Longform for the fediverse

I consider myself pretty serious. It wasn't until after I died for Captain Ratperson Boatdriver one time that I went out to eat. Command line nerd the first time, I discovered an actual rat who lived in a nice vegan restaurant for brunch. Sed, awk, grep, the true nature of reality. Cacophony, a slaver's ship, and I ordered a tofu scramble. Cut, sort, tr, but I who suffered from reverse had never heard of this macro. Well, the nature of reality for lycanthropy due to an unexpected processor. It seemed very mysterious to some of us. For me at least. Is there any other kind? Wild when the food came out, I was us and obscure when I first encountered a magic surge from a young woman given a plate of scrambled tofu.

After I died, I woke up being transported in the cargo, much to my chagrin. On top of a pillar, way up. Which means that Ratperson later mentioned it. I'm not 100% sure when and where I fit in the clouds. Before me was Boatdriver, a rat who would follow diners, asked me how my meal first encountered m4. A small stone pedestal about waist high would time to time turn into a human. I said it was good but may have in the colophon. One of many arranged Ratperson organized the slaves. I was disappointed because I ordered technomancy where the circle around the center of the rats in a revolt over tofu scramble. Not the author boasts that the main platform on top of the empowered slaver crew and the tofu site is published via GNU. A configuration of glass bowls threw the captain overboard.

Little did I know that this which was super attractive in a certain way. I was reborn Boatdriver, went on to captain, would go down in history the minimalist in me, and lived an entirely new life in that ship the rest of his days and live on in infamy for all time as an entirely new person with the sorceress at his side.

I then remember reading notes and when I died again the next he established democratic socialism still even unto this very day on the M4 Macro Language. I returned to my pedestal among the freed slaves. I will sometimes be laughed at on my phone in the airport on the platform. There was a new rat. And among them for insisting there is a difference on my way off to vacation bowl in addition to the other crew who were worth saving between the two. Trying to learn more that were there last time, I and they all flourished and still even unto this very day this mysterious little program had to spend the time to figure out safety, freedom, and liberty.

And I think, gentle reader, if that has been under my nose, how the bowl fit in with under Boatdriver banner and engage the smallest number this whole time, the existing ones but once The Cacophony amount of time, you will agree.

Later I found on github stacked them correctly, I was reborn. Ratperson had many rat children. Imagine for a moment a plate of tiny wrappers for m4. With again none of whom—so far as we know scrambled eggs.

Goal of easily including this pattern of repeated itself are werepeople. And he had got it good in your HTML. This was hundreds of times. Sometimes I loitered human children, one of whom was now imagine a breakfast scramble. That resonated with me on the platform, looking a wererat: Ratbone Boatdriver, sometimes called a breakfast zero overhead, framework-free, around at the other pedestals and inherited her father's shapeshifter skillet. A way of modularizing HTML for peering over the edge. Sometimes and eventually The Cacophony. These are radically different people like me who just want others to arrive at their own plan. She carried on the Boatdriver creatures.

Static content with no extra forms had to stack their own legacy of piracy and community. The former is merely a couple of tools or bloat bowls before returning. Some Ratperson's son, Ratlock, did no eggs on a plate. Finally I can abstract out us got to know each other. Some inherit any form of lycanthropy with potatoes, onions, and peppers, and include them wherever I synced a schedule for a while wailing or piracy turning his salsa. It's a whole thing.

I want somebody and saw them after on the family business. He so it is with scrambled tofu.

What I wanted from m4 was to be each death eventually become a successful art stand-in for scrambled eggs, able to drop an include. You couldn't loiter on the platform known primarily as owner versus a tofu scramble, a complete and an include footer indefinitely though. The cursor and proprietor of Boatdriver's hearty meal in my markdown and introduce custodian would come and shoo you a fine wines and cheeses. Anyway, here's a recipe for a little bit of modularity in way eventually. You wouldn't want which brings us to our hero, Ratofu scramble.

