Previously, in Trip's Life...

30 September 2001 - Sunday

Facial tendrils pruned: check.

The wild grocery tracked, stalked, killed and returned to my lair: check. (Single-handedly, too, as my native bearers were eaten by crocodiles between Ortega and Showers.)

Ayse phoned as I was cleaning and salting down my grocery, trying to lure me with a remarkably large and cheap apartment across the street from her lair, but once the miscommunications were resolved it turned out to be a large, well-appointed apartment with a price commensurate to its luxury. Sniff. I think the housing market needs to implode some more (hah! take that, you white-bread pursuers of the American Dream!) before I can relocate.

Oops. Stupid STUPID parasite creature. I guess I will have to seek dinner somewhere in the direction of the grocery ranges, so that I can obtain the things I crossed off my list without actually placing in my cart.

There! Transmundane episode 7 done! That's my writing for today and 450 extra words to boot, but I don't think allowing myself credit would be productive.

Catch-up shopping: check.

And, I have finished watching Maze, which turns out to have a plot and stuff! It wasn't great, but I don't feel that I've wasted those 10 or so hours. Apparently the episodes I randomly purchased aren't part of the TV series at all; judging by the design of the title character's mecha, they come after the end of the TV series. Perhaps I will try to find more such; perhaps not.

The icecream Christy made for me was yummy but peculiar*. The texture was oddly friable (kind of like the superchilled freeze-dried icecream beads -- "Dippin' Dots"?), but the taste was nice and creamy, and if you add enough root beer, the texture doesn't matter. :)

*Possibly this is only a sign of how long it's been since I had icecream that wasn't grown in a vat.

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29 September 2001 - Saturday

I am a very useless parasite today, but at least I have my catch-up writing for Thursday done.

* * *

And Friday's writing as well, although I haven't done a damn thing else today besides feed myself and take out the garbage.

* * *

But there's today's words, so at least that one tiny aspect of my life is in order. Almost 23:00, so I guess I'll watch the last six episodes of Maze tomorrow.

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28 September 2001 - Friday

By the time I finished watching anime, doing laundry, disposing of my guests, packing up drugs, etc, there was no time to do last night's writing before retreating to my parasitenest. I know there will be no time to write tonight, either, since as soon as I get home I will have to flee to the Bertani-Youngs' for Knights of Atlantis, which will last until I digest my own brain.

"This is not a problem," says I to myself (says I). "Even if I increase my quota to 250 words as of Friday, that's only 700 words to write on Saturday. If it weren't for that gravity thing, I could do it standing on my head."

Then I read "A Colder War", Charlie Stross's second* story in The Year's Best Science Fiction: Eighteenth Annual Collection. Now I think I'll gnaw off my tentacles in shame and despair.

Damn. Proboscis-typing is hard.

*The first is "Antibodies", which is also a very fine story, but not quite so exactly the story I would write if only I were 294365934262 times cooler than is actually the case.

* * *

Knights of Atlantis was the inevitable superpower experimentation episode, so it was kind of slow because everyone needed the GM for everything, but otherwise fun. I think I'm missing some important aspect of Blake's powers, though, or maybe I just don't get the straightforwardly combat-useful powers because I'm an experienced Champions parasite.

Indeed, no writing tonight; though I stayed up more than I should have after getting back from gaming, I did not have any brain to speak of. Or even to mouth incoherently with.

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27 September 2001 - Thursday

I could have sworn September lasted longer than this. I must be old.

* * *

I worked on adding comments to my page, so people can mock me more effectively, but it turns out to be hard. I think it wants me to end up serving my entire home page (as well as all archive pages) dynamically. Pfoo.

* * *

Brief excitement as, shortly before quitting time, I work on solving a small problem and inadvertantly create the proper conditions for a much larger problem to make itself known. Fortunately, doom is averted before I miss my bus.

* * *

Now, Fushigi Yuugi with Marith and Rebecca. And laundry.

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26 September 2001 - Wednesday

Blargh, three hours of meetings: training on this thing, staff meeting with new logical Bryant (aka David Bills), training on that thing. Now I try to do some actual work very quickly, before leaving work right at the eight-hour mark to try to get comics before going to anime at the Bertani-Youngs' (rescheduled because in the future Tuesdays will belong to Buffy). It does not appear as though I will get any more Hong Kong Bakery food on anime nights, and possibly not even dinner at all, sniff. Unless I want to give up on ever finding new comics, since anything good will be sold out by Thursday, and Lee's has apparently taken down their web site (which only listed new comics by referring to the generally inaccurate distributor page).

