Thursday, May 28, 2015

The Lady of the Fountain : Part Two : Sir Owain's Legendary Lovins

Progress Continues!

As before the original text can be found here :

And so it came to pass at the end of our story King Arthur awoke from his long nap just in time for dinner. Horns were sounded in Caerllon upon Usk for people to rinse off their filthy selves and eat the good food peasants had provided for them as they had been raised to believe was the way of things.

When they were done eating, Sir Owain quietly made ready to depart Caerllon, to again mitigate the risk that King Arthur would be involved in this story.

That done, he embarked to seek out and trace the path of Sir Krillin, to undertake his quest to screw things up (for other people) and do it RIGHT.

In fact it is made clear that Sir Owain does everything better than Sir Krillin, he appreciates the beauty of the women of Castle Yellow better. He enjoys the food they serve him better, and generally finds that Sir Krillin was somehow full of crap about everything Sir Krillin says- despite finding things more or less as Sir Krillin described to him.

The Lord of Castle Yellow, the man in Yellow- whom neither Sir Krillin nor Owain bothered to ask the name of, sets Owain on his path to meet the giant Black Man of the grove.

Needless to say, Owain finds the stature of the Black Man more wondrous than Sir Krillin did, that loser. The Black Man in turn sets Sir Owain on the path to the Fountain.

Now, I note here that Sir Krillin- loser they may be- did not consider the ill that activating the hailstorm fountain would cause. The ill it causes, however, he learned- AND passed that on to Sir Owain as he quoted the Black Knight's complaints to him verbatim.

So Sir Owain knows exactly what he's doing when he splashes that water on the stone. So what if the hailstorm kills a few peasants, eh?

Not that the Black Knight at this point has a good excuse either. The bastard hasn't put up so much as a warning sign from the last time. Or, I don't know, destroyed the fountain? Bricked it up? Buried it in dirt? But noooo, far better to just let a few peasants die as an excuse to ride out FOR VENGEANCE.


Nevertheless, Sir Owain splashes the water from the hailstorm fountain using the silver bowl that has been chained to it to prevent theft- very important- onto the marble slab and the hail came down, birds alighted into the stripped tree and sang beauteously to keep Sir Owain occupied while the Black Knight got ready for combat and approached.

If the Black Knight had any complaints, Sir Owain takes no note of it in favor of getting to business. Which is to say, stabbing the Black Knight. He delivers a blow that cleaves through the Knight's helm, into the Knight's very brain. The Black Knight recognized this could be a mortal wound and retreats to his castle.

Sir Owain won't have any of that, and thus sets out in hot pursuit.

The people of the Black Knight's castle allow their Lord through, but when Sir Owain attempts to pursue- they drop the portcullis, which cuts his horse in two and leaves him trapped between the castle's inner and outer gates.

Sir Owain thus found himself properly screwed.

Fortunately for him, a maiden in yellow satin came by and said she wished the gate open. Sir Owain concurred- and the maiden said it was very sad that Sir Owain could not be released- for you see she was aware that Sir Owain was the truest of friends and most devoted of lovers!

How she knew this is not explained to it merely stands to reason that Sir Owain really got around.

So impressed with his reputation for loving is she, that she on the spot devises a plan to rescue him. It's a simple yet effective plan as she happened to have a magic ring of invisibility on her.

This she lends to him with a short tutorial on it's use, as well as her plan to guide him out of danger when the locals return to open the gate in order to put him to death for so wounding their (questionably competent) Lord and protector.

The plan goes off without a hitch as the locals open the gates only to find one half of a horse. Sir Owain, invisible, follows the maiden to a beautiful chamber in which not a single nail in it is not painted glorious colors.

Penn Jillete's faithful recreation.
Once there, she cleaned Sir Owain up, brought him a delicious meal served on silver and gold and otherwise made him comfortable while the Lord of the castle suffered the barbarities of medieval 'medical care'.

She made a nice bed for him, and apparently stayed in in to test out Sir Owain's reputation firsthand as, in the middle of the night, there was sorrowful wailing. Sir Owain asked as to the cause, being not terribly bright and the maiden was right there- in the middle of the night- to explain that the Lord of the Castle had died.

