain the upper hand and win, I saved about two seconds ago.  I wouldn't die, I 'd be sent two seconds back in time.  Time travel is a power only player characters get.  NPCs may get strange and godlike powers* but savegame time travel is not one of them.

His life expectancy was measured in seconds.  Two if all went to plan, maybe six to eight if he won this round and I had to reload.

"You will die by my hand"?  Not a chance, to pull that off you'd need to reach out beyond the bounds of the game and...

He made an attack with his lightsaber.  Thrust or slash I don't even remember.  Then the computer was off.  No blue screen of death, no warning.  Nothing.  He attacked and the computer died.  No doubt it can be turned back on, but for the moment: well played video game character.  Well played.


* An Excerpt from the Resident Evil Plot FAQ, no longer available in its original location and so pulled off of gameFAQs, as located via google:
Q. How did [character] in [game] get from [place] to [place]?
There's no way for him to leave/get there! How did [character]
in [game] survive in [dangerous area] with only a [weak weapon]?
A. Well, Timmy, it's time for us to have a little talk.
You see, in the fun-packed thrill ride that *is* Resident
Evil, there are two kinds of people. We control one kind
of person over the course of a game, such as Jill, Chris,
Claire, or Leon. They are bound, largely, by human limits.
If they get hurt badly enough, they die; if they encounter
a locked door, they'll need to find a way to open it; if
they go up against a Tyrant with a 9mm handgun, they are
screwed beyond the telling of it. Aside from a few obvious
differences, such as Jill's ability to catch an anti-tank
rocket to the face without disfigurement, Claire's black
belt in Gun-Kata, how Chris can take a good four shots
to the face from Wesker and yet still retain enough basic
motor skills to fly an airplane, and their tendency to
declare a door permanently closed and thus unimportant
if there's a rock on the floor in front of it, they are
much like you or I. 
Then... then, Timmy, there are the *other* people. 
These are the NPCs. The NPCs are a strange and wondrous
lot, possessed of powers beyond mortal ken. These are your
"helpers," and note the sarcastic quotes; these are the
other, uninfected humans who assist and/or hinder you over
the course of the game. I speak of Sherry, Ada, Carlos,
Rebecca (the REv.2 version), Nicholai, Steve, Wesker, Barry,
Annette, Alfred, and the rest of their fell breed.
An NPC can move around behind the scenes of reality, to
reach inaccessible areas or sweep ghostlike through roomsful
of bloodthirsty Hunters. Unless they briefly *lose* these
mighty powers--they pass into the realm of being controlled
by the player--an NPC can do whatever the hell he or she
wants, even if that means already being in a room that
took you an hour to open, surviving the kind of punishment
that would kill your character twice, leaving an area without
using the only exit, or getting through a difficult part of
the game without a scratch while armed with an empty pistol
and a cocktail straw. 
Their powers are mighty, but they're limited by the plot.
NPCs may be mortally wounded by a single attack, or lie
in a bleeding heap despite being surrounded on all sides
by powerful medical supplies. It's unfortunate, but that's
the price they pay. 
Whenever an NPC does something that simply does not make
any sense, these powers are to blame. How did Enrico get
from Birkin's lab to the Spencer mansion without using
the training facility elevator? His NPC powers. How did
Ada escape from the treatment facility? Her NPC powers.
How did Carlos get back into the chapel from the courtyard?
NPC powers. How come Steve can fire the Lugers that fast
in the Disc One Bandersnatch-killing cutscene, but his
rate of fire slows down considerably in the Battle Game?
The loss of his NPC powers. It all makes sense.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Looper diagrams and a more intellegent way to end it. (Spoilers again.)

Yeah, another Looper post.  Last one here.

First off, even though it's going to be the second part of the post, more intelligent doesn't necessarily mean more realistic.  The main character was a drug addict in withdrawal who was never very forward thinking to begin with and had a habit of seeing murder as a solution.  Thus what happened in the movie was not at all unrealistic even if it did happen to be one of the stupider ways to accomplish the job.

Ok, so the diagrams.  Firedrake pointed to three.  The second one pointed out stands out as as the best because it accurately shows what is described by the movie including the incredible uncertainty in what the hell happened in anything not directly shown on screen:


Notice how Sara an Cyd don't even appear in the first part, that's because we have no idea what happens with them.  Notice the question marks everywhere?  Uncertainty portrayed.

Using that image as a base we can separate things out into both what did happen, and what young Joe thought would happen if he didn't kill himself.

What did happen:

This is what, in the last post, I called timelines two and three.  I didn't start with them because of old Joe coming back bound and such and appearing in what the chart calls the original path.  Based on the timing apparently being the same we can guess that the rainmaker was responsible for that, but based on Joe being successfully captured we know it couldn't have been like timeline 2/original path.

In Timeline 3/Altered path Young Joe kills himself (thus erasing old Joe) because he believes that if he doesn't this will happen:

A simple alternation of timelines.  He will grow up to be the Old Joe who didn't put up a fight, that will lead to the Old Joe who did, which will put everything right back to where it started. A never ending stable timeline alternation.

In both cases though, note that in the first listed timeline "The Rainmaker" comes with a question mark. If the movie's young joe was right then it was seeing his mother killed by a looper and being left to face the world alone that led to Cyd (is that spelling right?  The Syds I know are all with "S"s not soft "C"s) to become the Rainmaker.

That doesn't happen in the version where Old Joe dies right away, so what led to him becoming the Rainmaker there?  Does some other looper fuck things up for him?  Does he kill his mother in one of his rage filled, "You're a liar! (Even though what you're saying is objectively true and I know it,)" tantrums that happened to be when she was telling him about loopers?  What?

