Monday, March 30, 2015

WackyPact Funtime Final Briefing

"Good evening, noble members of the Pact!" The Pact Warmaster said cheerfully before continuing.

"As you all know we are soon to begin final preparations for our assault on Mordremoth's home turf. I am super pumped and hope to hear how you are too! Before we talk about how we're going to leave a boot in that mean old plant Dragon though I understand we have some questions?" The Warmaster's tone shifted ever so slightly to disapproval in the end, looking over the assembled Pact. A Charr moved forward. The Norn Warmaster focused on them sharply, frowning.

"Yeah, I got a question. Why're we bringing the Sylvari on this one?" the Charr growled.

"What do you mean why? They're a super-nice people and good at their job too!" The Warmaster replied with a laugh.

"That ain't the problem. They're probably Mordrem. Might not be that bright to use them against Mordrem." the Charr rumbled, a hint of of weariness creeping into their voice.

The Norn Warmaster laughed, high pitched and derisively.

"They are NOT Mordrem. Mordrem are EVIL plant monsters!" they exclaimed.

"Look, they aren't evil, I get it. Some of them are really nice and none of us'd be here without Trahearn, but they're practically Mordrem. I mean, you were Vigil. We've seen the Crucible of Eternity, and they and the Mordrem are the only walky-talky Plant things in the world. ONE of them woke Mordremoth even!" the Charr continued.

"Look, you're sounding very racist right now and I don't want to deal with this. We've got experts and they said the Sylvari aren't Mordrem. I'll let one of them speak now. Sub-Director Slokkit?" The Norn Warmaster stepped away from their podium.

There was a moment of silence after which a faint grinding sound could be heard as a chair was dragged into place. Shortly afterwards an Asura in red-and-black armor hopped up.

"Yes, we Inquest have studied Sylvari and Mordrem extensively and can say, without a doubt, they are not the same." The Asura said calmly.

The Charr's mouth dropped open for a moment.

"Why are you even HERE?!" they roared.

"Excuse me?! How rude! I am a respected advisor to the Pact I will have you know!" the Asura exclaimed.

"He is! AND a good friend." the Norn Warmaster added.

The Charr looked around a moment.

"The INQUEST?! They worked for the mad Sylvari that WOKE Mordremoth!" the Charr yelled.

"Ahem, ALLEGEDLY, Mr. Charrbookah." The Asura countered.

The Charr closed his eyes a moment, bringing a hand up to carefully rub their muzzle before opening them again.


"Yes, really. Look, the Inquest that supported and supplied the Aetherblade pirates were a splinter group we bear no responsibility for, just like the ones that are allegedly supplying bandits and Nightmare Court in the Brisban Wildlands. We naturally know nothing about the group that regularly murders the present King of Skrittsburgh nor the Inquest that killed first responders to the Zephyrite crash. The Crucible of Eternity came uh, as a TOTAL SURPRISE to us, as are all of the deepwater facilities like Terror 7." The Asura rattled off, though they had to swallow the odd laugh.

The Charr stared at the Warmaster a moment, who glared back haughtily.

"I think you have a problem with Asura, Soldier. And Sylvari." the Norn said.

"I have a problem with INQUEST and STUPIDITY." the Charr snapped back.

"Racist!" The Norn retaliated.

"Racist? That doesn't even... Severed titan testicles.. why are you listening to this?!" the Charr asked, aghast.

"Dr. Slokkit is very smart, a good friend and adorable. I will not hear anything said against them." The Norn said coolly.

"Look, the Sylvari seem to be going barmier by the day, I mean Trahearn seems to be aces but what's this about Caithe buggering off with a Dragon Egg? This Mordremoth got woken by a Sylvari! There's rumors it got into their head, and if that's the case why not just have Sylvari go hold the line against the other Dragons while we go put the boot in Mordremoth?"
the Charr pleaded.

"That would show precious little faith in our fine ferny friends, Mr. Charrbookah!" The Norn replied, smiling at the Inquest subdirector as they copied their insult.

