Excavator and Pan: Two Paths to Literary Gold

An excavator tearing up dirt and rock ton by ton and dumping it into a machine that blasts it with water and shakes it down a sluice box, separating the heavier material across a series of riffles, and the gold flakes eventually being sifted down into a thin layer of synthetic ‘moss’ to be collected later.  A scoop of dirt and rock being carefully panned by hand, swirling the water gently to gradually reveal whatever small bits of precious metal are hidden beneath.  I could have used any number of metaphors to display the disparity between brute forcing one’s way through as much material as possible, or taking time to handle an individual project with a bit more focus- a shotgun blast versus a precision rifle, fast food versus fine dining, a hammer and sickle, whatever.  I’ve been watching Gold Rush: Alaska lately.

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Laundromat Story

I was doing laundry at a turnkey laundromat a few years ago. I specifically use the phrase turnkey laundromat to denote that it was a coin-operated one rather than any other type solely so this story isn’t berthed into the mind of the reader that I have more than a trivial amount of money. I was doing laundry, by way of washing machine, while I was across the street at a 7-11 purchasing chips. I didn’t leave my clothes attended because the probability alone of someone finding them valuable enough to steal was absurdly low. Further, someone that would find them valuable enough to steal would almost certainly have some sort of completely irrational mindset that simply could not be dissuaded by my presence alone. Regardless, for lack of anything more interesting to do, I returned to the turnkey laundromat.

To pass the time, I skimmed through the magazines that were stacked on top of the turnkey soap vending machine. They were all damp copies of Analog from the mid-eighties. I read two time travel stories and six advertisements for digital wrist watches. There was a printing error in the magazine I was holding at the time; pages 6 through 14 had been inserted into the magazine twice. Pages 15 through 23 were missing. If I had not noticed this, I would have read four time travel stories and twelve advertisements for wrist watches. This would have been poignant to some, but it was all just patterns of matter to me.

I didn’t have my phone with me, and I didn’t remember not taking my phone with me. There was someone else, in the opposite corner of the turnkey laundromat. They were sending text messages from a phone that was the exact model and color of my phone. At the time my phone was three years old, and at the time I purchased it, it was three years behind the times. The probability alone of someone having the same exact phone as me was absurdly low. I became intensely curious as to if this phone was mine, or his. I wouldn’t resort to physical confrontation beyond simply asking for it back, if I needed to. I wanted to know the truth of the situation more than anything. My curiosity was satisfied completely when someone called the phone and he answered with “‘Sup girl?”.

Some time later, after I’d finished eating my chips as quietly as possible, my laundry had finished being washed, and then dried. When I left, I stole the misprinted Analog magazine from the mid-80s. This would have been poignant to some, but it was all just patterns of matter to me.

(Written in response to this.  When I saw it, I realized that I too had a laundromat story.  It’s possible that almost everyone does.)

Mo’ Blades Mo’ Problems

The developers of one of the iPhone’s biggest non-bird-themed games has done an astounding zig-zag with my expectations and hired a legitimate author to put out a novella based on their intellectual property in the form of an ebook called “Infinity Blade: Awakening“.  While plenty of games have book tie-ins, there’s a lot of of hurdles to be cleared when trying to conflate some of Infinity Blade’s specific game mechanics and lack of a protagonist with a coherent storyline.

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Dwarf Fortress: Playstyles Followup

DF Talk 17 is out.  It discusses playstyles central to Dwarf Fortress, based on the definitions defined in the previous article.  After contemplating further, after reading the thread’s responses, both before and after the Talk was posted, here’s my follow up thoughts on the issue.

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Dwarf Fortress: Playstyles and You

This is reposted from a thread I created on the Dwarf Fortress forums to percolate some discussion about what people get out of the game.  It was equal parts devised to get some talk going amongst players about what they want to see more of from the development, what keeps ’em around and such, as well as to use that information for DF Talk fuel.  Once the DF Talk episode about playstyles drops, and some discussion filters out from that, I’ll be posting a follow-up in the thread to crystallize the completely non-scientific findings.

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