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Also posted on my blog at

I raised my hands to my face, feeling the smooth skin, the full lips. The feelings were confusing at first - it took a dozen heartbeats for me to remember that this is how my face is supposed feel.

Even for the veteran, slipping into a new body is always disorienting. This is because the sentient mind does not actually process all of the data it receives, even on the autonomic level. Rather, the mind extrapolates. It is constantly building new data models, projecting those into the future and making assumptions based off of those projections. This is what makes sentience so powerful. It is also what makes it so easy to fool - stage magicians have known that for centuries.
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New Blog

Feb. 14th, 2011 02:34 pm
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I've started a new blog at my new domain:

It's running Joomla 1.6, which is a cool little CMS system (I decided I needed a CMS more than just a blog - unfortunately, all of the wealth of Joomla extensions out there are either for the previous version or require a yearly fee).

Anyway, I've got some of my microfiction saved there, and the beginnings of a blog (feel free to subscribe to the RSS feed).
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Just another problem solved by responsible non-monogamy!!!
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So this week has been a rollercoaster. It's a long story, with both
very bad and very good points.

Let's go back a bit....Sicily, 1908! Wait, no...

Read more... )

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So, here's my attempt to create a sort of post-modern occult
environment. it's intended to be a futuristic occult that has
post-modern and transhumanist underpinnings. These are all set pieces
that may or may not interact directly with each other, and may or may
not interact with other occult systems.

I'm looking for comments, critiques, suggestions, variations,
extensions or whathaveyou.

The key guiding principles of these is that they are:
* They are anthrocentric, or at least 'sapiocentric'
* None of these are reserved for special individuals - all of these
are available to any people who have the right equipment and/or
training. Some will have talents for parts of it, of course, but no
more than people have talents for any other human endeavor
* These are all intended to have a pseudo-scientific flavor
(especially using modern computing ideas) without actually being
scientific - they are intended to be ephemeral and not completely
* They have a 'technological' philosophy. That is, they all have an
underpinning of extending human capability through the creation of
things. The source of power is not psionic (based on strength of mind
or will) but based off of taking simple supernatural capabilities and
using those to build capabilities and modify the self.

The Cloud

The Cloud is an overlay on top of mundane reality. It is an emergent
property from high densities of ordered electrical fields.
Combinations of electrical fields of machines, people, wireless
transmissions, radio/TV waves, etc. pile up until they hit some sort
of threshold, and the Cloud emerges as a sort of 'astral plane' that
is coexistent with the physical world. Humans with special
modifications (the most successful is a complicated process of
impregnating the nervous system with conductive materials) can sense
Cloud stuff and manipulate it.

Features of the Cloud:
* All matter has some level of reality in the cloud (given the basic
electric nature of matter). The more electrical energy matter has, the
more 'dense' it is in the Cloud. Similarly, the more complex the
fields, the more dense they are. High voltage lines are very dense due
to their electrical energy. Computers and people are dense as well,
due to the complexity of information modeled by their electrical
* The Cloud nature of matter is always co-located with the matter
itself - if the matter moves, so does the cloudstuff.
* The overlapping of electromagnetic fields and transmissions creates
a sort of 'fog' of cloudstuff. It isn't 'solid', but acts as the
medium for sensing in the Cloud. It can act like clouds and form
independent currents of energy, walls of obscuring fog, etc. This is
usually referred to as the Cloud, a fog or 'wisps' of cloud'.
* This fog can be coalesced into denser material, which is what people
usually mean when they talk about 'Cloudstuff' proper. This denser
material can be used to make 'mechanisms' that operate wholly in the
* Cloudstuff has no matter component. It can pass through matter and
other cloud stuff. However, the 'density' of the cloudstuff it passes
through can slow it's movement, or disrupt its integrity (and vice
* Matter that has significant electrical properties can affect the
movement of cloudstuff - large amounts of water will disrupt it
significantly, insulators will slow the movement of cloudstuff
significantly, metals impede it less than other matter, etc.
* Because of its nature, cloudstuff can directly effect
electromagnetic systems. It can affect electrical flows, lightning,
etc. It can be used to disrupt, shutdown or control electrical
circuits and motors, affect compasses or magnetic media, affect
biological systems (especially nervous systems), and even affect
electromagnetic radiation (light, radio waves, radiation, etc). Those
who can manipulate Cloudstuff can form it to cause these effects.
* Those who can perceive the Cloud tend to see it as sensory
impressions, as their brains interpret the input. This allows them to
sense electrical fields, magnetic fields and electromagnetic radiation
directly. With enough practice, or (more likely) the help of
Cloud-based mechanisms, this means these individuals can pick up radio
transmissions, affect computers through the cloud and even simulate
types of telepathy and aura reading by interacting with the electrical
systems of organisms directly.
* Cloudstuff can only be formed where the Cloud exists. This means it
cannot be formed in rural areas, inside Faraday cages, etc.
* Cloudstuff can exist outside of the Cloud, but require a steady
electrical power source to not disperse within minutes.

