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  1. My Final Moments as God

    It is quiet and still now. I feel a great calm spread through me; a chill extending from my core in a gentle humming wave out to my finger tips. My breathing is deep and the only thing I can hear.


    The great expanse before me is a chalkboard. I can remember chalkboards covered in lines and symbols. It all seemed so exciting then: the discovery, the sense of progress. We were taking the universe and breaking it down to its basest forms, and then building it back up again. There were real answers, then. Solutions. Outcomes just waiting to be found, like childhood games of hide and seek.

    Her name was Jane, and she was my first friend. She lived a couple or so houses up the street. We used to play tag, insofar as only two children can play tag, and hide and seek. Hide and Seek. We weren't very good at it then, hiding behind the same tree every time. I'd come around the trunk and she'd squeal as though it was the most surprising and delightful thing in the world that I should find her there. Two feet from where we started, behind the only tree.


    She moved away when I was seven. She's probably out there somewhere right now, in the huge green and blue dot right in the center of my chalkboard. I hope that she is. I hope that, despite all odds, one of the photons hitting my eye from the middle of that vast green blob bounced off her. I'm sure it did. I can feel it.


    I feel a jostling as my blob rattles from side to side. I can't tell anymore if that's the calamity's doing or the air supply, but it appears to steady.

    I don't want to turn my head, but I would if I could, and I'm glad that I can't. I don't want to see them strapped next to me and still. Already cold. Together forever, I'm alone.


    The calamity shakes me again more roughly, but it does nothing to shake my calm. I am beyond the calamity, above it.

    Those of the green, when they spoke to me, warned me of the coming of the Calamity. They told me of His effects, and His way. They could do but talk, and so they were silenced.

    They put me here, in His path, but it was not their fault. They are forgiven.


    As He shakes me harder and harder I raise one mighty gloved hand and blot out the entirety of Southern America. I wave my second hand through the Atlantic and feel the water run through my fingers. I can feel the tides lapping against them, the ebb and flow of a sharp numbness. I grab a handful of soil and turn it over in my hand and can feel the sun beating down on me during a hot summer afternoon. The bright light shining through the sparse leaves on the trees warming me to my core as I turn and look towards its light. The earth in my hands a moist clay causing my hands to dampen as I squeeze it into my palm. I've never squeezed anything so hard as this.

    Summer gives way to a crisp fall evening, Halloween, which is always colder than you prepared for. I'm shivering in my costume as I look out into the night sky, look towards the stars, and the taste of a single juicy apple floods my mouth causing cold juice to run down my chin. I've never tasted anything so sweet as this.

    It's shaking me so hard now I can barely see and the chalk stars are drawing their lines along the blackboard carving out symbols and patterns I don't have time to understand but I wish I did. I've never been more alone than this and I'm shaking so hard I can't find the way to talk anymore and all I want to do is talk and listen and hear. I reach out to the green and want to stretch my hands all the way down and hold on to it to something to stop the shaking I want to be down there I don't want to be here I dont want to be here i dont want to be here

  2. Aging Magic

    I wake up flat on my back, my head still spinning. The air is so dry it stings my eyes just to open them, but I have to keep them open. He's still coming.

    The bodies all around me were destroyed in the last blast and the ones that came before. I'm thankful that they died quickly. I don't know why he's after me, but besides the fear they felt in their last moments, they didn't suffer. A pile of black soot shows where each life ended, and there's a lot of soot around. A gentle breeze moves through the library, lazily clearing away the tops of the tables; casually erasing the only memory of these people I have.

    Wait, where is he?

    "I see perhaps I've underestimated your development", he sneers coming into the room from the hole in the wall, "I took too long to find you."

    Raising his hand to his side, he cups his palm upwards as it begins to fill with the fire streaming from his fingertips. I can feel the hair on my body stand upright, and I pry my eyes away from his smirk and look for somewhere to hide.

    His power seems pretty great, but his form is sloppy. He takes a full few beats to wind up his maneuver and I see it coming from a mile away. I sprint towards the nearest bookshelf, timing in my mind how long I have before he finally releases this blast. I run out of time and have to clumsily dive behind the bookshelf just before a gout of smokeless flames consumes the place I'd been standing. It's directed up and over my head, like a flamethrower laser or something, obliterating books as it goes, leaving the shelf untouched. I don't really know how this stuff works.

    I guess he figured I'd roll out and keep running. If I hadn't landed so weird I may have, and I may be dead right now. Maybe he overestimated me.

    Shit shit shit, he's coming and I'm stuck in this stupid... what is it in a library. An aisle? Row? I feel like there's a better word than that. Focus! I can hear him coming.

    I scramble to my feet amongst the piles of scattered books, and do a hunched kinda run thing out and into another... aisle, I guess. As I'm passing the shelves and looking back it seems really quiet. I dip down another row and I'm starting to get ner--

    Woah holy shit! A huge stroke of fire comes way too close to my face and, even though I pull back, the split-second of exposure was enough to hurt like crazy. I check my nose to make sure it's still there, and I hear a sound like someone exerting a great effort from somewhere beyond the shelves. Maybe he's getting tired?

    Nope. A floor-to-ceiling wall of flames pours down the row behind me and starts sweeping my way, while he sounds like he's lifting a truck. I have no choice but to run out of the aisle and back into the wide open common area; almost making it before I get a tinging sensation on my back and the force of the fire propels me forwards, slamming me onto and over a desk.

    I'm trying to catch my breath, and only sorta wondering why I'm not vaporized, and I can hear that he's also a little winded. And, if I'm judging his breath right, he's also a little frustrated that I didn't die already. That makes me a little happy. Bastard.

    I try to get to my feet, but my hip's hurting really badly, and something seems weird with my ankle. I lean on the table trying to act casually, but I don't think it's working. He knows he's got me. He takes one step towards me before a new voice calls out "Richard, don't" from the other side of the room.

    We both turn towards this voice and see a man standing in the door to the room. He's got shoulder length raven hair with a bit of a curl to it. He's wearing a vest thing over his muscle shirt, and from the looks of his arms, that didn't just happen to look good on him. In his hand is a cane, which would have made him seem more frail if he weren't holding it half-way up the shaft like a weapon.

    Wait, is the first guy Richard? That seems weird. From the magic, and the billowy clothing, I would have expected his name to be "Angnoth" or something. Richard. Ok.

    Richard speaks up. "Don't try and stop me Travis. If we don't kill this one it'll get stronger and may one day challenge the likes of us. It's surprisingly strong already. You know I'm right!"

    Travis? Ok. Also, I think I'm "it".

    "This isn't the way Richard. We shouldn't try to kill them, we just need to train them."

    "That isn't assured! An apprentice can kill their master."

    "Like you did, Richard? Most of us don't do that. You've just always been a little twisted."

    I feel a little awkward for sitting in on this. I can't really run, because my leg's all screwed up -- not to mention that I'm glued to the floor out of fear -- but it just feels like I'm listening in on a personal disagreement.

    The library is in ruins around us, and we're surrounded by the dead, but they're having a heated but relatively casual chat. About me, I think. The "it".

    Richard seems like he's caught his breath, and is getting frustrated at this argument. My hair stands up again.

    Half way through Travis' sentence Richard lets loose with an impromptu blast right in my direction. I don't have time to move this time, but I'm saved when a wall of air springs up and deflects the fire to my right. I look to see Travis holding the cane in my direction, wind blowing gently by him.

