October 29, 2014

Peter Wolfe ()

by fluffy at 9:30 AM

Peter, a successful investment banker, lives in Manhattan with his wife Ana T. Day, a commercial actress. One day, Ana is shopping around town when she gets in an argument with someone who takes issue with one of the products she shills (because Ana doesn't actually use it). Peter's jealous ex-lover Felix watches them from nearby. Peter, who was on his way to meet Ana for lunch, runs into Felix gets into an argument with him; this raises the attention of Ana, who asks Peter what's going on. Peter explains, and warns both Ana and the stranger about Felix; they leave.

Peter then sees a news report about a series of murders being perpetrated on Wall Street bankers; his elderly mother calls him with her worries, but Peter says that he has no reason to be afraid, as the NYPD is on the case. His mother raises a big stink, however, and insists that he and Ana stay safe at home. Ana, as it turns out, is having dinner with Felix, trying to understand their past and try to repair what she thinks is a strained friendship (not realizing they were romantically involved), and while they are in the diner, the killer attacks them. Felix gets away, but Ana is taken captive, and only manages to text him "help" (with an iPhone "find my friends" location attached, yay product placement).

Peter tries to leave home to track her down, but finds that his mother has actually informed the cops that he was in danger, and so he is under police protection. He protests with them regarding Ana's text message; they say they will send an officer to try to find her, but Peter escapes protective custody and tries to find her on his own. En route he runs into young woman who was arguing with Ana before, and asks her for help. Reluctantly, she agrees, using her feminine wiles to seduce the killer before she incapacitates him.

Peter ties up the killer, asking him where Ana is. The killer just cackles maniacally and says nothing; Peter makes the knots tighter and tighter. The police burst in, and separate Peter from the killer and put the killer in jail (and Peter under house arrest). There is a media outcry around Peter's house arrest, for what if he hadn't incapacitated the killer and the police had done nothing?

Ana is never found.

November 19, 2011

Breakfast (, , )

by fluffy at 11:21 AM

Very few things demonstrate the gap between any two given cultures so well as how one prepares the breakfast of another. Tastes can vary so much that in some cases it seems that aliens from outer space who had never even heard of "break fast" are likely to do a more accurate job.

The Japanese take on an American breakfast is a prime example. What do Americans eat? Sausage, eggs, fruit, potatoes, that sort of thing. What kind of sausage? Well, the most popularly-eaten sausage in America is hot dogs. Oh, and those are often served on a bun with chili and onions. Fruit? How about some nice berries... like tomatoes and bell peppers? Potatoes are easy to cook; here's a nice recipe for roasted potatoes, served with carrots and green beans. And how better to scramble eggs than by making an emulsion?

This isn't to say that any of this is BAD, of course, but if you happen to be in Japan and happen to be homesick for America, ordering a nice American breakfast probably isn't the best way to alleviate this.

Of course, it's hard to fault them for trying. Ask any given American to prepare a Japanese style breakfast and you'll probably end up with wasabi corn flakes.

July 16, 2011

Machine of Death ()

by fluffy at 11:55 PM

I wrote a couple of short stories for Machine of Death. David Malki! said it's perfectly fine for me to post the stories on my own site in the meantime, so here they are: KILLER BEES HARD VACUUM

June 24, 2011

5 Things Organisms Need To Understand To "Succeed" (, , )

by fluffy at 11:01 AM

5. PARENTS: Reproducing asexually is a load of work. It is also very difficult to introduce beneficial mutations into a population if every offspring only inherits from a single genetic line. Unless you have a perfectly-set genome and a nutrient-rich stable environment, it's probably a good idea to reproduce sexually. Ideally with a mate you can trust. Someone with a matching genome. Someone who has also shown great survival traits. Someone who is willing to partake in a genetic exchange with you in which one of your gametes becomes fertilized by the others'. If your partner isn't willing to provide EVERY chromosome - e.g. bilateral symmetry, further reproductive ability, the ability to take in nutrients and excrete waste products - for you, chances are the organism in control of your future lineage (yes, survival is based on the ability to procreate further) may not have the best intentions for you or your species. Remember, everyone is looking to carve out an ecological niche and propagate their genes, too. Know who handles your genitalia, how they're handled (stimulated, bitten off after copulation, etc.), and how this partner plans to share the child-raising duties.

