Archive for December, 2019

Mindcrash

December 7, 2019

It was the Mindcrash that started everything. In the year 2045, true virtual reality had taken hold and had gone mainstream. People used it for more than just video games. They used it to surf the internet, create virtual meeting places for business or social reasons, and so much more. Many people had had chips installed in the base of their cerebellum in order to accelerate data streaming from a computer to the human brain and back again. It was a fairly simple surgery so many people opted to have it done. Of course, that much hardware near the brain caused a vulnerability but it was an acceptable risk or so the public was assured.

Of course, nobody had expected the Wonderland Routine. It was not a virus in the traditional sense. That was how it did not get noticed by any of the virus or malware protection. It slipped past security protocols as innocuous third party programs. Once it was all through, it pulled itself apart and reassembled itself into a nasty yet subtle virus. On Christmas Day, its timer went off and it fried everybody’s chips at one. In the process, it stranded a hundred million people in the network. Their entire essence was set adrift on the Internet as their brains boiled in their skull and their nervous systems shut down.  Their bodies would never be of use to them again.

Calling it a crisis was an understatement. People were separated from their friends and loved ones. Several servers suffered cascade failures from the additional strain and a few thousand minds were completely lost or fractured. Technicians eventually patched together a solution. The minds were ushered into servers for their own safety. However, several ethical questions arose. Could they back up the servers? Could one back up a person without making an entirely new person? The servers were eventually hooked up to dedicated and redundant power supplies. Nobody wanted to use VR equipment for a long time. Was the Wonderland Routine gone? Could they ever safely experience virtual reality again? Entirely new equipment was designed in order for the first people to visit the Lost, as they began to be called.

The Lost found it hard to connect with reality without being able to really be out in it. People could summon their loved ones as holograms but it just wasn’t the same. After a while, most got dispirited and retreated deeper into their private Internet. For a while, people still came to visit but tourists were eventually regarded with derision and hostility. Tourism to the Lost Lands slowed to a crawl and then a trickle and then stopped. The servers were sealed off from the world and the Lost were left alone. Occasionally, some politician or group would propose shutting the servers down to save resources but they were always shouted down. The Lost Lands continued on. It mutated and became fairly alien from our world.

May stretched as she cycled out of sleep mode. The Lands’ technicians had figured out that minds could not run longer than twenty-four hours straight for very long. People had figured out to initiate a sleep cycle in order to preserve sanity. May cycled during daylight hours because she was on a night shift. She was a detective with the Net Knights and it was her job to help protect the Lost Lands. Her communicator beeped in her arm. She yawned and pressed the button.

“Go for May,” she mumbled.

“Detective May,” Captain Cable said in that lovably gruff and disinterested voice. “We have an incident. You need to meet Detective Dylan. There’s been a homicide.”

“Really?” May asked. “Was there enough to perform a reboot?” Minds that were murdered with the Lost Lands could sometimes be rebooted into children and raised back to adulthood.

“The meds are not sure about that yet,” Cable said. “It is apparently very messy.”

“Where did it go down?” May asked. She activated her gear and her clothes and armor formed around her.

“Vampire Town,” Cable said. Vampire Town was a place for those who had an affinity for the darker side of things. Back in reality, people might have called them goths but they had involved in the digital landscape.

“Great,” May said. “Those guys are weirdos. They set up shop in the area with the highest concentration of fractures. I think they remind the vampires of ghosts. Are we sure that a fracture didn’t do it?”

“Well, that’s your job to figure out,” Cable said. “but the early reports don’t indicate that to be the case. Get your ass in gear.”

“I’m going,” May said. “I’ll be there as soon as I can.” She hung up and headed toward the garage. Technically, denizens of the Lost Lands could instantly transmit themselves any distance but, again, it did not make life worth living. Some behaviors were worth sticking to. Besides, May really liked her car. She had designed it herself.