    Richard turns his attention on Travis, and fires 3 balls one after another out of alternating hands towards him. Travis uses his cane to easily deflect them before following up with a bolt of lightening straight up the middle towards Richard.

    I barely have time to see it, but Richard's already thrown up his hand in front of him and appears to have absorbed the hit, sliding back a little as he does.

    "I don't want to fight you Travis", he spits through gritted teeth.

    "That's not true, you just don't want to lose to me", Travis counters, throwing another blast towards Richard.

    Richard rolls to the side and hurls another huge blast of fire my way.

    I brace for impact, but I'm done for.

    I feel a little warmer, but not so warm as to be dead. Or even injured. I still hear fire. I open my eyes.

    Travis is standing up on a desk in front of me, fire breaking against him as it redirects away from me. Lightning flickers out from him in all directions, and I can see the sweat beading off his skin and sizzling like it were on a skillet.

    Time moves slowly as I watch awestruck while he stands against a glowing molten backdrop of fire; his clothing and hair billowing out like he were floating. He exhales slowly and adjusts his stance to better resist the fire. He turns his gaze back to me briefly and gives a small smile out one side of his mouth and a nod.

    He pushes his hands forward like he were moving a box, and the sound of the room shifts from a gentle roar to the sound of a rocket taking off. He continues to bring his hands out and together and the fire follows along, closing back towards Richard like a huge beach umbrella.

    As the stream gets towards its tightest, the fire takes on a high-pitched tone like a jet engine, and just maybe the sound of a human scream. Then it instantly goes quiet.

    I clear my throat to make sure I haven't gone deaf, and Travis looks back at me. He smiles a big smile and jumps down off the table.

    "Come with me," he says, "I have much to teach you"

    I hate this place. It doesn't seem right for him to be here. When I think about him, I always see him wandering through some cave, or in his lab; a rich wooden room with deep warm colours and just the right amount of clutter. He'd be draped over the edge of some chair smiling widely and discussing a strange topic. This place, with its sterile walls and bright white floors and sensitive pastel accents just doesn't feel right.

    A voice comes over the intercom telling one of the staff that they're wanted on some extension or another. He's propped up in bed, like always. His thinning hair, always more grey than I think, seems damp just from the effort of living. He's rambling on about the same story he tells every time I'm here. He's already told it 3 times this visit.

    He stops talking mid-sentence and I turn to see why and find him just staring at the wall blankly, as though he forgot that he was talking while he was talking. A fire starts in the pit of my stomach and I have to fight to keep my cool. I hate this thing that's sitting in front of me. It barely even looks like him anymore, it doesn't sound like him, it doesn't smell like him. This disgusting frail creature I keep visiting doesn't even know who I am half the time! If I never came again, what would change? Would he even know? He used to be powerful, controlling the raw elements themselves with a casual wave and a smile. This thing has trouble getting up for a piss.

    I stand up and pace the room a bit to keep from strangling him to death. I'm not sure it wouldn't be the best thing for him.

    I'm leaning by the wall when he notices I've moved and looks towards me.

    "Where's Natalie got to? Is she coming back soon?"

    Oh God, this doesn't get any easier. I can feel my throat start to clench and my lips tighten. He was there when she died, and the first time he asked me this it shocked me. Now it just makes me sad. I've tried reminding him of the truth before, but he just gets really confused and hurt every time, like it was the first time he's heard of it.

    "Yeah, she's just in the other room getting some materials. She'll be back in a bit", I barely manage to push out.

    "Oh good. You two really make a great team."

    It's too much. I have to turn away and cover my eyes for a minute or two while I try to keep quiet. He doesn't seem to have noticed, and is looking calmly out the window. Good.

    "Did I ever tell you about the time when I defended Rio from a powerful sorcerer, who was trying to use blood magic to infect the population?"

    "Yes" I say, but it doesn't matter. He starts in anyway. The strange thing in, this isn't even his story. This is something I did during one of the periods where we were apart, and only told him about later. He's mixed up a few other stories we took part in together, and parts of my story, and constructed this rambling nonsense version.

    I'm getting frustrated again just listening to it, and I get up and get my coat to leave. I don't even know why I come here. There's nothing left for me here.

    As I'm walking to the door I hear him say, in a voice more like the one I remember, "Do you remember the time we fought Richard in the library"

    "Yes, I do", I reply heading out the door.

    "That was the day we met. I think that was the best day of my life."

    I pause, turning back.

    "Mine too"

  3. Rebirth Snippet

    "Oh no", he said softly to himself, "I am the lord"

    The blows inflicted by the group of boys rained down on him steadily. They started out sharp and quickly faded to a dull ache just in time for the next strike. One of the boys decides to throw a rock and the gash created by it on his forehead begins to pour a warm stream.

    A feeling of deja-vu runs over him with the blood down his face. He is a man, much older than he is now, long long ago. The rocks being thrown by the crowd sting his face, many of them hitting existing wounds. There isn't much surface besides them. He couldn't protect himself if he wanted to; his hands are tied to boards, and the boards are heavy on his back. He is tiring of this. Another whip tears across his back. He stands and looks towards the hilltop where a number of similar figures already stand.

    "Not long now", he says to himself, "not far now".

    He walks towards the end.

    The old church smells of stale air and pine, but does little to mask the smell of the sixty or seventy bodies crammed in here on this hot Sunday. A song has just finished, which she felt was a pity. The songs were the only part of these gatherings she enjoys.

    The expert approaches the stand and begins to read from the book. She has come to hate the book. The stories are based on truth, but exaggerated. The conclusions all wrong, the inferences misguided. She knows better than to voice these opinions, having been chastised in the past for it. She knows the stories were authored by Man, and Men can err. Men can be fooled, manipulated, misled.

    "They weren't there", she thinks to herself, but pauses. "but neither was I"

  4. Introducing ideas.psycoti.ca!

    Alright, so, I'm launching a new site, separate from this one. I can be found here!

    The concept is that I have a bunch of ideas, and they float around in my head, and get in my way and stuff. I don't really feel like putting them here, though, because they're mostly just hand-wavey garbage that would just clutter this place up.

    So, I've put them on a new site that's very much like this one!

    If any of them ever comes to fruition, it'll end up here, but over there there can be entire entries that are just a few sentences like "Wouldn't it be cool if..."

    The reason I'm writing them down is so that I can get them out of my head and into fixed form. Then I can reference them, and build on them, while having them all actually exist in front of my eyes. The reason I've decided to make them public is because I've decided I don't really care about keeping them secret. I used to want to keep them close to my chest, so that no one else swings in and steals them, but now I'm thinking that I'm likely not going to get to them anyway, even if they are a good idea.

    This way, at least, they will exist, and if someone else does write them, and they credit me, then I'd be alright with that. I wish them luck. Keeping them secret, but then not doing them, isn't helping anybody.

    So, that's it. The hope is that when something occurs to me, I'll dump it up there into the ever-growing list of stuff.

    Neato gang!

  5. Statistics

    I'm of the opinion that Statistics are one of the things that we as humans have the most trouble with. The problem isn't that it's hard; there are a lot of things that are harder than Statistics. The real problem is that humans seem to have a gut instinct for stats, but that gut instinct is way off more often than not.

    This leads to the tricky situation where a random person will attempt to interpret a statistic, or generate a statistic, and feel like they're probably pretty close. Sometimes someone who even knows that math will second guess it because it just doesn't feel right.