Each person has a personal informational construct connected to their
consciousness called a 'runtime'. This is a natural extension of the
conscious mind. This runtime is a metaphysical space in which
information can be processed and transformed, like having an 'onboard
computer'. Training allows one to access their own runtime and
'program' in that space.

Features of Runtimes:
* Runtimes are a feature of sapient minds. All sapient minds have one,
and no non-sapient minds have one.
* Runtimes can only affect information, thought and the person they
care connected to. Information processing is the easiest to do,
followed by thought and sensory processing/modification. Next are
bodily systems like the nervous system and endocrine systems.
Particularly complex programming can reach down into the lower layers
of the organism, down even to the cellular and DNA levels.
* Runtimes can run programs that speed up thoughts, that modify
personality traits, change/enhance sensory data, etc. They can also be
used to create constructs that don't exist naturally in the human
mind, such as emulating the thought processes of other organisms such
as animals or 'aliens'.
* Runtimes can interface with each other. Each runtime has a
'namespace', which is akin to a True Name. To connect, you have to
have the namespace of other person's runtime. Once you connect, you
have to be able to interface. You can either broadcast information
into the runtime (which will handle it as it sees fit) or 'hack into'
the runtime to use its functions directly.
* Hacking a runtime requires the namespace connection, but also being
able to interpret the runtime's functionality. This is akin to
decrypting its data, and then interfacing. To interface, you either
have to 'speak' to it directly or build a program that interprets.
Speaking directly requires that you start operating your runtime in
the same manner as theirs. Doing this repeatedly tends to adjust your
runtime to fit theirs, and thus modify your thoughts and body to match
* Making a connection only requires knowledge of the person's
namespace. Distance is no factor once a namespace is known.
* Finding our a namespace requires being given the namespace through
some medium, or a length discovery which has to be done within line of
sight or through some other mental connection.

Dreamscapes are virtual realms that multiple entities can inhabit.
These metaphysical constructs are like individual astral planes, and
operate according to their own rules. Connecting to them is similar to
astral projection.

Features of Dreamscapes:
* Dreamscapes need to be 'run' somewhere - it needs some sort of
server system to maintain it. This can be a physical system, a
Cloud-based system or some other system.
* Those who create a dreamscape define the original parameters of the
dreamscape. That could include the ability to change the parameters of
the dreamscape later.
* Connecting to a Dreamscape is a wholly immersive experience. The
person's body is in a sort of coma while connected. Dreamscapes can
present to any and all senses, or senses that may not exist.
* Connecting to a Dreamscape requires some mechanism - Cloud-based
mechanism, cybernetic enhancements, runtime programs, VR setups in
sensory deprivation tanks, etc.
* If a person's body is killed while they are connected, their
consciousness stays in the Dreamscape.
* If a person's body is alive, they can always 'disconnect' from the
Dreamscape as an act of will.
* If a Dreamscape is shutdown or destroyed while someone is in it,
they are immediately ejected to their body (unless their body is dead
- then they are destroyed).
* A person's mind can't be destroyed in a Dreamscape. It can only be
ejected. However, they can be subjected to all forms of pain.

Figments are tiny metaphysical constructs that can manifest in the
physical world as abstract entities of force and energy. Humans can
learn to create fragments through extensive mental training.