The rainmaker had to be there because he's the reason the loopers were being killed off and thus the reason old Joe was taken.  The entire plot depends on the Rainmaker being there and having a grudge against loopers, but the only explanation we're given for how that came to be is from the other timeline.

This diagram doesn't attempt to disguise the fact that there's a hugely important part of the plot we simply do not know about.  The wired diagram is honest in its ignorance.

The diagram is more screwy, and introduces best guesses while presenting them as fact:

First the way it presents time travel is just odd.  Old Joe is the one who travels through time but young joe is the one who switches timelines? What the fuckity fuck?

It would make more sense if presented this way:

(I forgot to make note in the image that this is a version I have modified.)

But either way there's the unexplained death of Sara.  The first time Joe was sent back he died immediately.  He had no part in the death of Sara, the second time he tried and failed because young Joe stopped him via suicide.

This assumes that the death of Sara is the contributing factor to turning Cid/Cyd/[someone check the spelling on this kid] into the evil master of puns. (Rainmaker is spelled "rain"maker but, as one person puts it, it's "reign" as in "reign of terror."  If nothing else is to be learned from James Bond it's that secret agents and mass murders alike like their puns.)  Probably not a bad assumption, but what it leaves out is how the hell Sara ended up dying.  This diagram makes it seems like Sarah will just magically drop dead when Old Joe would have tried to kill her even if Old Joe is dead at the time.  Not a convincing theory.

The final diagram shared was the one from tumblr, tumblrs being what people who can't spell think are inside of locks.  I actually know of some very smart people on tumblr but the name is just begging to be made fun of.  Then again so is "blog" but I'm already on record as saying that is a bad name.  (Out of all the possible truncations of "weblog" some jerk chose that?)

Anyway, the urge to make fun of tumblr's name is probably helped along by the craptastic quality of the chart:

I defy you to come up with any (non-troll) explanation for the above that includes the person who made it actually watching the movie.  I understand that people who haven't seen movies can often have valuable insights to add to discussion of the movie, but this is one case where the person should have either watched the damn thing or shut up because the above is somewhere between pathetic and insulting.

It is a mess of the sort that requires a god on a crane to solve and anyone familiar with Euripides knows that sometimes the god on the crane just says, "Fuck you, I'm laying waste to your town.  And, for the record, you never stood a chance.  Zeus signed off on this ages ago."

Ok, so those are the three diagrams, moving on.


Injuries to the present version of a person will instantly manifest as 30 years past injuries to the version from the future.  Young Joe uses this knowledge to stop Old Joe from committing a murder by killing himself thus erasing Old Joe from existing entirely.  Suicide as the ultimate weapon.

If I were in that situation and pressed for time and thus not thinking straight I think I'd shoot off the hand with which older version of me was holding the gun.

If I had time to think there seem two options. One is that simply shouting out that I'd kill myself should have the desired effect because the person Old Joe was going to kill was someone who was in the way, not the person he wanted to kill.  Young Joe threatening suicide should Old Joe shoot Sarah should, in theory, stop Old Joe dead in his tracks not because he fears death but because it will make it impossible for him to kill the rainmaker, his intended target.

On the other hand maybe Old Joe can't be reached with just words, in which case violence to one's self does seem necessary but losing a life, or even a hand, is unnecessary.  Losing a trigger finger would be enough.

The time it would take Old Joe to readjust to shoot with a different finger would be more than enough time to try to reason with him, threaten greater damage, and prepare to make him incapable of shooting the gun.  Note that that is "and" not "or".  There should be time for all three.  Even if old Joe is completely non-responsive to reason and threats there should be time to set up plan B: lose a hand. This would make Old Joe drop the gun allowing for even more time. Time to try more reason, time to try more threats, time to try to kill him, time for whatever proved necessary.

And Young Joe does have something to try to bargain with: he thinks he know what created the rainmaker, he thinks it was this moment right here, meaning that he can offer Old Joe the solution to all his problems, and a solution that his wife would have approved of.

Maybe in the end it would have required suicide regardless.  But it didn't require it as a first attempt.

He was right that given the range and whatnot his only option (other than trying to talk, which would probably only work if the threatened only other option) would be to inflict an injury on himself that would prevent Old Joe from firing the gun.  The thing is, there are plenty of injuries lesser than death that would have done it. Suicide as a solution to stopping your future self from pulling a trigger seems going way overboard.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Looper: Spoilers

So, I don't like leaving the blog to go dark but due to computer problems it's kind of hard to do much of anything.  Thinking requires a degree of comfort.  (There's a reason formal mathematics arose from the privileged class of a slave holding culture, before that no one really had the comfort needed to do that kind of thinking and people relied on memorization and approximation instead.)  The temperature alone makes comfort difficult but to be close enough to see what I'm typing I have to a) be disconnected from the internet (the cord isn't long enough to reach) and b) be in a position that would be uncomfortable even if temperatures were reasonable.

So what can I make a post about when I can't really put due thought in?


The existence of loopers makes it impossible to talk about the original timeline, further something about loopers makes changes in the timeline sluggish or worse.  The first example we see of a loop on the run brutally shows us how quickly changes in the present effect people from the future.  But his memories don't seem to have time to be effected and neither does his location.  The damage they did to him would have made it impossible for him to get to where he was when the damage came through yet he was still there.

Time changes, and doesn't change, as the plot demands.  Wibbly wobbly.

