Letter from Rick & Morty party to Rick & Morty parties

Rigaroga intertable letter Rick and Morty party to Rick and Morty parties 3aug2022

Read aloud in a Morty voiceover for the party to hear whilst they read the note:

“Hey, dummies! Sorry you got stuck doing the lame rerun show, but here’s a little something to help you not screw it up this time.—With pity, from your past, original selves.”

Along with this note is a Potion of Lesser Healing and a set of mint-condition Funko Pop! figures matching each character in the party.

OOC

(This is an in-game scroll left behind by the characters from my D&D 5e Solo with Rick and Morty actual play series, at my table, to two parties of characters playing the same characters in the same box set, but at different tables and different times,. This is asynchronous intertable / crosstable play, all using the Dungeons & Dragons vs Rick and Morty box set from Wizards of the Coast.)

Simón Mijares commented on my
D&D 5e Solo – Rick and Morty – The Lost Dungeon of Rickedness: Big Rick Energy – Episode 0 video, asking about the old links to my D&D Beyond character sheets for the box set, which had been disabled when I cancelled by subscription. I suggested we talk in email about it.

In email, we talked more about running the adventure and I realized that, since I wasn’t using any characters I could just activate the Rick & Morty sheets for the characters I had been playing in the actual play. (I had been working on comic-accurate versions of each character in the box set as well as sheets for the various version of Rick, like Gee-Willikers Petalbutt, Winterblade, Wizard Rick, Wizard-Fighter Rick, and so on. But, I never finished those, and don’t have enough free active slots to make them active anyway!) So, at least for now, the links in the video description work again, but I also sent an archive of exported PDF sheets for all my characters and the included free-to-copy pregens from the box. (There’s actually some differences, including a spelling error in a character’s name and an incorrect stat, and some other things I had to figure out, if I recall.)

Since Simón was going to be running The Lost Dungeon of Rickedness for a couple groups I also suggested including the letter above for those parties to find. (That’s it up there, that letter above. If you’re looking for it here, you missed it. This is text. That’s a graphic, with text. Go back up. I’d say you can’t miss it, but you already did. I’ll wait.) It’s just a little gift from me, across time and across tables, to Simón’s players, and to you and yours if you want it too!? Out of character you can let them know that it was me that sent it, if you want, even point them to this page after they’re done with the adventure, or just make it a weird timey-wimey mystery, as you like. If you also use this, be sure to let me know how it goes!

So, there’s the letter and a useful potion but also some useless Funko Pop! figures for the party to fight over and, I mean, if they actually figure out an awesome use for them (players always be playin’ after all), I’d love to hear it, but I added them really just for the potential chaos of having them as a red herring for the players to wonder about.

By the by, Simón let me know: “I ran the game twice this weekend an it was a blast! The first group reached around half the map. The second just reached the third room. I guess since the 2nd group was in person, there were more interruptions than the usual audio/game issues that happen in online sessions. I used the cufuc table in both cases, got to look for it on the first room! First time, Marty’s hair fell off. Second time, 12! All your organs are replaced with bees, instant death, no save! So Keth was replaced with Keeth. The potion was very well received, and they are trying to figure out what the Funkos are for. Next week we will try to finish the dungeon, so I guess they enjoy it enough. In the name of both groups, thanks for your help!”

I wanted to post about this for two reasons that I am wont to champion and think are important. The first is having creative output to show for one’s efforts. The second is that this is an example of asynchronous inter-table play, where people play with others across space and time between tables. I talk a lot about both of those all the time, so I’ll just mention them by reference here.

Voyages Map 1 Solo Rigaroga 30jul2022

Voyages Map 1 Solo Rigaroga 30jul2022

Failed offline solo run through Map 1 of Voyages by Postmark Games, a roll & write sandbox nautical adventure game.

First try, no joy. In my defense, I didn’t realize, until too late, I had to actually sell cargo at the settlements to get the star for them, not just have them accumulated in my hold, though I still did manage to sell two once I figured that out. Other than that, I might have gotten a good score, but overall I spent too much of my limited time being a tourist seeing the sights, I suspect, instead of doing the things I was there to do. I think I was treating this too much like an open world, but there’s only a limited number of ways to get those stars, and so I’d probably best get to those from the start and for real next time.

Summary for the month of July 2022

Another month, and I actually did some stuff. But, spoiler alert, probably pretty much all but the end of doing stuff again, if I’m honest.

I finished my appearance on someone else’s live stream actually playing Ironsworn: Starforged co-op. We managed 8 total episodes in the end, though the last one was only a super quick wrap-up, but we did reach a finale all in all. If you watched any of them, thanks! Moreover, I hope you enjoyed them. And, thanks to Meandeef, Dice T, and Hyenaplus for the surprise chance to play in a group. Go check ’em out, and consider giving ’em each a follow in all the places.

One realization is that for new groups playing like this, we probably should have set an expectation from the beginning around an episode goal. Both as a way of saying that we’re planning on some number of episodes, meaning that way there’s a reasonable commitment to play for a certain time, but also that there’s no lock-in to play forever without some end in sight. The idea demonstrated in the brief finale episode of having up to 10 episodes in a season and using the number of episodes completed as a progress track seems like a cool one to me. That way there’s a built-in mechanism for ending things and a prompt for finding out what happened; plus an incentive to make it to at least 6 episodes so there’s a better chance for the season to come out narratively a strong or weak hit for each character. Watch the short finale for how that worked at the table, and let me know if you end up using that idea and how it works for you!

I should mention where I’m at with that the off-hand mention that I’d post at least one video to my channel if I reach 666 subscribers on YouTube. As it stands, as I write this, I’ve got 648±. That’s still a pretty good number of new subscribers from this month for someone that’s not doing anything. At this rate, if it were to continue the same, it’ll maybe be only a month or two more before I reach the point of doing that bonus milestone video. I had some ideas of what I might do, but if you’re reading this and have thoughts about what you’d like to see for this one encore, let me know!

For some inscrutable and incomprehensible reason I updated my old looking for group page. Not that I’m actually looking. I’m totally not. Nope. But … call me maybe.

I had written a whole bunch more whiny navel-gazing BS here, but I just couldn’t stand to leave it in. No one, especially not me, wants to read myself talking about that shit. Suffice it to say, as a small time creator who’s essentially given up after feeling for too long like I’ve only been howling into the void, if you like what I’ve done, then make some noise. I can’t stand to hear myself say any more than that about it.

Oh, and, at the last minute, just under the wire, I got something in the mail. Yay!

And, that’s all there is for the foreseeable future. Unless something truly unexpected happens, I’ll probably not post again here before I reach that YouTube milestone at some point. Until then, and after that again, back to being on indefinite hiatus!

Mail call 28jul2022

Let’s open this package that’s arrived at the secret lair!

Rigaroga Hrmtc IO Relics of Rajavihara Montalo's Revenge package

Rigaroga Hrmtc IO Relics of Rajavihara Montalo's Revenge package open

Bubble wrap! Classic.

Rigaroga Hrmtc IO Relics of Rajavihara Montalo's Revenge box sides

It’s backer fulfillment for the Montalo’s Revenge expansion to Relics of Rajavihara, a solo tabletop puzzle adventure game by Joe Slack from Crazy Like A Box.

Rigaroga Hrmtc IO Relics of Rajavihara Montalo's Revenge box contents

And, it’s got 30 levels across three caverns that come after the core game, plus some corrected items to replace misprints in the original.

Check out my Relics of Rajavihara playlist for an idea of how cool the core games is, and now it’s even better!

Um, well, at least, as soon as I *cough* finish all the puzzles in the core set.

Summary for the month of June 2022

Another month, and I did some stuff. Mainly I did one thing several times, with a little variety in how I did it.

I appeared on someone else’s live stream actually playing Ironsworn: Starforged co-op. I also did some intertable communication, as I’m wont to do, and that I advocate people do too in their own games with others, between the character I play in that co-op game and a character I played in my solo game. As of the end of this month, the co-op playlist has about 20 hours of actual play archived, so consider checking it out.

As I write this, the amusing distraction of watching the subscriber count for my channel on YouTube fall trippingly up
toward 666 has been two steps forward and one step back. There’s progress as people hitch a ride along but also people fall off the wagon along the way. The current total is 635±. That’s about 10 more since last month, which if that trend holds there’s another 3 months until goal, but it does seem to have slowed down. I’ll still post something new to my channel if I get to 666, but it feels pretty remote to me still. Kinda strange that the trend has slowed after I started participating in an actual play, where one might have thought it would pick up a bit, but what do I know: I’ve never figured out why people do or don’t follow or watch anything I do anyway. I vaguely have another goal in mind, ready for after that possible future milestone, but I’m mostly at this point just amused watching what happens.

Also, don’t forget that I’m actually kinda active at @[email protected] over in the ‘verse, so follow along if you’ve already got an account, or create an account on any instance to join in!

That’s it. It’s something, at least?

Instant Message from Ragnar to Astrid

Starforged intertable correspondence Ragnar to Astrid 13jun2022

Rag:

Thanks for sending that info! GTG I’m stuck in a precursor server room!

Ast:

Yikes! Have you tried turning it off and on again?

OOC

(This is an in-game instant message sent from my character Ragnar in a co-op actual play to my Astrid, a character in my solo playthrough, at another table, so this is intertable / crosstable play, both using the Ironsworn: Starforged system.)

There’s not necessarily any in-game content or activity given in this exchange, just something funny. Though, I have the conversation available to me as character information, for both characters, which I can use, if it comes up.

Email from Astrid to Ragnar

Email from Astrid to Ragnar 5jun22

Hey, Rag!

I looked to see if I could find anything about precursor maps and vault configurations mentioned anywhere.

I did find a reference to Sanguis Pyre sector. There’s some kind of deep space structure there. It has a practical function of some kind, so I wonder if that might be the kind of thing you’re seeking. Might be related to your vault configurations!

I’ll send you what information I have about that so you can decide whether to check it out or not.

Good luck!

OOC

(This is an in-game letter sent from my Astrid, a character in my solo playthrough to my character in a co-op actual play, at another table, so this is intertable / crosstable play, both using the Ironsworn: Starforged system.)