Features of figments:
* Figments are constructs of pure force and energy. They can be used
to simulate kinetic force, or basic energies like heat and light.
However, they are minuscule in scope and capability (it would take
dozens working in concert to generate enough energy to light a match).
* Creating a single figment is an extremely difficult and lengthy
process. However, figments can be made semi-autonomous and are capable
of self-replication, like spiritual nanites. So it's much more
possible to create a set of figments create a figment swarm that one
can interact with.
* It takes time for figments to create more figments. They can be
destroyed or disposed of instantaneously, however.
* Figments don't last long - the average existence of a figment is a
day or so. With a bit of time and design, one CAN create a 'swarm' of
figments that are self-sustaining/regenerating for longer periods of
time, however.
* Another cannot control a person's figments unless that is capability
the creator has built into them.

Posted via email from Xyphoid Musings

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So, we had another meeting with DSHS today, and it looks like the date for Miri coming home is November 1st. That's almost the one year mark from when she ws placed in SL Start. CPS pretty much is of the opinion that the danger to Miri and Corri (which is what their job is based around) is handled and that the home is safe for her to return. So at this point (as far as CPS is concerned) it's time for a long-term solution. Either we begin the transition into the home, or it's time to move toward foster care. 

On the plus side, CPS is offering up to 6 months of transition support, starting on Oct 1. So we can prepare for Miri returning, and then have continued support while longer term resources are set up through DDD. DDD is talking about several waivers. They are shooting for a CIIBS (sp?) waiver, which is the hard-core in-home support one. In the unlikely event they can't get that, there are several other ones they have as backups. In addition, CPS is going to explore some funds for fixing some things at home - plywood on Miri's walls, etc. 

On our part, we need to get rady for all of this. One big thing is going to be developing plans of how to live with Miri. Especiallyu in keeping up with the energy that her care takes (even if her violence has gone down). The big issues will be maintaining the day-to-day, and having contingency plans for when we can't keep up (for example, we've all been sick for the last week or two, pretty much wiping out our ability to do much of anything around the house - we have to figure out how we are going to handle that). Also, contingency plans for when Miri goes on a rampage will be important (so people know what to do, especially the kids). 

The other big thing is making a final push ot get the house in order. With the regular help of Marcus and some attempts at scheduling ourselves, we have been doing markedly better than we were before Miri went the group home. But we are still far from where we need to be. Our goal is to gert as much humanly done as we can before Oct 1.

In that vein, don't be surprised if I ask people to come and help do a massive cleaning effort at our house on the weekend of Sept 25th. Yes, we've asked for this help many times before and we've always backslid. I suspect it will happen again and repeatedly in the future. But hopefully we can make some gains that, with the help of state support, will actually be lasting. We've always been exhausted, fighting from a position of total weakness. Maybe we can turn it around.

Other things we are doing is getting the kids involved more. Corri came with us ot the DSHS meeting today, and represented herself well - I was proud of her. She seems to want to step up more as well. It'll still be a fight, but I am happy she sees that she needs to be a part of it. We'll also be having Miri come to our house after school for two afternoons a week, starting next week. This will help make the transition more gradual, we hope.

So, a lot going on. And I expect a lot of stress, pain and stumbling along the way. But, I actually feel like we have a chance at it. I think we can actually do this, if we handle it correctly. 

Things I want to make sure happen - we can't turn inward like we did in the past. I mean, we haven't turned all that outward all that much over the last year. But what we have done has been very helpful. Gotta figure out how to keep doing the gaming we have been doing. And I still want to mae it to SteamCon. So any locals who are willing to do some mousiesitting, please let me know.

So, I see a huge hill ahead of us. But maybe we can climb it now.

Posted via email from Xyphoid Musings

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So, Eleri and I are looking to go to more cons - we want to go to SteamCon, and Norwescon. Possibly more. Just feels like a subculture we need to get back into.

So I am looking for suggestions on how to put together some sort of steampunk outfit/look that I could use for SteamCon.

Here's my issue - I'm not very Steampunk. I like a lot of steampunk - tesla coils kick ass, and I'm all for a Gernsback/Doc Eon sort of thing. But I am not much of one for the Victorian aesthetic - especially men's wear. There seems to be pretty much two men's steampunk looks: the faux Brit bowler-and-vest look, and the mad scientist googles-and-labcoat look. Neither really call to me. I'm much more casual than that and I tend much more towards cyberpunk, urban fantasy and industrial, both in interests and aesthetics. I'm not much for gears and mechanics - I'm much more a cyberspace and astral projection sort of person.

