A peek inside the head

So, um, have I seen any movies lately that I could rave about, ranting optional… no, not really. I saw Purge, based on the Finland-famous book of the same name by Sofi Oksanen; it was like the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, except with more misogyny and less happiness. A good movie, but a brutal one.

Anything interesting in the news… naah.

Anything to share from this memoir I’m writing… no, I don’t think “this is how I wipe my ass” is for sharing; it goes to a time capsule with the rest of it, and won’t the people of 3012 be happy to know how that crevasse was cleaned.

Um, maybe a sci-fi story, “In the Future, This Is the Last Man With An Ass” — no, not snappy enough — “Heinie’s Last Trumpeting” — no, no — “Mr. Robot-Man and the Horrors of Biological Waste Management” — no, this is outright gross —

Coffee — yes, must drink coffee — wait, could I blog about coffee?

“Coffee is a foul liquid of perception, a melange of water and darker, less wholesome elements, usually sweetened with sugar, since sugar is difficult to use for any other purpose, and isn’t this a meaningful sentence—”

No, no.


“‘The eyes of Ibad!’ the student cried.

Indeed, the old man’s eyes were uniform coffee-brown, the monotony broken only by the red of broken blood vessels.

“‘Indeed!’ the old man cried, ‘For I am the one they call the Muad’Dib, the kangaroo mouse, microdipodops megacephalus, endemic to California and especially this campus, the lecturer whose lectures were foretold, being the same lectures as every year — and I shall not accept your excuses. You should not have excuses. Excuses are the grade-killer. Excuses are the little death that brings one more year into your plan. I will face your excuses, and I will wade through them and swim over them. And when the excuses are gone, I will see you—‘

“‘Aieee!’ the student cried—”


Maybe not.

What has happened at the university recently?

Um, Lecturer #13 informed me it’s the second week of lectures and he’s, uh, I suppose I need to use Internet-speak to translate colloquial Finnish because I can’t think of a suitable colloquial English expression… it’s the second week of lectures and this is already a week when not a single fuck is given.

Squirrel away for later use a bit of dialogue, made up right now:

“I do not give a fuck.”

“Do you receive any?”

(fistfight ensues)

Here “ensues” (starts to happen) should not be confused with “enmarysues” (starts to look like the author likes a character way too much) or “en sues” (a pose of the fabled courtial art of law-fu).

Hm, what else am I doing? Well, spinning two writing projects. Firstly, taking looks of horror at a high fantasy thing I wrote when fifteen, and which I now, fifteen years later, have decided to rewrite on Hollywood strengths of rewrite and adapt; and secondly, now and then, throwing bits into a gamebook (not a Choose Your Own Adventure thing, because laws), bits like this.


You confess you’ve never heard of either band.

“They’re good. Well, the [First band] anyway. If you like [obscure and slightly ludicrous criteria] that is. And, um, are a major military history nut. Or, er, a generic nut.”

“Generic nut?”

“You know, eats steak with toothpaste. Has a coat made of underwear. Never blinks. Has a freezer full of dead animals. Generic nut, you know.”

“Many of those expected in the audience?”

“Most of it.”

You probably shouldn’t go to this concert, with your recently-acquired crippling fear of freezers and all; but since you don’t have anything better to do, you look up to the skies and hope someone would do the deciding for you.

If you go to the concert, turn to page xxx.

If you don’t, turn to page yyy.

If, overcome by a strange compulsion, you make your underwear into a hat and go dancing down the street, turn to page zzz.


Perhaps too meta.

Speaking of which, so is this post — am I really trying to make a blog post about trying to make a blog post?

Oh, wait —


This is a blog post about trying to make a blog post about trying to make a blog post. The first thing to note is this is not a representation of the author’s typical creative process, but rather a comedical device to get content out of not nothing, but out of very slim pickings. Throwing a few scattershot thoughts and almost-jokes together does not make a blog post, except in the most technical sense — but drop them into a pudding-y cement of meta-commentary, and they seem almost clever! Not that this—


Huh, almost got stuck in double-meta there, expositing about expositing about writing. And in a few sentences more, I would have started commenting about the stupidity of such double-meta commentary, and then there would have been no return from the Tower of Meta-Dickery.

