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Topics - Q. G. Pennyworth

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Aneristic Illusions / Absurdism, the Cold War, and the Future
« on: February 14, 2012, 05:54:49 pm »
WARNING: This post was written from the perspective of an American. All usage of "we" or "our" refers to America or western culture in general. Sorry.


So, on a whim I picked up a $1 book on a trip to DC last year. It's "Superpower Illusions" by Jack Matlock, wherein the Reagan-loving diplomat lays out just how fucking retarded we as Americans have gotten about the history of the Cold War and why it's fucking up our foreign policy. The short version as i understand it is that Reagan *did* have an important roll in bringing the Cold War to an end, but it was more because of his willingness to talk with the Soviets and give them a way out and less the saber rattling. That the biggest problems the Soviets had were self-created through the belief that they needed more control over their people and over the ideological discourse of the nation. By clamping down on their populace, they made western culture look more appealing.

What we're screwing up now is thinking that just "being stronger" than another nation and yelling at them long enough will make them fall down and get into line. That's bullshit. The harder we clamp down on our own people, the more vulnerable we are to internal strife and collapse. And leaning on other countries isn't enough, we have to show them how much more awesome it is to be on our side by making it more awesome to be on our side. You want freedom? Our artists are so free we let them just splash paint on a canvas!

Or Kill Me / Adventures in Jailbreaking; or How I Got Here
« on: February 14, 2012, 02:34:30 pm »
Last spring as the cabin fever from a long New England winter was reaching its unbearable apex and any escape from the four walls of my annual "it's too cold/dark/miserable to go out" solitary confinement sounded like an awesome idea, I began working on a book. It was supposed to be a prop for a game, something to add a little weight to a backstory (and preferably a bit of delicious XP). I'd written huge swaths of the Big Book of Blasphemy already, but I also had a little 8 page booklet from the defunct Circle of Eris that I didn't want to see vanish, either. So I set to work constructing an overarching mythology that placed Eris in the role of "Maiden" and Tlazolteotl in the role of "Crone" and the whole universe in a bubble of snotty pea soup. Obviously, to catch up with the huge backlog of material I'd saved up for the "Mother," I'd need to get a lot more down for Eris.

Searching for material for the second Book of Eris brought me to the Black Iron Prison for the first time. I'd read a friend's beloved copy of the yellow 4th ed Principia in college, and purchased the much-lamer Steve Jackson reprint for myself a few years later, but that was it. I never considered myself a Discordian (although I definitely absorbed pieces of it into my own clusterfuck of a belief structure), never sought out Discordians, or even looked for other Discordian works. It was, as far as I was concerned, a work of fiction every bit as valid and inaccessible as the science fiction I devoured. The BiP was much more appropriate for the project I was working on than a lot of the original PD, and spoke to a lot of the frustration I felt at my current ability to affect change in a shitty world. The PD is all sunshine and bubbles and five tons of flax, which is all well and good for a bunch of San Francisco stoners but doesn't sit well when there are people you care about dying from "Aneristic Illusions."

I also found this: . Judging by the publishing date, I must have come across it very soon after it was posted. It inspired me to give up my self-identification as "crazy," something I've held on to since I was 16, and retroactively applied to most of my life.

I know it's not that easy for most people, but I happened to be in a place where it was possible. It had already been four years since I had needed any psychiatric medications and three since I had needed therapy (though there were points in between where yammering at a shrink would have been nice if not necessary). I had a stable living situation and a few friends to lean on emotionally if I needed to do so. Even with that, it wasn't easy. Being "crazy" means never being held entirely accountable for your actions. Being "crazy" means skipping emotionally draining activities when you feel like ass. I never made a grand announcement of it, and even though I attempted to explain it to the Boyfriend it never really seemed to stick for him, but it made a difference in how I saw the world.

And then I let it slide.

So, this past month was a "big round number" anniversary in my personal history of crazy. I expected it to bother me, as I tend to put more weight on these things than is really appropriate, and provided the Boyfriend with ample warning of impending emotional difficulties. And no, no he was not as responsive as I would have liked when the day came, and yes it was disappointing, but it was not the end of the world. And it occurs to me that this is what not-crazy people feel like when they are disappointed by a thing. And I have to say being "crazy" may be more fun when you're 16 and want the world to burn down around you and everything to be the Biggest Thing Ever, but I'll settle for going to bed miffed and getting up the next day to get shit done without a huge "OMG THIS RELATIONSHIP IS OVER BECAUSE YOU HURT MY FEELINGS" meltdown.

