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from Mini Empire World Seed Dev Blog

flowcharts galore!

Starting from the last time I updated, I created a unity project and set about the very first steps of getting things to work: scene switching. I laid out the scenes I'd need for the activities I've spec'd out in the game, and I have a scene-switching script that can move me between them. That way I can at least start building one scene and get the game state manager working.

Then I lost interest for a while again, thinking that MEWS would never amount to anything.

But today, I just started reading the documents again and figured, “hey why not.” It's a hobby horse, not a work project. I can do what I want.

I also started trying to figure out how to link up data classes with gameplay classes, but I feel like I need to get more of the gameplay design done before this is solid. Terms have also changed since then.


Core Systems

I started today with working out what the basic components of the character system would be:

  • Core stats
    • Size
    • Fitness
    • Wits
    • Intellect
    • Spirit
  • calculated stats
    • Strength = Size + Fitness
    • Agility = Fitness + Wits
    • Magic = Intellect + Spirit
    • Awareness = Wits + Intellect
    • Toughness = Size + Spirit
  • Defenses
    • Evasion
    • Block
    • Parry
    • Ward
  • Pools
    • Health
    • Stamina
    • Mana
  • Skill stats
    • Range
    • Range Type
    • Area Matrix
    • Elements
    • Accuracy
  • Elemental Stats
    • Ki
    • Psy
    • Ink
    • Blood
    • Necro
    • Physical

Stat Application

The following elements will apply stat brackets/increases across the board, that will then trickle down into the calculated stats.

  • Racial traits
  • Class
  • Sub Class
  • Class Skills
  • Learned Skills
  • equipment
  • titles


This flowchart documents the core combat loop. Experience drives level, level drives stats and skills, stats and skills drive attacks, stats drive defenses, and attacks collide with defenses in combat to generate experience.

This seems like it's pretty solid. I for a moment thought about splitting XP and SP, ala Final Fantasy Tactics, but decided against it so far. This keeps the total player capability in lockstep with level, which in turn makes the game more deterministic.



Core stats are green, calculated stats are in purple, resource pools are in orange, and defenses are in gray.

Here's an example I worked up in google sheets to play with numbers.


So far, the idea is that each class level will give you a set of bonuses ranked from 1 — 10. Those bonuses are applied each level linearly. I don't know if the linear level up math is going to feel right in the game balance, but I'll hopefully be able to easily adjust the gameplay math as I go.

Joe Bush –


from The Monday Kickoff

Welcome to this week's edition of the Monday Kickoff, a collection of what I've found interesting, informative, and insightful on the web over the last seven days.

Let's get this Monday started with these links:


Why Lafcadio Hearn's Ghost Stories Still Haunt Us, wherein we delve into the writer's life and motivations, and why his works still grip us over 100 years after his death.

The CIA's Secret Quest For Mind Control: Torture, LSD And A 'Poisoner In Chief', wherein we learn about the work of Sidney Gottlieb, who ran the CIA's MK-ULTRA mind control program, and how he was the unwitting godfather of the entire LSD counterculture.

The Soviet InterNyet, wherein we're told the tale of how two attempts to create an internet-like network in the Soviet Union were scuttled, and the warning that provides to the internet today.

Online Life

We street-proof our kids. Why aren't we data-proofing them?, wherein we learn how insidious and invasive data tracking by tech giants is, and how we're failing young people by not better teaching them how to protect their data and their privacy.

404 Page Not Found, wherein Kate Wagner waxes nostalgic about the internet she came of age using, before it became the fragmented, commercial, digital wreck we know today.

Technostress: how social media keeps us coming back for more even when it makes us unhappy, wherein we discover some research that shows how addictive social media can be, and how some people try to deal with the stress of that addiction but only get sucked further into the black hole that's social media.

Arts and Literature

'Your ego has to be left at the door': the secret life of the understudy, wherein we hear, first hand, about the experiences of talented people who work in the shadow of others but whose efforts are key to the success of those others.

Translation and the Family of Things, wherein writer Crystal Hana Kim recounts how she discovered that poetry helped here find new meaning within and across linguistic boundaries in her own family (and in the wider world).

The Chelsea Affect, wherein playwright Arthur Miller recalls the months during which he lived in New York's Hotel Chelsea, and the parade of interesting and downright strange characters that passed through the hotel's doors during that time.

And that's it for this Monday. Come back in seven days for another set of links to start off your week.

Scott Nesbitt


from Flirting With Nihilism

“Daddy, can we buy a ninja?”

My son had asked the question so many times whenever we had gone to Frys, but I didn’t know as we got out of the car on a Saturday afternoon and headed toward the store that this trip may be the last time he would ask. I told him I didn’t have any quarters, which was a truth I would later regret.

Like most kids, my son has a habit of asking for a toy when one catches his eye at a store. A few years ago, I discovered I could satisfy his itch by putting a couple of quarters into one of those gumball-style vending machines near the exit of Frys. His machine of choice dispensed tiny toy ninjas in a variety of colors holding any of a number of weapons.

Gumball-style vending machine

Insert your coins, turn the knob, and out pops a cheap plastic container. Open the container and find your ninja. White ninjas, black ninjas, yellow ninjas, red ninjas, blue ninjas—with swords, daggers, nunchucks. . .

The possibilities are endless. Gotta catch ‘em all.

When we walked inside, the open part of the store which was normally filled with some sort of seasonal display was empty. Is the store closing? I joked to myself. Then I turned to my right toward the area where the PC builds and components could usually be found but became concerned when I saw nothing PC-related. Instead I saw paper goods and stationery. No big deal, they’re just rearranging, I thought. That also explains why some of the shelves are empty, right?