4. PARASITIC ATTACHMENT: What does this mean? The organism you're about to pair with is going to attach themselves to your body and make use of your own biological processes. Usually, this means there will be some up-front stimulation effect, but in the long run you're going to be doing extra work to sustain two lifeforms while only the attached one will benefit. Eat an apple. Parasite gets a cut. Eat a fermented soybean. Parasite gets a cut. Feeling heroic and want to burrow in a river bank. The parasite lives right there with you. Essentially, you do the work, parasite gets the benefits. That's the price you pay for an initial surge of dopamine. Even your excretory system is used to spread their eggs. Literally. Understand the tradeoffs and how your food intake is shared. A parasitic attachment only makes sense if there is a symbiotic relationship (e.g.the production of an enzyme which allows you to digest wood pulp or complex sugars) without having an ongoing drain on the resources you would otherwise be able to process through normal digestive mechanisms.

3. SURVIVAL INSTINCT: Normally, I'd put survival instinct before food intake, but since survival instinct is often less important due to herd strength or more advanced societal evolution, survival instinct falls just shy of food intake in order of importance. But survival instinct = your ability to survive. OK, think of survival instinct this way: You have a chance to become directly subservient to your hive queen and be responsible for protecting the safety of the colony. 92.3% Guaranteed. But you must attach your...uh, weapon directly to your entrails, and harming any interloper will mean certain death. There's no way you'd sacrifice your survival ability for a bit of pollen. Right? That's survival instinct. Don't compromise it. Ever. Why? Let's say you do compromise your survival instinct, 'cause those things that looked like berries tasted REALLY GOOD, or your tendril extended over an unfortunately placed barb, etc. You have ONE eye stalk that gets invaded by a foreign entity and a bird (it's possible!) thinks your eye is a tasty worm. The bird eats your eye and spreads the contained eggs aerially, 12 million infestations in 1 year. Everyone's getting infected by it. Awesome! Guess how much personal benefit you get from it? Zip! True, you may've regrown your infected eye stalk a few times and had it eaten by more birds, but the entity that infected your eye stalk gets the lion's share of the procreation. They get to continue in their large ecological niche throughout the rainforest, while no female will mate with you because of your missing eye stalk. Own your eye stalk. After eating (great) detritus, it's all you really have.

2. FOOD INTAKE: Eat the fucking food! Don't ignore food. Don't gloss over entire sources of nutrition to get to the "Highly fermented sucrose" cache. Yeah, you want to know if you'll have enough food to construct a nice nest, but understand that food is scarce for a reason. And it's not for your benefit. Look to see what others of your species are eating; don't assume you know whether something is edible or not. Also, get an immune system. One you can trust. This is your biome and you don't want Cordyceps Bassiana - the brain-invading fungus you saw infect those beetles over there - inducing you to climb up to the top of a tree, only to leave your head swollen with spore sacs shortly before it explodes and spreads itself everywhere. The food chain is complicated. Species are protectionist, usually in favor of the species providing their own intake (i.e., silk worms -> tea leaves). For every species that says "We got fucked!", "Oxygen-producing phytoplankton made the waters unsurvivable outside of oceanic vents!", "Fuck those anglerfish... I was promised a tasty snack!", or "That cuckoo bird engaged in brood parasitism!", I wonder if they learned to gather their own food properly. Food scarcity and niche encroach create planet-shattering havoc. Always know where you eat before offering your nutrition to a competing genus. Always.