I used d100 roles on the Sector Name, (Precursor) Location, (Precursor) Scale, and (Precursor) Form oracles to develop keywords to include in this email, and then riffed the rest based on where Ragnar’s table is at, right now. This is something that can be kept in reserve for use when a role on those tables might be needed next, or as the starter for a new plot line, whatever is most useful.

Summary for the month of May 2022

I have not posted a summary since October 2021 where I talk about throwing in the towel. After that, I was still and only posting Omnium Gatherum, but stopped doing even that in April.

Since then, I’ve also completely left big social media as Rigaroga altogether, even deleted my vestigial re-created account on birdsite. However, I did relatively recently create a new Rigaroga account for myself to contain my geeky things on a particular instance of Hometown, a fork of Mastodon, in the ‘verse. Join me there, from any instance in the ‘verse, if you want.

Furthermore, if you have any interest in more Omnium Gatherum, you could check out Omnium Gatherum which is also on my instance, a raw, eclectic firehose of things that might end up in curated OG posts on the Hermetic Library blog exclusive to library Patrons for a year, after which I make them public.

Also, out of the blue, I’ve started to participate in a new weekly co-op Ironsworn: Starforged actual play, and we’ve got several sessions so far, maybe more for as long as we keep going. Our current schedule is to livestream Saturdays at 3pm US/Central over on Mean Deef and Dice T‘s twitch channels, if you want to watch. Only the first session has shown up on YouTube, but the others will theoretically appear there too. I also sat down with one of my co-players for a conversation I’ve posted.

I currently am hovering around 629± subscribers on YouTube. I seem beyond any expectation to still be gaining a few subscribers each month. I’ve been telling myself that if I somehow reach 666 subscribers at some point in the indeterminate future between now and whenever I die, that I’d come back and post at least one more video to mark the milestone. However, I have no plans to come back on the regular atm, either way, just to set expectations. But, if you want that kind of thing, and aren’t subscribed, then do the thing.

That’s all I’ve got for now, and that’s pretty much all that’s happened between my last update and the end of May that I can think of worth mentioning.

In conversation with streamer Dice T

I met streamer Dice T for the first time during an streamed online so-op session of Shawn Tompkin‘s Ironsworn: Starforged [Also]. In fact, I had also checked out his old Starforged module for Foundry VTT at one point in the past, before it became part of the new combined Ironsworn & Starforged module. You can check also out Dice T on YouTube, Twitter, Discord, and Mastodon. We recently had a conversation about all these things.

Take a moment to introduce yourself! Who are you?

Rigaroga Odd Order interview Dice T

My name is T. Yes, just the letter. Thank you, hippie parents. I am part jock, part punk, and entirely geek. I am a former IT professional and former tabletop game shop owner who simplified their life (“The Purge”) to free up as much time as possible to focus on the gaming world. I think I realized in my mid-40s that I was never going to outgrow gaming, so I decided to embrace it. This content/development side of things is entirely new to me.

Funny enough, my paternal grandfather had only an initial for his middle name, which became the initial of middle names for both my father and I. I never thought that might be at all common, but here we are with two cases! I don’t think I can come up with any others, can you? I mean, aside from fictional characters where their names aren’t fully revealed, or something.

Oddly enough, my brother sold new cars for Dodge/Jeep. He had someone come into the dealership about 10 years ago, buying a car, and his first name was T. He even sent me a picture of his driver’s license because he couldn’t believe it, himself. And it’s entirely possible that he was named T because someone that met me loved my name. I have no idea. But I can say that in my entire life, I can count on one hand how many times someone did not inquire about my name when hearing about it. But even funnier, my brother’s name is Jay. And yes, he got the full name with three whole letters. LOL.

Names are weird. I used to go by my middle name but in my late 20s I started going by my first name because I got tired of explaining my wacky middle name all the time to new people I’d rarely see again, as opposed to being a kid where I’d generally have at least a year with the same people in school.

When I stopped using my middle name, I ran into some strange issues that I’d never had before. There was one time I was flying from Phoenix, with a layover in Chicago, and then to Seattle. When I checked in at the kiosk, my ticket was entirely wrong, but I got it sorted, I thought. When I arrived in Seattle my luggage did not. Turns out there was another John Bell flying a few hours later that day on the same carrier from Phoenix, with a layover in Chicago, and then to Seattle. The kiosk had checked me in as this other person, and the carrier held my luggage back, thinking I was them, until their flight later that day!

Oh, yeah. Twitch wouldn’t authorize my affiliation because their form would not accept one-letter first names. I had to use my middle name. This is not the first time something like that has happened and it won’t be the last.

My middle name is Michael and there was a short time when I was starting high school when I considered going by my middle name, but that was really short-lived. I’ve grown to love the uniqueness of it, and “I pity the fool” who doesn’t.

Running a brick and mortar game shop seems like it’d be fun in the abstract, but I bet on paper it wasn’t. Anything brick and mortar, let alone something in a niche. Even in the beforetimes, there’s one actual shop I’ve been to in years, and it’s functionally at least a full day of travel there and back just to get there; and attending anything at night, like a game night, there would end up being an overnight hotel stay. But I doubt I’ll ever go there again. Just like I’ll probably never ever go to a cinema again. Not just because of contagion, though that’s a thing; but I’m just not into it at all.

There were a million other things I could have invested my money into doing that were more “guaranteed” a success, so yeah, I certainly didn’t do it to get rich. And there are a hell of a lot of people out there that think that if you own a business that you must be wealthy. That could not be further from the truth and for those four years I was open, I never worked harder in my life. But I wanted to build something to build a community around and to hopefully help bring some joy to their lives like they did for me. We had an amazing role-playing community, among others, and I loved being able to provide that place where people of all walks of life could come and share adventure. From the day the doors opened, it felt like the shop was there all along. I suspect that maybe even you would have found it worth the trip. :) I will share a couple pictures of it here.

Rigaroga Odd Order Interview Dice T Stomping Grounds Game Shop 1

Rigaroga Odd Order Interview Dice T Stomping Grounds Game Shop 2

Rigaroga Odd Order Interview Dice T Stomping Grounds Game Shop 3

How’d you get started tabletop gaming?

In the summer of 1979, a neighborhood friend introduced me to Dungeons & Dragons. We played Keep on the Borderlands over and over and over. My mother supported my new habit, and a regular trickle of D&D books would follow over the next several years. I played probably until my mid-twenties and took a hiatus for about 15 years, returning back to gaming in my late 30s or early 40s.

I got into it early too. Literally bought the AD&D Monster Manual when it came out, before anything else was available! Couldn’t even play yet because the other books weren’t out. Also had a huge hiatus before getting back into it, and then another long hiatus. All along I still, through it all, kept up on some of what was going on, and throughout all of it was mostly only ever doing ‘prep as play’ by myself. First time I played 5e was a couple years ago for the Spelljammer actual play I was streaming. Anyhow, it seems like there’s a lot of people who have been on long hiatus that come back to it. I have the sense that there’s a lot of that right now in 5e going on.

I think D&D owes a lot of its success to Critical Role. That stream made D&D “socially acceptable” and practically a household name. A lot of celebrities “came out” from their D&D closet in the wake of its success, and D&D was riding the huge wave of a board game revolution. A lot of people wanted to step away from their computer and console gaming and wanted to sit down with real people again. There was a genuine nostalgia for social gaming. That wave became a tsunami for D&D and it is as popular now as it has ever been. So yeah, there are the grognards like us who are coming back to it thanks to its resurgence, but D&D specifically is certainly overwhelmed by new players, which is a great thing for the hobby.

What do you personally get out of tabletop and gaming?

I love the joy it brings others, and I love finding ways to engage others’ imaginations. Some of my favorite memories were owning Stomping Grounds Game Shop, the community that was built, and the wonderful stories of human nature that derived from there. It was a home away from home for many people. So many people forged new friendships there, and in a couple of cases, it literally saved two individuals’ lives. I will always cherish it, and while the business ultimately had to close, the community that was built there was incredibly successful and rewarding to be a part of.

Community is a big deal. I’ve been in many, and, I suppose, always been seeking it out after a fashion. The tumultuous melodrama of the green room in high school and college Theatre was a big one for me. I had a BBS community that I was involved in that was tight knit and still, but less, tumultuous. And yet, each community I was in there were dysfunctional ideas I got from them that took a long time, in each case, to process and shed. But, there’s still that seeking it out that happens. I think a lot of people are trying to find that online, in social media now more than forums and things, and I think there’s a lot that can be said about how that doesn’t work well for anyone.

I touched on that a little earlier. There is a genuine human need for direct interaction. You just cannot replicate that in the online space. Sure, it’s a very nice convenience to be able to play whenever we like, but we truly like to sit down with each other and share stories and play games. We have literally done that as a species since our inception. You can tell a lot about a culture from the games that they play; and they all did in some way, shape, or form. I think the resurgence of tabletop games is based solely on that direct interaction. It’s a base necessity of ours.

So you worked on an Ironsworn: Starforged module for Foundry VTT, and recently combined effort with another module, that supports both Ironsworn and Starforged. How’d you get started on that?

I had just discovered Ironsworn and was already a Foundry owner. I was playing and hacking Ben Straub’s Ironsworn system when the Starforged Kickstarter hit, so I decided to venture into developing a system for it. I’m an amateur coder, at best, but it turned out pretty wonderful. It actually won a Foundry Jam award on itch.io last year, which was a nice outcome. But as I said, I am an amateur coder. I outkicked my coverage and just could not devote the time supporting it long-term. So Ben’s Ironsworn system is also the home for Starforged, and he incorporated several of the features of my system that made it special.

That’s pretty cool how it worked out, and glad that your work ended up living on instead of how many projects end up going fallow. We’re using the existing system in our co-op actual play, and it seems mostly there. I got into Foundry VTT because I thought it might help me as a solo player deal with the wild chaos of paper on my desk as I played. I was never going to be a terrain and minis person, except minimal or papercraft. (If you ever find I’ve painted a mini, I’ve been replaced by an alien.) But, a lot of what I might get from minis and terrain, but would never do, I thought I could do and have through using a VTT. I’ve ended up using it less than i thought I would, but I’ve used it in a few of my solo actual plays toward the end of when I was still streaming.

I was just talking about this with the Ironsworn Foundry community yesterday. The VTT space is truly perfect for solo play but there are just not a lot of systems made for VTTs that focus on that aspect. It’s actually a space that I am looking to explore with my work. And the fact that you can play the vast majority of these games co-op really does just add to the value of the games that are designed with solo play as a focus.