This learned, he resolved to open a window and enjoy the funeral procession he was directly responsible for. Being the classy gent he was, while appreciating the grieving throng carrying the late Black Knight to his grave wore an awful lot of expensive finery- he came to notice the Widow of the late Black Knight, and found her beauty/wealth to be irresistible.

Fortunately, the Widow- the Countess of the Fountain- was the mistress of the maiden he had, apparently, entertained quite well, for as he explained he was hot for the Widow the maiden resolved that she would win her over for him.

The maiden, who's name we now learn is Luned, starts immediately and attempts to sell her on the need to get remarried even as she grieves over the loss of her previous husband. The Countess declares that there is no man the equal of her late husband, to which Luned the maiden states that an ugly man would be his equal.

Apparently Luned hated the Black Knight for some reason.

The Countess sends her away at this, angrily, but the cold hard math- that she needs a new husband to fend off the grasping Lords beneath her- is swiftly done and though she recognizes Luned's disposition as an evil one, asks her council.

Luned, graciously, does so. They note the Countess needs to defend the Hailstorm Fountain if she would keep the position she has. So the Luned would happily ride off to King Arthur's Court, alone, to petition them for a worthy warrior and husband for the Countess. Luned is very confident she will succeed in this and return with a warrior better as good or better suited to defending the fountain than the previous Lord. (but not by walling the fountain off, destroying it, burying it in dirt... No of course not, it's use must be avenged with the pointy stick! Not prevented. Muscle, not brain. Primitive screwheads.)

The Countess notes this is a difficult task and bids her go about it. Thus Luned sets off... to discreetly return to where she stashed Sir Owain. There she asks him how long it would take to travel to King Arthur's Court and return and, that learned, they discreetely entertained themselves.. somehow.. as they waited off the requisite time.

That done, Luned got dressed and went to see the Countess, who was pleased to see they had returned well. Luned is happy to deliver the good news, she has brought a new champion with her.

The Countess resolves to this Champion the next day.

The 'maiden' Luned then goes back and gets Sir Owain prettied up. That done, they are presented to the Countess the next day. The Countess is not fooled.

She notes Sir Owain doesn't appear to have done much travelling lately (perhaps they put on a bit of weight lounging around Luned's place) and rather more alarmingly were the very same person who killed their husband.

To which Luned notes- who better to take for a husband? After all, he's already proven himself tougher.

Swayed as before by the hard logic of Luned, the Countess agrees- but not before she takes counsel from the nobles of the land. Herein she gathers them together and shows that her lands are defenseless.

She asks them if one of them would marry her and take up the responsibility of defending her lands and the painfully idiotic Hailstorm Fountain. Rather than do this, the Lords of the land instead give her permission to marry someone from outside their realm.

Thus the Countess of the Fountain married Sir Owain who, for three years, would ride out and defeat any Knight that happened by to play with the Hailstorm Fountain. This done, he would take them prisoner and ransom them for their full value.

Because Knights were inevitably spoiled Lordlets with nothing better to do with their time than fuck around with magical peasant-murdering fountains this happened often enough that Sir Owain thus raised a fortune he then divided among the lesser Lords beneath him.

This perhaps better explains why no one ever fenced off the wretched fountain.

In this fashion Sir Owain ruled the realm of the Fountain for around three years, beloved by greedy, yet lazy coldhearted bastards he called vassals.

Tune in next time for The Lady of the Fountain : Part Three : SIR OWAIN'S KINGDOM FOR A CALENDER!

Progress continues.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Lady of the Fountain : Part One : The Tale of Sir Krillin

Progress Continues!

But I'm not getting into that.

Instead this is a Let's Read of The Lady of the Fountain from The Mabinogion, as translated by Lady Charlotte Guest. I call it a Let's Read because I will be doing the reading, you will be reading my summary. It's almost like reading it yourself! Which you probably don't want to do. If you DO want to however, you can read the original at :

Our story begins in Caerllon upon Usk, a favorite haunt of King Arthur. Yes, this is indeed a bit of Arthurian myth, but I will be sparing the ye old english in favor of paraphrasing.