"We're not going to alter the plans for a racist." they added.

The Charr snapped their muzzle shut audibly, lips twitching.

"That ain't the point! It's just tactics, use people where they do the best work!" they said, struggling to keep calm.

"Well, I think they will do just fine." the Asura said.

"You're INQUEST." the Charr snarled.

"And you're a Charrbookah!" the Asura responded. There was a variety of faint tittering about the room, and a hearty guffaw from the Norn Warmaster.

"You're going to get them all killed you little bastard!" the Charr snarled.

"Now why would I do that?" the Asura asked snidely.
"Surely you don't think that the Inquest believes we can save the Asura from the Dragons by ourselves, do you? Why, haven't we been forthcoming with all we know about the Elder Dragons?" they finished, affecting an air of wounded innocence.

"NO, you HAVEN'T. In fact, I've been reading reports and you lot have been not only keeping information- but actively preventing folks from GETTING it." the Charr growled.

"Splinters we can't be held responsible for." The Asura said airily. "And we have shared all sorts of information, like a very convincing paper detailing how the Elder Dragons are actually really allergic to magic and don't eat it and that's why they have their minions soak it up instead."

"MARMOC CRAP!" the Charr roared.

"That's it, I've had enough of your racism and abuse of the good Dr. Slokkit. Escort him out of here." the Norn Warmaster said, gesturing for two pact troopers to go to the Charr.

The Charr bared his teeth at the warmaster and then stomped out before the 'escort' could reach them.

The Asura hopped down from the chair, giggling under their breath as they turned the podium back over to the warmaster with a smile. "Bookahs..." they whispered to themselves. The Norn Warmaster looked back out over the remaining Pact leaders- which they noticed with a fleeting frown was now seemingly smaller number than before. They shook their head.

"Any other questions from non-racists who understand the spirit of unity that the Pact was founded on? Good. I think we'll have Mr. Charbookah join the ground forces that stay behind and wave us off from the fort!" they announced. This was met with uncertain forced laughter.

"Ok, get your game faces on! The Airships are ready to go and we're going to get underway just as soon as we can! To victory!" they exclaimed. The remaining people present all cheered, except for Dr. Slokkit, who was rolling on the ground, laughing.

Friday, March 27, 2015

The NUS Women's Old Tyme Revival

Progress continues!

Things are looking extremely good at the moment, Deep Seven has not had even one of the anticipated potential misfires and complications in it's development. The cloaking system that hid one employee as it revealed them for being a melodramatic yet reckless idiot is back to responsible development and all things said everything is right in Arketer Labs.

I would very much like to go into extensive detail, but #0 continues to be unreasonably correct.

Meanwhile, even though all is well in Arketer Labs, in the wider world problems abound. Today I would like to discuss one of the silliest.

The National Union of Students Women's Conference entered into self-parody.

For those of you who prefer to read me discussing the article, in short the NUS has elected to de-facto ban clapping because some of their delegates have found it 'anxiety triggering'. Instead attendees are encouraged to silently Jazz-Hands their appreciation of speakers.

Allow me to stress that silent part.

Listen and BE SILENT.
Well, no whooping because it's inaccessible to some, no clapping because it makes some people anxious. I can't help but suspect these people have some truly extraordinary parties indeed.

Oh. So, everyone attending these must be silent and refrain from doing almost anything fun because otherwise they will draw the ire of their peers? Just... sit there and listen to (hopefully at least charismatic) mouthpieces? That... That sounds rather familiar. What other places are like this...

Oh, right. Well, this isn't an entirely fair comparison. These people presumably at least sang now and again.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is what you get when you build a culture around being smugly superior to others. What has changed is that rather than being smugly superior over being 'purer' or 'more holy' they're being smug over being 'more inclusive'. Comically, the latter picture shows more diversity- but they are both extremely Caucasian.

I suspect actually oppressed minorities have more pressing concerns than being triggered by clapping or whooping and are even less concerned with censoring their own for the sake of such a rainbow-haired lot.