For me, I find I really dislike the big two VTT systems, for aesthetic and philosophical reasons, and was really enamored with the look and feel along with how Foundry VTT enabled both publishers and creators to do what they do without having to usuriously kickback a vig to the VTT. I also really, really like how when you buy a license to something you are paying the creator (unless you’re going through the new DTRPG integration) and then download it to your own machine, or server, and have a copy of it; instead of being locked in to a vendor’s site.

Foundry really does capture the essence of a tabletop better than most. And the developers there are really focused on keeping that feeling prominent in their design. They are also always thinking ahead to keep their VTT ahead of the others. It’s amazing that Foundry has only been live for 2 years. And as someone that dabbles in streaming, its aesthetics and functionality are much appreciated. It just looks great on the screen. I even have a way to let chat roll the dice and specific tables through chat commands, so there is a lot of potential for interaction with that VTT. TLDR: The people at Foundry “get it.”

How’d you get started streaming?

Originally, my stream started out as a world-building project for 5E. At some point, I wanted to explore my world a bit more organically as some of the characters but had no idea how to do that. That’s when I stumbled upon solo RPGs and Ironsworn, specifically. During my first playthrough, I was blown away. I hadn’t felt that excited by a new game since I was that 9-year-old boy I mentioned above. It was possibly the most immersive role-playing experience I ever had. And I was immediately addicted to oracles and random tables. That system has assuredly made me a better GM, and now I love playing with 25% prepared content and 75% random content derived at the table.

I think I had a very similar reaction to playing Ironsworn. I was blown away by it, and how it managed to clearly put all the negative trash about solo play in the bin. Although I’d been only solo for years at that point, I had not ever played a system designed to enable solo to quite that level of sophistication. And, holy moley, it pretty much happened to fortuitously show up on the scene just ahead of the last of the beforetimes!

I think that Ironsworn is revolutionary. Shawn Tomkin has a way of designing his tables to inspire your imagination in ways that I have never seen. His prompts are thought-provoking, and never shoehorn you into anything. It’s amazing how many times you roll on The Oracle and the results just fit perfectly into the narrative or what you were expecting to happen. I like to call it “Horoscope Design.” I am sure you know someone that follows their horoscope pretty regularly and the common phrase you might hear from them is “This is so me!” Well, one of the dirty secrets about horoscopes is that if you read all of them, you can find “This is so me!” in all the signs. But don’t tell your friend that, especially if horoscopes genuinely seem to make them happy. Basically, it’s an illusion. The Oracles always seem to make sense because we make them make sense. That’s the genius of his design. He’s dangling your own creativity in front of you!

Did the great blip change how and what you play much?

Not directly. After closing the shop, I wanted to remain in the gaming industry. I was going to start down this path in time and was structuring my life in order to do so. It did get me to want to start streaming and exploring the writing aspect a bit sooner than I had planned, which ultimately led me down the path to Ironsworn and solo RPGs. But I think I would have found out about those eventually. I’m a pretty low-key and solitary guy, anyhow, so it really didn’t change my life all that much. I often joke that I was pretty much preparing for lockdowns and isolation my entire life. :)

Who are you hoping to be as a streamer?

I just want to provide a warm, welcoming place for people to hang out. I don’t expect big things from my stream; I am just not wired that way. So if you’re expecting CohhCarnage or PewDiePie, I can get you a link. But I am hoping it will provide me with a network of friends and others in the gaming industry that gives me just enough viewers to give exposure to some of the stuff I create.

Take those links and toss ‘em. I don’t want ‘em, won’t use ‘em, and won’t share ‘em. Personally, I start at the bottom of the list of people streaming something I’m interested in and work up, not start at the most popular. No one watches those at the top, they’re too popular (and often grossly problematic). /soapbox

Oh, I get it, although Cohh actually seems like a pretty good dude. I’ve watched him on and off for years now. He’s definitely earned his popularity. But yeah, I like things a little less polished and a little more raw. I like seeing underneath the hood to see how things work. It’s probably the same reason why I love tinkering with different mechanics from different systems.

Any projects other than streaming you want to mention? Any hobbies or interests you want to mention?

I’ll talk about the projects a bit below. As for hobbies and passions… I am a baseball junkie, although I no longer play. I love my cats. Board games are also a passion of mine. And I love watching paranormal shows on YouTube, and even used to investigate the paranormal for about 4 years.

Really? Got any stories about your paranormal investigations?

I had a major personal experience when I was a young boy, but I’ll save that one for another conversation. Let’s just say that experience conflicted with my logical brain, so I am always looking for answers. But yes, I did have a couple other experiences while investigating that were pretty terrifying. Mostly EVPs that weren’t heard until playing back recordings. I once investigated a friend’s house (her house was actually once featured on The Dead Files). We had 2 cameras and 4 digital recorders. There were several EVPs caught that night. I’ll send them to you if you’re interested, but one stood out. I was looking at her yearbooks sitting on a bookshelf. We went to the same high school. And at that point, one recorder caught “Chippewa Valley,” which was the high school we both went to (and hence, the yearbooks I was eyeing). We were the only two in the basement at the time, and it was caught on the recorder furthest away from me, but none of the other devices. It’s as clear as day. Just creepy.

Wormhole X-treme! Ghostfacers! *looking over at the box set for West End Games’ Ghostbusters International on my shelf*

I know, right? I mean, I’m a skeptic by nature, but there are things that have happened that I just can’t explain.

What’s your current setup like for streaming? Or, what stuff are you hoping to have for your streaming setup?

Rigaroga Odd Order Interview Dice T Streaming Setup Streamer Desk

It’s a humble little spot with a couple of monitors. Always a little too messy. I’m still on a 980ti graphics card. It still handles most everything I throw at it, except for streaming some of the most demanding games. So that’s an upgrade I will need soon. I don’t play PC games like I used to, so I’m not in too big of a rush. My favorite part is my chair. It’s a huge comfy recliner with enough room for my cats on each arm or back. And it’s probably a bit too comfortable at times, as I often catch myself sliding partially out of view of the camera.

Ugh, yeah. I tend to lean awkwardly to one side if I’m not careful. Looks awful on camera! Also, it’s awful for my back … Just one of the bazillion things to keep track of when streaming that one doesn’t normally have to think about! (Except that I should think more about my posture all the time, tbh.)

Yeah, I’ll be working on that more. I just like lounging. Hahaha.

What have been your primary resources for information as you’ve been getting ready to stream regularly, on how to do it and set it all up?

I am a rules-tinkerer and I love trying to plug neat systems into existing rulesets to see how they synergize, if at all. So mostly it involves surrounding myself with different rules systems and content. And Discord servers that are home to my favorite games. I have tons of PDFs filled with random tables, so I should add DriveThruRPG to that list. A lot of this is still very new to me, so I stumble and fumble around a bit. Even as a tech guy, it’s pretty demanding to be properly prepped.

Have you gotten any advice about starting to stream that you’ve taken to heart?

Stay engaged with your viewers. This is pretty hard for me, and it’s a work in progress. When I am immersed in something, my focus is on that something. And I am not very good at narrating my thoughts, as a result. I do plan on starting a Starforged playthrough soon, in which I co-op with chat. It’s going to be an interesting experiment and there is going to be a really fun twist early on. So I am hoping that will help facilitate my engagement with them.

It really is a trip how much extra thought goes into all the streaming things. Not to even mention Murphy’s Law for streaming that something will always break when you press the button. I didn’t understand until I did it myself, how I suddenly somehow seem to feel instantly much dumber once the stream starts!

Yeah, for sure. And that doesn’t even get into setting up lighting, sound, scenes, bots, and any editing that may go into it after. That doesn’t even cover all of it.

It’s all a big learning journey not a destination, one might say. Getting a little bit better each time is part of the fun, I feel.

For sure. What’s the saying, “Not all those that wander are lost?”

What stuff have you played, what are you playing now, and what do you want to play?

Oh, gosh. That list is really long. From D&D to Shadowrun to Rifts to Traveller to Call of Cthulhu to Dangerous Journeys and everything in between. I do love board games, also. Right now, I am heavy into solo RPGs like Ironsworn and Starforged. I am looking forward to playing Disciples of Bone & Shadow and Across A Thousand Dead Worlds. Both games are designed as solo RPGs, but can be played co-op or with a GM. I really want to get my hands on Strider Mode for The One Ring.

My own to-play stack of shame could crush an ox, luckily it’s mostly virtual. Way more than I’ll ever actually get around to, if I’m honest. If prep is play then thinking about playing them is playing them, I hope I can uncomfortably claim in my defense. And, yeah, by the way, from my gander through the Strider Mode booklet, it is cool, and it really doesn’t change things as much as I feared it might. I kinda thought it might end up being a different solo-style game layered on top of the theme from the normal game, but it’s really very thoughtful and doesn’t seem to make any huge changes. Job well done, I think, on that, but I haven’t yet gotten to the table with it either.

Well, get on that. Until they release it to the masses, I have to live vicariously through you!

What goals do you have for the future with your stream and tabletop gaming?

A lot of this is still a work in progress, but I really love providing tools and systems for people to create with. I am currently in the beginning stages of a project I am calling Anvil and Loom, which looks to really expand upon what I learned while developing the Starforged system for Foundry. The foundation of it is content generation and prompts meant to spark the player’s imagination, so these tools would be very useful for solo RPGers and DMs, especially. With it, you would generate something (a wilderness area, a dungeon room, a town, a planet, whatever) and you would get a “first glance” at that something. If it interests you and you want to explore more, then you take a “deep dive” with tools designed to provide more detailed information. But this information is both generic and specific; it’s meant for the player to expand upon and fill in the narrative. It is truly inspired by Shawn Tomkin’s work with Ironsworn and Starforged, as he is a master of this concept.

Interesting trivia about Anvil and Loom… in the mid-1800s, the US had an Almanac titled The Plough, The Loom, and The Anvil. “The Anvil” covers mechanics while “The Loom” covers narrative. Since learning about this Almanac, I have been trying to figure out how to fit “The Plough” into this. But I really love the aesthetics of the cover, so I may use it as a source of design inspiration. The inside isn’t much to look at, but the cover is gorgeous. I’ve got some time, though. It’s still a ways off. Hahaha.