Rows of empty shelves at Frys

But the explanation could not explain so many empty shelves, and it definitely could not explain why the back corner of the store, usually populated with rows of monitors and laptops, now had only a few measly offerings.

My son standing in the monitor section at Frys Likeness has been altered to protect the innocent

*This place is closing*.

My fears were all but confirmed when I noticed that the Xbox games aisle was a ghost town.

Xbox games display nearly empty

No one planning to stay in business lets the Xbox game supply get that low. Your local Sears keeps a healthier stock of video games, and we all know it’s only a matter of time before Sears is taken out back like Old Yeller. I pulled out my phone and conducted a quick Google search only to discover that Frys corporate is denying any closures despite customers having similar experiences at stores around the country.

I often read about stores closing and retailers folding but I rarely bat an eye. This is the first instance I recall ever affecting me since I’ve wasted so much money at Frys over the years. On second thought, maybe I shouldn’t mourn the chain’s potential demise. I’d have a lot more money lying around if the store had gone under earlier. (Who am I kidding—I would have spent the money elsewhere.)

My wallet aches when I think about all of the needless stuff I bought there: monitor arms, computer risers, PC cases, a NAS. How many cables? How many adapters? How many ninjas?

Yes, there’s that element—the emotional element. When I think of Frys, I think of weekend mornings and afternoons spent with my son browsing the store. I think of his getting bored and begging to go and my bribing him with the promise of a 50-cent toy from a gumball vending machine if he will be good and give me time to look around and daydream and maybe waste some more money.

I had told myself we should return to the store the following day so that I could buy him one last ninja. But that didn’t happen because life happened and I guess I kind of got over it.

It’s eerie exploring massive stores that will soon be empty. Seeing bare shelves and display spaces adds an element of horror to the shopping experience. Like ghost towns, such stores are reminders that the good times don’t automatically last forever. Technology and economics are progressing and shifting every second and what works today is not guaranteed to work tomorrow. So stores are closed and jobs are lost and square foot upon square foot of retail space becomes a concrete wasteland to be abandoned potentially for years or even decades. All that space sits unused and becomes an eyesore to anyone who ventures by.

And any time a retail location closes, we all look to the retail Baba Yaga, Amazon. I understand the arguments against Amazon and I’ve made the case at different points. But damn, they make it so easy and I don’t have the strong convictions that I know I should have. At least I can be honest about it rather than projecting that everyone else is the problem. I own my place in the proper camp.

Maybe my local Frys won’t experience such a dire fate. A few months ago, my local Tom Thumb closed down only to be re-branded into an El Rancho. I remember that same eeriness when I browsed the empty shelves at Tom Thumb and I remember many of the same thoughts about commerce and change and the employees who become casualties. But ultimately the grocery store’s fate wasn’t so grim—it merely adapted to better serve different demographics.

Maybe the explanation from the Frys corporate office is valid. Maybe their shelves are empty because they’re in the process of changing their business and supply model and maybe the transition is taking a bit longer than anyone would like.

It’s silly to lament the possible closing of an electronics store. But it’s another reminder of something I’ve learned during my grief journey: We are unaware of the comforts in our lives we take for granted. We are ignorant to the assumptions we make and the expectations we have about our daily lives. All it takes is one or two fundamental changes to disrupt our lives and our identities. And we’re living in an era of rapid change in nearly every facet of existence.

This is not to say that change is bad. But it is disruptive and it takes time to adapt. There is a cost for change, but even the very best change brings its own share of unintended consequences that negatively impact someone.

We call them “growing pains” for a reason.

#retail #Frys #change #disruption #progress



I like it when you're being naughty for me.


Jinhyuk lagi santai-santai di teras belakang rumah sambil main candy crush. Suasananya adem banget soalnya ada banyak tumbuhan jadi anginnya sepoi-sepoi. Selain itu dibelakang juga seger soalnya ada kolam renangnya.

Gak lama habis itu wooseok dateng pake baju santai sambil nenteng sekaleng wafer.

“Seungyoun jadi kesini kapan sih?” tanya wooseok sambil duduk di pinggir dipan yang ditidurin jinhyuk.

“Sejam lagi sih kayaknya” jawab jinhyuk tanpa mengalihkan atensinya dari game yang lagi dia mainin. Wooseok manggut-manggut trus habis itu buka kaleng wafer yang dia bawa tadi. Dia ambil satu trus disuap ke mulutnya jinhyuk. Habis itu ambil lagi buat dia sendiri.

“Main candy crush aja serius amat sih” gerutu wooseok pelan. Bosen banget soalnya mereka daritadi makan wafer sambil diem-dieman.

“Hyuk” panggil wooseok. Jinhyuknya cuman hmm doang.

“Jinhyuk!” panggil wooseok setengah merajuk. Kali ini jinhyuk noleh beneran, gamenya di pause.

“Renang yuk!” ajak wooseok. Matanya berbinar-binar.

“Bentar lagi seungyoun dateng seok” tolak jinhyuk. Alesan sebenernya sih dia lagi mager, lagian seungyoun juga sering ngaret kalo mau kesini. Wooseok cemberut.

“Yaudah aku kasih enak gamau” habis bilang gini wooseok berdiri. Jinhyuk udah siap-siap lanjutin game-nya tapi di distrak lagi sama suaranya wooseok.

“Yakin, gamau?” jinhyuk gak bisa lebih kaget dari ini, karena pacarnya sekarang lagi nungging sambil ngelepas celananya. Pantatnya yang bulet dan penuh cuman ditutupi celana dalam, dipamerin ke dia.