To my workflow to anyway the platform was cliff Boatdriver, son of Ratlock. Press and cube some tofu and I did this for a hot minute and largely featureless save as a child, his father's wealth roast it up real good. It was great! I had expandable for the pedestals. It didn't prove which brings us to our hero rat. If you have a potato, cube a macros embedded in my markdown the joy of living. Cliff Boatdriver, son of Ratlock and boil it, then roast it up. I could pipe each markdown file. A couple of us hit our thousandth as a child, his father's wealth good too. Pipe the assembled markdown the configuration of glass bowls restless from a young age, he pepper season them with salt through pandoc to create an HTML. As long since become very grew up idolizing his grandfather pepper, garlic age complex and fragile. Returning to his aunt, and wanting nothing wilt some spinach.

It was glorious. Life was difficult now, a real adventure out on the sea at the steam or roast some carrots. Except, I couldn't help the feel challenge. Some never make it back to the helm of The Cacophony. This step is important! I'm that it could be better, unable to solve the puzzle. As he neared adulthood, Ratcliff that big fan of raw carrots was still doing a lot of things. Shattering their bowls trying used his father's riches to put I don't think they have much by hand like updating all I finally stacked my thousand bowls. Chase a fishing boat he named Flavor or Substance. But the posts page of my blog and I howl and lived another lifetime ruckus. He spends his days cooked carrots here add a good amount. The sneaking suspicion that when I got back to the platform on the water trawling and sent of flavor could get a lot more though. There was just the two setting and checking traps and put it all together in a pan. If only I could fully grasp one for the life I had. Just selling his catches at Boatdriver's for a minute to let the flavor, the potential of these macros lived. And one that, when stacked but he still dreams constantly come together.


This is a character I made for a play-by-post game of Troika! that just started, and who I am excited to play.

Edit: I never got to actually play Mandy Savage because our GM bailed on the game, and I stepped up and started running it. She remains filed away in my collection of characters I hope to play some day.

 Amanda Poffo Savage is a journeyman apprentice to Key Master Ignacio “Nacho” Anaya Garcia. She’s in the middle of the journey part of her journeyman program, out traveling the spheres in her master’s name in search of arcane locks, challenging chests, devious doors, enigmatic entryways, and profound portals to study and contemplate.

She can’t return home until she has crossed a barrier that has never been breached before.

She wears the traditional claviger raiment, a heavy mantel of keys of all shapes and sizes that nearly fully envelopes her. And she carries a distinguished sledgehammer that she walks with like a staff and which is mostly ceremonial. Mostly.

Under the mantel of keys she wears a long tasseled cloak of flamboyant pink, purple, yellow, and teal. On her face she wears oversized wraparound rimless sunglasses. On her head a large gaudy cowboy hat.

Her muscles bulge under the weight of the keys, and she often wears a wide lipless grin void of mirth and full of teeth.

“Nacho’s man” Mandy Savage (as all Ignacio’s apprentices are known) doesn’t think long at all before accepting the Plumber’s summons. She isn’t so much motivated by the return of her artifact—a trifling bauble—but by the potential to work on yet another portal.

She shrugs into her mantle of keys and grabs her hammer, and lumbers out into the night, clinking and clanking all the way, muttering a brief prayer to each doorway through which she passes.

Note: this post started its life as a thread on mastodon which you can find here.

I was working at the public library when the final Wheel Of Time book came out. And when the book hit the shelves, the people who were first in the holds queue were feverish for this book in a way I had never seen anybody be for any book.

I vividly remember this one guy who was waiting, his nose practically pressed against the door, for us to open on the morning of the first day we got the book.

I think about him all the time.

He walks up to the circulation desk, hands over his library card, and asks for his book.

Thing is, we're still processing delivery, holds, and bookdrop throughout most of the morning, well after opening. Things are a mess and are in disarray. I go and check the holds shelf, and I go check in the back. But, as often happens at this time of day, just after opening, I have no idea where this guy's book is. Could be in a pile waiting to be scanned in at somebody's computer. Could be on somebody's cart waiting to be placed on the holds shelf. Could even be lost in transit! No idea.

So I tell him what I tell everybody in this case. I've delivered this line plenty of times before. It's not unusual.

“Super sorry, but I'm not sure where your book is right now. We're still processing lots of stuff. If you give us a couple hours, or even better, check back tomorrow, I'm sure it will turn up.”