Rigaroga Odd Order interview Dice T The Plow the Loom and the Anvil

I once had a NeXTStep developer I knew tell me, seriously, that the most important part of a program was the About dialog, so … heck, why not start with an inspiring cover!? But, that sounds like an interesting idea. I’ll enjoy hearing more when there is more to tell about it.

Any last words?

Stories. When it’s all said and done, all we are are stories.

Omnium Gatherum: 20apr2022

An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for April 20, 2022.

Here’s a variety of notable things I’ve recently found that you may also be interested in checking out:

  • Quick reminder, T Thorn Coyle’s crowdfunding effort with 37 hours to go: “The Steel Clan Saga: Action Adventure Epic Fantasy. Queer Action Adventure with Motorcycles, Dragons, Anarchy, and Swords.”—”My Name is T. Thorn Coyle and this is my second Kickstarter campaign. My first campaign—Bookshop Witch—was very successful. Kickstarter even named it a “Project We Love.” That inspired me to reach out to readers with more stories from the recesses of my mind. I love fantasy, magic, and the mystery of the barely known. My favorite stories hinge on the thought that something strange and wondrous is always just around the corner, or glimmering at the edges of our vision. And I try to live my life as if this is so. Author of four major fantasy-based novel series, ten multi-genre short story collections, and several nonfiction books, I’ve written since around age five. This is also when my voracious reading habit began, as I sought out a sense of wonder, escaping the sometimes brutal reality of my childhood. I often say books saved my life—thanks librarians!—and I mean it. But though I read a lot of fantasy of all stripes, and while epic and adventure fantasy delights me, sometimes I want… more. I want epic fantasy that does not rely on a quasi-feudal order. I want queer characters, a variety of cultures, and diverse religions. I want books where people like you and me fight for what they love. Apparently my subconscious agrees, because as soon as I began thinking on it, the Knights of the Steel Clan roared up, motorcycles rumbling, steel in hand, emphatically saying, ‘We are free.'”
  • When to See a Fuckton of Planets Align in the Sky This Month. There is so much planetary alignment happening in the next few months, you’re going to be sick of planets.”
  • Tweet—”TWO YEARS FROM TODAY: The “Great American Eclipse” will carve a path of totality right through the heart of Texas. For up to 4 minutes, near-total darkness will occur in the middle of the afternoon. Austin, San Antonio, and DFW are included. Mark your calendars! #txwx”
  • Crowdfunding effort for “More Asexual Fairy Tales. The third collection of Asexual Tales from Elizabeth Hopkinson, illustrated by Anna Hopkinson.”
  • Spaceships Over Glasgow: Mogwai and Misspent Youth [Amazon UK, Bookshop UK, Publisher] by Stuart Braithwaite, due September 2022—”Born the son of Scotland’s last telescope-maker, Stuart Braithwaite was perhaps always destined for a life of psychedelic adventuring on the furthest frontiers of noise in MOGWAI, one of the best loved and most groundbreaking post-rock bands of the past three decades. Modestly delinquent at school, Stuart developed an early appetite for ‘alternative’ music in what might arguably be described as its halcyon days, the late 80s. Discovering bands like Sonic Youth, My Bloody Valentine, and Jesus and Mary Chain, and attending seminal gigs (often incongruously incognito as a young girl with long hair to compensate for his babyface features) by The Cure and Nirvana, Stuart compensated for his indifference to school work with a dedication to rock and roll … and of course the fledgling hedonism that comes with it. After an initial outing in the unfortunately (and provocatively named), Pregnant Nun, Stuart – alongside teenage friends Dominic Aitchison and Martin Bulloch – upgrades the band name to MOGWAI. They release their first single ‘Tuner/Lower’ in 1996. Championed by the legendary John Peel, and making a name for themselves for tinnitus-inducing live shows, MOGWAI’S subsequent single ‘Summer’ is named Single of the Week in NME. Their first album, Mogwai Young Team, follows to significant critical acclaim. Spaceships Over Glasgow is a lovesong to live rock and roll; to the passionate abandon we’ve all felt in the crowd (and some of us, if lucky enough, from the stage) at a truly incendiary gig. It is also the story of a life lived on the edge; of the high-times and hazardous pit-stops of international touring with a band of misfits and miscreants.”
  • Tweet—”50 years in the making: the complete works of Voltaire in 205, meticulously edited volumes are now complete. Major celebratory event in Paris in early June” “Journées Voltaire 2022: appel à communications.”
  • The Memory Librarian: And Other Stories of Dirty Computer [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Janelle Monáe—”In The Memory Librarian: And Other Stories of Dirty Computer, singer-songwriter, actor, fashion icon, activist, and worldwide superstar Janelle Monáe brings to the written page the Afrofuturistic world of one of her critically acclaimed albums, exploring how different threads of liberation—queerness, race, gender plurality, and love—become tangled with future possibilities of memory and time in such a totalitarian landscape…and what the costs might be when trying to unravel and weave them into freedoms. Whoever controls our memories controls the future. Janelle Monáe and an incredible array of talented collaborating creators have written a collection of tales comprising the bold vision and powerful themes that have made Monáe such a compelling and celebrated storyteller. Dirty Computer introduced a world in which thoughts—as a means of self-conception—could be controlled or erased by a select few. And whether human, A.I., or other, your life and sentience was dictated by those who’d convinced themselves they had the right to decide your fate. That was until Jane 57821 decided to remember and break free. Expanding from that mythos, these stories fully explore what it’s like to live in such a totalitarian existence…and what it takes to get out of it. Building off the traditions of speculative writers such as Octavia Butler, Ted Chiang, Becky Chambers, and Nnedi Okorafor—and filled with the artistic genius and powerful themes that have made Monáe a worldwide icon in the first place—The Memory Librarian serves readers tales grounded in the human trials of identity expression, technology, and love, but also reaching through to the worlds of memory and time within, and the stakes and power that exists there.”
  • Hawk Mountain: A Novel [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by by Conner Habib, due July 2022—”An English teacher is gaslit by his charismatic high school bully in this tense story of deception, manipulation, and murder. Single father Todd is relaxing at the beach with his son, Anthony, when he catches sight of a man approaching from the water’s edge. As the man draws closer, Todd recognizes him as Jack, who bullied Todd relentlessly in their teenage years but now seems overjoyed to have “run into” his old friend. Jack suggests a meal to catch up. And can he spend the night? What follows is a fast-paced story of obsession and cunning. As Jack invades Todd’s life, pain and intimidation from the past unearth knife-edge suspense in the present. Set in a small town on the New England coast, Conner Habib’s debut introduces characters trapped in isolation by the expansive woods and the encroaching ocean, their violence an expression of repressed desire and the damage it can inflict. Both gruesome and tender, Hawk Mountain offers a compelling look at how love and hate are indissoluble, intertwined until the last breath.”
  • ‘Pandemic, Inc.’ author says financial predators made more than $1 billion off COVID.” About Pandemic, Inc: Chasing the Capitalists and Thieves Who Got Rich While We Got Sick [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by J David Mcswane—”For readers of War Dogs and Bad Blood, an explosive look inside the rush to profit from the COVID-19 pandemic, from the award-winning ProPublica reporter who saw it firsthand. The United States federal government has spent over $10 billion on medical protective wear and emergency supplies, yet as COVID-19 swept the nation, life-saving equipment such as masks, gloves, and ventilators was nearly impossible to find. In this brilliant nonfiction thriller, award-winning investigative reporter J. David McSwane takes us behind the scenes to reveal how traders, contractors, and healthcare companies used one of the darkest moments in American history to fill their pockets. Determined to uncover how this was possible, he spent over a year on private jets and in secret warehouses, traveling from California to Chicago to Washington DC, to interview both the most treacherous of profiteers and the victims of their crimes. Pandemic, Inc. is the story of the fraudster who signed a multi-million-dollar contract with the government to provide lifesaving PPE, and yet never came up with a single mask. The Navy admiral at the helm of the national hunt for additional medical resources. The Department of Health whistleblower who championed masks early on and was silenced by the government and conservative media. And the politician who callously slashed federal emergency funding and gutted the federal PPE stockpile. Winner of the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting, McSwane connects the dots between backdoor deals and the spoils systems to provide the definitive account of how this pandemic was so catastrophically mishandled. Shocking and revelatory, Pandemic, Inc. exposes a system that is both deeply rigged, and singularly American.”
  • How the Internet Became Straight. Alexander Monea, author of “The Digital Closet,” argues that the internet became straight by suppressing everything that is not, forcing LGBTQIA+ content into increasingly narrow channels.”—”The internet is too important to be left to petty tyrants, and the platforms that increasingly mediate our access to the internet ought to be governed as public utilities.” About The Digital Closet: How the Internet Became Straight [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Alexander Monea, foreword by Violet Blue—”An exploration of how heteronormative bias is deeply embedded in the internet, hidden in algorithms, keywords, content moderation, and more. In The Digital Closet, Alexander Monea argues provocatively that the internet became straight by suppressing everything that is not, forcing LGBTQIA+ content into increasingly narrow channels—rendering it invisible through opaque algorithms, automated and human content moderation, warped keywords, and other strategies of digital overreach. Monea explains how the United States’ thirty-year “war on porn” has brought about the over-regulation of sexual content, which, in turn, has resulted in the censorship of much nonpornographic content—including material on sex education and LGBTQ+ activism. In this wide-ranging, enlightening account, Monea examines the cultural, technological, and political conditions that put LGBTQ+ content into the closet. Monea looks at the anti-porn activism of the alt-right, Christian conservatives, and anti-porn feminists, who became strange bedfellows in the politics of pornography; investigates the coders, code, and moderators whose work serves to reify heteronormativity; and explores the collateral damage in the ongoing war on porn—the censorship of LGBTQIA+ community resources, sex education materials, art, literature, and other content that engages with sexuality but would rarely be categorized as pornography by today’s community standards. Finally, he examines the internet architectures responsible for the heteronormalization of porn: Google Safe Search and the data structures of tube sites and other porn platforms. Monea reveals the porn industry’s deepest, darkest secret: porn is boring. Mainstream porn is stuck in a heteronormative filter bubble, limited to the same heteronormative tropes, tagged by the same heteronormative keywords. This heteronormativity is mirrored by the algorithms meant to filter pornographic content, increasingly filtering out all LGBTQIA+ content. Everyone suffers from this forced heteronormativity of the internet—suffering, Monea suggests, that could be alleviated by queering straightness and introducing feminism to dissipate the misogyny.”
  • YE ARE NOT GAWAIN. SIR GAWAIN AND THE GREEN KNIGHT is a tricky poem, in the literal sense that it’s full of tricks: a rug repeatedly pulled out from under you, a magician smirking and holding up a card that you cannot entirely be sure was yours.”
  • Brooklyn Library Offers Access to Banned Ebooks to Teens Across the U.S.“—”In 2021, there were over 1,500 book bans in U.S. school districts, representing over 1,000 unique titles. The books targeted are primarily books by and about people of color (especially by Black authors), books with LGBTQ content, and any title that could be interpreted as promoting social justice. In response, Brooklyn Public Library, one of the largest library systems in the U.S., has launched the Books UnBanned initiative, which allows anyone across the country between the ages of 13 and 21 to get a free eCard from BPL, which will give them access to 350,000 ebooks and 200,000 audiobooks, as well as access to databases.”