    I'm going to attempt, in this article, to cover a collection of cases where I've seen people often have the wrong idea.

    The Birthday Paradox

    The Birthday Paradox is one of the simplest and easiest examples of how wrong a person's gut instinct can be. It goes something like this: How many people need to be in a group to have a 50% chance that two or more of them share a birthday?

    So, most people, when presented with this go through a thought process like the following: Alright, the typical year has 365 days. A person can be born of any of those days evenly. We want a 50% chance of collision, so I'd guess (365/2) = 182ish. So, I'd guess about 182.

    Not bad reasoning.

    The real answer is 23. I'll explain why that is after covering a little bit of the basics of probability.

    Probability Basics

    3 in 5 means that, if you do the experiment a huge number of times, then about 3/5th of that should be the given outcome.

    That's all. If you do something 5 times and don't get 3 of the given outcome, then that doesn't necessarily mean the probability is wrong.

    If you do something 50 times and never get a success, that still isn't necessarily wrong. It does provide evidence that perhaps it's not the most likely probability, but that's a whole other topic.

    There's actually no way to prove or even demonstrate that a given probability is wrong.

    But, in general, you should assume that in the long run, when you do something 50 times, there should be close to 30 successes, and when you do something 5000 times there should be even closer to 3000 successes.

    Also, if something has a probability of 1 in 1 million, that doesn't mean that it will only happen on the 1 millionth attempt. Something can have a probability of 1 in 1 million and still happen on the first attempt. It can happen on the next attempt too, then not for another 199 999 998 times and be exactly as predicted by the math.

    In this representation of probability it's computed as (the number of times the interesting outcome can occur) / (the total number of outcomes), and since there can't be more interesting outcomes than total outcomes, this number ranges from 0 to 1. 0 means impossible, and "1" means certain, but without rounding, neither of those values actually come up in most cases. Often the best you'll get is 0.000000001, which is very unlikely but not impossible, or 0.999999999 which is very likely but not certain.

    Two things happening together is represented by multiplication, whereas having either one thing happen or another is represented by addition.

    Take, for example, rolls of a fair die: Each side of the die has a 1 in 6 chance. So, the probability of rolling either a 1 or a 2 is (1/6 + 1/6 = 2/6). This makes sense. The probability of rolling a 1, followed by a 2 is (1/6 * 1/6 = 1/36).

    If you want the probability that the opposite of something happens, you just need to subtract it from 1.

    For example, the probability that two dice each come up 1 is (1/36). The probability that doesn't happen is (1 - (1/36) = 35/36).

    Be aware, though, that odds and probability both represent the same thing, but work differently. If something has a 3 in 5 chance, that represents a probability of (3/5). 3 successes for every 5 attempts.

    If, though, something has 3 to 5 odds, that represents 3 successes vs 5 failures. That means there's actually 8 outcomes (3 success + 5 fail), which represents a probability of 3/8.

    A 3 in 5 probability is the same as 3 to 2 odds.

    The Birthday Paradox Revisited

    So, now that we've got the basics of probability, let's see if we can work out why the answer to the birthday paradox is what it is.

    First off, assumptions. I'm assuming that people are born with an equal probability on any day of the year. That's not quite true in practise, there is a clustering in certain areas of the year, but that would make it more likely that people would have the same birthday, not less, so that's acceptable.

    First off, calculating the probability that a group of people all have unique birthdays is easier than computing the probability that they have 1 or more collisions. Luckily, since "having everyone have a different birthday" and "having everyone not have a unique birthday" are opposite outcomes, we can subtract that probability from 1 and get the value we actually want.

    So, the probability of the first person having a unique birthday is (365/365 = 1). That makes sense, since there's only one of them.

    The second person has only 364 days to choose from (since it has to be different from the first), which leaves a probability of (364/365).

    The third person has (363/365).

    So, to compute the probability that three people have unique birthdays we have (365 * 364 * 363) / (365 * 365 * 365), which is 0.99 That's pretty likely.

    The probability that there's one or more of them that share a birthday is (1 - 0.99 = 0.01).

    That probability rises quickly, though, as we add more people.

    Number of People Probability of Sharing a Birthday
    1 0.000
    2 0.003
    3 0.008
    4 0.016
    5 0.027
    6 0.040
    7 0.056
    8 0.074
    9 0.094
    10 0.117
    11 0.141
    12 0.167
    13 0.194
    14 0.223
    15 0.252
    16 0.283
    17 0.315
    18 0.346
    19 0.379
    20 0.411
    21 0.443
    22 0.475
    23 0.507

    So, we can see that by 15 people we've got approximately a 25% chance that there will be a shared birthday, and by 23 people we've reached 50%.

    The Weather

    The weather is probably the place where people clash with probability the most in their day-to-day lives.

    It seems like most people take "70% chance of rain" as "It's going to rain". Anything above 60, really, is considered a "yes", and people become irate when it doesn't rain as predicted.

    Unfortunately, that's not what it means. What it does mean is that there's a 7 in 10 chance that it will rain on that day.

    Even if we ignore what I said in the section on basics, that means that if he predicts 70% chance of rain for 10 days in a month, and 3 of those are sunny, then he was exactly right. In fact, if it rained every day he predicted a 70% chance of rain he'd actually be wrong.

    The same obviously goes for "30% chance of rain", which doesn't mean "It will not rain."

    The Lottery

    In this case I'm going to talk about raffles, because it's easier to reason about things that exactly one person always wins.

    Depending on the perspective you take in the raffle, the outcomes look very different. One on hand if there are one million raffle tickets sold, then each ticket has a one in one million chance of being chosen. That's considered a small probability. But, it's certain that one of them will be the winner, and that winner always had a one in one million chance.

    The person who won likely wasn't expecting to be the one to win, and shouldn't have. Like the weather, when people hear that something has a one in one million chance of happening, they interpret that as "impossible". So, when the "1" comes up, and they get the unlikely result, they see something they thought impossible come to be, and assume something magical helped them out.

    From the system's perspective, though, someone had to win, and each person was equally likely. The fact that 1 person won, and 999 999 people did not doesn't seem weird or magical to it. That's the only way it could have gone.

    It's difficult to reconcile these two views, so I won't try. They're both true, and one just needs to think about things from both sides before jumping to any conclusions.

    Implicit Assumptions

    Let's say you're flipping a coin 4 times. You flip it the first 3 times and get Head, Head, Head. At this point people tend to feel like the next one has to be a Tail, since 4 Heads seems much less likely.

    There is some basis for this feeling. The probability of getting four Heads is (1/16), but the probability of getting a 3 Heads and a Tail is (1/4). That's four times as likely! It would seem, then, like the odds of getting a Tail on the next toss are better than the odds of getting a Head.

    There's a hidden assumption in here, though. We've already got 3 Heads. The reason that 3 Heads and a Tail is four times as likely is because there are 4 equally likely ways that can happen: THHH + HTHH + HHTH + HHHT = (1/16) + (1/16) + (1/16) + (1/16) = 4/16 = 1/4.

    Obviously, though, only one of those are applicable to our current situation. THH, HTH, and HHT didn't happen. We're at HHH. There's only one outcome there, though, that has a Tail in it, and the probability of it is 1/16, same as HHHH.

    Miracles and Coincidences

    You're walking down the street and before crossing the road you notice something on the ground and pick it up. Just then a car flies past and you think "Wow! If I hadn't bent down to collect this thing, I'd have been hit by a car and died" and it's a miracle.