Jinhyuk ngasih gestur nolak pake tangannya. Masih pengen main main. Wooseok menggidikkan bahu lalu loncat masuk ke air.

“Jinhyuk!” panggil wooseok. Pas jinhyuk noleh, wooseok ngelepas kaos yang dia pake. Trus dia lempar ke pinggir kolam. Bikin kulitnya yang putih disepuh matahari sore.

Kali ini jinhyuk yang tadi tiduran jadi bangun beneran trus duduk. Tapi masih belum ada pergerakan buat nyusul wooseok ke kolam renang. Lagi ngetest aja bakal sejauh apa keberanian wooseok buat godain dia? Wooseoknya juga sama aja. Mau tau seberapa tahan jinhyuk nahan diri buat gak ikutan nyebur. Soalnya wooseok tau jinhyuk gak akan pernah bisa nolak dia.

Habis itu wooseok renang ke tepian kolam deket jinhyuk. Wajahnya senyum manis banget tapi tangannya gerak ke bawah buat ngelepas celana dalamnya.

Pas udah sampe di deket jinhyuk wooseok ngelempar celana dalemnya, kena dada jinhyuk, buru-buru habis itu dia renang ke ujung kolam renang. Jinhyuknya yang kaget juga ga banyak mikir langsung nyebur. Dia kejar wooseok.

Waktu udah deket, tangannya wooseok ditarik sama jinhyuk. Bibirnya diserbu. Dijilat, digigit, dihisap bergantian. Wooseok juga sama aja rakusnya. Kalo paru-paru mereka gak butuh oksigen, kayaknya ciuman itu gaakan terputus.

Wooseok yang pertama kali ngelepas ciuman mereka. Nafasnya masih memburu. Apalagi tangan jinhyuk dari tadi nggak diem. Dua noktah didadanya dimainin, tangan yang satunya mengelus pinggangnya, sekali-kali turun ke bongkahan bulat dibawahnya.

“Tumben banget sih?” tanya jinhyuk, bibirnya sekarang di telinga wooseok.

“Aku pengen bikin kamu enak” jawab wooseok lirih. Suaranya ketahan soalnya titik-titik sensitifnya lagi dikerjain sama jinhyuk.

“Gimana mau bikin aku enak orang kamunya aja lagi keenakan gini wooseok” jinhyuk ketawa. Habis itu dia tarik dagunya wooseok buat nyatuin bibir mereka lagi. Wooseok naikin lengannya melingkar ke leher jinhyuk. Memperdalam ciuman mereka. Kepalanya miring kekanan atau kekiri. Saling melumat bibir atas dan bawah bergantian. Saliva yang mengalir sampai dagu menambah keintiman mereka.

Tapi gak lama habis itu wooseok dorong bahu jinhyuk biar ciuman itu terlepas.

“Aku pengen bikin kamu enak beneran jinhyuk” ujar wooseok sambil menggiring jinhyuk ke pinggir kolam.

“Duduk sini” ujarnya sambil menepuk-nepuk pinggiran kolam renang. Jinhyuk nurut aja, pasti habis ini enak.

Wooseok senyum nakal. Tangannya bergerak membuka resleting celana jinhyuk trus nurunin boxernya. Punyanya jinhyuk dia elus bentar trus diciumin sambil di pijet-pijet dikit.

Wooseok udah mau masukin punya jinhyuk ke mulutnya kalo nggak ada suara seungyon menginterupsi dari sebrang pintu belakang.


Habis bilang gitu, seungyoun nutup pintu trus gak lama kedengeran suara mobil berderum menjauh. Jinhyuk sama wooseok diem aja, tetap-tatapan.

“Mau lanjut disini apa dikamar aja?”



Feedback please 🤧🤧


from 夏の思い出





from Gorgon Rot


This is the first edition of Gorgon Rot, a newsletter journal from Scott Malthouse, game designer and layabout. There is no common theme aside from a collection of thoughts, feelings and opinions. Feel free to comment on Twitter with the hashtag #GorgonRot and subscribe at the bottom of the Gorgon Rot homepage.

Slow Web

This newsletter thing is part of an effort to become more in line with the slow web, which is basically a way to stop the firehose of information and opinions we see every time we look at out phones. I started with a Twitter cull, cutting out anyone I never saw post, who wasn't following me and I didn't really like. After that I created a couple of Twitter lists focused on people I like to talk with and people I respect. It's resulted in a much slower-paced feed without a slew of garbage opinions, so let's see how that goes. Gorgon Rot is the next step – owning as much as I can of the platform. doesn't push ads and doesn't collect vast amounts of data, so I like it.

Lots of projects

I count myself very lucky. My latest book, Romance of the Perilous Land, is doing well and I'm getting some great opportunities at the beginning of this year, working with some ace publishers. I have three on the go at the moment, which should take me to April-ish. I'll explain more when I can. Of course, the downside is that I work all week in my regular, high-stress job (which I love) and at weekends I'm writing a tonne to keep to deadlines. You can love the work you do, but at the end of the day there are still the same pressures of any other job. Also, I'm sick right now! Will battle on regardless.

My current reads

I've been bouncing around books this month. Right now I'm reading Thuvia, Maid of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs. It's fine so far – not as fast-paced as previous books in the Barsoom canon, but still fun. Also, some nice indie magazines I read are Hellebore (folk horror), Positive News and The Idler.