I'm not crazy, and that means a lot of work. It means I need to learn how to communicate my normal, human emotional needs to other people without resorting to the "my mental health is very fragile and if you don't I could end up in the looney bin" implications. It means when I do retarded shit I have to take it all on myself. I really should have been learning this stuff when I was younger, but better late than never. And it wouldn't have happened if I didn't see someone else yanking some bars out of their own cell.

So, I guess what I'm trying to say is "Thank you, Cram."

RPG Ghetto / Adventures in splitting the party
« on: February 10, 2012, 03:27:20 pm »
My good friend Mac finally convinced us to play GURPS for the first time. There are only three players. He warned us that he would not be planning things, because we'll just fuck it up anyway so he'll just do everything seat-of-his-pants and we'll like it.

I guess he was probably right.

At the end of the first session, we had already split up and gone back to our homes (or "piles of junk in an alley" in the case of my character) with no means of getting back in touch. After the cops and FBI tried to take two of us in for questioning separately, we managed to reunite and head back towards the home of the one person who hadn't been approached by law enforcement yet, and went back to his place to try to think.

Where there was a FBI van parked outside his front door.

Now, the nice thing to do here would either to all get arrested together or all run away together. Not what actually happened. Because the third character just went into his house, and I turned to the other and said "let's get the fuck outta here" and we hopped on the shitty Chinatown bus to New York. Oh, no, it's better than that, though! Because we know damn well that New York is not a safe destination, so we start arguing over where to head from there. Obviously, Mexico is the only reasonable answer (Mexican cops have more important things to do than track down a couple of suspects in a building explosion, right?) but she won't listen to reason and decides to go back to Boston.

Three characters. One in FBI custody, one on a bus, one in New York. We are fucking terrible at what we do.

Discordian Recipes / Stuffed Red Pepper and Spinach Salad
« on: February 10, 2012, 03:10:59 am »

The carnivore wanted soup tonight, so I got to make something interesting! That's two red bell pepper halves stuffed with a pretty basic egg salad (eggs, mayo, a little tabasco) surrounded by baby spinach with sliced avacado, croutons, and carrots that were rejected from one of the kids' plates. With a little ranch dressing, of course, because I am and will always be a five year old kid when it comes to salads.

Wasn't as good as the first time we made stuffed peppers, the skin was a little bitter. Still, solid B+ night.

Or Kill Me / Some Anonymous January
« on: February 07, 2012, 10:35:26 pm »

There's a long rant to go with this, but I don't have it organized in my head yet. This is seriously the fourth attempt I've made to get it down, and it just rambles. Consider this a placeholder for the time being.

Techmology and Scientism / Required reading for memetic theory?
« on: February 05, 2012, 02:31:03 am »
I have some ideas on the subject, but I don't have the academic background to flesh them out fully. Anyone have some good suggestions to get started?

Or Kill Me / Punching tanks
« on: February 04, 2012, 05:14:42 am »
Things are wrong wrong wrong and every muscle is screaming to go out and do something and I can't, I just can't and it kills me every time I hit that wall and I realize that no matter how much I care about those birds outside my jailcell they're out there and I'm in here and I can't can't can't do anything to save them. It's all so clear when it's someone else something else outside and you can see if only they moved just a little bit they would see things the way you do and they'd fix it like you'd fix it but they don't move and they can't and you can't touch them just yell and yell until your voice is hoarse and still they can't understand what you're saying and they just keep fucking dying anyway and why would you even care you don't even know them you fucking monkey get back in your monkey circle, go tend to your monkeys leave these monkeys alone. I don't fucking trust anyone to do anything, they're all terrible at it. Terrible at everything. Look at what they fucking did! All of them! And you think you see a crack and you can reach them and you start digging and get your hopes up and maybe just maybe someone will get to fly, even if I can't someone will get out of this fucking place someone will make it but the alarms go off and you get thrown back where you belong and there's no out. There's never been an out. I fucking hate it all. It's a wound ten years old, eleven years, twelve; a scar a lifetime long still bleeding. It's nine votes, pepper spray, an argument I had with my brother when we were little shits in high school. It's an Iranian couple waving at the camera. It's the last time I prayed to that dickhole god my parents believed in. A casket under yellow roses. I still can't do anything.

If I could punch my way through this wall, I would fix it. I would punch every tank in the world until they were dust. I'd break out the whistleblowers and lock up the government. If I could. But it's after midnight and the T's stopped, so I guess I just have to go to sleep, and pretend the fact that everything's okay for me is enough.

Bring and Brag / Shitty poetry
« on: January 24, 2012, 02:02:09 pm »
Please don't eat my face off for being terrible, poetry was never my strong suit.

The Uninitiated Man

The curtains drawn, the candles lit
In the circle here I sit
Believing lies as best I can
I am the Uninitiated Man.

The sigils scrawled, the words intoned
I wait for spirits yet unknown
But neither Zeus nor Peter Pan
Will greet the Uninitiated Man.