I'm not really a cosplay sort of person - I'm not one that enjoys wearing costumes. Rather, I like to feel like myself. So I am trying to find good ideas for a steampunk look that won't feel like I'm wearing a costume that doesn't fit me at all. Plus points if I can wear my fedora ;) Any ideas?

Posted via email from Xyphoid Musings

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Eeek! It's an evil hex!
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I am looking at doing something in SQL, but my knowledge of SQL is low and self-taught. I was wondering if there are any SQL people out there who can help me.
(If it helps, I'll likely be doing this on MySQL).

So, I have two list of items (lista and listb), each of arbitrary length. The size of the lists will chnage over time independent of each other. However, items from lista can be pairs with items from listb. Each pairing produces a value. I want to be able to, given an item from each list, get the appropriate value of the pairing. This is easy to do on paper (i.e. draw a grid and make lista the rows, listb the columns and fill in the blocks). It's easy to do with a dynamically sized multidimensional array. But how would I do this in SQL?

Posted via email from Xyphoid Musings

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Just an attempt to get some ideas out of my head that Eleri has been helping me with. I'm trying to get toward something that is supernatual and arcane, yet is transhumanist and extropian in feel. I think I've got a start here, but I am looking for commments.

Read more... )
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So, I've bene running the Dresden Files RPG, so I figured I'd put down some impressions of the process - thoughts, etc. These are a bit scattered, and a lot of these are things I'm working on, but there ya go.

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Question for you creative fantasy types: Post-postmodern occult, what would it look like?

This is an exercise in creative brainstorming. Most Western occult is a mishmash of older sources - Hermeticism from the Western traditions, liberal bitsof ideas stolen from other cultures and even a big dose of pseudo-science such as teh so-called 'quantum mysticism'. Even today's chaos magicians and post-modern pagans draw from older traditions or, at least are inspired by conceptions of older traditions. God forms, pantheons, the laws of sympathy, etc.

But, what would an occult that was purely post-postmodern look like? Let's say we rebuild 'the occult' from the ground up and build it like it'd been born in the 21st century. What would an occult look like that was built off concepts like transhumanism, extropianism and futurism? Or the an increasingly tethered society in the Internet age? A world where the majority of humanity are not rural and pastoral, but urbane and technically-savvy?

I'm not looking for an 'upgraded' version of something that is already out there, but something uniquely 'now'. Something that is food for thought, as well as a jumping off point for ideas for a different approach on urban fantasy. Ultimately, I am looking for ideas and inspiration for a RPG/story background, or even just personal philosophy.

What are your ideas on it?
What can that sort of 'magic' do?
What are the gods like? Are there actually gods? Spirits? an 'otherworld'?
What is the cosmology like?
How do people interact with it (not just in terms of an 'adept' but the average person')?

Go wild.
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So, as of 2pm today, Mirriam is out of the hospital and back at the group home.

After a second surgery on Wednesday and a different type of antibiotics, Miri's condition improved quickly. She rested quite a bit yesterday (which included watching the most recent movie version of Annie a half-dozen times). Today, she was generally back to herself, if a bit crankier than usual.

So, we got her settled at her group home with a small bag of cheesy potato chips and invoked the "discretion > (valor - discretion)" rule - we headed home and collapsed.

So I expect that we won't be very coherent over the next couple of days. And after that, we get to regroup to start looking at the results of the big nasty meeting with DSHS from Monday morning, which ended a whole few minutes before this latest crisis landed on our heads. I haven't had a chance to think about it, much less blog about it... Oi.

In some corner of Olympus, Eris is laughing her fool head right off. I guess this is what I get for being a Discordian in a former life (that life being college). You can't write shit like this. Doesn't help that, in some dark recess of my mind, there is a part of me that finds this all ironically hilarious. Some part of me is a bastard with a really perverse sense of humor.

Who knew?

Posted via web from Xyphoid Musings

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If you haven't heard, Mirriam is in the hospital. She had an ear infection last week and it looks like it descended into her lymph nodes. Yesterday at school, they noticed that the left side of her neck was swelling. We took her into the ER and they diagnosed it as an infected absess in her neck. She went into surgery last night to drain the absess. The surgery went well, but they didn't get as much out as they expected, which means there is a lot of inflamed tissue. They are keeping Mirriam in the hospital for a few days for observation, and she's been fighting off the infection with a fever of 104+ today.