Curiously this event has led me to ponder at greater length the nature of reality bubbles and manufactured perspectives which I think will fuel a bit more writing. I have a feeling such has created the above and the Sylvumblrite discussed below.

Though in their case there are likely other troubling aspects that have led them to seek escape not just from reality but reason itself.

In closing, have a bite-size psychology. Which will surely be employed by jerks to reduce arguments into screaming at each other 'EXPLAIN YOURSELF' as opposed to the usual 'YOU'RE WRONG'. 

Progress continues!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Words as Gunshots

Progress continues.

Virtually none of it has been cleared for discussion however, one of the reasons I have opted to play Director Arketer of Tyria in a vastly more reckless and, securitywise, nonsensical manner as of late. I have great respect for #0's sage council on all matters of risk and usually heed it- but in a purely imaginary environment I may as well indulge in playing a Director who can safely disregard their #0's guidance.

This has led to most peculiar confrontations.

'Director Arketer' has been awkwardly stalked, had people attempt to 'take his temperature' and most recently a clawed, sharp-wooden-toothed, dark-hued Sylvari attempt to threaten and bully him for noting they appeared to be most predatory. Which, of course, they went to great lengths to describe themselves as.

The character was something of a bizarre fire-hose of manipulation, they prefaced many of their statements with caveats that if you didn't agree with them- you were CLEARLY a dullard incapable of understanding.

It was somewhat troubling, but mostly comical.

I would note that this was around the third time they had referred to the Tyrian Director as 'Meat Bag' by the way. Apparently derogatory biologically-derived terms are only unacceptable when other people are using them.
Do note the frequent use of insults, of which I have captured here only a small portion of, as it leads into a moment of such bizarre dissonance I briefly suspected they had to be playing a parody character.

Were their take on verbal attacks at all accurate, the Tyrian Director alone should have bled to death long before we reached this point in the conversation. In any case, no Directors were at any point compelled to suicide.
I believe this may have been one of these mysterious 'Tumblrites',

World-consuming Dragons are, quite literally and genuinely, bigger problems.
Truly bizarre and my every instinct tells me that, improbably, they were not playing this character for laughs.

To hold such a view that offense justifies violence is a toxic one indeed. It also would, and why I again continue to first and foremost hope this is an act of comedy, primarily justify violence against them. No participant made a greater effort to offend people than they.

Well, in any case there really is no accounting for taste.
As a Sylvari plant-person there is a small but not negligible possibility they were high and, in fact, smoking themselves.

Progress continues.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Sympathies for the Technologically Impaired

Progress continues!

A complaint came in today and was cleared for sharing, which is fortunate as it leads into something I have thought worth pondering for some time.

Dear Director,

Retire Henchperson #(redacted) immediately. Please. I am constantly being put upon to answer their complaints about technical difficulties regarding their computer and it's almost always just a matter of the geezer failing to understand or remember the basics of using software. I swear if I have to answer one more call about how their files vanished when they simply forgot which folder they put them in I am going to trigger a failsafe with my insane screaming.

I understand your frustration and sympathize, I would ask you to have the same understanding for the employee you refer to. I am familiar with them and their work and they are among our finest and most dedicated researchers. They are invaluable for finding information most often considered lost to the ages and understand every archaic method for organizing and storing paper-based data there is.

They are an increasingly rare sort of individual and quite irreplaceable.

Now, while I am sure their discomfort with modern systems is vexing to deal with secondhand please do keep in mind the nature and cause of it. They come from a not-too-distant past in which computers of the caliber many people carry around in their pockets and call 'phones' were absurd ideas more exotic than 'Star Trek'. We have long since exceeded dreams of flip-phone communicators.

Consider, if you will, that not only is it jarring for them to wake up in their later life to find themselves regularly confronted with Science Fiction realized as Science Fact, but that the likelihood of the same happening to you is, granting a full and long life, almost certain.