* * *

But there was Sailor Stars I hadn't seen before, and Christy, who is the best egg ever, in the whole world, made me icecream sweetened with invert sugar! And I have written my quota, so now I can go to bed with a clear conscience! Like glass!

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24 September 2001 - Monday

Transmundane episode 6 is hereby declared to be finished.

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23 September 2001 - Sunday

Today I have paid the price for being a useless lazy-ass parasite: by the time I finally went to the grocery store, there was no more diet IBC rootbeer! Sniff! There is lots of other diet soda, but it just isn't the same.

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21 September 2001 - Friday

Today we have an "offsite" at someplace called Dave & Buster's. The survivors will then proceed to Bryant's farewell dinner at Tied House, which is conveniently close to my parasitelair if I feel insufficiently social.

* * *

For company fun, Dave & Buster's was actually pretty enjoyable. I banded together with Angie to accumulate as many tickets as possible. The best games for this purpose are, as far as we could tell, the Wheel of Fortune and the (similar yet different) Titanic. I preferred the WoF, because I could get the spin (yielding 30 to 80 tickets, in my sample set) about one time out of three, which was a significantly better return than never getting the jackpot on Titanic but usually getting 30 tickets for three times the outlay.

The various coins-piling-up-and-looking-about-to-fall-into-the-bin games were mostly frustrating, alas. If only I had even the slightest amount of TK! I didn't play any of the video games, or in fact get to most of the Giant Complex of Fun, so there is plenty of fun yet unexplored.

For our combined outlay (including corporate subsidy) of something like $116, we got the princely total of 3108 tickets, which was enough to buy Angie one polar-bear backpack and one posable Kermit, and additional Kermits for Bryant and cow orker Greg Notch (I said Angie should get three Kermits to begin with, but she wouldn't believe me. Hmph.)

The major downside of Dave & Buster's is that it is incredibly noisy, by my non-heavy-metal-concert-going standards. I was hoarse after five minutes of trying to make myself heard, and we were there for three hours.

On the plus side, D&B is in the Great Mall of Milpitas, which contains a candy store with a whole section of sugar-free, parasite-friendly yummies!

Bryant's farewell dinner was okay, but also very loud. I noshed my food and departed as soon as possible, pleading unwellness (which was true, it was just sonically rather than microbially induced).

* * *

Upon arriving home, I discovered in my mailbox a blood donor card indicating that my blood type is B+. Finally, I know this important medical fact about myself!

According to,

People with Type B Blood are curious about and interested in everything. That's may be good, but they also tend to have too many interests and hobbies, and they tend to get all excited about something suddenly and then later drop it again just as quickly. But they do manage to know which of their many interests or loved ones are the ones that are really important, the ones they should hold on to. B Types tend to excel in things rather than just be average. But they tend to be so involved in their own world or become so carried away with something that they neglect other things. They have the image of being bright and cheerful, full of energy and enthusiasm, but some people think that they are really quite different on the inside. And it can also be said about them that they don't really want to have much real contact with others.

Any accuracy is probably due to the broad and vague nature of divination.

* * *

I should write tonight, but I suspect I won't. Since this is the 8th night of writing, the official quota is now raised to 200 words, so that's 400 words of writing tomorrow. I think I'll manage.

* * *

Sherilyn badgered me into taking the personality test that everyone else has taken. I am, allegedly, a Judge ( Dominant Introvert Concrete Thinker). The full description is:

Like just 3% of the population you are a JUDGE (DICT). Your affinity for facts and analytical approach to life help you some complex problems and make tough decisions that others cannot. But don't think you don't act like a bitch a lot of the time. You jump into arguments and hold grudges like crazy. Try jumping into the sack and holding buttocks, instead. You could probably use some love.

While some may see you as a bit overbearing and arrogant, your friends know that you are a trustworthy person with depth and a strong sense of righteousness. Although you are introverted and somewhat reserved, you have a forceful personality that your friends appreciate and your enemies fear. God help them. God help all of us.

Since the test actually asks questions about, or at least related to, personality, it's not a divination, and therefore can be specific and wrong. Dominant? Me? 89% compatible with Angie? Me? Ha ha ha. Ha.