Since Mirriam requires 24/7 care, one of us will be with her all of the time. The group home she lives in is sending staff as well, but their policies for hospital stays say that family members have to be there while staff is there. So we're on deck. All good thoughts and healing energies for Mirriam (and for Char and myself) are welcome.

Posted via web from Xyphoid Musings

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If you don't want to read through all of the details, just skip to the bottom - there's more important stuff and a place I'm looking for feedback.

Long stuff with questions at the end )
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Just a brief update of the week:

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Hey there Seattle Locals!

I'm looking to borrow the following Dresden Files books: Death Masks, Blood Rites and Proven Guilty. I've found the other Dresden books from the library, but anybody have these available that I can borrow for a few weeks?

Posted via web from Xyphoid Musings

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Note: There be spoilers ahead, Cap't Ahab!

So LOST is gone, the last episode was last night. I'm sure that the geekosphere will be full of full-on flaming over the last ending. So far, it seems to be dividing into two camps "That was a lovely way to end it all" and "They didn't f@*%king answer ANYTHING!"

I figured I'd add my little breath of aether to it all below. I'll try to avoid the agonizing puns on the word 'lost', even. So, of the above two camps, I am in the first. I liked how it ended. And I can narrow it down to two specific reasons.

Read more... )
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It is said that one can only heal if one wants to heal. 

This is easy for the body. As a rule, the body always wants to be healed, and it does it the best that it can. It is not always competent at it, but it tries. Only when the body is knocked off course by illness or confused by addiction does it falter in this desire.

The mind is a different beast, as it were. It is the nature of the mind to be many different things, to do many different things. It is the nature of the mind to grasp that which is not in its nature, to examine that which is harmful, that which is forbidden or unwise, as much as it is its nautre to grasp that which is good, right and pure. This is the virtue of the mind, that it may and should go places where it should not and must not be. That is its purpose.

Underneath the mind and the body are the soul and the fetch. The fetch is that which is the seat of the desire of the body, it is the why of the body's desire to heal, while the body itself is the how. The soul is that fulcrum on which the mind sits, the point at from which the mind levers such that the possibilities of the mind become the realities of the self. It is the point of decision.

The mind, like the body, can heal. And like the body, this is dependent on that which lies beneath it. The fetch feeds the body the desire and energy of life. The mind must pivot on the center that is the soul. And the soul is that which must place itself so that the mind can turn to the healing of itself. It is not only the fulcrum, but the impetus.

The soul is not all-knowing. It is limited, because we are each limited. This is not our flaw, but simply our nature. Without it, we would be something incomprehensibly different. The soul moves as the self learns. The pivot changes, back and forth. It learns from the possibilities of the mind, from love of others as felt by the spirit, from the joy and pain of living as felt by the fetch.

And once it learns, it can choose. And thus might the healing of the mind become possible.

Posted via web from Xyphoid Musings

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I think I've finally had my last of the Uru community. For many years, that community has been one of the cornerstones of my life. When I got laid off, it was Myst Online that became my solace. And I think I've done some of my best roleplaying in Uru as J.D. Barnes. He's one of my favorite characters. People at Cyan have been like family, and I've met some very important people in my life through Myst fandom.

But I find I'm tired of the community, the level of angst and drama that has pervaded the community is just irritating in a way that I simply don't want any part of anymore. Much of the most prominent people left in the community are the most venomous that have been there in years. While there are these types of jackals in every community of some size, I find I just can't deal wtih these people any more. And with the mishandling of the community, I don't see a respite coming. Hell, the only reason I am really looking forward to Mysterium anymore is the fact that we'll be going to the MagiQuest in the Mall of America. If I could pass off running events for Mysterium to someone else, I would.

I really do love the world of D'ni. I think I always will. But there is not much of a future in D'ni for me at the moment.

I guess that such movement is a good thing. Life is dynamic, ya know. Interests change, people change, but life goes on. And so do I. I am discovering other interests, other fandoms: nerdcore, Second Life, getting into the Dresden Files universe, getting back into RPGs and board games, etc. I should get on to other creative projects as well. There are some languages awaiting work. I have my gaming backgrouds, Allocosm and Crystalpunk sitting on shelves as well. I still have a story to tell with J.D. that is an offshoot of Uru - I may press forward with that. Or maybe I'll translate the character into another world. Or many. J.D. seems like the type to be trans-ludic, as it were.

Posted via web from Xyphoid Musings

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