    Let's look at the potential outcomes, though, and their reactions.

    If you're walking down the road and you don't get hit by a car you consider this a normal day. Nothing weird or magical occurred here, and this day is mostly forgettable.

    Let's say you're walking down the road and you get hit by a car and die. In this case no one uses the word miracle, it's an accident. Whatever you did that day is insignificant, and in many cases no one even knows what you did.

    If you're walking down the road and get hit by a car, but are only injured, then this is an awful day. It's also never really called a miracle, but it's possible for you to maybe draw a line from your activities before you were hit and the actual accident.

    If you're walking down the road and you almost get hit by a car, but are narrowly missed, then it's considered a miracle.

    Like the lottery, these are all of the choices. From moment to moment one of these has to be happening, and most of the time you're not getting hit by cars.

    When someone gets hit by a car, though, they tend to feel like something unlikely has occurred, but they often fail to consider every other time they walked down the street and didn't get hit. And that's just them, what about every other pedestrian that day that didn't get hit by cars? Did each of them consider that day to have been a miracle because they managed to walk from one place to another without being killed? Likely not, since that's expected.

    Looking at it as three outcomes: Nothing, Miracle, Accident; where no on considers Nothing, there are only Miracles and Accidents. And, really, Accidents are just miracles that aren't deemed positive.

    The other example that comes up is things like "Wow, I was just thinking of you when you called me! WEIRD!" There are two potential areas here.

    If you're thinking of someone and they call, then it's super coincidental. So much so that perhaps magic was involved.

    If you're not thinking of someone when they call, then it's just a phone call. There are lots of those everyday, the event is not significant, and an hour from now you may not even remember that you took this call at all.

    The real issue is that probability is based on numbers. If there's a 3/5 chance of something happening and you do 5 trials, you expect about 3 successes. If you do 50 trials, you expect about 30.

    In these cases, though, people seem to grossly underestimate the number of trials. Despite potentially answering 100 phone calls in a month, when something happens it can seem like it happens far more often than it does if you only feel like you've taken 3 calls this month.

    Now, like the lottery, I've been mostly speaking about the system here. Let's say that 1 person is hit by a car every 3 days in some area, when you get hit that's not unlikely from the world's perspective. If, though, someone were to ask "Why me?", then that's potentially a valid question. Even if everyone who was hit thought that, the people who weren't hit rarely ask themselves "Why not me?" They just assume it's something that happens to other people.

    If I may, I'd also like to apply this to prayer. Let's say a person becomes ill, and people pray that they will recover. There are now two options: they recover, in which case the prayer is deemed successful; or they don't recover.

    I'm not saying that prayer is ineffective, but as a skeptic on the outside, I see it as a bias. Either the prayer was critical, or it was just their time.

    It's even easier on longer term wishes. If one wishes every day for their entire life that they win the lottery, then any time they don't win is a normal day, and they day they do it's all because they prayed for it every day. The days they prayed to win and didn't just fall away, and aren't significant in the story of their life.


    My intention here isn't to disprove miracles, or claim that people should be happy when it rains during their sunny plans.

    In the end, it comes down to random occurrences, but what actually guides the outcome is up to you to decide. I happen to believe that the outcomes are due to physical processes which have no concept of "Our interests", but one could easily also believe that there is an interested party out there guiding the outcomes.

    I can't prove that there isn't, and for most of what I've said it doesn't matter whether there is or not. I'm more just collecting a few of the things that I've heard people say, or claim, that have seemed, to me, to have been potentially rooted in a misguiding of statistical understanding.

    I'm sorry if I've enraged anyone.

  6. My State

    I feel like maybe writing some of my feelings out will help me work them out. Or something.

    So, on August 27th I stopped working. Months prior to that (Exact Date Unknown) I first mentioned to my boss that my heart wasn't in it any longer and had gone in on that day intending to quit.

    I mentioned to him that I had increasingly felt this at my previous job, and that leaving it was an effort to correct this. I had hoped that the issues were related to the situations the old job placed me in, or the kinds of work I was doing there. I had hoped that the new job, with its breath of fresh air, would shake me up. It did, for a few weeks.

    While everything was still new, things were fine. I was learning the new software stack, and techniques. I was looking around the new codebase and if I felt unsure or slow, it was excusable. It was still unfamiliar. It would pass. It did, but the feelings that replaced it were not confidence in my increasing grasp of the code, or my increasing proficiency with the stack. I was more confident, I was more proficient, but I was not more productive.

    There were days where I'd complete tasks, and they were good. There were also days where I would spend all of my time staring at my screen. There were times I would, while doing nothing, spend my time trying to come up with acceptable things to say should someone ask me what I was working on. I felt awful. I wasn't playing games instead of working. I wasn't reading things instead of working. I was just not working, and feeling guilty about it.

    The balance shifted slowly, but after a few months there were more days off than on. That's when I let him know that I intended to leave.

    We had a talk, he and I, and I was afraid to pull the trigger.

    I liked this job. I liked my co-workers, I liked the environment, I liked -- in theory -- the work I had. Things were easy-going and fun. Most of the work wasn't groundbreaking, but it was sufficient. It should have been fine.

    I felt that, if I weren't in this state, this job would be the one I wanted. I felt that I'd squandered my first impression on a false start. I selfishly wanted to cling on, hoping I'd pull through, because I was unlikely to get a second chance if I let go.

    We talked about some of this, I can't remember now how much, and the question came up whether or not that would be my last day. I decided to try a few more things. They didn't help.

    Months passed, and everyone was over-patient, but the day came when we decided to call it.

    That was August 27th.


    For the past two months I've been mostly sitting around at home. I feel happier, in general, since I'm not costing anyone money. In the first week or so I caught up on some things which had been annoying me for a while and things seemed good.

    They haven't really changed much since then, though.

    There have been a few good days where I've gone out and purchased materials for a few different projects I want to work on. I haven't touched any of them since. I like having them around, but they're not becoming anything.

    I've done very little coding in the time I've had off.

    I had thought that maybe doing a bunch of coding during the day, or being in a coding environment, might have sapped all my recreational coding desires. Apparently that wasn't it, since they're still gone.

    I feel broken.

    An Aversion to Focus

    I've spent some of my time trying to figure out what changed. Trying to figure out why I can't sit down anymore and produce a ton of code, like I used to.

    I've found a prevalent aversion to focus, which is what caused me to stare at my screen all day at work, is still within me. I expect it's an effect rather than a cause, but it concerns me all the same. I've come up with some metaphors in my various imaginary conversations.

    The first way I would describe it is that it feels like pushing two magnets of the same pole together. There's a mushroom shape between them. When they're relatively close it seems like it'd be very easy to push them the rest of the way together, but as soon as they get a little closer the magnets veer apart from one another. I feel the same way about coding. I know what I'm going to do, but when I attempt to execute my mind jumps away quickly.

    The second, and where I got the term aversion from, is a bucket of spiders. Thrilling! Most people, when confronted with a bucket of spiders, would not want to put their hand in it. I think that's safe to say. Now, let's construct a room with a bucket of spiders, a sealed door, and a bomb with a timer. Then, at the bottom of the spider-bucket we place a button that stops the timer and opens the door.