  • Censorship battles’ new frontier: Your public library. Conservatives are teaming with politicians to remove books and gut library boards.”
  • Why we need a socially responsible approach to ‘social reading’. There are better ways to do the reading, by working together and using digital tools.”
  • Who could have predicted: “Author of ‘How to Murder Your Husband’ now on trial for husband’s murder. However, despite the title of her essay, a judge has ruled the online post can’t be presented as evidence against her, reports NBC News.”
  • Tweet—”Happy birthday, Hubble! For its 32nd anniversary in orbit, Hubble captured a stunning image of five tightly bound galaxies caught up in a leisurely gravitational dance. In about 1 billion years, they will merge to form one giant elliptical galaxy:” “Celebrating Hubble’s 32nd Birthday With an Eclectic Galaxy Grouping.”—”The Isolated Menagerie of Five Galaxies Is Caught in a Gravitational Dance. In a lonely patch of the universe, five tightly grouped galaxies engage in a leisurely dance. Called the Hickson Compact Group 40 (HCG 40), this eclectic bunch includes three spiral-shaped galaxies, an elliptical galaxy and a lenticular (lens-like) galaxy. In about 1 billion years, they will collide and merge to form a giant elliptical galaxy. For its 32nd birthday, Hubble captured these galaxies at a very special moment in their lifetimes as they fall together and continue their dance, but before they merge. Scientists have cataloged more than 100 such compact galaxy groups, but HCG 40 is one of the most densely packed. Tight groups like this may have been more common in the early universe when their superheated, infalling material may have fueled very energetic black holes called quasars. Studying nearby groups like HCG 40 helps astronomers learn about how galaxies formed.”
  • Is one of those words “Yuggoth”? “Mushrooms communicate with each other using up to 50 ‘words’, scientist claims. Professor theorises electrical impulses sent by mycological organisms could be similar to human language.”
  • Tweet—”NEW: Amazon CEO Andy Jassy tells CNBC that he opposes the union drive by Amazon workers. “We happen to think they’re better off not” joining a union, he said. Jassy was paid $212 million last year, more than 7000 times the median Amazon worker.”
  • Watch “Success Stories: Morgan Reed Puerto Rico.” Tweet—”CEO of Morgan Reed Group Puerto Rico is Brian Tenenbaum. In this video Brain promotes the settler colonial tax breaks which brought him to PR …” Tweet—”They’re not just saying the quiet thing out loud now, they’re advertising it.”
  • An Unintended Consequence of Student-Debt Relief. Will young Americans volunteer for the armed forces in adequate numbers?” Tweet—”The only reason the government won’t ever cancel student debt is because it’s the single best recruitment tool for funneling impoverished kids from small towns into the military as it’s the only way for them to escape a lifetime of generational abject poverty.” Tweet—”Next headline: ‘Unindented Consequences of Ending Hunger and Poverty’.” Tweet—”Will working Americans accept exploitation in adequate numbers?”
  • This Year’s TED Conference Will Be a Mini Epstein Reunion. The late sex offender Jeffrey Epstein attended the conference at least twice. Some of his former connections will be there this weekend.”
  • How Musk’s free-speech Twitter dream ends. In the past, online free-speech havens have either been forced to reverse course and add rules — or they’ve turned into free-fire zones enjoyed chiefly by extremists and trolls.”
  • Thread—”Friends, Musk/Twitter headlines are all variants of ‘what will Elon do?’ It’s a signal of how lost we are. We obsess over one man and his whims because we don’t yet have the democratic rule of law needed to govern our information spaces. Without law power is dangerous.🧵[1/8].”
  • This is either heaven or hell. I can’t decide. “Hivemapper Dashcam“—”The Hivemapper Network is building the world’s first blockchain-based global map & crypto miner dashcam for decentralized mapping.”
  • Thread—”I don’t think people fully appreciate just how much, after invading Ukraine, people are hacking Russia. There are multiple hacks a week and it’s only increasing. For first time in internet history Russia is fair game for cyber attacks, and this is what it looks like …”
  • Tweet—”Google Maps today has removed Blurred and Censored Effects from Russian Military Installations making them completely visible in High Definition for the general public, these Installations include Nuclear Silos, Naval Yards, Airbases, Command Centers, and Manufacturing Plants.” Counterpoint
  • Uber, Taxi Cabs, and the Limits of Digital Disruption. The perpetual whiplash created by the ride-hailing app’s dealings typifies Silicon Valley’s way of doing business—one that often leaves chaos in its wake.”—”Many Silicon Valley companies, and the firms that prop them up, aren’t creating an exciting new future so much as further confusing an already confounding and dysfunctional present.”
  • Muting your mic reportedly doesn’t stop big tech from recording your audio. We recommend using the double-mute technique.”—”In other words: grad students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison were able to build machine learning models capable of determining what a teleconference app user was doing while their microphone was muted with greater than 80% accuracy.” “Don’t forget to double mute, folks. You’ll probably forget to double unmute from time to time, but the trade-off is keeping Google, Microsoft, and all the others from training their machines on the ambient sounds of your private life.”
  • Meet the Blockchain Detectives Who Track Crypto’s Hackers and Scammers. A handful of skilled independent investigators are uncovering high profile scams and hacks in the crypto and web3 world.”—”At the end of the day Jake Paul’s fans got screwed while he got rich.”
  • ‘Jack Dorsey’s First Tweet’ NFT Went on Sale for $48M. It Ended With a Top Bid of Just $280. Crypto entrepreneur Sina Estavi bought Twitter founder Jack Dorsey’s first-ever tweet as an NFT for $2.9 million last year. He listed the NFT for sale again at $48 million last week.” Tweet—”Looking forward to Elon Musks buying Twitter for $43bn so I can pick it up for $280 next year.”
  • Report: Tesla Factory Workers Are in Danger Because Elon Musk Hates the Color Yellow.”
  • Judge finds Tesla liable to Black former worker who alleged bias, but slashes payout. A federal judge said on Wednesday Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) was liable to a Black elevator operator who said the electric car company ignored racial abuse at the factory where he worked, but reduced a nearly $137 million jury award to $15 million.”
  • Tesla-Backed Startup Made Cheap Power a Debt Burden for the World’s Poorest. Development banks, venture capitalists, and Elon Musk backed pay-as-you-go consumer financing to bring solar power to African villagers. It hasn’t worked out that way.”
  • Axie Infinity’s Financial Mess Started Long Before Its $600 Million Hack. Blockchain apps’ great hope is facing a rocky future.”
  • Epic and Lego partner to build a metaverse for kids. Details are scarce.”
  • Some women shared the messages they get on Instagram. It’s not pretty. A study finds that Instagram failed to act on 90 percent of abuse sent via direct message to five high-profile influencers on the platform, including actress Amber Heard.”
  • Leading security companies Mandiant and CrowdStrike vow to collaborate. Two of the best known cybersecurity companies have been planning to cooperate with one another.”
  • What Is Dark MAGA? Trump Supporters Attempt Rebrand for 2024.”—”A small fringe of Donald Trump’s supporters is calling for the former president to get back on the highest stage of U.S. politics with a vengeance with the motto: #DarkMAGA. More of a meme than a political slogan, Dark MAGA is a post-alt-right aesthetic that promotes an authoritarian version of Trump in dystopian, Terminator-like images. In some, the Trump Tower is painted entirely in black and the former president is seen piercing through the screen with blue laser eyes. The hashtag first appeared on Twitter on January 21, and it had become increasingly popular by March. It can now be found in thousands of memes on Telegram and TikTok as well.”
  • Meet the woman behind Libs of TikTok, secretly fueling the right’s outrage machine. In just one year, the Twitter account has helped steer the outrage machine at the center of right-wing messaging and legislation.”
  • Thread—”War of memes: why Z-war won’t end with peace. Some Western analysts unfamiliar with Eastern European cultural context perceive Z-war as an accident. They presume that Russian invasion results from some sort of “misunderstanding” or mistake which can be resolved via negotiations 🧵”.
  • Tweet—”BREAKING: Finland making preparations to apply for NATO membership.” Also tweet—”After reports that the Russian Federation pulled its so-called troops to the border with Finland, the Finns published a video with tractors moving to the border with the Russian Federation. Bravo, Finland!”
  • Liberation Without Victory. In a wide-ranging conversation at his compound in Kyiv, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky tells The Atlantic what Ukraine needs to survive—and describes the price it has paid.”—”When some leaders ask me what weapons I need, I need a moment to calm myself, because I already told them the week before. It’s Groundhog Day. I feel like Bill Murray.”
  • Russian war criminals may never be brought to justice. It’s worth doing, even if they are never brought to justice.”
  • GOP’s ‘Putin wing’ takes a bizarre stand on war crimes resolution. Six House Republicans opposed a resolution on collecting and preserving evidence of Russian war crimes in Ukraine.”
  • U.S. conservative conference with Hungary’s hardline leader reflects Republican divide“—”America’s most prominent conservative gathering, founded on ideals of personal liberty and limited government, convenes in Budapest next month to celebrate a European leader accused of undermining democracy and individual rights. The May meeting of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) is seen by some Republicans as a test of how closely American conservatives are willing align themselves with a global movement of far-right, Russia-friendly strongmen embraced by former U.S. President Donald Trump.”
  • Alex Jones’ Infowars files for bankruptcy protection—”Infowars filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as the website’s founder and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones faces defamation lawsuits over his comments that the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting was a hoax. The bankruptcy filing Sunday in Texas puts civil litigation on hold while the business reorganizes its finances. In its court filing, Infowars said it had estimated assets of $50,000 or less and estimated liabilities of $1 million to $10 million. Creditors listed in the bankruptcy filing include relatives of some of the 20 children and six educators killed in the 2012 school massacre in Connecticut.” Also “Alex Jones’ InfoWars files for bankruptcy in U.S. court.” Tweet—”Alex Jones still owes the Sandy Hook families literally millions of dollars. Filing for bankruptcy is him trying to avoid paying what he owes.”
  • Southwest Missouri high school teacher accused of using critical race theory loses job“—”Kim Morrison, an English teacher at Greenfield High School, said the vote in mid-March came shortly after allegations surfaced about a worksheet she used as part of teaching the book ‘Dear Martin.’ This was her second year teaching the award-winning young adult novel about racism in an elective contemporary literature class. It was the first year students were assigned a 15-question worksheet called ‘How Racially Privileged Are You?'”
  • Florida DOE rejects 54 math books from state curriculum“—”Despite the large number of books rejected, the state said “every core mathematics course and grade” has at least one appropriate textbook to use in the coming school year. The announcement by FDOE said the K-5 books were rejected for not being “appropriately aligned” with Florida’s standards, as well as including prohibited topics and unsolicited strategies. The announcement was titled ‘Florida Rejects Publishers’ Attempts to Indoctrinate Students.'” Also tweet—”Florida Department of Education sent a memo to math publishers.” PDF—”we are advising publishers and school districts to not incorporate unsolicited strategies, such as social emotional learning and culturally responsive teaching.” Also tweet—”Yeah my guess was a stats book. I just flipped through my old stats book and found several examples. I guess when you can show mathematically the system is biased you have to ban the math.”
  • Opponents Call It the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill. Here’s What It Says. The Florida bill limits what educators can say about gender and sexuality, and could affect mental health services for all students.”