Today, you roll your eyes at the venerable researcher who has difficulty grasping that they didn't click on the right tiny pixel folder,

Tomorrow, eyes will be rolled at you for being incapable of understanding that the holo-jacks are directed by focused thought. No, FOCUSED thought. Look, Grandpa, just... do what I do. Form a mental image of the relevant query and-

You get the idea.

We will look into lessening the stress for all involved here, but you could likely use the karma (if such a concept exists) for when you are reliant on getting your descendants to shut off the Cyservecs for you. Geezer.

Progress continues.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Nepotic Complications

Progress Continues.

In hindsight, mentioning the budget at all was something of a colossal error. My how word does get around.

One of our foremost backers has seen fit to use their perceived added leverage and has firmly implied that if I do not acquiesce to a request, they will cease their contributions. This would not destroy us, but would put us back into penny-pinching mode.

Which is precisely what I would have us do, if the request was not... vexingly reasonable given the options at hand.

Apparently they have a relative they want safely employed, by us. Apparently the emphasis here is on the 'safely' with said relative under threat from the backer's rivals.

If we acquiesce, they will in fact increase their contributions sufficient to cover the wages of said new hire three times over.

I am not thrilled to say I have deemed it practical to accept, after the backer improbably agreed to a set of security stipulations from #0.

They are the product of old wealth and privilege, they have no marketable skills and their apparently sole field of expertise is face-painting.

Think, yes, like KISS or The Crow. Which they seem to have an encyclopedic knowledge of.
I can only hope this is not the start of a trend but think it unlikely there are that many more supporters so keen on what amounts to a hideously expensive Witness Protection Program.

Their first action was to request their number be #580087734, which I am assured is much funnier on a calculator.

I was initially concerned that this was all to cover for some crime they committed, but #0 insists there is no indication of any such thing and- having met them- I believe they only pose any sort of threat to the very concept of good taste.

Now the task comes down to finding a place in a facility where they cannot do any conceivable harm to our work or morale. I'm looking towards the fine people in The Band Down Under at the Subterranean Lab.

Perhaps you could use a 'roadie'?

Progress continues. 

Friday, March 13, 2015


Progress continues.

Meanwhile I wanted to sing the praises of vaporizers.

Vaporizers are a remarkable improvement over their predecessors, doing the same job without anywhere near the same sort of mess resulting. No one will have to scrub the aftermath of even weeks of vaporizing off of the walls. They are, while presently nothing to brag about aesthetically, dramatically more discrete and in any case vastly kinder on the senses of the user and of those obligated to be in the vicinity of the user.

And, let's be fair, if it weren't for generations worth of action movies glorifying the usage of their predecessors we probably wouldn't think they looked all that great either. Had vaporizers been in use in movies an equal span of time no doubt we would accredit them with the same 'coolness' infused by the likes of Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Even if, as the vast industries invested in the old product have put forward, vaporizers are ultimately as deleterious to the health as ever- they are an improvement across the board in the courtesy they display to others.

A person could stand by someone vaporizing all day long and still be as fresh in appearance and odor as someone well removed from it all.

Truly it is the most noble of improvements to a particular vice.

Not that I smoke.

Finally, while vaporizers are in fact fair to use in all common areas of Arketer Labs facilities they are still very much forbidden from work areas.

Progress continues.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Budget Concerns Resolved and The Flapping of Black Wings

Progress continues!

First I would like to happily announce that a 'sale' has been made that eliminates all budget concerns. We do not have such a surplus that there is room for considering new projects, sadly, but no further changes are warranted.

That said, we are continuing with the cost-saving measures that double as environment-protection measures because our fast-acting teams have already replaced one-quarter of the urinals in all Arketer Labs facilities with waterless variants already. (I was very impressed by this demonstration of alacrity.) Besides, they are simply logical in any case. Mr. Turner was also very insistent.

Nevertheless the revelation of a crisis averted was cause for some celebration indeed, which I was happy to take part in. I, however, might have slightly underestimated the alcoholic content of the beverages served.