    I feel like most people without a spider phobia would push the button and live. I also feel, though, that the decision wouldn't be immediate. There would be a period of "Ok... ok... here we go. Just got to put my hand in the spider bucket. Alright, bucket of spiders. No big deal. Come on, come on, they're not dangerous! Ok, here we go... rrrRRRAAA, ok, ok, not bad, not bad, this time actually do it. Ok. Spider bucket, Spider bucket, ok." The spiders aren't dangerous, they're just creepy, and most people would have to work their way up to actually putting their hand in the bucket. Again, that's just my guess. Anyway, that's how I feel anytime I consider writing code, or doing laundry, or showering, or sleeping, or cooking, or doing much of anything...

    I like doing laundry; pick up clothes, put in machine, hit go. Not a big deal. But these days it can take me hours of pacing back and forth and a lot of internal shouting at myself to actually pick the clothes up. Sometimes I pick them up and then put them back down and lay facedown on my bed for 15 minutes. It's like procrastinating, except I don't get to do fun things instead. I just get to make repeated attempts to accomplish a simple task.

    It's even worse with coding, where the task isn't necessarily simple. Thought is required, and I need to follow a train of thought and fully flesh out some solution. There are some days, like today, where I can't even read code without my attention being ripped away from me. Sometimes I physically turn my head away from the screen and am like "What the HELL IS WRONG WITH ME! Ok, so, this variable has the value of AAAARRRRR. No! THIS VARIABLE HAS NGRRRRRRRRRRR. VARIABLE! THIS ONE! HAS! BOATS! WHY AM I LAYING FACEDOWN!?"

    That's not really an exaggeration.

    After fighting with that for a while I get mentally exhausted and super frustrated that I can't make it through a simple thought. So, I maybe lay down, or watch a movie, or read a book. Something brainless.

    And then I try again later!

    I would say that it hurts to focus, but it doesn't. I just seem to act as though it does.

    This concerns me.

    I've never been awesome at focusing in general. I've always been a little scatterbrained, but this is different.

    I used to be a little scattered, but then could sit in the basement for 9 hours straight writing some code from beginning to end. I feel like there were still times where I'd be disinterested in solving something, but this is almost constant now.

    Sometimes a bug will come up and I'll jump in and fix it. Then I'll go back to pacing around uselessly.


    I'm not sure. Maybe that's it. Maybe coding was a phase, and I'm done it now. It was interesting enough to keep me, but no longer.

    Maybe I'll recover.

    I honestly don't know.

  7. Leviathan

    I found myself perched on the edge of a endless body of water.

    Out at sea the water was thrashing and churning in the midst of a great storm, with waves of incredible scale. Despite the water coming just below the level I was standing on, it didn't crest the grey shale edge. The water, as it approached me, calmed until it was still as glass at my feet.

    While I could see no sun or moon, the stormy sky seemed to diffuse a grey light through it, casting grey tones onto all below it.

    As I was set to turn, and see what lay on the land to my back, a movement in the water caught my eye. The nature of the waves almost on the edge of my vision, seemed to change and crash in a wholly new way.

    It was then that I saw it.

    I still can't fathom the size of it. Despite being at incredible distance, it rose out of the water and filled my entire field of view. The girth of it was expansive.

    What I saw of it appeared snakelike, but with a flat face. I don't dare to guess at what remained under the waves.

    It rose for what seemed like forever, then turned its gaze on me.

    It opened its vast mouth.

  8. Untitled: Time Control

    He dodges through the crowd of statues, making sure not to bump any. It wouldn't, in the end, affect anything. He could set it right before anyone would notice. He just doesn't want to have to put in the effort.

    After the years of this he's gotten fairly good at it. A lot of mistakes tend to shape one's abilities.

    It certainly wasn't always this easy. The first time had lasted years. Much of it was spent deaf, blind, confused, and alone. Fear and depression had their moments too. In the end the pain led to control. Thankfully.

    The first time started when he was only twelve. He was in a train station, much like he was now. The train was running a little late, and he was so excited to get onboard. He leaned out into the tunnel and saw the headlights coming down the tube. His heart fell, along with the rest of his body, onto the tracks. Perhaps he'd leaned a little too far, perhaps he'd slipped. He may even have been bumped. Adrenaline has tarnished the clear memory of those moments. It was moments before his mind realized it was falling, and moments later the falling had stopped.

    As he lay in the space between the tracks he forgot himself. He focused on the pain, and next the humiliation, long before he could hear the screams. His palms hurt. His knees hurt. He had hit his face on the ground. Like a fool.

    The world rushed back into his focus so quickly, like waking up from a dream. In many ways that's exactly what it was.

    He looked into the face of the oncoming train.

    He looked into blackness. Into Oblivion. Everything was gone.

    There was no light, no sounds, no sensation of any kind. He couldn't feel his face. Nor his body. Nothing.

    His mind worked on this for a while. Realization, and slowly panic, set in. His thoughts, wildly thrashing about, settled around "Paralyzed". Or Worse. Death. And others in a long line of thought. It went on for eons, and no time at all.

    All this negativity wasn't really getting him anywhere. Was anywhere even a viable concept? He gave up the concern. It seemed for the moment, whatever that meant, that nothing was immediately important. He stopped to think. Not on anything in particular, just thought. When one is alone in the void, thought is fairly easy to come by.

    Like a flock of birds, his thoughts continued to fly free, but surrounded a central topic. Focus. He had nothing to lose.

    He focused on his face. What was it like to have a face? This was something he'd never really needed to ask himself before. These were fresh ideas and the memories were stiff. Try as he might he couldn't recall "Face". He could sense a distinct lack of "Face", but didn't quite know what he needed to fill the hole. It's the same feeling as walking into a room and suddenly sensing that something's missing. You can point to the empty spot by the wall, but have no idea what you expect to see there.

    After endless time the mechanations budged. Face. It seemed so easy, all of a sudden. How could he not imagine "Face" before, when it was so obvious now? In a rush he felt Face again.

    He could move his mouth, tongue, and blink. He could feel the hair settle on his head. He could feel that he was choking.

    The red-hot, ice-cold panic shot through him. Why wasn't he breathing? He couldn't feel anything stuck in his throat. He couldn't feel his throat. He couldn't feel his lungs. Did he ever feel his lungs? Does one, in general, sense one's lungs? He must have, because he certainly didn't now.

    He slowly realized that while he was pondering these thoughts he'd lost his face. Again. With it had gone the choking, and the panic.

    In a lazy way he decided to try again. This time, though, he'd need lungs to go with his face. This thought seemed rational to one half of him and surreal to the other.

  9. Moved To Redo-Blog2

    Ok, the wait is over!

    I've finally "finished" work on redo-blog2, which became the successor of GitSite.

    I originally wrote GitSite because I liked the concept of some set of static files where metadata was stored on the FileSystem and in Git. When I published it, I was happy with where I'd gotten. There were things I wanted it to do that I hadn't gotten around to, but that was alright. At first.

    Very quickly I started wanting to do things with it that it wasn't built around. Things like having articles and other things together, without everything being an article.

    But I did nothing. Rather than fix the issues I just held off publishing anything.

    One of the other issues with GitSite was that it was a big script that ran from top to bottom. It wasn't super easy to handle. Also, it built everything all the time.

    Around this time I also saw redo, which is a build system (like Make) that is based off shell scripts. It's less like Make, and more like a collection of tools you can string together to make your own build systems. Kind of.

    Anyway, I'd been looking for something to play around with redo on, and I had a site built out of files that I wanted a more modular and efficient build system for. Bam!