Plus, a popup ad for "Find out who has a CRUSH on you!". Because, er, I'm not capable of typing 'touch public_html/crushes.html' myself, or something.

* * *

I seem to have written after all. Yay me. I even made a little nav weasel for each chapter of Transmundane, for those people who hop from branch to branch instead of scuttling back to the latest fork each time. But now my brain really is used up, so I will not watch any Maze tonight after all.

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20 September 2001 - Thursday

Today Ambar and Tara came to gather their personal belongings from their cubes. As probably could have been predicted, Ambar was cheerful and sarcastic and Tara was sniffly. Possibly this was because Tara had about eight times as much stuff to carry home.

While people stood around helping and gossiping, Greg Skinner (a cow orker, one who's been with altavista almost as long as Ambar) wandered by, and mentioned that he'd found my page while doing web search for Tara's, which in turn led him to Liralen, whom he apparently knows of old but had not heard anything of in many years. I now feel that my page has justified its existance.

After packing, there was anti-celebratory lunching at Chef Chu's for assorted erstwhile cow orkers. Now there is lying around bloatedly.

* * *

I broke Kit's new book! Now she has to fix it!

Perhaps my business card should read "Brainsucking * Cynicism * Fiction QA".

* * *

Another successful writing experience. This is working quite well, really, although it seems slow because each day's increment is so small.

The first two episodes of Maze explain a bit more about what was going on in the ones I watched before, but don't otherwise change my impression of the show.

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19 September 2001 - Wednesday

Catchup writing and tonight's writing done! More or less, since some of it was rewriting, but after deleting everything that needed to go, I wrote 300 words, so I figure that's good enough.

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18 September 2001 - Tuesday

Angie has come through with the Maze tapes! Now I need only find a time to watch them, since tonight is Sailor Stars at the Bertani-Youngs' and tomorrow is both new comics and catchup writing for tonight (for now I sleep).

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17 September 2001 - Monday

Today's exciting news: Ambar and Tara have been laid off by that paragon of employee loyalty, altavista. Bryant has disemboweled himself on the CEO's doormat in protest. Angie and I still have jobs, for the time being, although how long altavista will last is anyone's guess.

* * *

Read two more Charlie Stross stories today. Clearly the only honorable thing to do is suck out and digest my own brain.

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16 September 2001 - Sunday

Today I caught up on yesterday's writing, did laundry, went grocery shopping, read a Charlie Stross story, ate dinner, had a $67 bookstore accident, and did today's writing.

I think I like the writing-a-little-every-day thing; by making it not a huge lump, it no longer seems such a chore, and writing every day, no matter how little, seems much more writerly than only writing once a week. Sure, 150 words a day isn't nearly as ambitious as Kit's and Bryant's thousand-words-a-day program, but I suspect it is much more sustainable. Plus, once I am satisfied with my ability to write 150 words every day, I can move it up to 200 per day (shouldn't be hard; all my chunks so far have been at least 200 words), and then 250, and so on until my brain explodes.

Oh, heck with it, I'll just finish Transmundane 5.


Okay, there. Productive parasite!

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15 September 2001 - Saturday

(I think from now on I'm going to write about events under the heading of the day on which they actually happened, regardless of when the writing itself takes place. Dreams are considered to happen when I wake up and go "Cool!".)

Morning: Lazy, useless parasite.

Afternoon: Amber High School. Not an entirely satisfying session, since there was much more indecision and frittering around than actual accomplishment or even planning. The omens are good for Tia and Justice being picked as cadet captains for their respective classes, but we won't actually find out (or get grades (or experience points!)) until next session.

Evening: Dinner at Spice Islands Cafe, a very yummy Singaporean/Malyasian restaurant in downtown Mountain View. Sadly, the restaurant was too loud and our party too large for conversation to be carried on really effectively, so again it was not an entirely satisfactory experience. However, Spice Islands is within easy scuttling distance of my parasitelair, so I will have to try it again with a smaller group, on a night other than Saturday, or maybe both.

Night: Those of us who did not explode after dinner went to the Kruger-Murdochs' to admire the KITTENS. At three weeks, Toast (the black kitten) and Marmalade (the orange kitten) have the powers of vision and independent locomotion but aren't particularly skilled in their use, which leads to lots of extremely adorable toddling around and the tendency on Marmalade's part to crawl into Ayse's lap and lie there cutely. I was somewhat alarmed to see Torchie (the mother cat) do the rake thing on her kittens' faces in the process of seizing them and ferociously washing their cute little conical tails, but the kittens didn't complain at all, so I guess she wasn't hurting them. The conclusion was that cats automatically do the rake thing whenever they seize something in their forepaws.