In Caerllon we begin with an exciting evening of King Arther taking a nap, foreshadowing how much of a part he'll have to play in this tale (none). While he takes his nap some of his knights get it in their head to tell stories. At this point one Kynon, who we will be calling Krillin, avows he has the finest story to tell.

In this story he talks about how, after rising to be the biggest fish in his small pond of a country, he left to seek adventure and find out if he could in fact be the biggest fish in the world.

While wandering about looking for trouble he was given good food at a castle populated by people who really like the color yellow in utter silence because they feared offending him. You see it was very important to be a good host to wandering armed men in Arthur's time, as most of them were primarily just looking for a reason to stab someone- but could be bought off with food.

After Sir Krillin makes it clear that they may speak with him without him murdering them all, they ask- carefully- for his purpose. To which he replies 'adventure', which does translate cleanly into 'looking for someone to stab' again in most cases. His host, however, had seen tougher and did not think Sir Krillin was up for what lied ahead. Sir Krillin takes offense and, being fond of not being murdered- his host obliges with a lead on 'adventure'.

Dutiful hosts, they send Sir Krillin off to speak with a large Black Man with one eye and one foot wielding an iron club- and ask him where 'adventure' may be found.

Sir Krillin does this thing and speaks with the giant Black Man, who's club is indeed long and massive.

The black man's grove is filled with animals so Sir Krillin asks what power the black man has over them. In demonstration, the black man hits a stag with his club and causes it to bray at which point the animals gather around them both- then bow to the Black Man before leaving at his bidding.

So, basically, that the cyclopean Black Man ruled the animals with his massive club.

So very wrong.
Perhaps further rendered insecure by this, Sir Krillin gets on with asking where he should go, which annoyed the Black Man because Sir Krillin had yet to mention what his destination was. Sir Krillin makes it clear he's after 'adventure' and so the Black Man directs him to, in a valley and under a tree, a fountain that causes hailstorms by virtue of splashing water from it onto a marble slab.

There is no guard on this fountain, of course, but the silver bowl by which one splashes the water is chained to it to prevent theft. It would be a shame if someone stole the silver bowl used to create dangerous hailstorms from the hailstorm fountain, but even more of a shame apparently not to so much as build a damn fence around the thing.

So, Krillin finds the fountain and causes a hailstorm with it, followed by a lovely bit of birdsong and- likewise promised by the Black Man, summons forth a Black Knight who calls out,

‘Why are you here, Knight?  What did I ever do to you that warranted you coming here and fucking things up?  Did you know that lethal hailstorm you summoned killed every man and beast caught in it? Dick.’

Which, it would seem to me, would be a pretty good reason to be pissed. Sir Krillin however, is a Knight, and being a Knight means never saying you're sorry so he instead fights the Black Knight, and is rewarded justly for once by getting his tin-plated ass BEAT.

The Black Knight then took Sir Krillin's horse as compensation, leaving Krillin a long walk home under the weight of their armor and a savage mocking from the Black Man.

The people of Castle Yellow were very kind to him however, tactfully avoiding any inquiry as to how his adventure went and even gifting him a horse.

Thus concluded, Sir Krillin's peers note that while the tale was fantastic perhaps most fantastic of all was that Sir Krillin basically led them along on a journey of his own ridiculous failure. Sir Owain, meanwhile, noted that he'd like to take a shot at this 'adventure' himself before Sir Kai suggested Owain was full of hot air.

'Ruuuude' spaketh Gwenhyvar.

And then King Arthur woke up from his nap, to undertake the noble quest to eat dinner.

Tune in next time for Part Two : Sir Owain's Legendary Lovins

Progress continues.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Urmgosh, Bringer of Uncertainty, May Be Here.

Progress continues.

There was a bit of a distraction this last Friday however.

I've mentioned our new local sort-of cult of Urmgosh before. They've... met with some success since. That said #0 themselves has had difficulty nailing down their exact numbers when half of the adherents aren't sure they qualify.