    So I thought about it for a bit and then did nothing. Stephen eventually wrote some scripts and emailed me a tarball of them called redo-blog based on things I'd said I'd wanted but never done. I liked it some, but it wasn't quite what I wanted.

    The biggest breakthrough in redo-blog, which solved an issue I was blocked by on the imaginary thing in my head, was storing intermediate data in YAML. It allowed redo to build from one file to another while keeping a bunch of metadata around also.

    So, then a long time passed where I moped around not publishing things.

    Finally I sat down, interested again, and wrote the beginnings of redo-blog2. I built it from the ground up to satisfy some of the issues I'd had with GitSite. Namely, the base organizational structure in redo-blog2 is "tags" Without tags, they don't get deployed or built. Articles can have "article" tags, stories can have "story" tags, in then I end up with "/article/blah.html" and "/story/blee.html". I was happy.

    Then I did nothing for a while. Yesterday I finally got around to actually finishing up the final needs I had for the system and moving this site over to it.

    Redo-Blog2: A description

    Ok, so.

    First, one needs redo. Or at the very least minimal/do from that repo. Minimal/do is a script that builds everything every time, so it's not super efficient to dev with, but it does work the same as a more full redo system.

    Next, all my pages are in files like blah.mime. This is because they are in a pseudo-mime-format. Here's an example:

    Title: First Article
    Content-Type: text/plain
    Tag: article
    Tag: test
    This is the body of the article here.
    Isn't it exciting that I can put text here?

    So, the first part of the file is Headers. These can be arbitrary data, but obviously if a script later doesn't use them, they go away.

    Then there's a blank line. Everything else is the page contents.

    The data path for redo-blog2 goes as follows:

    1. First, blah.mime becomes blah.augmented. This involves adding auto-generated Headers to the file to augment the manual ones the author wrote. In my case, this is where Git is probed for info about the file.
    2. blah.augmented then uses a typeconvert script to turn the body from whatever Content-Type was specified into html. If no type is given it assumes text/plain. This is then recombined with the headers into blah.converted
    3. This is then run through a tagtemplate for every tag it is a member of to generate a different html file of the form blah.tag.html The reason for this is that one can have a different output structure for the "story" tag, or the "video" tag or whatever. If one doesn't have a special tagtemplate it will make one automatically out of the default.
    4. Finally, the deploy step moves blah.tag.html into tag/blah.html

    There's a lot of other stuff it does around this, but that's the main concept.

    Using It

    For the author, adding a new article involves making a new mime file and then running "redo deploy". It will only rebuild what it has to (or maybe slightly more) and then move it into place.

    The main places where someone setting this up has to touch is default.tagtemplate.do, default.tagindex.do, and default.tagfeed.do.

    Into default.tagfeed.do one mostly just has to change the data like "Author Name", Email address, Website, etc.

    default.tagindex.do is the file that constructs the files that go into tag/index.html and includes a listing of all items with that tag. You must therefore change that file to include the structure you want.

    default.tagtemplate.do is slightly more gross. It creates the files that create the blah.tag.html files. Other than that, though, you just have to change the markup in it to be the one you want.

    It's feasible that the only changes you'd need to make are removing my data. The markup is (I think) pretty standard and most of what I do comes with styling.


    So, so far, I'm quite happy with this system. I don't yet know of things that will keep me from using it.

    I'm sure they're out there, but I haven't come across them yet, and that's pretty good.

    The biggest issue, in general, is that redo-blog2 isn't a script, like GitSite was. It's more a concept, or idea.

    The scripts in http://github.com/psycotica0/redo-blog2 are what I based the scripts in http://github.com/psycotica0/Site off, but in the end they are disjoint. They're related in concept, but there's no connection between them.

    So, if you want to adapt it to work with your site, you can start with either this site, or the redo-blog2 repo, but it's likely there won't be a lot of cross pollination.

    I'm alright with that for now.

  10. Someone I Want

    I want someone fun. A friend. Someone with whom I could spend all my time.

    If the world were to end, and it was them and I left, I'd be happy

    I want someone imperfect. Someone interesting. Someone who I'm constantly discovering. Someone with whom every conversation would be an adventure. A mystery. A clue.

    I want someone I can share silence with. No words required between us. Presence says it all. There would be a comfort knowing we know. To be just glad.

    I want someone to be honest with. Someone with whom I don't pretend. Who knows the real me. All of me. I want them to peer behind my mask, and tell me what they find.

    I want someone to touch. To speak to too softly to hear. To be near to. To breathe them in and keep them there.

    I want someone to stay with me. I want to hope they'll never leave. I want to beg them not to. I want their departure to wreck me.

    I want someone to trust. Someone whose opinion I believe whole-heartedly. I want to be confused by their words. Suspicious of their meanings. I want their criticisms to sting like arrows. I want someone to spit hateful acid and burn me.

    I want to cry, and wipe away their tears. To share our pain. To mourn together the death of a close friend. A loved one. Our child.

    I want to be ruined. I want their death to devastate me. I want to be lost without them. I want to look at our old things and curse the fate that left me here. To take for granted the little things they did, and miss them when they're gone. I want to find an old object of theirs and break down at the sight of it.

    I want to fall to the ground, a husk, without them. Like dust, nothing. Purposeless. To blow away in the wind.

    I want to wake up at night, thinking I'd heard their voice, only to discover it had been a dream. A memory. A curse.

    I want to want to give anything for one more moment with them. To take back the last thing I'd said. To tell them something I'd never said. To tell them one more time something I didn't say enough.

    I'm tired of the armour. I want to let someone in. I want to open my heart to them so they can tear it, beating, from my chest.

    I want someone to destroy me.

  11. Succubus

    He awakes with a start, but no dreams sit in his recollection. Looking to his left he is struck by the beauty that is his wife: the curve of her figure, the contrast between the colour of her perfect skin against the rumpled sheets, her long hair flowing around her head. His bladder, realizing he's awake, interrupts his thoughts with sudden alarm. Perhaps this is why he awoke.

    It's cold outside the blankets, but his bladder insists it's important he leave the warmth and comfort for the cold tiles, lest he make the sheets a little warmer. It's still dark outside, but his eyes are accustomed to the dark and he finds his way to the bathroom with no trouble. Once inside he flicks on the light switch instinctively and immediately regrets it. The bright lights dazzle him and in the surprise he almost forgets his purpose for being here. Upset and groggy he closes the door behind him and shudders as a breeze kisses his skin, stealing even more warmth as it travels over him.

    Shielding his eyes from the light, he notices his bathroom window is open. He curses to himself, and his absent mindedness, and slides the window down. In his half-conscious state he tries to close the latch on the window for longer then he would care to admit before remembering the latch on this window hadn't worked since the Christmas party. He curses James again and turns to his toilet.

    As he's relieving the pressure on his bladder, his eyes begin to move around the room. He notices the lonely way his shampoo and soap sit in one corner of his otherwise empty, but quite sizable shower. He notices the towel which he's left on the floor, again, and makes an easily forgotten mental note to pick that up when he's done. The toothbrush in the toothbrush cup by the sink, bearing the worn name of his dentist. He makes another easily forgotten midnight note to make a new appointment with his dentist; this toothbrush is looking worn.

    He finishes what he was doing and flushes the toilet, again out of instinct, curses to himself, and hopes he didn't wake his wife. As he turns towards the door he is startled to find his wife standing in the bathroom beside him, and in his half-slumber almost slips and falls.

    "You were going to come back to bed without washing your hands, weren't you?", she asks with a playful tone.