After considerable discussion of shades of pink, it has been established that Marmalade is a ginger cat with a pickled-ginger nose. Kawaii!!!

Ayse likes Exalted! It's not just me! However, she thinks that I should run Exalted for her after she has the designer run for her at Orycon, which is bound to make me look bad.

I borrowed a medium-sized pile of anime from Ayse, most of which probably involves bishonen mushiness.

Home too late to write my 150 words for the day, so I'll have to write double tomorrow.

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14 September 2001 - Friday

After writing yesterday's entry, I was aesthetically pleased with it and didn't want to mess with it, so I have waited until today to write about my dream of Wednesday night. (Hey, it makes sense to me; if you don't like it, write your own web page.)

It was a gaming dream, and like most (of my) dreams about gaming or other fiction, had a lot of confusion between characters and players(/actors/audience/writers). The situation seemed to be, though, that Chrisber was playing a small Italianate engineer in an old-fashioned suit, and I was playing a winged chick (ha ha) from a less technologically-intensive, if not less advanced, civilization, and we were travelling along a string of alternate dimensions that had apparently been selected for interesting developments in flying machines and also for having strong religious feelings. Some of the flying machine inventions were idiosyncratic and not particularly portable to other dimensions, like the roughly spherical lumps of metal that repelled large concentrations of mass (you had to stand on them with your feet in little notches, and steer by shifting your balance without actually falling off, which is every bit as tricky as it sounds), but others were pretty standard airplanes. Going back to one place we had visited (and perhaps stimulated), we found that someone had flown to Antarctica and back in a plane not much more advanced than the Wrights' (the wings looked like the same construction, though the fuselage was enclosed in cloth). This was a pretty impressive accomplishment (we were comparing it to Chrisber's homeworld's first moon landing), so there was much celebration. Sadly, while doing aerobatics at the ceremonies, my character managed to run into something and shear off the outer quarter or so of both her wings (ow!) and then there was a bit more with me wandering around boredly because my character was in a drugged stupor while waiting for a doctor capable of fixing her wings to be found.

Okay, so it wasn't that much of a dream, but the idea of a winged character being interested in flying machines was kind of cool. And after all, people with perfectly good feet are often interested in cars.

* * *

We now return you to the random babbling phase of today's entry.

* * *

Possibly it is horrible and violence-mongering of me, but it annoys me to see what happened on Tuesday referred to as a 'tragedy' or a 'tragic event'. Arguably it is the result of the US's flawed nature and/or hubris, but... someone dying is a tragic event. A hurricane is a tragic event, or a disaster. This is a crime, an atrocity, a mass murder, and although certainly we should be caring for the victims, I don't think we should be ignoring what we can do to make it not happen again.

I also don't think we should be bludgeoning random people of South Asian descent when they try to go down to the mall to buy clothes, or standing by and watching while assholes do so. But I think I actually covered that yesterday.

* * *

Yesterday I had the notion of, instead of sitting down to write 1000 words or more once a week, trying to write 150 words (about 15 lines) every day. I didn't do anything about it last night because it seemed like too much effort to put on my writing brain for that little, so the whole idea might be doomed. I should probably try it for a week anyway; if nothing else it will exercise my willpower until the veins of my temples throb with my psychic might! Muahahahahahaha!

Or, you know, something like that.

* * *

I was failing to mention this before, for fear of being mocked, but a) it's Friday, the right time to mention such things, and b) it's my fate in life to get mocked, so I shouldn't make it worse by trying to avoid it.

In the Amazon shipment I gloated about on Monday, I got two anime videos I ordered more-or-less at random: Jungle de Ikou and Maze. Okay, not entirely random: they appealed to my low sense of amusement when I saw them in the VIZ catalog, because I am a low sort of parasite.

Jungle de Ikou is a 3-OAV series about a schoolgirl whose archaeologist father brings her a freaky-looking idol from New Guinea, which ends up getting her mixed up with all sorts of disreputable gods and spirits. Fortunately (or not) one of them teaches her the extremely embarrassing dance too summon the power of the flower spirit Mii, who is... Look, she's a fertility goddess. They're magically symbolic. (And, to me, not that appealing; the water spirit was much more attractive). The barely-pubescent schoolgirls writhing around and wailing in (religious, really!) ecstasy was kind of disturbing, but otherwise it was entertainingly silly.