The tellybox

I don't watch a lot of TV, but I'm enjoying some shows at the moment:

  • Secret Scotland with Susan Calman
  • History of Britain with Tony Robinson
  • Doctor Who
  • His Dark Materials

Gratitude of the week

  • Everyone I'm working with on gaming projects, allowing me to write fun stuff
  • My other half for being great
  • My Goblin Coffee mug from Whisky Kuts
  • My funky new glasses that look like they're made of wood

from Counting Calories

Please consider donating the price of a coffee to my campaign. I'm trying to lose 52 lbs in weight in 52 weeks for Macmillan Cancer Support.

I lost weight over Christmas, which was an achievement in itself but, dear reader, I have to tell you; the plateau is kicking my ass.

As I explained earlier, hitting a diet plateau is a common occurrence I had never heard of. Partly because I’ve never tried to lose a third of my body weight before. I thought I was doing brilliantly, losing between two and – at the very beginning – three lbs a week. That was until the beginning of December, the fourth month of my weight loss plan. My weight logs show that, in the last six weeks, I lost five pounds; which is less than a pound a week.

The truth is, there where some weeks where I lost no weight at all, even though I kept a careful eye on what I ate over the holidays. I mean, I ate three vegetarian roast dinners during that time but a) not all on the same day and b) I counted every calorie.

It’s getting harder is the message here. Those adverts that started this ball rolling – the ones that equated obesity with smoking? They can get in the sea. I’ve been eating less than 1800 calories a day for over four months. I’ve increased my exercise levels and cut out refined sugar completely from my diet. I’ve lost 35 lbs. And I’m still obese.

Remember that film The Goonies? I can still do the truffle shuffle. I am still Chunk.

Me, yesterday...

Of my original goal to lose 52 lbs, I have already lost 35 lbs. I have 17 lbs more to lose and even then, I’ll still be clinically overweight. So here’s where I tell you a secret: until the beginning of December I was going to set a new target.

I was going to upgrade my challenge from losing 52 lbs in 52 weeks...

And do you know what? I still am.

From now on my goal is not 52 lbs in 52 weeks – it’s 5 stones and 2 lbs in 52 weeks. That's 20 lbs more than I originally intended to lose, 72 lbs in total, and that’s my New Year’s Resolution. I am not going to let this beat me, I am going to boss it. I’m going to cut out more carbs, shave some calories off my allowance, walk further, row for longer, box harder and put weights in my fricking rucksack.

Because Goonies never say die.


from BadGirl

You probably didn’t know this, but The Main World Shrine, yes folks, for all of us, was built by Sukyo Mahikari, in Takayama, Gifu Prefecture, in the Japanese Alps. It’s all very impressive. It’s called Suza (where Su God, the head honcho, dwells), or Sekai So Honzan (Main World Shrine) — their new age ‘Solomon’s Temple’.

I’ve been there. As an indoctrinated member (kumite), it was certainly a memorable experience. I’d never been to Japan before. There was a small group of us travelling from our Dojo (Mahikari Centre) in Europe. Demonstrating our utter devotion by travelling so far. Luckily one of them was Japanese, so we had a translator with us. This isn’t a travel blog, so I’ll just say that Japan itself was an exciting place to visit, delicious meals, stunning scenery, oozing history and culture and so on. I’d like to go again one day without being a cult member. That skewed my view of the whole thing.

We were attending the Autumn Grand Ceremony at Suza that year, so there were thousands of kumite from all over the world there. It is an odd place. It’s supposed to unify all the world’s religions.

There are tiled Islamic prayer towers, a sort of ancient Incan fountain, Stars of David, Buddhist symbols, stained glass … think of a religion, they’ve used their icons. Cultural appropriation gone wild.

We made new friends, from New Zealand, America, Canada, Australia, Brazil, France, all over the place. We commiserated with our new friends who had family who objected to their involvement. We were brothers and sisters in solidarity. Buses brought in droves of us. We were organised and corralled into groups, climbing the millions of steps as a group. Row upon row of Mahikari Tai (the youth group) in their uniforms (you can see a tiny portion of them in the photo below).

Thousands of people in the massive ceremony hall, chanting in unison. It was intense. Mostly thousands of Japanese, but we gaijin got special seating near the front. The stage has a massive fish tank filled with carp underneath it. To symbolise the ‘horizontal water aspect’ of the Mahikari cross (blue horizontal line). The golden altar on the stage represents the red vertical ‘fire’ aspect. There are pine trees growing next to the altar. On the stage. Yep … not even joking.

Photo by David B, TripAdvisor, May 2017

Okada, the founder dude, decided that God had given him a covenant to build the Main World Shrine. Cos the Jewish people had fumbled on that duty. According to Okada’s version of the Bible, anyway (this is never actually mentioned anywhere in the actual Bible, and kumite took him at his word, which was the word of God, right? So no need to check).

Okada explained that the ongoing persecution of the Jewish peoples was the consequences of them dropping the ball when it came to building a shrine. Nice to have it all explained, huh? This was also the leverage for pushing members from earlier times to donate as much money as they could to get this shrine built. And to keep making donations to complete the full construction plan and pay for maintenance and improvements. It needed a lot money. Probably still does, I'm betting.

This is what Okada himself had to say:

So, I have something that I want to ask of you. I have been given the divine command to build Suza. I have made a covenant with God. And because I have made that covenant, I must, no matter what happens, fulfil it.
Daiseishu — 1993 English version p218-219 (Japanese version 1983)

By 'I must' he means 'you suckers must', of course.

It was a “covenent”, guys. Based on lies. Okada’s version of the Bible was, let’s just be charitable here, incorrect, self-serving and fucking wrong.

Basically, if we, the members, didn’t make Suza, the Main World Shrine, a reality, and keep it running, we were all going to be damned forever, and our (imaginary) ability to give (imaginary) ’True Light’ would be taken away as (less imaginary) punishment. So we all donated, and donated, and donated. And then donated some more. That bit wasn’t imaginary.