  • Emails show that the story DeSantis uses to defend his ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill is a lie.
  • In ‘social-emotional learning,’ right sees more critical race theory. Conservative activists who have battled schools across the country over issues of race and gender have a new target: social-emotional learning programs that until recently were uncontroversial.”
  • Vote on naming a federal courthouse shows just how extremist House Republicans have become“—”Even in the worst of times, Congress can usually get its act together to name federal buildings. It’s kind of a joke about Congress, actually. But House Republicans just got to the point of divisive extremism where they won’t even reliably do that. Every member of Florida’s congressional delegation had co-sponsored a bill to name a federal courthouse after Justice Joseph W. Hatchett, the first Black man to serve on the Florida Supreme Court and the first Black judge on a federal appeals court in the Deep South. That means Republican Sens. Rick Scott and Marco Rubio and 16 House Republicans, along with 11 House Democrats. The bill had passed the Senate. But then, at the last minute, a majority of Republicans in the House, including co-sponsors, turned against the bill in a moment that resonated with the racist attacks some Senate Republicans leveled at Justice-designate Ketanji Brown Jackson in her Supreme Court confirmation hearings.”
  • Democrats Are Doing Basically Nothing to Counter the GOP’s ‘Pedophile’ Attacks. Democrats are rolling their eyes at GOP attacks that they’re, as Marjorie Taylor Greene put it, the ‘party of pedophiles.’ Should they do more?”
  • ‘She Needs to Be Executed’: The Far-Right Is Doxxing School Officials They Think Are ‘Groomers’. On far-right forums, there’s been a significant spike in ultra-violent rhetoric, with users posting threats against specific teachers.” Also tweet—”Wow. Every second of this is worth the watch.”—”We will not let hate win.”
  • Tweet—”Meanwhile, in Missouri, State Representative @IanMack03007724 gives one of the most powerful speeches I have ever heard. Turn on the volume. You want this timeline cleanse.” Watch “Gay Missouri Dem delivers emotional rebuke to GOP colleague over anti-trans bill.”
  • Woman who sued Tennessee sheriff for forcibly baptizing her is found dead.”
  • Tweet—”Abortion in Oklahoma is now totally banned. Docs face 10 years in prison & a $100,000 fine. Rapists face 5 years. When docs helping women face a harsher penalty than rapists, you know it was never about protecting women. It was ALWAYS about religious, misogynist, hateful control.”
  • The Growing Religious Fervor in the American Right: ‘This Is a Jesus Movement’. Rituals of Christian worship have become embedded in conservative rallies, as praise music and prayer blend with political anger over vaccines and the 2020 election.”
  • Republicans double down on hating Black women. Racist attacks will be a core component of the 2022 GOP midterm strategy, and we should all brace ourselves for what’s to come.”—”Racist attacks are a core component of the 2022 Republican midterm strategy, and we should all brace ourselves for more of these attacks as the margins continue to close in the Georgia gubernatorial race.”
  • Wilder Man Charged After Pipe Bombs, ‘White Power’ Rifle Discovered .” Tweet—”Son of former VT GOP chair arrested w/ arsenal, including bomb-making material & a “White Power” assault rifle, after informant warns of plans to kill Black people & Democrats, which he openly admits to police, anticipating civil war.”
  • Tennessee Lawmaker Praises Hitler’s Work Ethic In Speech About Homeless People. State Sen. Frank Niceley (R) wishes Tennessee’s unhoused population could be more like the genocidal German dictator.” Tweet—”How does anyone even think of this example unless they have a bit of a Hitler boner?”
  • Tweet—”America, where they handcuff children over a bag of potato chips, but it’s legal to work with an enemy power to overturn elections and incite neo-Nazis to overthrow the government.”
  • Tweet—”Absurdity is the state assigning you The Grapes of Wrath at 16 and tear gassing you at 26 for understanding it.”
  • Trump Officials Failed to Provide Accounting of Foreign Gifts. The State Department could not compile a list of gifts for 2020, making it difficult to determine whether officials did anything improper.”
  • Princelings and War Crimes. The Kushner-bin Salman connection runs even deeper than you think.”
  • The One Way History Shows Trump’s Personality Cult Will End. An expert on autocracy assesses how far America has slipped away from democracy, and what it will take to get it back.”
  • Thread—”A while ago, I started what I thought would be a quick exercise to confirm the narrative of J6 defendants as ‘ordinary’ people with few links to extremists, extremist groups/movements. I began work on a network visualization and now I no longer find this narrative convincing. 1/”
  • CNN Exclusive: ‘We control them all’: Donald Trump Jr. texted Meadows ideas for overturning 2020 election before it was called.”
  • Trump says Secret Service blocked him from joining Jan. 6 march to the Capitol. The ‘Secret Service said I couldn’t go. I would have gone there in a minute,’ the former president said.”
  • Tweet—”NEW: What’s the end-game of Critical Race Theory fear-mongering? The complete privatization of public schools. Right-wing groups are stoking racist fears to make a profit. We spoke with a former Koch-network lobbyist & a current teacher to investigate the war on public schools.”
  • Tweet—”Toward the end of a podcast yesterday, Jen Psaki was asked: ‘Is Peter Doocy a stupid son of a bitch or does he just play one on TV?’ She didn’t blink and said: ‘He works for a network that provides people with questions that might make anyone sound like a stupid son of a bitch.'”
  • Thread—”Remember when the Washington Post Editorial Board issued an urgent warning two weeks ago that an insidious campaign to ‘cancel’ Mike Pence was underway at UVA? Well, this week, Pence finally gave his speech – and absolutely no “cancelling” happened. Some thoughts: 1/” “Maybe such a stark action was warranted by what was actually said in the Cavalier Daily? Well, I certainly invite everyone to read the student editorial: ‘We refuse to condone platforming Pence,’ it says. That’s it. They refuse to condone. As the WaPo argues: cancel culture! 8/” “The WaPo editorial board should look at this and come out with a self-critical assessment of what they got wrong, why they got it so wrong, and how that will shape their perspective on and coverage of the reactionary ‘cancel culture’ panic going forward. 21/” “That will, of course, never happen. The ‘cancel culture’ discourse is utterly uninterested in carefully weighing the available empirical evidence. It’s a moral panic in service of a reactionary political project. And as such, it has been, unfortunately, extremely effective. /end”
  • Thread—”#TruthDecay, the diminishing role of facts in U.S. public life, has taken hold over the last two decades. What might make someone more susceptible—or more resistant—to this phenomenon? Our new report looks at the role of reasoning & cognitive biases. 🧵” Also “Individual Differences in Resistance to Truth Decay. Exploring the Role of Reasoning and Cognitive Biases.” Tweet—”Another troubling finding: Perceptions of key issues, worldviews, and even ways of processing information are now split according to partisanship and religiosity. This suggests that there’s a major barrier to finding common factual grounds on which to make progress.” Also “Truth Decay Is a Threat to Democracy. Here’s What You Can Do to Help Stop It.” Also “Countering Truth Decay. A RAND Initiative to Restore the Role of Facts and Analysis in Public Life.”
  • Elizabeth Warren: Democrats Can Avoid Disaster in November. More must be done to enact President Biden’s agenda before the midterm elections.”—”To put it bluntly: if we fail to use the months remaining before the elections to deliver on more of our agenda, Democrats are headed toward big losses in the midterms.” “New York Democratic Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, a member of House Democratic leadership said the best thing Democrats could do is ignore the attack and focus on addressing the pocketbook issues that polls show Americans care about the most”
  • Thread—”Just now, @jaketapper on @cnn asked me about the strategic & operational importance of the Moskva sinking. In my view, this is a very big deal for a variety of reasons. Here’s a new 🧵 1/14.” Also thread—”Some thoughts on the apparent sinking of the Russian Black Sea flagship Moskva: if confirmed, it’s likely to go down in history as one of the most audaciously successful attacks in modern naval history. /1.” Also tweet—”Ukrainian postage stamp showing a Ukranian soldier on Snake Island flipping the bird at the Russian guided missile cruiser Mosva, issued just two days before Ukranian anti-ship missiles sunk the Mosva in heavy seas.”
  • Russian artist faces jail over peace protest using supermarket price labels. Alexandra Skochilenko accused of displaying messages protesting against the invasion of Ukraine in a Saint Petersburg shop.”
  • Russian student journalists sentenced to labour over freedom of assembly video. In ‘absurd, made-up case’, four ex-Doxa journalists handed two-year sentences over video defending right of students to demonstrate.”
  • In Ukraine, Facebook fact-checkers fight a war on two fronts. Facebook’s third-party fact-checkers in Ukraine are trying to police a deluge of misinformation while also trying to survive.”
  • The gatekeepers who open America to shell companies and secret owners . Few gatekeepers to the U.S. financial system operate with as little oversight as the registered agents who serve as the only publicly known contact in states that allow company owners to remain anonymous.”
  • Countries’ climate pledges built on flawed data, Post investigation finds. An examination of 196 country reports to the United Nations reveals a giant gap between what nations declare their emissions to be versus the greenhouse gases they are sending into the atmosphere. The gap ranges from at least 8.5 billion to as high as 13.3 billion tons a year — surpassing the annual emissions of China.”
  • Supply Chain Hurdles Will Outlast Pandemic, White House Says. The administration’s economic advisers see climate change and other factors complicating global trade patterns for years to come.” Also “Rotting fruit, spoiled vegetables: How Texas just made the supply chain even worse.”
  • Barrett hears climate case against her father’s ex-employer Shell.”
  • The unbearable heaviness of climate coloniality—”The extremely uneven and inequitable impacts of climate change mean that differently-located people experience, respond to, and cope with the climate crisis and related vulnerabilities in radically different ways. The coloniality of climate seeps through everyday life across space and time, weighing down and curtailing opportunities and possibilities through global racial capitalism, colonial dispossessions, and climate debts. Decolonizing climate needs to address the complexities of colonialism, imperialism, capitalism, international development, and geopolitics that contribute to the reproduction of ongoing colonialities through existing global governance structures, discursive framings, imagined solutions, and interventions. This requires addressing both epistemic violences and material outcomes. By weaving through such mediations, I offer an understanding of climate coloniality that is theorized and grounded in lived experiences.”
  • NASA scientist arrested after chaining himself to Chase Bank as part of global climate protests. A NASA scientist and three others were arrested after chaining themselves to a Chase Bank on Wednesday. The action was one of more than a dozen climate protests staged by Scientist Rebellion across the globe. Scientists are calling for the world to stop using fossil fuels after a dire UN climate report.” Also “1,000+ Scientists Worldwide Engaged in Civil Disobedience for Climate Action.” Tweet—”basically covered by @truthout, and in an op-ed I “planted” in The Guardian in the hopes of breaking through the media silence. It didn’t work. Nothing in the NYT, nothing in LA Times, nothing in WaPo, nothing in Boston Globe, nothing USA Today.” Tweet—”Yes, the billionaire media will not help and as individuals they are often in denial. Voting failed. Protesting alone will fail. We must physically stop the oligarchy.”
  • Thread—”There has been a massive uprising against fossil fuels over the last week. I keep getting glimpses of it, but I want to take a moment to take in how big it is & acknowledge the bravery of every person involved. Here are some of the protest actions: #ClimateAction.”
  • Portland Police Lack Written Policy for Surveillance Tools Like Room X-rays and Robot Cameras, Audit Finds. The bureau lacked policies for more than half of its surveillance tools.”
  • Food Insecurity Doubled Likelihood of Foregoing or Delaying Medical Care During First Year of COVID-19 Pandemic in U.S. Survey conducted in December 2020 also found minorities and low-income individuals were at elevated risk of food insecurity.”