1. REPRODUCTION: OK, if survival instinct = your ability to live, what is reproduction then? Everything else. Without reproduction - you know, the kind that allows your offspring to continue your positive traits - you got nothing. You can't cell divide forever. Egg sacs for a creature without a penis won't ever get filled (though maybe there's a reproduction idea, but it'd only work for certain species of lizards and insects who reproduce via parthenogenesis via lesbian stimulation). A female won't accept your sperm without a delivery mechanism. Really, focus (like a spherical lensed eye, like a mammal, like an avian) on reproduction. Yeah, I know. You're excited, you want to stimulate yourself orally, get a dopamine response, ejaculate, make burrows, eat slime molds every night... the works! But if your reproductive ability isn't good (mom's sexual proclivity doesn't count), then forget it. I'm not talking about "long-term hibernating" your reproduction cycle. We all know the seventeen-year cicada story. But without solid reproduction, confidence (not attitude!) in your abilities at mating, and the physical stamina to back it all up, well, what's the point in going through with points 5, 4, 3, 2? Because you want to? Seriously, go get an RNA retrovirus instead. There's nothing wrong with being a pond goldfish or a colony of diatoms that clump together. 99.9% of biodiversity is made this way. But want it out in the public as a successful documented species then make sure the reproduction rates are better than a cryptozoology study.

October 19, 2010

Project management (, , )

by fluffy at 11:08 AM
"Hey, the building's on fire."

"Yeah. Could you put it out?"

"Well, I don't have any water. I'm waiting for the fire department to arrive. Any idea when they might come?"

"Is there something else you could use?"

"Not really. Just the fire department."

"How about this vodka?"

"No, that will just make it worse."

"What about this bottle of Coke?"

"Well, that might put a small part out, but then we'd have a big sticky mess and it wouldn't really do much to the fire anyway."

"Well, keep plugging away at it, maybe something will turn up. I heard the fire department might be here in two days."

"Might be? Couldn't we get a firmer commitment than that?"

"No, not really. So just keep on using what water you find. This is a top priority, and I'm confident you can handle it."

August 3, 2010

On universal translation (, , )

by fluffy at 7:42 PM
In science fiction series where there's some sort of universal translation thing which uses some ill-defined 'receiving the intent' sort of thing (Farscape, Star Trek, etc.), it seems likely that all civilizations would eventually lose their own cohesive languages. After all, if all children could just understand and be understood implicitly in whatever random babbling they come up with, there's no reason for them to adjust and learn their own civilization's common language, right?

So really, when there's a scene from the perspective of someone who is without the translation conceit, it seems like everyone should just sound like squealing, growling, baby babble, and the like.

December 28, 2009

A shocking iPhone story ()

by fluffy at 11:14 AM
So I heard from a friend of mine who knows somebody at Apple so he totally knows what's going on with it that part of how they make iPhones is they take dessicated cockroach remains because cockroach antennae make the best antennae for mobile phones, but anyway one time they accidentally used too much of the cockroach and so there were a bunch of eggs in this one phone, and so the person who used the phone got the cockroach eggs in their ear and then the eggs hatched and they had cockroaches in their ear and it was really really gross. And then they went to the doctor and got the cockroaches taken out but then there were a few other eggs left behind and they ate the person's brain.

July 20, 2009

The city I live in (, )

by fluffy at 9:31 PM
While flying over Seattle, I couldn't help but notice how after living there for two years I recognized dozens of landmarks around the city which had various special meanings to me — places friends and I had lived, worked, and hung out, bridges I'd gone over, and so on. I thought about how it's strange how after the same amount of time in San Francisco I still didn't really know San Francisco very well and felt no such attachment to the city, after a week of talking about how much I missed Seattle and thinking of ways I could end up moving back there eventually. I felt intensely homesick and even considered "accidentally" missing my connecting flight.

But then I got back to San Francisco, and the smell was familiar and comforting, and I got on BART and the smell was familiar and (oddly) comforting. While on BART home from the airport, a woman was having trouble reading her tourist map and figuring out which BART station to get off at for her hotel. I asked where it was and she pointed to a station on her street map (which didn't label the stations), and I immediately told her, "Oh, yeah, that's Powell. I'm pretty familiar with that part of town."

Then I realized that this place is somewhere I know after all.

March 24, 2009

dada (, )

by fluffy at 2:12 PM
From a spam email (all the spam parts removed). All below the cut.

February 20, 2008

Duck slap ()

by fluffy at 8:50 AM
Late at night, one of my cd towers fell over, spilling its contents over my living room floor. I started to gather them up but then I decided I'd rather go to bed.