The most wonderful thing happened, though, in 1974. Okada died. And there was a fight over the leadership of the group, and his organisation split into two groups. Splitters! And both of them built a Main World Shrine. Both of them enshrined the Creator God. Both of them built their shrines in the ‘most spiritually significant place’ indicated by Okada. (Surprise! The plural in this blog post title is not a typo!)

So. The group Sekai Mahikari Bunmei Kyodan, known as SMBK or the World Divine Light Organization (which was Okada’s original group), established their Suza at Amagi, Izu (Shizuoka, Japan). It was inaugurated on 23 August 1987 But the new faction’s Sukyo Mahikari Suza in Takayama was inaugurated on 3 November 1984, beating its rival by nearly three years. Good going, guys. Winning.

There’s not much recent chatter about these places online (or about Mahikari in general). (Come on other ex-members. We need to keep the conversation going! I know you're out there.)

Here’s what I could find:

This blog post has some photos of the exterior of the shrine

There’s TripAdvisor reviews here too

A lot of the positive reviews are written by cult members, so take those with a teaspoon of salt (both of which will make you throw up, by the way). Here’s some choice quotes from the more candid ones:

Disney meets a new world cult

Well the temple is bonkers. I was going to describe it as Alice in Wonderland meets the Scientologists but felt that was a little unfair as I had never been to a cult temple before!

Very confusing

… the whole experience was low-key terrifying and confusing. The use of swastikas, the star of David, a fish tank, and military uniforms meant that it was very memorable.

A bit unnerving!

We were told by our guide that we must not reveal our true identities or leave email addresses here … I personally was totally unprepared for what greeted us on arrival and have to say I found the whole experience somewhat sinister and unnerving.

It's free and looked interesting from the view of it from Hida no Sato (Folk Village)

Personally … it seems to me these guys are the Scientologists/Later Day Saints of Japan.

(By the way, the Folk Village is brilliant. Do recommend.)

If you want to read more about these dramas in detail, check out the full blog post on Mahikari Exposed over here and Building the Main World Shrine — using the Bible. They cover the revelations about why the Jewish people have been persecuted through the ages (you always wanted to know, didn’t you?) and how Mahikari has now saved us all by doing the Jewish peoples' job for them, and building this temple for the world.

Thanks a lot, you crazy Main World Shrine building people. It’s just great. Really great. No, really.

#Suza #Mahikari #MainWorldShrine #Okada



“Jangan diliatin terus. Copot ntar matanya.”

Chunchih tersentak kaget mendengar suara seseorang dari belakang. Sial. Ketauan deh dia lagi liatin orang.

“Bilang aja kali kalo suka. Jangan di pandangin terus chi. Dipandangin terus mah ga buat jadian , kalo dia jadian sama orang lain gimana ? Nyesel ntar lo.” Laki-laki berpipi gempal itu mengikuti chunchih bersender di jendela kelas mereka sembari melihat lapangan dibawah. Melihat segerombolan anak lelaki yang sedang mengejar bola.

“Ya dikira bilang suka gampang?” Keluh chunchih mengerucut kan bibirnya lucu. Ia melipat tangannya sebal dan melirik temannya.

“Ntar kalo dia malah ngejauh dri gue gimana fred?” “Ya bukan urusan gue lah chi.” “Emang ye lo dasar.” Ucap chunchih kesal menarik pipi alfred. Emang deh sahabatnya ini suka banget asal ngomong kayak gini. Buat geram.

Ga tau aja chunchih di bawah ada yang lagi liatin dia cubit-cubitan sama Alfred.


from Juan Mirieth Auriel

True Ahava


Let man and woman ahava, lightning of one attraction, power to stir up lava, slithering to action.

Through the narrow field and stream, creating an upward draft, where the two no longer dream, shows the realm of godly craft.

Swimming to the peak of head, Feeding to the two’s needs; all impure beings lay dead, as sooth serpents make two’s steeds.

Marriage is born of pure sex, never made by deadly hex.


from Ian Gill

My daughter has a knack for asking questions that are difficult to answer. I’m told this is not an uncommon thing for kids to do.

The blue house near the trees We’ll be sitting there in the kitchen and she‘ll ask me something like, Dad why is the doorknob round? Or, Dad why does that crack in the table look like a flower? And I’ll look at the doorknob, or I‘ll look at the table, and then I‘ll look at her. And I‘ll try to think of an answer.

Well, I might say, maybe the workers who built this house was scared of squares.

Or, maybe the tree that gave us the planks for the kitchen table loved a flower once when it was young.

She’ll listen, and she’ll nod, and she’ll smile. Then she‘ll go back to eating her oats and her blueberries. It’s like a little game we play. She’ll ask an impossible question and I’ll answer with a little story.

One day she asked me, Dad what did you do before I was born?

We were sitting at the kitchen table. She was eating her oats and her blueberries. I was only partway through my first cup of coffee and completely unprepared for the question. This one seemed different than the others.

I sat there for a long time. I took a sip of coffee. I looked out the window at the snow melting on the railing of the back deck. It was a wet April day. The trees were still brown and the grass was still yellow.

I thought about our house. It’s a blue house near the woods, with closets and a garage and everything. When my stepfather heard we were moving into a proper house with closets and a garage, he decided this was as good a time as any to clear my boxes out of his house. So he did. And he shipped them up to us.