Hence the previous non-sequiter plea for the return of Gamera.

Which I would stand by, actually, but would traditionally not have deemed important enough even to mention here in this amateur blog chronicling,  in practice thanks to security concerns, mostly the most trivial of details regarding the works of Arketer Labs.

Additionally apologies to anyone offended by my posts on the Guild Wars 2 Roleplayers forums.

The role-players there were having a minor crisis at the time over the inclusion of new, really quite ridiculous, black wing backpacks.

Arr, the Pirate Harpy be demanding yer money or yer life but yer dignity goes either way. 

Her wings are dark, like night, like eyeshadow, like her fall from heaven and the corner of the tavern they sit in,
listening to songs about suicide.
 Life is pain.
In a moment that will not go down as my proudest I parroted a joke of my own that all these black-winged individuals heralded the coming of Parpa, Goddess of the Southern Winds that Smell Funny and cousin to Dwayna (A white-bewinged Goddess in-game) thus the Rear-End Times were upon us.

It... was not widely loved and in hindsight was absurdly immature of me.

I believe the general consensus was that the wings were a silly thing to take seriously in role-play. I certainly agree, but pushed for not getting terribly irate about it as they would still not be as nonsensical as other things in the game that were, worse, canonized in the lore.

That said, a community of role-players is ultimately a pseudo consensus-reality and I did urge people not to make suspension of disbelief any heavier than they absolutely had to. A point entirely ignored by the chief proponent of the wings. Apparently their underage necromancer prodigy character would be absolutely incomplete if people refused to acknowledge they had sprouted functional wings because they were just that great of a Necromancer.

There are contexts, I will repeat from my post, in which the appearance of such wings would not be absurd within the context of the game. "Because my character is so awesomely powerful", however, would not cut it in my opinion.

In any case, thank you to all employees who kept their calm in this most fleeting of almost-crisis.

Progress continues!

She had to flee, fly away from this twisted reality, this debased society. Evanescence understood.
If only they would STOP LAUGHING!

Friday, March 6, 2015

Bring back Gamera.

Progress continues.

I had intended to write out a lengthy piece about how The Dress had prompted me to consider basic human flaws regarding our inherent slavery to our perceptions. (Which is not, in fact, a bad thing so long as we do not presume OUR slavery is in any way superior to someone else's) However in my present state it is not only apparent that such a topic is unavoidably pompous, but that there is- in my present state- a vastly more pressing issue.

Gamera is lost to american film history at least. 

For those of you tragically unaware of Gamera, Gamera is a giant nuclear snapping turtle and a friend to Humanity. Specifically a small japanese boy.

I don't actually expect anyone to watch the entirety of that first of all, but a casual viewing should give you a clear idea that while Godzilla is indeed justified as America's favorite Nuclear Bomb metaphor, Gamera really does deserve some 'love' as well.

They are not only giant and vaguely reptilian, but additionally a fire-breathing Turtle capable of propelling itself via jets from it's shell openings. It has, among other things, a far more palatable explanation for it's amphibious nature and a reason to have fond feelings for humanity other than that it's just primarily proud to be King of the Monsters.

Do not mistake me, however, I am STILL fond of Godzilla additionally. I would perhaps be more fond of Pacific Rim if the whole 'two synced pilots' concept hadn't been unacceptably far-fetched.

It is still a perfectly enjoyable film, that said.

That is all.

Progress continues.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The Dress is in Hues of Human Failing

Progress continues.

It strikes me as more than time for a change of tone. Let us now look to something trivial.

In moderately recent news there has been something of a subtle social slapfight over the color of a dress.

This one.
Due to a perfect storm of horrible photography, editing and exposure to media there has been some argument over whether the dress pictured above is black and blue (Which it is intended to be and how appears to the majority) or white and gold (which it appears to some, who are either horrible evolutionary dead-ends or the next step in human random genetic advancement.)

What is amazing is how it got this far when people seeing different colors is hardly a new concept. Consider, there is a sizeable portion of the population for which this dress is in shades of grey.