The more notable example of time not changing is that brutally killed guy still has all of his fingers in Bruce Willis' memories from 30 years gone.

The most notable example of time changing is the movie itself.  In the first go round Willis was bound gagged and shrouded as he was supposed to be.  But the mere fact of getting that payoff and living life from that point somehow changed things.  Where before he went quiet into that night now he'd met his wife, seen her killed, kicked ass, taken names, and willingly gone back to change things so they didn't happen.  Which meant that in the present things went differently.

So lets work out what we can:
First timeline: We know the least about this timeline.  What we know is that it does not involve the main character killing his future self as he was supposed to and then living his life as naturally he would because that's timeline two which has a very different outcome.  In truth we only know two things:

  1. The rainmaker comes to power and orders all loopers killed.
  2. The main character is captured, bound, and sent back without incident.

Second timeline: The captured bound and sent back version of the main character appears here.  He is killed.  The present main character collects and lives out his life as naturally he would.  This results in him meeting his wife.  The rainmaker comes to power an orders all loopers be killed.  A fellow looper finds out when and where the rainmaker was born.  Shares the information with the main character.  The main character is captured, his wife killed in the process.  He is able to defeat his captors but goes back anyway, hoping to save his wife by erasing the rainmaker from existance.

Third timeline: The movie itself.  Main character from timeline 2 appears and, on account of not being bound, is able to escape.  The present version of the main character wants to kill the timeline 2 version because he thinks he'll get his life back.  He is able to steal information from timeline 2 version and make it to the rainmaker's house first.  The rainmaker, presently a child, is an utter asshole to his mother who he refuses to recognize as such.  (He was raised by his aunt for a couple of years, until he killed her accidentally, and his dead aunt is the only person he'll call mother.)  It is completely believable that he'll grow up to be a mass murderer.

As a result of the time travel and telekinetics and such he finally recognizes his mother as his mother.  She's willing to die to protect him, timeline two main character is willing to kill to get to the rainmaker believing it will save his wife.

Timeline 3 main character has, or thinks he has, a revelation.  This is timeline 1.  Timeline 2 main character will kill the rainmaker's mother right in front of him moments after the rainmaker finally admitted she was his mother.  This is why the rainmaker will go evil (he was on his way already) this is why the rainmaker will have a grudge against loopers and order they all be killed.  This is why everything that happens happens.

He shoots himself, thus causing the future version  of him from timeline 2 to cease to exist before he can kill the mother.  The rainmaker, now capable of loving his mother, is raised by a loving mother presumably to never become a mass murdering crime lord.

The fact that his family was now rich (all of dead main character's savings, in silver and gold, was left for them) probably helped with that.  No longer is he a member of the under privileged class that sees crime as the only means of advancement.


  1. What made the rainmaker hate loopers in timeline two?  It couldn't have been Bruce Willis, he died without incident.
  2. Was the main character right that if not for his suicide timeline 3 would have been the same as timeline 1 thus leading to timeline two and then back to itself in an unending loop?
  3. The mother knew about loopers, how?  Could it be something that relates to how she knows that that made the rainmaker hate loopers in timeline 2.
  4. Without the rainmaker taking over everything by force, what happens to the loopers?  All of the closed loops we see are a result of the grudge that the rainmaker no longer has.
  5. Will the rainmaker take over everything by force anyway?  You don't need to be evil to think that organized crime shouldn't be in charge. (and doing it under the guise of being a criminal isn't unheard of (It's the Green Hornet!))
  6. What becomes of timeline 4?  In thirty years time the main character won't exist to be sent back.  The very fact that the movie exists means that changes in the manner in which one is sent back do change the timeline, that's a fairly major change.  In fact, let's break out of this whole numbered list thing.
Our little mass murder to be is not going to turn out to be a mass murderer, yay.  That means a timeline unlike any we've seen or heard tell of.

If he doesn't take over and order all the loopers killed then everything we see in the movie doesn't happen.  If he does do enough that the loopers stop getting jobs then there's a decent chance that the main character will grow up, meet his wife, go clean, and then, since the rainmaker isn't ordering loopers killed, live happily ever after.

Nice for the main character in timeline 4.

But, there's always a but, the rainmaker not being evil in timeline 3 probably depended on the events of timeline 3.  The confrontation that caused him to finally accept his mother as his mother, the fact that they had a sudden windfall in the form of silver and gold which presumably took the two away from whatever made him hate loopers in timeline two.

He could, in theory, send money to his mother solving part of the problem, but admitting his mother was his mother is played up as a major event in his life and that only happened as a result of a confrontation that cannot possibly happen in timeline 4.

So what's to stop timeline 4 rainmaker from becoming evil and kicking off the whole thing all over again?  There are probably any number of possibilities but if we don't want everything to collapse into "like none of this ever happened and all progress is erased" land it would need to be something that has the appearance of a predestination paradox.  An infinite loop.  Something done in timeline 3 that can be repeated in timeline 4 in such a way it will be repeated in timeline 5 and 6 and so on forever.

(A simple example of this would be if future rainmaker could help present rainmaker reconcile with his mother, how I do not know, because then future rainmaker could go back, both could live out the next 30 years, and then present rainmaker, now as old as future one was when he went back, could in turn go back and do exactly what future one did, and repeat the process every time.  Stable time loop.)

So the big question is, what about timeline 4?  For the movie to have a happy ending timeline 4 must be stable, which none of the previous ones were, and stable in such a way as to make the rainmaker not grow up to be an evil mass murderer.  Something that, in timeline 3, required a confrontation with someone who won't even exist for timeline 4 because he's already dead.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Twilight: "What about the girls?"