The boxes arrived on a palette. They brought it off the barge on a forklift. I went down to the dock to pick them up and there they were. About a dozen boxes wrapped in a web of shrink wrap. I brought them home and stacked them in a corner of the garage. And there they sat. We used to pass them on the way to and from the car. Coming home with groceries or heading out with backpacks and lunch boxes.

They stayed there a long time. Then one Saturday when everyone else was busy, I sat down in the garage with a cup of coffee and went through them. About half of them were filled with souvenirs. Postcards from friends and small rocks I’d collected from beaches. The other half of the boxes were filled with notebooks. Journals I’d kept when I was younger. I opened the first of the journals and read through everything in it. Then I opened the next and read through those, too. I read them all. And then I made a fire in the fire pit in the backyard. And I burned them.

I remembered all of that sitting there at the kitchen table with my daughter, who was waiting patiently for an answer to her question. I felt a pang at first. Regret and the thought that maybe I should’ve kept those notebooks. Wouldn’t they hold the answer? Wouldn’t they tell the story of what I’d been up to all those years?

But then the feeling faded. I remembered that those notebooks didn’t have any answers. They didn’t tell any stories. They were filled with thoughts. It turns out I spent a lot of my life before my daughter was born thinking. Mostly thinking about myself. And for some reason I wrote a lot of those thoughts down. They seemed very important at the time. But the thoughts of my younger self ended up not being very interesting to my older self. Or really very interesting at all.

And anyway, thoughts aren’t answers. Thoughts aren’t stories. Thoughts are just thoughts. Everybody has them and they don’t help us much.

And then (I’m not sure why) a line from a poem called My Hat, which I’d written years ago, came back to me. And I borrowed it as a way to answer my daughter’s question.

I looked at her, and I shrugged. And I said, I just kept waking up.

She smiled, and she nodded, and she went back to eating her oats and her blueberries. I went back to sipping my coffee. The rest of the morning came along, which led to the rest of the day. Which led to all the days since then, and now here we are. Still asking questions. Still telling stories. Still waking up.

#personal #essays


from Roscoe's Journal

Happy Birthday To Me

Today I am 71 years old, plus one day.

Yesterday I was so surprised to find a birthday balloon, gift bags, and a card waiting for me on the table by my chair in the front room shortly after I woke. Sylvia had set it all up while I was sleeping.

#SeniorLiving #personal #birthday


from Kamen Reader

Allez, aujourd'hui c'est Byzance, je vais me fendre de mon premier poste “Hors-Série”. Au départ je voulais appeller ça “Kamen Reader Universe Saga Mega Extra Hors-Série 1.5” mais c'est long et Panini pourrait me prendre au sérieux alors je vais juste intituler ça “Hors-Série”. Je t'entends déjà paniquer, lecteur : “Ah non hein ! commence pas a te prendre pour un comic-book avec un gorillion de spin-offs et des rubriques à gogo sinon je te lis plus ! bouh !

Soit rassurée, personne qui scrute l'écran, je vais pas m'éparpiller. Les “Issues” seront les reviews et “Hors-Série” ce sera juste des posts en à-côté publiés aléatoirement tandis que les posts de base ce sera tous les mercredis ou jeudi, je ne me suis pas encore décidé sur le timing exact, mais ça se précisera ne t'en fait pas, True Believer !

Bref. Tout de suite on va regarder un peu d'art, j'ai une de mes couvertures préférées de chez Marvel dont je veux te causer. Alors mets toi bien sur ta chaise, j'ai envie de partager ça avec toi ! Et la couverture c'est pas n'importe laquelle : “Fantastic Four #84” qui date de Mars 1969.


On peut apercevoir au premier plan les 4 Fantastiques composés à ce moment là de “Crystal” l'Inhumaine (à gauche, avec les cheveux oranges), Reed Richard alias “Mr Fantastic” (en bas à gauche), Ben Grimm alias “La Chose” (en orange aussi à droite de Mr Fantastic) ainsi que Johnny Storm alias la “Torche Humaine”.

Une foule bigarrée se tient entre eux et les sépare d'un château à l'allure très médiévale. La silhouette encapuchonnée du Docteur Fatalis se profile à l'arrière, immense et sinistre, son regard descends vers la rue. Une parade d'orchestre se déroule dans une ambiance festive et les passants aux alentours semblent euphoriques.

Crystal regarde de côté, ses yeux quittent la couverture, semblant scruter quelque chose hors du champ de vision, comme si elle cherchait une issue ou préssentait le terrible homme masqué au loin derrière elle.

Mr Fantastic semble marcher avec détermination, visage rigide et expression très concentrée, le lecteur se demande si c'est une fuite résignée ou un départ martial. L'homme est conscient d'être en territoire dangereux malgré l'apparente liesse locale. Cet ennemi il le reconnaît et le redoute. Poing presque fermé, penché légèrement en avant, son regard semble nous scruter comme pour demander “êtes-vous un ami ou un ennemi ?

La Chose avance lui aussi mais sa tête semble regarder un peu en l'air comme si il évaluait les alentours. Habitué à être une sorte de phénomène de foire il semble hésitant et déboussolé à la fois, les gens autour, la fanfare. Si l'image est fixe on imagine aisément les gens entrain d'applaudir ou de crier joyeusement. Le tumulte ambiant rendant alors Ben Grimm mal à l'aise ne sachant trop que dire ou quoi faire mais suivant néanmoins le leader du groupe dans sa progression vers le lecteur.

La Torche Humaine est lui en hauteur, planant au-dessus de la foule. Le sillon enflammé de son corps nous montre qu'il arrive de l'arrière plan, au delà des maisons, disant implicitement au lecteur qu'ils viennent de là-bas et qu'ils avancent en restant groupés. Son regard fixe nous vise avec une attitude presque suspicieuse, comme si nous étions de connivence passive avec le personnage en vert qui domine l'arrière plan.