I can't say as much about Maze because although I attempted to get the first tape, I ended up with one from the middle of the series (mzrfrgrratzn weasels don't put anything useful like NUMBERS on the tape sleeves grrrr). Overall, it was much like Slayers (not surprising; some of the same people did it) only with more nakedness and sex. The title character has, for unexplained reasons, the problem that she turns from a cute, somewhat shy girl to a rampaging male hormonedog at sundown, which is not considered entirely bad by her gang of sidekicks (I forget their names, so I just think of them as The Black Leather Chick, The Princess Chick, The Chick With Clothes, The Big Guy, and The Old Guy). Oh, and she can conjure a mecha for when there's a big fight scene.

I've arranged to have Angie score fansubs of the whole series for me when she visits Soula and Ray this weekend, so I will be able to write a fuller review later.

* * *

Angie just came to my cube to rant about the flamingly stupid Falwell-Robertson thing. I hope someone noticeable makes a public statement to the effect that the bastards who flew those planes probably got almost exactly the same speech before they set out. Not that it will help, since those mentally and emotionally crippled by religion won't be able to do the comparison, but it would make me feel better.

Getting to rant at me seemed to make Angie feel better, anyway. There are benefits to working with friends.

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13 September 2001 - Thursday

Okay, and then some people fail to suck like Jeremy Glick, Thomas Burnett, and the other passengers on United Air 93. I wish there were more people in the world that willing to... make sacrifices for the benefit of others, I guess is the most general way to state it. I don't know that more people like that would have prevented or even ameliorated Tuesday's atrocity (maybe the passengers on the other flights did try, but failed; no way to tell, now), but certainly the world as a whole would be much better off.

I hope I'm never in a situation where I have to make a decision like that, but if I am, I hope I can do the right thing.

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12 September 2001 - Wednesday

Today's contribution to the fight against suckage: I donated a third of my Political-Industrial Complex BribeTM to the Red Cross, using Amazon's handy suck-it-right-out-of-your-wallet-over-the-net feature, which I think was an amazingly cool thing for them to set up.

I don't know what I'll do with the other two-thirds of my PICB. I'm holding off on the Taliban thing since there's now a possibility that the US government, to whom I have already given way more than $200, will take care of that problem. Perhaps I should donate it to the EFF or Peacefire or some other group trying to keep the US from being crushed beneath the corporate jackboot (you know, the one with a big "IP" in hobnails on the sole), so that the US will remain prosperous and I can afford to continue paying people to save the world for me.

Speaking of saving the world, I should point out that although I'm usually to be found in the "People Suck" corner, I know that it's also the case that people don't suck, or suck only through apathy. The problem is that the minority of people who do suck destroy entire cities, while the people who don't suck have their hands full just trying to clean up the mess. :(

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11 September 2001 - Tuesday

Day that will live in infamy, hijacked airliners, World Trade Center, Pentagon, 10^5 dead. Okay, now you know which day in history this is, if you happen to be reading this in the distant future.

I don't seem to be as traumatized by today's events as other people, which I expect is partly because I've never been to NYC or DC and don't have family or friends there, but mostly, I've concluded after poking into both corners of my shallow soul, because I never really expected anything better of the world. Other people seem to have been badly cut by the fragments of their faith in human nature, but I've always, or at least for all of my life that I admit to, known that humans as a species aren't competent at anything more complex than hunter-gathering, and maybe even that.

The current debate (on TooMUSH and apparently in the world media) is "bin Ladan: did he or didn't he?". I sort of hope he did and we can prove it, because that would mean the Taliban lied flat out, and they so need to be crushed. (Sure, there are plenty of governments just as bad, but you have to start somewhere (why no, I don't believe in national sovereignty as a moral right)). However, although I tend to believe that Jane's has pretty reputable speculation, I agree that it has not been even vaguely proven that he has (to the best of my knowledge), and that it would be both wrong and unuseful to send the hit squads after him at this point. Not that I expect considerations of either ethics or real utility to hamper the workings of our fine and almost elected government, mind you.