[Originally posted at Ana Mardoll's Ramblings.]
[The line, "No, none of the boys have caught my eye yet," is pure Twilight, as is the fact that Bella is using it to hide the truth about where her feelings lie.]

"No, none of the boys have caught my eye yet," I said, which was true enough but the 'yet' was misleading.
"What about the girls?" he asked.
"Dad!" I shouted in shock.
"If I knew that's all it would take to get you to call me, 'Dad,' I'd have asked ages ago," he said. I think there might have even been a smirk involved.
"How could you-- I mean-- What!?" Words: they were not coming.
"I know you think think of me as just some small minded person from the provinces, but I'm not a bigot and I wish you'd feel comfortable opening up to me because I'm here for you whatever you-"
I sputtered a bit at this point.
"I didn't know how to break the subject," he said. "I should have done it better but I didn't know how. I'm sorry to blindside you but it breaks my heart to see you pretending to be someone else every day."
The shock was starting to wear off but I still didn't have any words.
"So much of what you do is a performance you put on that I can't tell the real you from the act and I... I wish I could because I want to tell the real you that I love her and the act to go away. Not in public, not if you don't feel safe, but in this house I want you to know that you're free to be yourself. I'm not going to-- that's not true. I've already judged you, I hope you know how highly I think of you, and nothing is going to change that."
Enough of the shock wore off for me to realize something disturbing. Secrets: I cannot keep them.
When I found my way to a chair, feeling my way as much as looking where I was going, there was a strange numbness in my hands. Then I collapsed into it.
Charlie looked afraid. His speech was over and he had nothing left to say. Two things were clear, one was that he'd practiced it a thousand different times and probably as many ways. The second was that he had stuck to none of it and more or less improv-ed his way through.
The silence was broken when Charlie said, "I'm sorry. I shouldn't have said anything." He stopped. Then started again, "I'm so, so--"
I cut him off, "I think Jessica and Angela are into each other and as near as I can tell all the other girls I know are straight."
It was Charlie's turn to be shocked. When he found words they were, "Does this mean that you trust me enough--"
"You suck at bringing things up."
"Never surprise me like that again."
"I'll try not to."
"How the hell did you know?"
"I haven't seen you in years. Living with you has been like living with a stranger and it shouldn't be. I'm your father; I'm supposed to know you. I've been doing my best to pay close attention."
"Do you think anyone else knows?"
"No. I don't know. Maybe. I think Billy's been trying to get Jacob's hopes down and I wonder if it might be-- but I don't know how he would have found out."
"My first crush was his eldest daughter," I said. Billy was family. Sort of. In a way that didn't make me having a crush on his daughter squicky. But he was as close as family. If I could trust Charlie I could trust Billy. But what if someone else knew?
I collected my thoughts.
"Ok," I started, and it took longer than I intended to continue after that. "You really, really sucked with how you brought up the subject, but the fact that you accept me is good to know and a huge weight off me so... thank you. Sort of. I guess.
"I'm not ready to be out. Don't tell anyone."
"I won't," Charlie said.
And now came the important part. "You have to tell me every single thing that gave me away because I need to stop doing all of it."


Saturday, June 22, 2013

Edith and Ben - Edith, Ben, and Charlize in the kitchen post-Seattle

[Originally posted at Ana Mardoll's Ramblings.]