Writes down: “Possible blog name? ‘Tower of Meta-Dickery'”

Makes low burbling noises. Writes, “Possible fan fic? ‘Harry Potter and the Tower of Meta-Dickery'”


“What”, Harry cried, “I’m not in a book!”

Hermione rolled her eyes. “Yes you are. At least three histories of V War One, one unauthorized biography, and a series of children’s books.”

“A series of what?” Harry said, looking not at all well.

In the meanwhile, Ron had found the unauthorized biography and was fuming in a corner, muttering about being left out of most of the nice adventures and all of the satanic Gryffindor orgies.

Hermione waved her wand, and a set of seven books, some of them quite thick, flew in Harry’s direction, took a loop round his head, and settled down to the table.

“Harry Potter and the Order…” he read. “I’m sure I’ve never done anything this much!

“How does the last book end?” Hermione asked.

“Huh? Why?”

“I mean”, she stammered, “do you, uh, do you want to see how it, uh, ends for you?”

“Please, Hermione”, he sighed, “these are just books. They’re not true.”

“What, not true?” Ron exclaimed, slamming the unauthorized biography shut and blushing furiously.

“Of course they are true”, Hermione explained, with slightly glassy eyes and a fixed smile, “Books need to be true or else what is the point of books. Harry, Ron, this is the most wonderful place in magical Britain: if you bring a book here, it becomes true!” She glanced at the unauthorized biography and added: “Within reason.”

“So no orgies?” Ron asked.

“Orgies?” Harry cried, whipping out his wand. “Get behind me Hermione, I’ll take care of—”

“No”, Hermione said with great patience and a curious expression, “you’re thinking of Harpies, Harry.”

“I’m not”, Ron muttered. “They’d peck your p— uh, nevermind.”

Harry blinked a few times and lowered his wand. “Wait. Hermione, are you saying that if I die at the end of this book, I die in real life?”

She nodded; Harry looked at the last book as if it was a snake, on fire, with a gun in its mouth.

“Which is my plan”, Hermione said, pulling a single sheet of paper from an inner pocket of her robes. “Here’s a new ending.”

“Let me see”, Ron said, leaning over.

“THE LAST CHAPTER”, the paper read. “Suddenly Voldemort explodes into a fountain of candy, and all the Death Eaters lose their magical powers, and Draco Malfoy too. The house elves are freed, and Hermione” — she covered the last line and sat down, drawing the last book to her.

“What’s that last bit?” Ron asked, hopefully.

“Oh, nothing”, Hermione said. “Precisio incendio!” The book flew open and its pages started to crumble to ash, then to nothing, one by one. “Give me a quill. I’ll write this to the empty pages at the end…”

“What”, Harry said, snatching the paper from Hermione. “‘And Hermione gets fifteen N.E.W.T.’s.’? Hermione, there aren’t enough subjects for you to get—”

“Oh bugger”, Ron muttered.


Well, yes. Meta-dickery.

And now, the shape of TA communication:


One more thing (I’m not sure how much [Lecturer-Man] has told you) — in addition to the normal exercises, this course also has “extra” problems. They don’t give you any extra points, or any points at all; they’re not something you’re required to do, and they don’t add anything that would be required for the exam; they mostly exist to give people with too much free time something to do. (Mathematics has this kind of people.)

These voluntary extra problems come from [Perfectly and Innocent’s] book [Basic Tome of Easy Math] (3rd ed); if you want to do them, I think you can find the book at the library; since the library is a complex place, ask the library people for help if necessary. The first extras were #19, #20 and #21 from p. 13, and #20 from p. 23.

Fun fact: No mathematician can use the word “complex” in a non-mathematical sense without feeling like a pun.

Also, thinking about it, I now realize the technical term for “library people” is “librarians”.

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