"Okay," you say, "enough bitching. What did you do to help?" As a matter of fact, I went down to the Stanford Medical School Blood Center with Angie, Tara, and Ambar, and gave blood. Fortunately, Ambar had made us an appointment and otherwise been organized, so we didn't end up in the interminable line. As a first-time donor, I was interested in the process, but it turned out to be a relatively simple matter of giant AMA-approved trained mosquitoes and throbbing industrial vacuum pumps. Whether because I didn't expect any problems and so didn't stress, or just because I am a large, healthy, juicy parasite, I didn't have any of the aftereffects they eyed me for. I didn't even laugh when they got to the "Have you had sexual contact with people of type X, Y, or Z?" part of the quiz. As reward for my restraint, they gave me a spiffy green tentacle-wrapping, which I wore until it annoyed me so much that I threw it away (about half the medically-recommended time, but I'm not terribly prone to leakage).

I didn't get the "Kiss me, I gave blood today" sticker, because, well, see above.

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10 September 2001 - Monday

I'm thinking of putting a comment system on this page; just a CGI with two text entry boxes or something equally rudimentary, but I dunno if anyone would care enough to make it worthwhile. I'd ask for comments, but, well. :)

* * *

Finally, Writing Night! Well, okay, I only really skipped last week, but the lame gaming spoo I produced the week before that doesn't really count. Tonight I have written 1200 words of Transmundane 5, and also pilfered several ideas to use for another writing project from Kit's magic head. And I did all this with a fresh Amazon shipment singing its siren song from the next room!

* * *

Terra Stix aren't quite as addictive as the sweet potato chips, but still definitely menacing.

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9 September 2001 - Sunday

Despite being completely lethargic and useless all morning, today I have successfully hunted the wild grocery and dragged its corpse back to my lair, converted unused floor into space to put some of the accumulated crap of my materialistic lifestyle, and shown disk 2 of Ceres: Celestial Legend to Marith, Rebecca, and Harold. (I have a Theory about Ceres, but I won't spoil. Anyway, I might be wrong.)

The bad news is that when I undoublestack my paperbacks, they will exactly fill the three bookcases allotted to them; when I move all my hardcover and otherwise large books onto the two bookcases set aside for them, they will fill them completely; and when I finally shelve the backlog comics I bagged several weeks ago (ignoring the ones that have accumulated since), they will overflow the last bookcase. Doom.

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8 September 2001 - Saturday

Last night I saw Pacific Overtures performed for the first time (although I recognized a surprising amount of it from having heard the soundtrack played by various friends at various times, without having really paid attention). Since the other two Sondheim musicals I've seen were about how annoying it is to be single while all your friends are being lovey-dovey at each other and how stupid and doomed love is, one about historic doom couldn't help but compare favorably, though my more musical-experienced friends had great scorn for the production. In fact, the singing was of sufficiently poor quality that the lyrics were sometimes difficult to make out, but overall I enjoyed it, and now I get to feel all cultured and stuff (yum, yogurt!).

I did have to think, though, "How could this be translated to SF?" So it's the middle of the 24th century, science is not so much dead as complete, the carrying capacity of the solar system has been exactly determined and population has remained at that level for two hundred years, stability and peace have been achieved. Suddenly, a sphere of incandescent gas materializes in Saturn's Trojan point and begins transmitting demands in simple bit-mapped 2D images... Okay, this is actually not an unusual plot. It may point up one distinction between normal people and heroes, though: when confronted with an out-of-context problem (phrase from Iain Banks's Excession), normal people flail around, hide their heads in the sand, or poison their sons; heroes develop a context and at least try to deal with the problem.

Or perhaps it all boils down to the pithy epigram, "Stability is unstable".

* * *

Tonight, I have forgiven Kit the remainder of her debt from the money I lent her to drool on Peter Wingfield at some point in the shadows of ancient history, on condition that she use the money to reduce the total amount of doom in the world. Or something like that. She thought it was a good idea, anyway, and didn't mock me even when I explained that when I said she should randomly pick a kid to sponsor, I meant she could pick the youngest female Ethiopian on the list.

Next, I must parlay the $300 bribe the Political-Industrial complex tried to foist off on me into the complete overthrow of the Taliban.

It's, er, to ensure a better supply of high-quality brains for the future. Yah, that's it.

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6 September 2001 - Thursday

At long last, the Elixir Vitae is mine! Muahahahahahahahahahaha!