And perhaps a larger portion of the population than heretofore known sees in Negatives.
If anything what I take from this event is that there are a shocking number of people who do not believe people can see things differently from themselves. That their own perspective is not, in fact, the sole valid one.

I can only hope those individuals have taken this as a lesson as to the mistake of making such an assumption, such a belief lies at the core of much of human conflict after all.

Meanwhile everyone who wants to argue about the dress is taking on the intrinsically stupid and monumental task of trying to force people to say they aren't seeing what they are seeing- because the alternative means the arguer has to acknowledge their perspective isn't universally applicable.

The dress debacle is the product of people who have problems acknowledging other people see things differently. Just, in this case, in a more literal sense.

On a tangential note I think when we have the budget to play around with new project concepts again I might put in a suggestion towards one aimed at creating a solution to color-blindness for those who would have it.

Progress continues.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Free Labor is Expensive but Vital

Progress continues.

I was interrupted by something of an emergency report prompting a necessarily hasty exit from Guild Wars 2. Not as hasty as I should have made it, but nonetheless.

Now, before you pessimists think it, there were no explosions and absolutely no one was in any danger.The Labs, themselves, perhaps were, but even that was just a remote possibility.

To begin explaining :

As all of my henchpeople know, Arketer Labs is run effectively as a benevolent autocracy. I am, yes, the final authority in most cases. I have however taken every effort to ensure that the 'benevolent' part of that isn't just a cynical joke.

We have this arrangement because :

1: I DID create Arketer Labs and DO believe myself the most capable of directing it ethically.

2: We make progress here, which is best achieved through an absolute minimum of bureaucracy.
As a wise man once said, the surest way to ensure nothing gets done is to put a committee in charge of it.

But I do understand this degree of power can be corruptive, there are safeguards in place against it. I would go into greater detail but #0 is quite livid with me putting this out there as it is.

In any case, a trust between Henchpeople and Arketer Labs- myself- must be close to absolute. This is why the comfort of our facilities is almost as vital as our security and there are precious few regulations that do not directly relate to security and safety.

I know despite our efforts there are employees who are discontent. I have had to personally deny requests for things that were unreasonable for reasons of expenditure or safety to some of our most intellectually gifted employees- in other areas. If you do hear people complain about how I, we, have failed them- I encourage you to listen to them. Find out precisely, please, what they were demanding.

Then decide if you concur with the rationality of their requests.

Now, I understand mentioning the budget concerns in such a public forum especially was perhaps a mistake. I had hoped to make it clear that everything was perfectly under control. Some clearly did not believe this to be the case as I understand a small group began agitating for the formation of a defensive union under the assumption I was going to use these budget concerns as an excuse to slash wages and reduce everyone to slave labor.

I cannot stress how much the accusation disgusted me.

That said, I understand it isn't a personal attack. It is a theory based on the horrible abuses some corporations such as American Airlines once used financial crisis to justify. That, and the vastly worse crimes of older companies- mining companies in particular- who used such things as 'company stores' to reduce their employees to slave labor.

Those are all, indeed, just the sort of things that not only justify but make a union a vital concept worthy of existence.

They are, as in all things however, context sensitive. A union can be hijacked to the personal profit of it's own directors and become a very parasitic entity indeed.

This is not a certainty, there are plenty of very ethical unions. That said, the risk is too great to endorse such a concept for Arketer Labs.

If the employees of Arketer Labs should ever find it necessary to form a union, I believe it would indicate such a failure of trust and morale that it would be a less painful death for Arketer Labs to simply shut down outright. Arketer Labs should BE the union for it's employees.

If there are complaints with the way I am running Arketer Labs, please continue to send them in. I will in turn continue to review them.

Additionally if you ever become so discontent with the way the Labs are run that you cannot abide it- please remember that you can resign and your safe conduct back to society, along with all wages earned thus far, is assured.

Most Sincerely,

Director Arcturus Z. Arketer.