I have not learned great mysteries
No gods or demons speak to me
And still there is no divine plan
To save the Uninitiated Man.

Oh, let me fall, oh let me break
Let skies rain fire and mountains quake
Oh, take my eye, my voice, my hand
And make me an Initiated Man.

This silent night, this silent room
I sit and chant in private gloom
Still in the place where I began
I am the Uninitiated Man.

RPG Ghetto / VtR: Erisian Circle Texts
« on: January 19, 2012, 11:38:22 pm »
Do you play silly games with silly people pretending to be vampires? Do you happen to play the latest iteration of that game that specifically created a society for vampires who worship ancient goddesses? Do you really want to piss your storytellers off? Well then, have I got some heretical bullshit for you!


Eris in the Underworld

In the old days, when the Gods ran around knocking up maidens and turning into animals and generally making a ridiculous mess of things, Eris was very upset. No one ever invited her to the gatherings at Mt. Olympus, and they always seemed to be too busy for her. Only poor, ugly Hephaestus would give her the time of day, and even he got nervous when she started talking to his wife. No one welcomed her into their homes, though they could not bar her from coming into their lives.
In fact, the only place that Eris couldn’t go was the Underworld. There she held no power, for there is no discord among the dead. Like most people confronted with such an obstacle, Eris went straight to work trying to get into Hades.
She tried bribing Charon, since that seemed to work for all those mortals who broke in, but he did argue at length about which kinds of currency he could accept, and proclaimed that he could not make change and lo, there was confusion. And Eris did wish that she could turn off that shit every once in a while, but she could not.
So instead she jumped inside the skin of a dead man*, saying he really didn’t need it anyway and this was important.** Charon was kind of a moron, so he let Eris in with her dead-man-suit and this time he didn’t even complain about making change. Because of this, Discordians sometimes wear the skins of others, so that they can avoid carrying around a pocket full of dimes and nickles.
Eris toured the Underworld, and saw many things that were pretty weird. Confused by the suffering, she went to confront Hades, the Lord of the Underworld, whom she liked to call “Gary” or “Hari-Fishnut” (so that he didn’t get a swell head). And Gary was not pleased that Eris had come into his domain, and he did make faces like unto the constipated man and the fat man in summertime. And Gary said unto Eris:

“Why did you have to come down here and ruin everything?”
And Eris was most unhappy, since she didn’t deserve this treatment and she really hadn’t done anything yet. She considered messing with Gary’s marriage, but Persephone didn’t really like him anyway, so that would be a waste. Instead, Eris found some of the people who were being punished without chance for redemption or reward and she took them out of the Underworld. Because Eris knew that the place of suffering was to create change in men, and there was no change among the dead, so what the hell did Gary think he was doing anyway?
When Cerebus tried to eat the people she was taking out, Eris set his three heads to arguing with one another. She thought this was a wonderful lark and swore to get around to doing that again some time if she remembered.
Later, Eris realized that she’d let a Great Evil into the world, but since concepts like “Good” and “Evil” were kinda funny and quaint to her, she didn’t give it too much thought. The criminals and rapists and people who talked in movie theaters that she let out of Hades made a new and messed up race of blood sucking weirdos, who had to hide from the Gods all the time lest they get thrown back into the Underworld and put up with an even more pissed off Gary.
And that’s where Vampires come from.
But really not.

* Interestingly enough, when Eris was in the Underworld she ran into Johannes Grinbottom, KSC of the year 2012, who was most upset that all his years of worship and time travel he should wind up stuck in the Underworld with no skin. In response, Eris turned him into a cabbage.
** Was it?

Apple Talk / Dream Logic
« on: January 19, 2012, 12:36:17 pm »
You know how sometimes when you're in the middle of a dream you get this sudden flash of insight into what's going on and why everything around you is behaving the way it is, and sometimes it's completely relevant to your waking life and completely changes how you see the world? This was not one of those.

"Oh! Of course the giant dogs hate me, because I'm dead!"

Propaganda Depository / Half-page images
« on: January 18, 2012, 05:21:50 pm »
Here's one of the law of fives:
The parable of the bitter tea: (DINOSAURS ARE NOT KOPYLEFT)

Not embedded because it breaks the fuck out of your layout. If there's demand for it I can make lower-res copies for posting online, these are ginormous for printing purposes.

ETA: imageshack is dead, fuck those guys forever. Uploading to imgur and replacing links as I go.

MORE ETA: Most of these images were made before I gave two shits about copyright. I've gotten better, but the old work hasn't all been replaced with responsibly-sourced stuff yet. I'll do my best to include big warnings for the versions that are not kopyleft and replace what I can.

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