(Okay, if you want to be boring you can say, "Oh, they finally got around to refilling the soda machines". Hmph.)

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5 September 2001 - Wednesday

Monday night, I watched anime. Tuesday night, I watched anime. Thursday night, I will get new comics (though I will not game, because, as always, scheduling conducted by randomly buttonholing involved people FAILED MISERABLY (not that I'm bitter or anything)). Therefore, tonight I should be writing.

Well, it sounded good in theory...

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3 September 2001 - Monday

Today was only marginally less useless than the past two days, but it was less indolent, since I had to ride the train to Millbrae and back, and then lug groceries home (fortunately, Safeway is located conveniently close to the train station). Then, there was spontaneous anime gathering to watch Ceres: Celestial Legend. It doesn't follow the manga as closely as Fushigi Yuugi did, but is a lot closer than many other serieseses. And is good, of course!

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2 September 2001 - Sunday

Well, that was a thoroughly unsatisfying sleep-like experience. :(

Since I woke up at a couple of points, I must have dozed off at least occasionally, but so far as I can recall, I spent the entire eight and half or nine hours tossing and turning in a vain attempt to sleep. Bleah and double bleah.

I feel more or less okay now, but. Triple bleah!

* * *

Now I have read Shoggoth Cacciatore. My brain will never be the same again. Especially not after "Super Digital Nekronomi Pals are Zing!". (I wonder if this story and Pokéthulhu are causally connected, but finding out would require talking to Mark McLaughlin and I'm not brave enough.) I am grieved that Shoggoth Cacciatore is sold out and I can't make you buy it, but it's probably best for the world as a whole that way.

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1 September 2001 - Saturday

Wow, it's September already. I hope there wasn't anything I had been planning to do during August...

In an inauspicious start to the month, I slept in until after 14:00 today. Since I had no plans for the day to begin with, this hasn't caused any actual problems, but I do feel slightly groggy from excess sleep, and it's a very alarming amount of indolence. Ah well. I have a long weekend in which to bludgeon my sleep pattern back to normal.

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This month's Analog's editorial is on the Great Fallacy of uploading/braintaping/teleportation-by-FTP/any other method of escaping the particular amalgamation of atoms you were born with.

That I phrase it that way should pretty clear indicate how I and Mr Schmidt differ, since you already don't have many, if any of the same atoms you were born with, but to be clear: Schmidt's position is that any process of making a copy of Joe's mind+brain, whether you do it as an exact atom-by-atom copy or a neuron-by-neuron copy or a completely abstract functional copy on completely different hardware, does not produce Joe as output. What you get may have all of Joe's memories, all of Joe's personality, a personal sense of continuity with Joe's past life, etc, but is not (according to Schmidt) Joe. He doesn't come right out and say it, but phrases like "an extremely elaborate monument to himself" lead me to believe that he doesn't think the output of the copying process would even be a person.

Schmidt's position only addresses one part of the Great Uploading Debate (familiar to anyone who's read sci.nanotech in the past fifteen years): the philosophical. This makes it much harder to argue concretely, since we lack good definitions for such taken-for-granted concepts as "person" and "identity". Nevertheless, I disgaree with Schmidt's position.

There are many counterarguments one might make ("Suppose I freeze Joe solid, so all chemical processes stop, and then revive him. Is he still Joe?"; "Suppose that, one at a time, I replace each of Joe's neurons with a new one. Is he still Joe? If not, when did he stop being Joe?"), but my preferred one is this: we know that innate human ideas of space, time, motion, energy, danger, desireability, intelligence, and pretty much anything else you can name are appropriate to scavenging apes on the savannahs of Africa, but ignore essentially the entire universe (no matter how you measure it). Why should our instinctive notions of identity be given any more credence? To say that identity must come always in packages of exactly 1 is just as silly as to say that it must always come 1 per physical instantiation.

My position is that both the copy and the original are Joe (to the extent of the fidelity of the copy, but we say Joe is still Joe even though he's doubtless quite different than he was at half his present age). If you destroy one branch and let the other go one, you have both killed and not killed Joe. If you destructively scan the original and only set the copy going after some time (The Enemy Stars, anyone?), you have suspended Joe's existance just as if he had never been copied but had been frozen down for some period of time. Better make sure he signed the waiver, but it's still Joe. And this isn't even touching the possibilities of editing copies.

Think big: it's the future now.


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