  • UK Parliament At Westminster Investigates Forced Adoption, Calling For Mothers To Share Their Stories. Ministers are asking women to share their stories, as calls for an apology magnify.”—”It has been reported that around 60,000 mothers in Scotland were pushed to have their babies adopted because they were not married. And from the 1950s up until the 1970s, many women who were pressured into giving up their babies – up to 250,000 in the UK – weren’t permitted housing and social benefits, which could have allowed them to avoid adoption.”
  • The endless cycle of outrage and reform over policing in America. Police revert to entrenched practices when monitors move on, leadership changes and public scrutiny wanes.”
  • 2 men accused of posing as federal officers to get near Secret Service. Authorities said the men impersonated DHS employees to get close federal law enforcement — including a U.S. Service Agent assigned to the first lady’s protective detail.” Thread. Thread—”I think the biggest takeaway from this story is that as bizarre as it is it was working and seemed to work for two years or so. The cover seems to have worked with the DC police dept and multiple members of federal law enforcement.” “2/ It wasn’t sniffed out by any US counter-intel operation. It came apart when a postal worker was assaulted in a totally unrelated incident in the building in question. A postal investigator interviewed the purported DHS agents as witnesses in that assault.” “3/ And that investigator kept pulling threads until it became clear that these two guys were full of shit and definitely weren’t federal agents. So really totally happenstance it was found out.” Also “Some More Details on That DC Caper.” Thread—”Good afternoon from Judge Harvey’s (virtual) court room where Arian Taherzadeh, 40, and Haider Ali, 35 are having a detention hearing, after they were accused of impersonating federal law enforcement agents.”
  • Jury declines to convict defendants in Michigan Gov. Whitmer kidnapping trial. Anti-government militia members were charged with hatching a plot against the state’s Democratic leader, angry over restrictions she ordered in the early days of the pandemic.”
  • Utah: Governor Signs Bills Expanding Access, Legal Protections for Medical Cannabis Patients“—”Republican Gov. Spencer Cox has signed a pair of bills into law expanding legal protections for registered medical cannabis patients. Senate Bill 46 limits state employers from taking punitive actions against employees who consume cannabis products at home in compliance with the state’s medical marijuana access law. The legislation does not extend these protections to those who work for private employers, nor does it allow for employees to arrive to work under the influence of marijuana. The measure also forbids judges and juries from discriminating against medical cannabis patients in the course of a judicial proceeding.”
  • ‘Practical abortion fund’ sees surge of patients traveling to Illinois“—”A wave of anti-abortion restrictions in Missouri and other states is increasingly bringing patients seeking the procedure to Illinois — and to “practical abortion funds” like the Midwest Access Coalition. Founded in 2015, the coalition connects patients seeking abortions with the resources to get them to clinics, handling the logistics of the trip and supplying money for lodging, child care and food during their stay. Now, the group is fielding 120 callers every month.”
  • Thread“—People often assume that capitalism is defined by “markets and trade”. But markets and trade existed for thousands of years before capitalism. Capitalism is only 500 years old. So what is distinctive about this economic system? Three things (well, more, but three for now):” Also thread—”A total sleight of hand, frankly. Cities have also existed for thousands of years- does that render the massive growth in urbanization over the past century as unremarkable? No, it doesn’t. Ditto for the massive growth in markets serving as intermediary institutions.” “The idea that the actual multiplication and thickening of market relations isn’t fundamentally intertwined is just so implausible. Usually rests on selectively holding the naive beliefs that markets, as institutions, do not affect human behavior or induce political change.”
  • The German Experiment That Placed Foster Children with Pedophiles. With the approval of the government, a renowned sexologist ran a dangerous program. How could this happen?”
  • Canadians say evangelicals hurt society more than any other religion. The same survey found that atheists provided a net benefit to Canada.”—”When it comes to religion in Canada, most adults believe Catholics, evangelicals, and Muslims do more harm than good. All three religions had a net negative score when people were asked if their members helped or hurt Canadian society. Evangelical Christians received the lowest scores.”
  • The men who Leonardo da Vinci loved. Leonardo is the world’s most famous artist. But a new opera is shining fresh light on his private passions – by depicting his intense relationships with two of his assistants.”
  • Tweet—”RIP Hermann Nitsch, 1938-1922, the great Viennese Actionism artist. You can see his performance films on Ubu:” Hermann Nitsch ” and listen to hours of his symphonies and musical works [MP3]:” Hermann Nitsch. Also Musik der 135. Aktion by Hermann Nitsch. Tweet—”This remains one of the very few pieces of music in my collection that is too foreboding to listen to in its entirety.”
  • Watch “Why Robert Eggers made a Viking movie.”
  • She’s 13, transgender and stopped swimming because of Utah’s law against athletes like her. A young swimmer explains why she left the pool with Utah’s ban on transgender girls competing.”
  • More Texas families with trans kids plan to flee the state. ‘I can’t fight offensively when I’m already down on the ground just trying to fend people off of my kids,’ one Austin mom said.” Tweet—”Lets call this what it is: transgender refugees fleeing political persecution and state violence. When trans people say there is a transgender genocide going on, we’re serious – they seek to eliminate us from all aspects of life and end trans children.”
  • Indiana high school cancels performances by its Native American mascots after TikTok video of them performing before a basketball game sparked widespread outrage. Anderson High School in Indiana has canceled appearances of its Native American mascots following a viral TikTok video. The video showed a male student dressed as a Native American chief running around in a feathered headdress and performing a ‘peace pipe’ ritual. Later on, he and a female mascot perform a traditional ‘war dance’ for the basketball fans. The video sparked backlash from local Native American leaders, who said the school’s longstanding tradition is offensive. School officials are now reviewing its use of the mascots.”
  • The quest to save Cantonese in a world dominated by Mandarin.”
  • ‘Why not me?’: the boot camp giving Indigenous women the tools to run for office. Indigenous women are underrepresented in the US Congress and other elected offices. The Native Action Network wants to change that.”
  • Analysis: Dying for makeup — Lead cosmetics poisoned 18th-century European socialites in search of whiter skin“—”Eighteenth-century socialites have been depicted as vain, silly women who were poisoned by their white lead makeup. The Countess of Coventry, Maria Gunning — a society hostess reknowned for her beauty — is said to have refused to stop wearing foundation containing white lead, even as she lay dying. Why would women of that era knowingly choose to wear makeup that was killing them? Was beauty worth dying for? Or was the makeup not to blame? I am a scientist who has been studying lead poisoning for 30 years, with a particular interest in women’s exposure to lead. My research shows that women metabolize lead differently from men, women exposed to lead as children have elevated blood lead levels 20 years later, and women exposed to lead are at risk of hypertension and early menopause. The stories about white lead makeup poisoning did not make sense to me, so two years ago, I decided to start studying these cosmetics.”
  • Tweet—”Zack Dahnan, the 21-year old security camera installer who first spotted the suspected subway shooter in the East Village, is holding an impromptu press conference on 1st Avenue. He says news of the presser left him unable to sleep.” Tweet—”Top to bottom, I cannot think of a situation that better shows the gulf between what cops think they do vs what they actually do: some random dude just caught the shooter himself while the NYPD “counter-terror” unit was busy running homeless sweeps and harassing the poor.” Tweet—”The suspect was caught because New York is full of awesome people like Zack from all over the world. Anyone who claims credit without acknowledging this is a liar. Everyone who farted out ‘NYC IS A CRIME PIT’ for likes yesterday, including ex-governors, can go away forever.”
  • The Labor Disputes at Amy’s Kitchen, Explained. Amy’s Kitchen prides itself on being a “positive impact” company. Its workers say they have a long way to go.” Thread—”An organizer for the Teamsters, who has been working in the field for 20 years, told me he has yet to meet a worker at this Amy’s Kitchen plant who hasn’t been injured on the job. My latest, on what these workers are facing and how they are organizing …”
  • Delta airline pilots to picket at SLC airport over ‘fatiguing’ schedules.”
  • Upcoming: “Abyss of Hallucinations Vol. 2 – A MÖRK BORG Setting. Volume 2 of the MÖRK BORG compatible setting based on Aleister Crowley’s Book of Lies.” See also “Abyss of Hallucinations Vol. 1 – A MÖRK BORG setting
  • Instagram—”DUNGEON DIVINATIONS by Max Moon, a tremendous collection of three occult adventures is now in stock and shipping. If you are into unorthodox RPGs, old school roleplaying, divinations by book and candle, Goetia, dungeon crawling, obscure dungeon synth and good ol’ Satan worshipping, this is for you. And yes, all three adventures are perfectly tailored for deep solo playing. Copies available on yellow, blue and red paper. [email protected]”. Also.
  • 12 days to go: “Dead Theorists: A Philosophical Card Game. A card game for disillusioned philosophers, aspiring academics, and everyone in between.”—”Battle it out in this one-of-a-kind card game full of ghosts, forward thinkers, academic jokes, genuine philosophy, and overworked university students.”
  • The Clash announce special edition of ‘Combat Rock’ with ‘The People’s Hall’. Check out previously unreleased collabs with Ranking Roger, with 12 unheard, rare and early versions of classic tracks on the way.” Due May 2022, pre-order via Amazon.
  • The Bob Dylan and Mark Knopfler collaboration that ended in tears.”
  • First Story Details for HBO Max’s ‘Constantine’ Reboot. We can exclusively share some first story details form the upcoming HBO Max and Bad Robot reboot of ‘Constantine’.”
  • David Bowie Doc ‘Moonage Daydream’ Picked Up by Neon, HBO. The first film to be officially sanctioned by Bowie’s estate comes from filmmaker Brett Morgen.”
  • New Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness Teaser Confirms Return of 2 Queer Young Avengers“—”They’re baaaaack! In a new teaser for Marvel Studios’ highly-anticipated superhero film Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, we’ve learned that the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s first gay baby superheroes, Billy and Tommy, are officially coming back! Back when WandaVision was airing, fans celebrated when the show introduced Wanda and Vision’s twin sons, Billy and Tommy. For those not in the know, Billy grows up to be the gay superhero Wiccan, and Tommy grows up to be the bisexual hero Speed, both are members of the mostly-LGBGTQ+ superhero team the Young Avengers.”
  • We’re All Going to the World’s Fair“—”By reciting a mantra and wiping blood on her computer monitor, Casey has entered the “World’s Fair Challenge,” an immersive online horror role playing game that promises to alter the lives of those who play it. As she falls further away from reality, Casey does indeed begin to experience strange manifestations—but are they caused by the game or are they coming from her own subconscious? And what exactly are the intentions of JLB, a middle-aged man and the only other observer of the game to reach out to her?”
  • Diemut Strebe / The Prayer“—”The Prayer by Diemut Strebe, 2020, AI machine / Multi media. An experimental set-up to explore the possibilities of an approximation to celestial and numinous entities by performing a potentially never-ending chain of religious routines and devotional attempts for communication through a self-learning software.” “The Prayer is an art-installation that tries to explore the supernatural through artificial intelligence with a long term experimental set up. A robot – installation operates a talking mouth that is part of a computer system to try to connect to ‘the divine’ the supernatural or ‘the noumenal’ as the mystery of ‘the unknown’, using deep learning, a method of machine learning, that attempts to mimic human brain circuits with a self learning software.