    "What? No, I was just", he stalls here for a moment while his tired brain tries to come up with some reason for him to walk towards the door without stopping at the sink, "just going to hang up this towel."

    He weakly smiles as he bends down and puts the towel on the hooks on the back of the door. In his mind he thinks he may have gotten away with this one, but that's only because he's firing at half power. She, on the other hand, seems to be fully awake.

    "Oh, my mistake. Thank you for hanging up the towel, 20 hours after throwing it on the ground."

    "Better late than never." he says, and chuckles to himself in a way that implies he felt that was a more clever reply then it actually was.

    As he's washing his hands in the sink he looks up into the mirror and sees his wife staring at him, not his reflection, in a weird manner. He can't really put his finger on what the adjective should be. He knows he knows it, but in this state his recall just isn't working right. She looks at him... blank. A shiver rushes through his body, and then a warmth follows it, and he turns off the taps. He makes sure, as he passes his wife to the door, to make grand movements of drying his hands on the newly hung towel with a smug look on his face. She looks at him with one eyebrow cocked and a smile of her own and says "Yes, I get it, it's a good thing the towel has been hung. I'm very proud." and she pats him on the arm as she opens the door. At her touch his skin tingles and he feels another wave of warmth and sleepiness wash over him.

    Upon stumbling back into the bedroom, now mostly blind again in the dark, he finds his wife waiting for him in the middle of the room. The only light in the room comes from the moon off the snow outside the window, and it's a light she looks very good in. She wraps her arms around his neck as he approaches and breathes warm breath on his ear. Pulling her in closer to himself, he can feel the shape of her against him, and the warmth of her. He never wants to let her go, lest he be cold again. Something in the back of his mind, as it's waking up, seems to be saying something -- like a dull hum -- but he ignores it for now. At this point she whispers something softly into his ear. It was probably something seductive, but he couldn't make out the words. He can never make out the words. They're not really important, everything he needed was in the tone. Actually, everything he needed was right here in the warm woman pressed against him; words are unnecessary.

    He moves his face down to kiss her neck where it meets her shoulder and notices something glisten off the floor.

    "What the heck is that?" he says and momentarily forgets the beautiful woman he had in his clutches and moves to inspect the floor.

    "Honey," his wife seductively mock-whines, "you can clean the floor later. I'll forgive you."

    Touching the ground it seems to be a small pool of water with bits of snow still unmelted in it. The cold shocks him, and helps shake him out of his stupor a little. A leak in the ceiling, he thinks, and curses under his breath. He gazes up at the roof, but can't see any wet patches up there. Looking back at the floor he sees that there are other wet patches around, roughly in a line between the bathroom and the bed. Weird, he thinks. As he's inspecting this line, and trying to come up with some sensible explanation, he notices his wife's feet -- which are along the same path -- are soaked as well, and look ice cold. The back of his mind is spinning faster and faster now, but things still aren't clicking into place.

    He stands up and catches the reflection of his wife in the window, and she's looking at him in the same way she was in the bathroom. His skin tingles again. He looks over the entirety of her reflection and he feels the fog in his mind start to recede. Wheels begin to click. Her image doesn't change, but his perception of it does. He notices the length of her fingers, and fingernails. The length of her jaw. His stomach begins to churn, and his skin begins to crawl, as a terrible wave of dread passes over him. He feels immediately nauseous and out of breath. He realizes with a new wave of clarity, and terror, that he doesn't have a wife. He never has. He lives alone here. His eyes dart to her face again as her tongue, if you can call it that, passes over her lips and fierce teeth. He finds the adjective to describe the way she's been looking at him.

    She looks at him hungrily.

  12. First Shave

    Two days ago I received, in the mail, a straight razor and equipment (Strop, Soap, Brush, etc.).

    I've been busy, but excited, for these two days, and today I finally got to try it out.

    These are my thoughts, hopefully while they're still fresh in my head.


    So, first, it wasn't perfect. I wasn't expecting it to be, but I thought I'd just make it clear from the outset that this is not a victory tale.

    That being said, it wasn't terrible. I'm alive, thus it could have gone far worse.

    I didn't cut myself a huge number of times.

    I didn't sever any major arteries.

    I still have a face.

    Net win.

    But, I did have issues, and for the most part, they weren't what I expected them to be.

    Where's the Soap?

    What I believe the largest issue I had was related to the soap. Having watched videos and read articles while I was procrastinating I thought I had a pretty good knowledge of how to shave with this dangerous weapon.

    I think, barring what comes up later, I was right. There are definitely things to improve on, but the basics were there.

    The soap, I was totally unprepared for.

    I thought I was prepared, but everything I knew was apparently wrong. Wrong or at least not enough.

    I soaked the brush for a long time, and shook it out. So far so good. I swirled it around the soap, and it got kind of foamy. "Sweet!", I thought.

    I then started painting the stuff onto my face. At this point I was thinking: "Wow, in the videos the lather looked really thick, almost like paint. I guess, though, under the right lighting and a bad camera this could look like that too..." I've realized now that I should stop thinking things like that.

    So, I went and attempted to strop the blade while the "lather" sat on my face because I'd heard that was a good idea.

    When I came back to the mirror I discovered that I could see my face. "Huh.", I said.

    Not only had all the soap disappeared, but it had left my skin feeling tacky, which is, I think, the opposite effect than is intended.

    So, I threw a little more soap on and decided to take my first swings.

    They went okay.

    By the time I'd made it halfway down the first cheek, though, all my soap was gone and my face was sticky again. "Maybe that happens, and I'm just slow", I thought. I should stop thinking these things too.

    At this point I seemed to be kind of dry shaving instead of wet shaving. In fact, it was worse because I was dry shaving in a way where my skin was even less slippery than usual.

    This continued for most of the shave.

    I decided at this point that this wasn't just what happens, but that I was doing it wrong. I don't really know why I didn't decide to figure out how to do it right, but I should have.

    Toward the end I got something even more like real lather and I was like "Oh yeah! Now we're cookin'!", but then I turned my back on it for a second and it was gone. I may have compared it to Jonathan, which is an inside joke.

    There were times where I was in a particularly crappy area, like my chin, and I was basically just rubbing metal against my chin. I would, in these cases, just grab suds off the top of my soap with my fingers and slap them onto my face to give any lubrication at all. These were bad times.

    So, in general, I think that's what I did worst. I've glanced over an article now that I plan to read more carefully later about how I'm actually supposed to do it. There's a lot of "Oh... that's what that means..."

    How do I get this there?

    So, this object is basically a straight piece of metal. I was surprised at how unintuitive it can sometimes be to get it into an orientation where one can (A) have fine enough control with the blade to not die, (B) be able to move the blade from one place to another maintaining said control, and (C) see what you're doing.

    There were many a time where it's like "Well, um, okay, I can't put my hand like that because then I have it on my skin, but can't move this direction without twisting my wrist the wrong way. Maybe I'll.... no... no I can't do that, I'm just basically hanging the blade against my skin, maybe if I switch hands here I'll... no, I don't trust this hand yet.... Oh here it is." Then I look into the mirror and all I can see are wrists and forearms. Then I try to work something out.

    This is something that wasn't a deal breaker, and I'm sure that as I learn my face this'll become second nature. It was, though, something that I spent a lot of time doing. I hadn't even considered that I might not be able to find the right way to drag a bit of metal over my skin.

    Where is my face?