  • The door opened, I glanced in its direction which was pointless as all I could see was a wall. Then back at Edith which, given the recent revelation/admission/thingy that she was a telepathic vampire was probably a better way to get information. She seemed at ease.
    Moments later Charlize entered the room. "Hi Ben," she said, then a moment later she added, "Edith."
    "Hello Chief Swan," Edith said.
    "That's a little... formal... for me. Especially off duty," Charlize said. "I'm 'Charlize' or 'Ben's mom' or 'Ms. Swan'."
    "Ok Chie- Charlize," Edith said. It was different to see her stumble over her words. Humanizing in a way I suppose, even if she wasn't actually human. It brought a small smile to my face and I hoped she wouldn't read it as insulting. I wasn't sure whether it was insulting, I wasn't sure where it came from at all, but I definitely didn't want it to come off as insulting.
    There was a moment's pause then Edith asked, "How could I address you as, 'Ben's mom,'?"
    "With difficulty and circumlocution," Charlize said. "It works best when talking about me in third person."
    Charlize sat down at the table. "Have you eaten yet?" she asked.
    "That depends on which meal you mean," I said.
    "So you didn't forget lunch."
    I just gave her a look.
    "I remember the time you forgot to eat regularly for-"
    I gave her a different look.
    She held up her hands in surrender. But she did get in a parting shot: "I'm allowed to worry." Which, she is. So a peaceable end to things. Helped by the fact that we both smiled at it.
    "I have food allergies galore," Edith said. I'm still not sure whether that counts as true or a lie of omission, but it is an elegant away around the inevitable questions about why she doesn't eat. Anyway, she continued, "But don't let that stop you two from having dinner. I'm used to watching other people eat and it doesn't bother me in the least."
    "What are you thinking?" Charlize asked me.
    "I hadn't been, actually," I said.
    "Lasagna." It was only a microwave away.
    "What were you talking about?" Charlize asked as I got the lasagna, and she got drinks. Orange juice for me, milk for herself. I knew that she'd accept an appeal to privacy as an answer, I didn't know if Edith would know that --at first just because I assumed she wouldn't, then because I realized I didn't know nearly enough about the mechanics of mind reading-- and so I struggled to come up with a way to answer that would neither be suspicious nor a lie before Edith felt she had to answer. I failed.
    Edith hit Charlize with the complete truth: "The potential geopolitical implications of the revelation that vampires are real."
    "Oh," Charlize said. "I've always preferred to talk about mermaids."
    Edith arched an eybrow and asked, "Mermaids?"
    "Did you want something to drink?" Charlize asked.
    Edith surprised me by saying, "Water is fine." I suppose it's just like very weak blood. Thus it shouldn't have been surprising that it was vampire-safe, but I had still been expecting an answer of, "No," because I'd basically assumed that nothing a human being might be expected to ingest would be ok for vampires.
    Charlize passed Edith a glass of water and sat across from her. "What's wrong with mermaids?" she asked.
    "There's nothing wrong with mermaids I just..." and then Edith seemed to run out of words, not something I was used to her doing. "There's nothing wrong with mermaids," she finished.
    "70 percent of the Earth's surface is water, don't you think the revelation that that entire area was able to be inhabited by another form of humanity would have some effects?"
    "I've never really thought about it," Edith said.
    "Or, for that matter, just the revelation that there is another form of humanity. We've gotten pretty used to being alone."
    "Well that seems like it would be the same for vampires," Edith said.
    "Only if being a mermaid were something you could contract," Charlize said.
    I returned to the table with heated lasagna and joined in what proved to be a very interesting conversation about the similarities and differences between the revelation of vampires and the revelation of mermaids. At no point did Charlize give any indication she suspected she was sitting across from the former, which makes sense because who would guess such a thing? Also Edith, once she got going, dived into the conversation from a purely theoretical standpoint so at no time was there reason for her lived-in experience of being a vampire to show through.
    The conversation carried on passed the end of the food and eventually I ended it due to a powerful need to sleep. Edith took that as her cue to leave, and so the conversation broke there.
    After Edith was out the door Charlize didn't ask me. I expected her to. I knew she was interested. I think maybe the extended conversation had made me forget that Charlize's standard setting was the same as my own: silent.
    So since it was clear she wasn't going to ask I just told her: "It was a date, and it did go well."
    For a moment she silently considered that, then she said, "That's good."
    "If you're interested, we split the day in half. First half she showed me her kind of place: woodlands. Second half I showed her my kind of place: city."
    "Are you going to--"
    "I hope so, I expect to, but we don't have a date" and suddenly I hated that word because it forced me to use it in two different ways in seven words, so I sort of hung on it before I finished, "set up for a second date."
    I turned to go to get ready for bed.
    "I hope it works out for you," Charlize said. It was meant to be exactly what the words said, I could tell that much, but something else had crept into her voice and though it took me a few moments I figured out what it was.
    The entire reason for my existence was a high school romance gone crap. I'd heard the lies and half truths from my father, of course, but the real details I didn't know. What I did know was that whatever happened it was enough that my mother hadn't stepped back into the dating waters in my entire lifetime.
    Maybe that was ok with her, or maybe she was just burned that bad.
    Clearly it was time to radically change the subject. I turned back. "I've been remiss," I said. Remiss. There was a word Edith would use. I don't think I'd ever heard her say it at that point and I still knew it would be an Edith word. "I haven't asked you about your day."
    Tired as I was, it was worth hearing her talk about her fishing trip to hear that "something else" be vanquished from her voice.


    The Sad Trombone.

    [Originally posted at Ana Mardoll's Ramblings.]
    [In response to someone wishing a post had been about an actual sad trombone.]

    Trumpy was a very sad Trombone. A few years back everything had seemed to be going right, but then that videogame gig went wrong. At the last minute his starring role as the Trombone of Time was nixed when the creators decided that they wanted a flute instead. It wouldn't be so bad if the flute had at least been the same race as Trumpy, but the choice of the creators to use a local race of flute destroyed, in Trumpy's opinion, the east west meeting that was, in his mind, the center of the game.
    When he was dumped from the project Trumpy said some things that he probably shouldn't have said, and as a result gained a reputation as someone who was "hard to work with".
    His bright future came crashing down as that label made open doors close and the phone calls for potential roles became fewer and fewer.
    In the beginning the damage done internally was even worse than that on the outside, he had --to his eternal shame-- become a bigot. He'd gotten passed that, and now harbored ocarinas no ill will and would help them if he could but at this point he could barely help himself.
    He was left squabbling with a violin for space on a median strip in which to hold up a cardboard sign saying, "Homeless: Will play sad music for change."


    Friday, June 21, 2013

    I'm pretty sure that the soul bubble burst.

    [Adapted and significantly expanded from this post at Slacktivist because when I told Lonespark about it over the phone she said I should]

    So, I'm pretty sure the soul bubble has burst.

    Part of it is obviously the problem of over-leveraging.  Part of it is outright fraud, it wasn't (and isn't) uncommon to see people sell their soul to multiple different entities for multiple different reasons.  Since they had only one soul to begin with all sales after the first were fraudulent as the asset promised wasn't owned.  Unfortunately a lack of accountability led to these fraudulent sales making it into accounting records as if they were legitimate causing an appearance of many more souls than there were.

    While some may compare this to taking out multiple mortgages on the same house the process isn't the same.  The souls in question weren't offered as collateral, they were offered for sale.  Someone might betray everything they believe in and sell their soul for the illusion of security and then go the next day to sell their soul to a real estate developer who wants to destroy the family farm and then take an afternoon selling their soul in order to get a leg up in their workplace.  Three sales, but who really has the soul in the end?

    More than that you know every one of the three places claimed to have the soul, bundled it, and sold it to some other soul investor.