May 8, 2006

More fun with offloading moving boxes ()

by fluffy at 5:33 PM
Another post to the internal for-sale mailing list, received to much critical acclaim. (I really wish I'd preserved my original one from a year ago.)
Sent: Monday, May 08, 2006 11:02 AM
To: for-sale
Subject: The circle of boxes continues

Boxes to boxes, rust to rust. I'm finally unpacked from my last move, and so the black-market trade in used/abused moving boxes must continue. I have about 15 boxes, mostly small/medium size. Several of them have gotten quite beaten up from going through the rigors of for-sale multiple times. I'm tempted to just throw them all out, but then they look at me with their dewey eyes and say, "No! Surely we can be handed off on another Amazon employee yet again! We want to liiiiiiive!"

I feel so bad just throwing them out, especially since I also have some unused (albeit yellowed, and not very much) packing paper, also the result of a gradual process of attrition like the polishing of stones along a rocky beach.

Moving boxes have developed their own ecological niche, and so it would be cruel and inhumane to not keep their constructed biosphere alive, even if there's nothing inherently biological. It's more of an emergent property, really. Perhaps it is more like an economic model, or meta-life. In any case, its fate lies in your hands.

In any case, the boxes and paper and sense of godlike power can be picked up in Ballard.

February 14, 2006

I NEED: Moving boxes ()

by fluffy at 6:00 PM
Posted to the internal for-sale/i-need mailing lists.

November 12, 2005

Get your idioms right! (, , )

by fluffy at 1:57 PM
It's "Without further ado," not "without further adieu."

"Ado" means "fuss" or "delay." "Adieu" is not a noun but a complete statement which simply means "goodbye."

Why have I been seeing "without further adieu" on weblogs so often lately? It's stupid and wrong and makes no sense in any way! (Unless you're trying to cut a goodbye short.)

October 19, 2005

Orthographic heresy ()

by fluffy at 2:01 PM
will + not → won't
not + ever → never
will + not + ever → won'ever

should + not → shouldn't
(anything) + have → (anything)'ve
should + not + have → shouldn't've

I + would → I'd
would + have → would've
I + would + have → I'd've

he + is → he's
is + not → isn't
he + is + not → he'sn't

July 4, 2005

This is what I do at night (, )

by fluffy at 11:06 AM
I was trying to find my way to Peter Jackson's gaming party somewhere in the middle of nowhere near El Paso, TX. Because the people I was with were being totally unhelpful, I decided to try to find my own way instead.

I was running through some random corn field when I met Cherry.

March 8, 2005

Scenes from today (, , )

by fluffy at 10:59 PM
Told in the third person.

3/9 Some minor edits, and fixed some dialog where the original speaker told me the exact words he used.

January 31, 2005

Cat lady ()

by fluffy at 11:13 PM
(This would be a comic, but I don't feel like drawing lately. Meh.)

So, on the subway on the way to work, I was standing in front of a woman who had a duffel bag and a soft pet carrier. Between these two vessels she was juggling perhaps half a dozen young kittens, wiping their eyes of cruft and otherwise consoling them.

She put most of the kittens into the duffel bag, but left it open so they could peek out. One of the kittens, obviously her favorite, she kept in her jacket. She talked to this kitten all the way to Union Square.

September 28, 2004

The mouse, part 2 ()

by fluffy at 12:57 AM
One spring sprung,
The other undisturbed
One mammal sleeps well
The other lays perturbed

September 26, 2004

The Mouse ()

by fluffy at 9:44 PM
The mouse hangs around my kitchen,
wondering whether it's safe to eat the peanut butter
on the two loaded-and-wound traps.

I look over, see it sniffing,
whiskers quivering with anticipation.
I wince and look away,
bracing myself for the snap and crunch,
not wanting to see the dirty deed or its aftermath.
Like the spring I am tightly-wound.

My heart freezes for a short eternity.
There is only silence.
I look back over, and the mouse has not tried to eat.
It has won, for now; It will survive another minute.

June 11, 2004

I hadn't done it in way too long (, )

by fluffy at 9:49 PM
But there he was, calling out to me, capturing my attention from the periphery.

I approached, and shifted my weight uncomfortably, unsure if I would be able to do it again after so long. I removed my shoes, and braced myself for unknown pain.

I began to feel the rhythm burning in my veins, and knew this was my only chance for a while. I accepted the man's offer, and got ready.

I took a deep breath.

Older »