La foule est une excellente représentation des habitants du pays. Tout le monde est bien habillé. Pas de pauvres ni d'infirmes ou même de gens laids. Tout le monde semble sourire et s'amuser tandis que les musiciens font retentir leur musique. Le meneur se tient en arrière les bras levés et la canne droite dans une posture dirigiste. Il pourrait tout aussi bien guider les musiciens qu'annoncer quelque chose de belliqueux. De par cette scène on déduit aisément que le pays possède une forme de richesse bourgeoise (l'homme au chapeau haut de forme et au costume en est une bonne image) mais que les habitants moyens possèdent des tenues colorées et variées, achevant de dire au lecteur “ici pas de pauvres ou de mal-nourris, tout le monde peut s'habiller.” Du faste, mais pas trop. Le message est clair.

La ville semble éminemment moyenâgeuse de par ses maisons à colombages mais surtout à cause de l'imposant château au style très défini qui compose un bon quart de l'image. Les maisons y sont accolées, on dirait une sorte de ville fortifiée où les habitants logent près du logis seigneurial. Des tours mais pas de muraille. Des pierres de tailles diverses mais parfaitement enchâssées les unes dans les autres attestent de la solidité du lieu. Ce n'est pas un château pour faire joli, c'est une structure en dur, faite pour tenir, dominant le village de ses flèches monolithiques aux nombreuses fenêtres. Et qui dit château dit Seigneur ou Roi. C'est une image très territoriale qui est exprimée.

La silhouette du terrible Docteur Fatalis se découpe derrière les bâtiments. Gigantesque, il semble préfacer une terrible menace tout autant qu'un régnant mégalomaniaque. Une de ses mains s'avance comme s'il se penchait sur une maquette et s'apprêtait à déplacer un petit personnage. Mais on peut également interpréter le geste comme une emprise sur la situation. Tel un maître marionnettiste, il supervise, il surveille, c'est l'immense dieu qui dirige ses sujets et qui du regard semble dénigrer les quatre Fantastiques, tels des envahisseurs fuyant les lieu parmi la foule. Néanmoins il reste sur le qui-vive, il s'assure que tout le monde est en place et que les choses se déroulent selon ses plans qu'il a ourdi depuis les hauteurs reculées du donjon du château. Sa cape verte l'enveloppe tout entier, ne laissant apparaître que ses mains gantées de fer ainsi qu'un visage froid et dur comme le métal qui le compose. Ce personnage là est parfaitement inquiétant, ses yeux presque cachés dévisagent la scène, il est impossible de lire une émotion sur son visage mais pourtant l'illustration transmets aisément l'idée que le personnage est dangereux et surplombe la ville tout comme il surplombe l'équipe de héros, comme si il s'apprêtait à se lancer à leur poursuite ou qu'il désirait tendre la main pour se saisir d'eux.

Le titre de la série est en rouge sur un ciel bleu, police d'écriture reconnaissable entre mille puis en dessous suit un petit titre à la police bien plus droite et de couleur bleu/violet : “The name is— DOOM !”

La encore c'est tout à fait évocateur, le nom a la consonance fatale et irrémédiable claque dans le vent comme une détonation : “DOOM” si on avait un doute, on est fixé, entre sa posture, son allure et son nom, le message est clair, les Quatre Fantastiques vont avoir des ennuis.

La composition dans ses structures basiques, le placement des personnages, la parade en uniforme qui rappelle que derrière les festivités il reste quelque chose de militaire, la variété des passants, les Héros qui sont entrain de quitter les lieux avec une forme de détermination méfiante, le choix des couleurs, la silhouette gigantesque de Fatalis, la traînée de flammes de la Torche Humaine, je trouve ça vraiment très bien organisé. Bravo Jack Kirby.

#HorsSérie #Marvel


from (Voorheen) van Voorbijgaande Aard

The Joy of working by Job Boss

Hallo werknemers welkom bij de lol van werken. Zit u lekker thuis klaar om aan de slag te gaan. Heerlijk genieten van uw uren in uw kantoor, flexibele werkplek, aan u lopende band, werken aan het spoor, fietsen met uw post. Heerlijk genieten van de airco en wind, de koffie uit de automaat, de hand die langs de postbus aait. Heerlijk u uren laten wegvloeien op u draaistoel, pak de hendel, stijg op, zak neer. Prachtig, hoor de stoel kraken. Luister naar het kalmerende geluid van de pneumatische pomp, luister naar de klachten in u oor, verzin leuke verhaaltjes in uw hoofd, leg u paperclips op een hele lange rij. Sta maar op, lekker vroeg. Warme bed uit, brood smeren. U haalt het korrelige bruine brood uit de witte brooddoos. Maak een voorstelling van een heleboel lege vakken voor veel chips, in zwart rooie verpakking, groen, rood met gebroken wit, knisperend, stop ze in al die lege vakken, mmmm, mooi toch, luister naar de rustgevende geluiden van de lopende band, net lieve kinderstemmen, piepjes van lieve kleine muisjes. Draai een aantal rondjes op de stoel, tel alle minuutjes, 1 minuutje nog 5 minuutjes, en dan is het volledig pauze, dan loopt u een stukje buiten langs de snelweg, daar een lieve aangereden vogel, hoor de kuikentjes piepen, adem diep in, ruik het fossiel, de prehistorie, blaadjes, lieve groene bladeren, genieten. 100 kilometer per uur, meters van lichtgrijs asfalt met lange witte strepen, heerlijk dan weer terug bij de machine, sta bij de balie, je droombaan, even de benen strekken, denk aan aspirine .. een klein schattig wit pilletje met een dwarslijntje, net wat dieper. Een bruistablet oplossen in koud doorzichtig water, een geweldige reactie van tablet en water, bubbels, gaan helemaal naar boven. Voel de bloeddruk stijgen tot grote hoogten, voel de spanning in je spieren. Geniet van de gespreksonderwerpen, de televisie programma evaluaties, de recensies van het nieuws, beschrijvingen van poetische berichten uit het immense politieke universum. Hoor de opgewonden luider wordende mannen stem. Knipper met u dunne oogleden, wrijf met u ranke, tedere handen in uw mooie slaperige ogen, stel een kalme dreun van een heipaal om 7 uur 's ochtends voor, open u ogen, hoor het geluid de zangvogels verjagen, wat leuk. Druk voorzichtig op de toetsen van het toetsenbord, wrijf over de ctrl-alt-delete, de f de alt, de copy paste, heel rustig, nu rustig met u klopboor in de zwaar betonnen muur inbeuken, haal diep adem, snuif het stof van klein piezelig wit gruis, ah, heerlijk, nou straks verder, god zegen u, tot na de pauze.