    But worse still is that there has never been a fixed price attached to souls and so it was impossible to accurately place a value on these bundles as they were shuffled through the economy.

    The multiple sales of the same soul created the illusion of soul multiplication which gave the naive investor the impression that a soul was an investment that would grow over time.

    The soul speculation was something awful.

    But none of these things were really the problem.  If anything the masked the problem and made the crash lighter when it came.

    The problem was this: in the past hundred years there has been an explosion in soul availability.  The supply has increased at a rate that demand could never hope to match and while the speculators buying up souls as if they were the best investment ever did some to close the gap in the end there was nothing that could mask or change the fact that there are so many more souls now than there once were that they simply cannot have the same value.

    A hundred years ago there were less than two billion souls in circulation.  Today there are more than seven billion.  Yet the population of those who actually buy souls, the devil and similar demons, has grown at a glacial pace.  Immortals simply don't feel the same pressure to breed as mortals.

    Moreover it has recently come into question whether souls, in themselves, have value.  They are not freely exchangeable with any form of currency and when traded between humans, corporations, or other non-demonic entities (outside of speculation, of course) they're usually thrown in as a sweetener, not the product itself.  A developer might take someone's land and their soul, and be significantly more concerned with the land while considering the soul a useless cast off.

    And so we come to the question of what those soul bundles are actually worth.  What does one get out of investing in souls?

    Demand has barely changed in a century, supply has doubled, doubled again, and added another half billion to boot.  On balance sheets souls might seem impressive, but when one tries to actually find what they're worth it quickly becomes clear that it's almost impossible to unload them.

    The market is completely saturated.

    Supply has so outstripped demand that I can't believe souls are worth all that much these days and things are only going to get worse when the speculators realize this and try to unload their own supplies of souls which have thus far, mercifully, been kept out of the actual market and thus prevented from driving the value of souls still lower.

    In truth, I would not be surprised if souls begin to be offered as, "Free to good home."

    At one point souls seemed to be worth something, but that was when there were far fewer souls around.


    The original post:
    Also, I'm pretty sure the soul bubble crashed years ago. It's not just that people were over-leveraging them, it's just the explosion of soul availability in the last hundred years. Supply is clearly outstripping demand and I can't honestly believe that souls are worth all that much these days.
    It wouldn't surprise me if we start seeing people offering souls free to good homes.

    Nick Fury is utterly evil

    For what is, I think, the fourth time I have again failed to record the whole of the Avengers.

    I did manage to tune in just in time to catch the "I will take the Ring to Gondor scene."

    Let's recap.

    Fury wanted to start a team of superheroes but the idea was shot down.  The only way to revive it would be to get a common enemy.

    Thor showed up on earth and Loki blew stuff up.  But Thor went away before the gods in question could be a common threat to unite around.

    Fury immediately hired Selvig to wake up the tesseract, something that had been sleeping for a very long time (since during World War II) and the only thing on earth capable of sending a signal to the entire cosmos saying, "Come here and kick our ass."

    The fact that it says this is not unknown to Fury because it's part of the briefing he gave Barton.  When Barton points out that the interference is coming from the other side it's because he's been told that there are two sides: Earth and Where The Wild Things Are.

    Fury intentionally activated the cube knowing it would send out a signal to Where The Wild Thing Are.  Fury explains that the only idea he was behind even more than making an arsenal of weapons intended for the sole purpose of committing mass murder was the Avengers Initiative which was to fight threats they couldn't fight on their own and there weren't any in the neighborhood.

    So he did two things.  One was create the mass murder weapons.  (Bigger than anything merely nuclear could ever murder.)  The other was to put the light on knowing that it would draw threats they couldn't fight on their own.

    In the words of Captain America, "He's got the same blood on his hands as Loki does."

    But that's not the thing.  That's not what makes him utterly evil, not even close.  That's just chumming the waters around a swimming area.

    No, what makes him utterly evil is this:

    The Black Widow told Fury that Loki's plan was to unleash the Hulk.

    Fury proceeded to lie to Bruce Banner, push Bruce Banner's buttons, refuse to allow Banner to let off steam even for a second thus forcing all the anger to build up inside of him ensuring an explosion, I'm not sure whether having his flying monkey insult Banner thrice over should count because I don't know if she was in on it (it should be noted that the character of the Black Widow is way too awesome to be restricted to the position of Fury's flying monkey and it is a shame she was for so much of the movie), treats Banner as an object, a threat, a child, an enemy, scum, an idiot, and much much worse and did all of the things governed by the word "treats" in five words --that's like a high speed barrage of emotional body blows.  He is doing the emotional equivalent of beating Banner to the ground and kicking him while he's down.  The only question is whether he's wearing steel toed boots or the James Bond ones knives stick out of-- there's a minor interlude where Fury has Rodgers' doing the work of saying that Banner isn't allowed to let off any steam but instead has to keep it all inside until it boils over but Fury is soon back to intentionally pushing Banner's buttons: he no longer even addresses Banner instead he's started treating Banner like an object and is ordering his flying monkey to use force to remove Banner from his own lab in so doing treating Banner not just as an object but also as a prisoner, an enemy, a criminal, and of course a monster, he quickly follows this up by lying to Banner about his transparent plot kill Banner that he has taken so far as to redesign is fucking flying air craft carrier to include a "Let's murder Bruce Banner" cage within it, and finally he goes to his gun.

    This being the last act of Fury before other forces intervene it might do well to dwell on it somewhat.