    On a related note, I noticed quite a few issues with vision in the single straight small mirror.

    When shaving under my cheek, for example, in order to even get it into view I had to face the top corner of the room, then look all the way down my face to the mirror.

    Again, I should have anticipated this, but I hadn't.

    Towards the end my eyes started to hurt from all the weird directions they'd been looking for the past hour.

    The Chin

    I may be mistaken, but I feel like most men would agree with me. Chins suck to shave. Maybe it's just me.

    The solution is probably "Grow hair on your chin.", but screw that.

    So, I don't think that shaving my chin was any harder with the straight razor than with a crappy other razor, but it hasn't yet been far more effective either. I hope that this situation will improve as I do.

    The worst wound I encountered happened to be under the edge of my chin. It was a stupid mistake, and thinking back on it I don't even know how it happened.

    I think it may have been just a slip-up related to looking into the mirror.

    The other few nicks I had I encountered while shaving, and I immediately knew. Something about the glide would stick for a second and I'd know that this was a tiny cut. Not a big deal.

    There was a point where I was setting up a stroke on my chin and I misjudged distance a little, I guess. Either way, I mostly just hit myself in the chin with a very tiny, very sharp, axe.

    It didn't hurt, and I don't know how deep it was, but I immediately knew what I'd done. "Oh damn..." may have been my response.

    I immediately put down the razor and grabbed my Styptic Pencil and started going to town on a steadily reddening slit. In the end it wasn't a huge deal. There wasn't a ton of blood. It probably wasn't bad at all. Which I was glad about.

    It was still a little rush of adrenaline, and that's always fun.

    So at this point I stopped shaving my chin. In fact, I may have stopped shaving altogether here.

    As a result my face is alright when it comes to typical shaves of mine in the past. I only shaved with the grain, and maybe across the grain in some areas.

    I decided to leave the against the grain shave for a day when I was more confident and had better soaping skills.

    My chin still has hair on it, though. Enough that I can feel it. This is something that displeases me. I look forward to the day when I'm skilled enough to finally get rid of the rough menace.


    My stropping probably sucked. Couldn't really tell. It'll probably get better.

    One thing I did realize is that I'm a spoiled tool who takes showers all the time, and has little-to-no practise washing my face when water isn't pouring down onto it. There was a large period of time where I basically stood there with my face over the sink slapping myself with wet hands. I found it embarrassing, and I was the only one there.

    By the end I was better at it than I had been at the beginning, but still not good.

    I think I got more water on my floor than on my face. I would scoop up water to try to put it on my face but it would just run out and down my arms like an idiot.

    Even after I was done I realized the skin along my jaw was still soapish. "How the hell do I get water there?", I said more than once in my increasing frustration.

    Eventually I had to take toilet paper and make it damp and rub that on my face, which cleaned off the soap but left little bits of wet paper on my face.

    That knocked my esteem down a few pegs.

    So... you know... work in progress on that front.

    Also, there was a period after the shave, and it's still not completely over, where my face felt weird. It was as though I had a ton less skin than I should. I couldn't really make facial expressions or open my mouth a lot.

    I've since decided that the problem is that my skin is really dry after all the soap and friction (more than there should have been) and failed attempts at washing.

    So, I'm thinking maybe I should have sprung for some of that moisturizing after-shave after all.


    So, it went pretty well, all things considered.

    On a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is "spent time in the emergency room" and 10 is "I touched this blade to my skin and all the hair, in fear of what was to come, jumped up and ran away. Then, gold poured from the sky.", I'd give this about a 5. My electric razor is fast and safe enough that I use it every morning for day-to-day maintenance, so it'll be about a 4. I've never owned a "good" bladed razor (until now), but I've gotten around 7 with a crappy disposable razor with mild frequency. Maybe 8 on some really good days.

    I'm hoping that, given time and practise, I'll be able to get an 8 consistently, maybe even a 9 on good days, with this new blade.

    10 seems slightly less likely, but one can hope.

  13. First Actual Post

    Ok, so, I'm calling this a win.

    I've got my new site engine up and running. I've called it GitSite for now, and it's currently located in my Git Area.

    It's called GitSite because the site it generates from is a git repo. This site, for example, is here.

    I still have a lot to do with this thing. I've got more data to add to the template, a couple changes to make to the theme, a couple features to add to the engine, but it's at this point workable.

    At this point I'm going to talk a bit about GitSite.

    GitSite, a description

    So, the basic idea here was to make a site engine for publish articles (Notice how I'm avoiding the term 'blog'?) that was based off static files and git.

    So, all of the pages that are being served here are static. All of the html, conversion, templating, etc was all done on the server prior to it being available. By the time it's accessible, it's a collection of files with a lot of duplication.

    I like that.

    Also, it's all Git, and, for now at least, public. Not for updates, but if you wanted to download the entire source of my site you'd just need to do:

    git clone git://psycoti.ca/Site

    Isn't that sick?

    I think that's sick.

    I will now go through the what one can expect to find in a GitSite source repo.


    This is pretty simple.

    There's a directory called 'articles'.

    Each file in this directory is a single article.

    The name of the file is the title of the article.

    The contents of the file are the contents of the article, potentially in some kind of markup.

    That's about it.


    Also pretty simple. We've got a number of files with very specific titles in here.

    Each one is expected to be an executable script, and the data is passed to it as alternating keys and values on the command line.

    So, for example, to call the 'bork' template with content of 'blah' and title of 'dribble' it would attempt to execute

    ./templates/bork Content 'blah' Title 'dribble'

    Pretty simple.

    Currently the following templates exist: (Note: This is very likely going to change very rapidly, but this is just to give an idea)

    • article - This gets called with a Content of the output of the markup engine for each article. It sets up the html for just the article portion of the page.
    • site - This gets called for every html page. It is the basic template for everything surrounding content on the site.
    • index - This is used to generate the index page's content. The content here is the excerpts from the most recent article, already computed.
    • index-article - This is called on the article excerpts meant to go on the index page.
    • atom-entry - This gets called for the top few articles to wrap it in whatever markup is desired for the atom-entry.
    • atom-feed - This is called on the concatenated output of all the atom-entrys and wraps up the rest of the feed.

    So, that's that, for now.

    Like I said, I have a couple more I'm planning to add, or break up, or make optional, as I add more functionality or make it nicer for others.

    That's the basis of the templates though.


    There are a couple of things, that I'm going to call options, in the engine.

    These are things like which markup engine to use, or how urls should be encoded.

    Currently this is also done with executable scripts in the directory.

    In this case they act like filters, with the thing they're supposed to act upon as stdin and the result as stdout.

    Other than that, the script doesn't care how they work to come up with their answers. The markup engine could be sed, or PHP, or Markdown, or NME (Which I'm currently using), or cat (Verbatim).

    Wrap Up

    So, that's pretty much it.

    I've got this thing now, and I like it.

    Assumedly it's going to get better.

    I'll probably keep you posted as I go.

  14. Some Other Header?

    So, basically right now I'm trying to come up with a theme of sorts. It is intended to be very minimal and liney.

    So far it looks like I've done a fairly good job of that.

    Truth be told I'm quite surprised at how it turned out. Typically I'll see something in my head or whatever but am incapable of moving it to the outside world. In this case, though it worked pretty well. I like it.

  15. My Web Presence

    This is psycoti.ca/0/

    Currently very little is happening here, but I have it now, so things should start happening soon.

    Exciting, no?