from ego echo

Het zou trouwens zo kunnen zijn dat u denkt dat ik mij niet veel meer van de wereld aantrek. Ik bedoel, het kwam nogal eens voor dat ik weer eens een tirade hield over hoe de mens mij in het algemeen enorm stoort. U ziet: tegenwoordige tijd. Vrees dus niet, ik ben nog altijd geen vriend van de rechtop lopende tweevoeter en verbaas (mild uitgedrukt) mij dagelijks – en dat dan weer de hele dag door – over wat ik zie, lees en hoor. En ruik en voel.

Toch, ik doe sinds een poosje bewust oprechte pogingen om al die idioterie hier zoveel mogelijk te laten voor wat het is. Ik geef daarbij ruiterlijk toe dat het mij bijna altijd zwaar valt om niet weer van wal te steken. Daarom geef ik liever geen garanties op een aanklachtvrij verblijf hier, nu en in de toekomst. Nee, maar dat u het weet hè? Niets zo grillig als mijn brein en de daaruit spruitende tikvingertjes.

Overigens las u hierboven dat ik het ruiterlijk toegaf. Waardoor ik moest denken aan hoe ik ooit op een paard reed. Zonder zadel. En rijden kun je het niet noemen, ik hield mezelf nogal in paniek – en tegelijk proberend zo min mogelijk coolness-factor te verliezen – vast aan het arme dier haar manen. Vind je het gek dat ze niet zomaar stopte? Dat moet pijn hebben gedaan, zoals ook ik wild hobbelend leed. Ik lag half voorover, half schuin op dat edele briesgebroed. En we denderden zomaar de straat uit.

Het was het paard van mijn toenmalige vriendinnetje. Ja, een verkleinwoord. Ik doe het liever niet, maar ach, de puberteit, dus dan mag je nog verkleinen, vind ik. Daarbij kwam onze erotiek niet veel verder dan samen Donald Duck lezen op haar bed. Na een paar weken zag ik trouwens beschaamd hoe mijn met pure zeep omhooggehouden piekhaartjes (de dark-waver die ik tenslotte was) haar behang hadden ingesopt. Dit klinkt wat vreemd, maar het is verklaarbaar hoor: ik zat tegen de muur als we lazen en liet er mijn hoofd steunen, dus vandaar die vaag witte plek na een week of wat. Of zij het opmerkte weet ik niet, praten deed je niet wanneer je zoende of las. We groeiden onvermijdelijk uit elkaar, zoals dat gaat als je 13, 14 of 15 bent. Na een maandje of twee, drie moet je verder met je kansloze leven.

Haar paard was in ieder geval zo lief om mij voor het eerst in mijn leven te laten ervaren hoe dat is, op een paard. Zonder zadel, zonder beugels en teugels. Maar dat had ik al gezegd. Jaren later reed ik op een paard langs een strand van Costa Rica. Nou, niet alleen het strand, want het was een tocht van vijf uur; zo lang en breed is het strand niet. Op een volledig opgetuigd paard, dat wel. Toch voel ik nog steeds mijn edele delen en broze achterwerk als ik terugdenk aan die rit. Los daarvan: het was wat je noemt een succeservaring te paard. Behalve dan dat ik helaas mijn favoriete hoodie onderweg ben verloren, dat doet nog steeds een beetje pijn. Verder was het een mooie dagtrip door de bossen en uiteindelijk dus het strand. In galop, alweer. Met een strand boordevol krabben die als een malle schuin voor je uit rennen. Echt, dat moet je zien om te weten hoe bizar dat is. Krabben doen niet aan zwermen, volgens mij, maar dit waren zwermen krabben, eindeloos veel. Schitterend gezicht.

Verder heb ik niets met paardrijden. Het zijn prachtige dieren waar ik niets dan ontzag voor voel. Ze lijken mij altijd iets uit te stralen van dat ze wel beter weten en ons gewoon maar een beetje in onze waan laten. Dat je god op je blote knietjes mag danken dat je op hun sterke rug mag zitten. Wat overigens geldt voor alle dieren, groot, klein, mooi, lelijk of zelfs kriebelig irritant: wij mogen in onze handjes knijpen dat ze er zijn, want zonder hen zou onze eigen diersoort allang uitgestorven zijn. Tik 'm aan, ouwe!

#paarden #paardrijden #waanvandedag #jeugd #puber #galop


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