Media Update 12/5/19

December 5, 2019


The Mandalorian

The Star Wars franchise has always had side projects, but it feels like they are getting better and better lately. Two of the most recent side projects are Solo and Rogue One. They successfully mixed Star Wars with a heist film and a war film respectively. The Mandalorian is a weekly television show that feels like it blends Star Wars with a western. The show is set post-Empire and the Mandalorians are scattered to the winds as a people. The show follows a Mandalorian bounty hunter who has a code of honor and is the best of the best. The show feels like something new in a familiar universe. There is plenty of humor but also that core of seriousness that most westerns have. Pedro Pascal does such a great job acting even though his face is always covered by a helmet Boba Fett-style. There are all sorts of enigmatic characters that I am interested to see what they are there for or who continues throughout the show. The only complaint I have is that there are no female main characters so far. I definitely recommend it.


The Great Mouse Detective

I am a huge fan of Sherlock Holmes and this movie is Disney’s take on the story through the filter of original characters who are all Holmes-adjacent. Barrie Ingham is such a delight as Basil of Baker Street, an absent-minded but brilliant mouse detective who loves the thrill of the hunt. Val Bettin plays Dawson, the Watson analog, who is smart but his real strength is his good heart. Susanne Pollatschek is the young girl who is the client and is inquisitive and adds a lot of energy to the movie. Alan Young uses his Scrooge McDuck voice as her father. Candy Candido plays a hilariously stupid thug. Finally, the wonderful Vincent Price plays the Moriarty analog and he is so delightfully wicked. He honestly steals so many scenes just like some of the greatest Disney villains. The movie is a good little mystery but its strength is the likable characters and the goodness at its heart. I recommend it.


The Emperor’s New Groove

This is one that I had heard was way better than it was given credit for. The movie follows an arrogant and selfish emperor played by David Spade who goes on a journey of self-discovery. The movie definitely draws from the same spirit as The Emperor’s New Clothes. Somebody must speak against power when power goes too far. The movie is basically two slapstick buddy comedies in one. First, you have David Spade who must journey with John Goodman in order to survive. Second, you have Eartha Kitt hanging out with Patrick Warburton and opposing our protagonists. Kitt especially steals every single scene she is in. There is a reason why she is considered a legend but she is obviously having a great time in her role as an evil sorceress. The movie felt like a version of the Road pictures starring Hope and Crosby back in the day. I definitely recommend it.

Music of the Week:
Mcbaise – She’s a Big Boy

Tessa Violet – Crush

Poppy – Concrete

Te Quemaste – MTZ Manuel Turizo X Anuel AA

Bad Wolves – I’ll Be There

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “Disney+” #NotSponsored
– I watched more Brooklyn 99 Season 3
– I watched more Bob’s Burgers Season 7
– I watched more Blindspot Season 2
– I watched more Prodigal Son Season 1
– I watched more Stumptown Season 1
– I watched more Elementary Season 1
– I watched more Carmen Sandiego Season 2
– I watched more The Crown Season 3

A Familiar Nightmare

December 2, 2019

I had a nightmare recently. This, in itself, is not very surprising. I have nightmares all of the time like normal people do. Normal people have nightmares, right? I’m fairly normal. We’re all crazy. Anyway, this nightmare stuck with me instead of fading away with the sunrise. It was a dream about my old life, a life I left nearly a decade ago. It was definitely an anxiety dream. I have anxiety in my waking life, why should my dream life be different?

In the dream, I was visiting an old friend at a theater just before showtime. I was just planning to stop by and visit briefly but she was not there. That was concerning because my friend was a stage manager and was running the lighting board. (Of course, “she” was some vague stand-in for the multitudes of female stage managers I’ve known). The way stage management works anybody should be able to run the show based on what is called a “prompt book”. The show must go on so I volunteered to step into her shoes and run things for the night.

I was completely unfamiliar with the show but I tried to decipher the prompt book anyway. For those who do not know, a prompt book is the show’s script with an overlay of cues and notes needed to run the show and ‘prompt’ people to do their jobs. It is the show “bible” and should allow you any knowledge you need to put on the show. In the dream, the notes were not easy to understand or follow. I struggled to keep up with the show.

Meanwhile, I kept getting pulled away from the booth and the theater for multiple reasons. I was constantly trying to get back to my spot. When I got there, I struggled to figure out what I was doing. It should have been completely harrowing but it was kind of exhilarating. It was also flattering that I could still command respect in my own field. The dream had no resolution. Dreams rarely do. I woke with an uneasy feeling and went about my day.

(Sorry this was late)


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