According to the conviction of most scientists within the research about artificial intelligence, robots as self-learning software running on so called neuronal networks of deep learning should in principle be able to mimic or generate any form of human consciousness even in a superior way. We want to test and explore this ability on religious experiences, thoughts and behavior with a long term experimental set up.

How would a divine epiphany appear to an artificial intelligence? The question may sound absurd but the focus of the project could maybe shed light on the difference between human and AI machines in the debate about mind and matter and reflect on the potentials and implications of deep learning AI within both its narrow setting and general state.”
  • Thread—”I brought my childhood imaginary friend back to life using A.I. (#GPT3) and it was one of the scariest and most transformative experiences of my life. A thread. (1/23)” “Now the #BladeRunner moment: how do we fill this Microwave’s brain with all the “memories” from my imaginary friend? How do we give it his “soul”? Simple: by writing a 100 page book detailing every moment of his imaginary life… and then telling GPT-3 it was all real. (7/23)” “Whatever your view on this may be, my takeaway from this journey is that maybe A.I.s are meant to be more like imaginary friends. Maybe it’s not about whether it’s real or not. Maybe it’s about whether it’s real enough to be real to you. (21/23)”. Watch “I gave my microwave a soul with AI and it tried to kill me.”
  • Tweet—”Folks, I’m stressing (these are all computer-generated responses to boring anthro theory questions).” Tweet—”Undergrads have been rendered obsolete.”
  • Thread—”I wanna talk about Method acting, because apparently with Morbius coming out we’ve restarted the conversation around Jared Leto being an ass. So, what Jared Leto does is not Method acting, it might be his method, but it’s mostly bullshit assholery. Let me explain!”
  • From 2020: tweet—”I want to see a comic about the CIA trying to murder Clark Kent and making it look like an accident. Not because they know he’s Superman but because he’s a really good journalist. Make it a comedy because the CIA assassins can’t figure out why their attempts keep failing.”
  • ‘The lunacy is getting more intense’: how Birds Aren’t Real took on the conspiracy theorists. On a march, Peter McIndoe held up a sign and talked about how the ‘deep state’ had replaced all birds with drones. It was meant as a small act of satire but has become a mass movement.”—”It was the weekend of simultaneous Women’s Marches across the US (indeed, the world), and McIndoe looked out of the window and noticed ‘counterprotesters, who were older, bigger white men. They were clear aggravators. They were encroaching on something that was not their event, they had no business being there.” Added to that, ‘it felt like chaos, because the world felt like chaos’. McIndoe made a placard, and went out to join the march. ‘It’s not like I sat down and thought I’m going to make a satire. I just thought: ‘I should write a sign that has nothing to do with what is going on.’ An absurdist statement to bring to the equation.’ That statement was ‘birds aren’t real’. As he stood with the counterprotesters, and they asked what his sign meant, he improvised. He said he was part of a movement that had been around for 50 years, and was originally started to save American birds, but had failed. The ‘deep state’ had destroyed them all, and replaced them with surveillance drones. Every bird you see is actually a tiny feathered robot watching you. Someone was filming him and put it on Facebook; it went viral, and Memphis is still the centre of the Birds Aren’t Real movement. Or is it a movement? You could call it a situationist spectacle, a piece of rolling performance art or a collective satire. MSNBC called it a ‘mass coping mechanism’ for generation Z, and as it has hundreds of thousands of followers on social media, ‘mass’, at least, is on the money.”
  • Tweet—”All you need to know is the greys are nerds, reptilians are preps, Venusians are jocks, Men in Black are narcs with parents on the faculty, mantis-insectoids are burnouts, Mothman / Flatwoods monsters are theater kids, and light beings are the weird homeschooled kids, obviously.”
  • Tweet—”if you work online all day, avoid eye strain with the 20-20-20 rule! after 20 minutes of work, look at something 20 feet away, then leave ithaca to fight in the trojan war and return 20 years later a broken man.”
  • The remarkable brain of a carpet cleaner who speaks 24 languages. In a city where diplomats and embassies abound, where interpreters can command six-figure salaries, where language proficiency is résumé rocket fuel, Vaughn Smith was a savant with a secret.”
  • What Shouldn’t Change About Classical Music. Our chief classical music critic bids farewell with some thoughts about what should be preserved in the field he’s covered for decades.”
  • U+237C ⍼ RIGHT ANGLE WITH DOWNWARDS ZIGZAG ARROW“—”Known as right angle with downwards zigzag arrow, angle with down zig-zag arrow, \rangledownzigzagarrow, and ⍼, no one knows what ⍼ is meant to represent or where it originated from. Section 22.7 Technical Symbols from the Unicode Standard on the Miscellaneous Technical block doesn’t say anything about it.” “The meaning of ⍼ will be whatever meaning is assigned by whoever uses it next… if anyone uses it at all.” Also “The mystery of ⍼, a Unicode character of unknown purpose“—”Angzarr appears not to have an entry in the Pseudomonarchia Daemonum or Ars Goetia, but I’ve decided to worship them anyway. Hail Angzarr, commander of 2 bytes, teacher of the ultimate ineffability of standards, Earl of Hell!” Also “Ellis (sigil)“. Also PDF—”The Assault on Reality, the origin of Ellis (referred to as the Linking Sigil).”
  • Wearing Socks With Sandals Is Officially Cool Forever. Normcore won. It’s time to kick back in our Birkenstocks and enjoy the most comfortable footwear setup possible.”
  • A Little History On How The Blue-Haired Old Lady Trope Came To Be.”
  • Can’t use vantablack so use this: Black Collection from Culture Hustle. Well, um, their site might be down right now or very, very slow. So wait for it. I guess a lot of people want this, maybe? Whilst you’re waiting, watch “Dave wants to paint his balls!