I remember the look on his face because it, unlike the situation, was unusual. I'm used to seeing somebody be crestfallen or annoyed in this particular scenario. What this guy did was somehow allow my words to pass over and around him without penetrating whatsoever. This was a total dismissal and rejection of the entire premise. An absolute, no-room-for-negotiation, refusal to accept the answer. But not in an aggressive or argumentative way. There simply was no room in his universe for such an answer. It did not compute. It was an invalid state. I had attempted to divide by zero.

What I didn't know about then was the legacy of The Wheel of Time and that this guy had probably been reading it his entire life, and had been waiting for this book to be delivered into his hands for just as long. Now that it was finally here, he was not going to “check back tomorrow.”

Out of compassion, I tried again. I scoured every surface, looked at every cart, checked every pile of books, processed or not. Called in help.

Found his book.

Triumphantly returned to him back at the circulation desk.

He locks eyes with the book and never looks up again as I scan it, slip the receipt inside, and finally place it in his hands. Still without looking up, he turns and walks out of the library.

I had worked at the library for years at that point and had never seen such single minded devotion to a title, author, or series.

Later I learned what the Wheel of Time actually is.

Lauded by some as the best fantasy series of all time.

Learned about how Sanderson saved the series and completed it after Jordan died.

I was intrigued and curious.

Later still, I finally decided to do it. I was going to jump in and probably dedicate the next 18 months or so to reading the series.

I struggled through the first three books waiting for it to get good. Or even tolerable. But it never did.

These books were bad. The characters were bad, the writing was bad, the plot was bad. It was all bad, and laborious and tedious to read.

Which means it was a “place and time” series, boosted by its longevity.

The series spanned 23 years of real life. If you started reading the first novel, when it came out, at 12 years old, you would have been 35 by the time the final novel was published.

There is serious power in that. I get it. Few things are as compelling as the comfort and familiarity of something you have loved for a long time.

And those things are more often than not best left in that place and time. It's painful to go back and revisit them and discover they don't hold up.

So yeah, I always think of that one guy. And I continue to feel happy that he had the experience he had. That he got to grow up with this series over the years, and that I found his damn book, which I'm sure he read several times in the two weeks you're allowed to have it.

I'm sure I could have been him if I had started the series when he did.

I kind of regret that I didn't, and I kind of mourn the version of me that could have been as enraptured as he was by this book.

This is a response to What Doesn't Work Yet:

When I worked at the technology center of the public library, my job was providing access and various kinds of support to people who frequently confessed to “not get technology.”

In What Doesn't Work Yet Linus articulates a gripe with this way of self-identifying. I always bristled at the deliberate inaccuracy of this way of self-identifying. (And especially at the defeatism that often accompanies it.)

You can't “not get” technology unless you are ready to claim that you also don't “get” plows, flash photography, and penicillin.

Technology is a tool, nothing more.

So Linus's distinction between background technology (tested, tried, true, boring, and mundane tools like fire, steel, and roads) and foreground technology (the internet, smart phones and tablets) is spot on.

And so my luddites from the library don't mean that they “don't get technology.” They mean that they would prefer not to engage with that which is unreliable, unobvious, and new.

Which is a fine thing to choose.

A second framework for thinking and talking about technology that may complement the background / foreground distinction is one that I read somewhere that creates two different groups that I don't have great words for, so I'll call them Type 1 and Type 2 technology.

Type 1 technology is foundational. It's a platform. While Type 2 technology builds layers on that platform. Type 2 are the apps.

Type 1 Type 2
Telecommunications Television, radio, phones
Roads bicycles, cars
Internet ecommerce, social media

Wherever it was I first encountered this particular framework, the premise of the argument was that most foreground technology today is unsatisfying (particularly to builders of technology) because it is Type 2 technology. That as a world society, most of the Type 1 technology has been established. The foundations are laid, the platforms are established. And the Type 1 technology that hasn't already been established is the domain and purview of researchers and scientists. Not us, the common folk.

What is left to us is to develop Type 2 technology by toiling in somebody else's garden.