    Like any intelligent person Fury doesn't want his gun to fall out of his holster.  That way bad things lie.  So it is restrained and requires him to remove the retraining strap and get ready to draw.  His trigger finger is positioned so that as soon as he pulls the gun from the holster he'll be able to get his finger on the trigger in minimum time.  You don't put your finger to trigger unless you intend to fire.

    What is it that makes him prepare to draw on Banner?

    After his sustained campaign of pushing Banner's buttons Banner spilled the one sure fire way to summon the Hulk.  Shooting Banner doesn't work.  Instead of killing him it transforms him.  He doesn't get wounded, he becomes the Hulk who happens to be impervious to bullets in a Mongo kind of way ("Don't shoot him; you'll just make him mad.)  Drawing a gun on Banner can't help the situation in any way.  Fury knows this.  There are only two possibilities: one is that nothing changes.  Banner continues to weather Fury's unending onslaught without losing control.  The second is that Banner transforms into the Hulk.

    There are no other possibilities.  The gun cannot be used to hurt Banner.  It cannot be used to scare Banner. It is not a threat to Banner.  The only thing the gun can do is cause Banner to transform into the Hulk against his will.

    Fury knows this.

    He's just had it explained to him in small words even a child could understand.

    Still he prepares to draw on Banner.

    This just caps off everything he's done since he learned Loki wanted Banner to transform into the Hulk.  It is completely consistent with all the rest.

    And that's why Fury is utterly evil.

    Between the time he learned that Loki wanted Banner to transform into the Hulk and when the computer finding the cube defused the situation there is not a single thing Fury does in Banner's general direction that does not read as a transparent attempt to get Banner to transform into the Hulk.

    Nobody is that stupid.


    Fury learns that Loki wants the Hulk unleashed and then heads off to speed along the process.  That's fucking evil.


    Compared to that stealing Coulson's cards from his locker, putting blood on them that may or may not have been stolen from Coulson himself (they were collectible asshole) using the cards and the blood wrapped in a pack of lies in an attempt to cause a severe guilt trip in someone who has already had to deal with the fact that all of his friends and family died of old age while he was under the arctic ice to manipulate him into doing the job Fury already should have done but has shown a singular lack of interest in actually doing really doesn't even seem to rate.

    Sure that's nasty sickening bullying controlling abusive assholic behavior, but look at what he did to fucking Banner.


    Some people have wondered why the Hulk goes after the Black Widow.  The fact she was the only one in the room probably played a role, but the fact that Fury made sure to identify her as Banner's enemy during his whole "Let's see if I can destabilize this guy emotionally" campaign probably didn't hurt.


    Minor note for the "Not As Bad As"ers out there.  Nick Fury is utterly evil, but he still doesn't manage to be the most evil person in the film.  That honor goes to the people who outrank Fury (thus probably explaining how he got his job.)  Their plan was, and I shit you not:
    Let's nuke Manhattan thus taking out all of our own defenses while doing nothing to shut down the portal and allowing the enemy to send their several additional motherships (and that's just the ones that we know of because they're visible) through the portal unmolested and set up shop in whatever neighboring towns and cities they take a liking to destroying any possibility of containment and giving the alien invasion force an near unassailable foothold on earth.
    Their particular reasons for having this plan are never gotten into, maybe they just wanted to test fire one of their weapons of mass destruction.

    What is clear is this: Loki doesn't get to be most evil because there's an entire cadre of humans who are nominally his enemies that are pulling out all the stops to do his job for him.

    On trying to be not-disabled

    It more or less goes without saying that I'd like to be a billionaire by the end of the year.

    There are debts to repay to people who have long since given up on the idea of me ever giving them their money back.  The house needs improvements.  There are people who are deserving of donations.  It would be nice to never again be in a situation where being able to afford my medication depends on a large unexpected donation.  If I could afford the start up costs of injection molding I think I could get a puzzle business off the ground since all it would then require of me is designing, which is more like scribbling to pass the time than work.  The classics program at my university is in need of a massive cash infusion because, while the stupidest and most vindictive leader the university ever had has been ousted the replacement is still proving herself capable of being pretty damn stupid.  (Lets cut everything that makes money and keep everything that loses money!  That'll fix our financial situation.*)

    I've always wanted a glass armonica.  I'd kind of like solar panels and a sub-basement.  I want to buy out my aunt.

    I think there should be an organization dedicated to operating in the most Republican areas of the country and holding the elected Republicans there accountable for every time they violate Republican values.  I think this mostly because a lot of the gridlock that is currently making the country suck is a result not of differences between the Republican and Democratic parties but instead Republicans turning against their own ideas the moment a Democrat shows interest.  When the Democrats start pulling that shit an equal and opposite organization needs to exist, but they really haven't been.  (Did you know "cap and trade" is a Republican idea?  Democrats were skeptical but this market based Reagan Era idea first implemented under Bush I to deal with acid rain proved its efficacy and so Democrats reluctantly got on board with it.  [They still thought their idea would have been better.]  Try to find a Republican supporting it now.)

    Health insurance would be nice.

    My sister had an idea to set up a store where all the local craftspeople could show their wares because right now the major problem standing between these people and making a living off their considerable talents is the fact that they don't have a physical store in which people can buy their stuff.  All it takes to get a store is enough money to lease the space.

    My mother took me skiing for ages, I'd like to be able to pay her back by taking her skiing.

    I know an international group of incredible game designers who are held back from making incredible games by the fact that they're struggling to make enough money to get by in their current non-game design jobs and so can't devote the time to doing what their talents say they should be doing.

    My dog has an injured leg that isn't going away without medical treatment, I can't afford it right now but if I were rich he'd have had four good legs ages ago.

    There's this stunning looking bird at a local pet store, do you know the last time I had a bird?  Do you know how sad the end of that story was?  It's time to start over and make new memories.

    Since an accident that cost me most of my superglue I think I'm down to three good shirts.  I could use more clothes.  I could use more superglue.  I could use nail-polish remover because that's what you need to get the superglue out.

    There are things I want to do with software that would require more than one person with not enough time on his hands, I could use a team.  A supercomputer or two would help too.

    Schools across the country are cutting back on the very things that students in this modern world will need most.  For example, you can google the quadratic equation, but to get a hands on music lesson in a brick and mortar classroom is a fair deal more difficult.  (I say this as a mathematician, recall.)  Donations could fix this.

    So on, so fucking forth.  It more or less goes without saying that I'd like to be extremely rich in the near future.


    But right now, right now things are weird.

    Donations are, I think, ok.  Unless they become something I could live on in which case blogging would constitute a job and I'd be not disabled and... stuff.  That would be fine.  If I had enough donations coming in to live off this thing (something that will never happen) then I would neither want nor need the government's help.

    Income I actually earn, on the other hand.  That gets more tricky.  It is not the case that making money will allow me to keep less.  The aid I'm on is specifically set up to make sure no one ever has to deal with that bullshit.  By the time I stopped getting any aid I'd be making well more than what I had when I all I had was aid.

    That's good and smart and stuff.

    Here's the problem:  As I've previously noted in my current state, a state I hope to get out of, steady income is basically impossible.  What might not be impossible would be something like a one time time push to make a certain amount of money.  It would burn me out, burn out the market, and basically make it so I could never do that again, but it would get me the supply of cash.

    Here's the problem with that: I don't think the government aid accounts for the possibility that you could make a bunch of money in a short time and then absolutely nothing after that.  It's possible it might, I haven't looked it up, but I don't think it does.

    So I think that if I did make such a push I'd lose my aid when I made the money and end up homeless and foodless soon after.

    So don't try to make a bunch of money unless I can make a career out of it.  Ok.  I can hold myself to that restriction.  What would I need a one time only payment of a bunch of money for anyway?

    Right.  University.

    Any scenario that doesn't involve me being disabled for life involves me continuing with the psychiatric care I've been getting through the university.  I didn't expect that to be a problem since while mental illness has fucked me over of late, and sporadically before that, when it comes to actually passing anything I'm still doing well enough for financial aid.

    But, if you take into account the classes I took when I didn't know what I was doing, the classes I took to be a math major, the classes I took to be a classics major, the classes I took for interest only, and the classes I took so I could be an enrolled student so I could get the damn psychiatric care...  actually everything's fine, provided you don't count the ones I failed on account of mental illness.  But if you do count the ones I've failed on account of mental illness then it turns out that I've attempted too many credits to qualify for student aid.  I'm looking into an appeal but my hopes are low.  In the gutter, low.

    Now I could try to do a one time push to gather the money needed to enroll next semester so I can continue the psychiatric care which I swear I believe is almost to the point where I can no longer be disabled.  Give it one more year of treatment and I'm pretty sure enough progress can be made to turn me from a welfare recipient to a taxpayer.

    But if I try to make a push to pay for next semester where does that leave me?  Burnt out, with my way of making that money exhausted, no longer on the aid that keeps a roof over my head and food in my belly, and on the way to being homeless and hungry.


    Yeah, trying to stop being disabled isn't easy.

    If I were satisfied with where I am then all I'd need to do is jump through some more hoops with the state to make them pay for my medication.  (Since I wrote the last post I found out that they should be helping me there.)  And I could stay on disability for the rest of my life and never have to work and... yeah.

    Like most people on welfare that's not my dream.  I don't want to be on welfare.  Not because I think there's any shame in it, there isn't, but because I think I can be doing more.  Some people can't, and so they stay on it their whole lives.  I don't think I'm one of those people.  I don't look down on those people, I want to be clear here, there's no shame in being permanently disabled.  But I don't think my disability is permanent.  At least I don't think it needs to be.

    For ten years nothing could so much as dent my depression.  Then, not that long ago, we found a medication that showed it the door.  That was a major fucking breakthrough.  Now the problem is something, I'm not sure exactly what, that shares some symptoms with ADHD and basically got up after the depression went away, looked around, said, "I can have some fun here!" and pretty much destroyed my ability to focus on anything.  (That sucks for school work.)

    But if my current team could solve the depression in months where a previous succession of doctors couldn't dent it in a decade I have faith that this too shall pass provided we're able to keep working on it.  Which means that I don't think I need to be permanently disabled, I think I can beat this, if I can stay in school.

    But if I can't convince the financial aid people to forgive me for trying too many times to get credits I need to raise the money for that myself, and if I raise the money for that myself I think I lose my aid, and if I lose my aid that'll fuck over everything.

    Do nothing and I'm set for life, basically.  Not rich or prosperous but enough money (and food benefits) coming in from welfare that I never need to worry about being homeless or starving.

    Try to improve and I risk making things worse.

    Once you've gone through the bureaucratic hell of getting officially recognized as disabled, being disabled is an easy proposition.  Cash your checks and you stay alive.  Not the best life ever, but it's better than the alternative.  Becoming not-disabled seems a good deal harder.


    * First mistake: Determining the value of programs at a public university in terms of profit.
    Second mistake: Doing it backwards.


    Random note: When my dog hears sirens he tries to imitate the sound in what has to be one of the strangest dog vocalizations I've ever heard.