At any rate, they secured one of the cafeterias for their first 'ritual service', which I was hesitantly disinclined to prohibit. Still, they agreed to every security stipulation.

At roughly 21:00 ALT (Arketer Lab Time, for those just arriving.) their service began.

After fielding some complaints over what transpired after that point I was obligated to review the footage.

The whole thing began with them taking turns in no particular pattern to determine what, as a new and probably joke-based faith, they should be doing. Ultimately they determined that they should follow the pattern of other- generally mythical- cults such as those found in H.P. Lovecrafts C'thulhu mythos and start by summoning their 'Lord' or 'Lady' or 'Leader' and quite possibly 'Overthing' into our reality.

Which then raised a question of how, to which no one had a clear answer.

At around 21:34 ALT they went to work anyway.

One of them kicked things off by sacrificing a chicken ritualistically by cutting off it's head and filling a goblet with it's blood. Then less ritualistically by plucking it and cooking it.

Another of them and their spouse then supposedly started having sex in a partitioned of section of the room, discretely. This was perhaps the most objectionable event but they were a married couple and according to the audio of the security footage did not indicate an unacceptable amount of noise.

One of the pseudo leaders started scribbling what they apparently thought were arcane-looking glyphs on the virtual dry-erase board, but by all accounts were just scribbles making use of the odd crude geometric shape.

Three other members attempted to improvise mystic chants. This sounded very much like three people all trying to sing along with a song in an unknown language which none of them knows very well.

Finally, one gentleman started filling his pants with an assortment of quartz crystals in various shapes and colors.

This went on until such time as their time was nearly up at which point they all looked around and asked each other various variations on 'Did that do it?' jokingly before- after getting dressed and unloading crystals as relevant- they fled the scene. One of them inadvertently knocked over the goblet of chicken blood on the way out.

That alarmed the cleaning overseer considerably and caused a sort of mild panic until everything was sorted out.

Entirely much too much time was wasted confirming everything was acceptable and rather caused me to miss something of an appointment. Still, I can't quite justify putting a foot down on this. Yet.

Progress continues.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Filled Niches

Progress continues.

Although we had to shut down a project today.

A social media lab crew had been working on a cure for online harassment. It was going to be a software platform for social media called Knightr, and worked thusly.

Knightr allowed users to easily report their harassment and maintain complete control over their story. Once reported, users would have had the option of keeping their report private and cataloging it in case it escalated, or they could have made the report public. 

If they chose to make it public, they would have been able to choose from a menu of options on how they want bystanders to support them, take action, or intervene. 

They would have also been given extensive resources including: safety planning, materials on how to differentiate an empty threat from a real threat, online harassment laws and details on how to report their harassment to authorities (if requested), and referrals to other organizations that can provide counseling and legal services.

Now, simulations had suggested in practice this would easily lend itself to people wishing to use it to raise internet hate mobs of their own, albeit on accusations of misogyny, racism, transphobia whatever.

We might have solved those issues in time, maybe, but why we really had to can it was because this niche was just filled.

Meet Heartmob!

Because as we all know, the best way to solve social problems is with mobs of angry people eager to be heroes who are only being told what one person wants them to hear.

Whoop whoop!

In other news Men's Rights Activists are apparently very mad that Mad Max is Feminist.

Return of Kings : 'Maybe we got carried away with this democracy thing.'

Feminist Frequency is mad that it's Masculinist.

Feminism means movies in which every conflict is resolved over cups of tea, I guess?
And a woman who actually works in Hollywood is mad that it it's not being recognized as Feminist.

This person should not be confused with Leigh Alexander, to whom they have no connection. Lexi seems to be sober.
Lexi Alexander, by the way, also deserves some credit for the best Punisher film to date, Punisher : War Zone, Which is not to say that that movie was terribly well loved- just the best one thus far.

Unless of course you're looking for something so comically bad that heavy-drinking is called for. In THAT case you want this one, featuring a surplus of naked Dolph Lundgren.

As for Mad Max, by most accounts whatever agenda it supposedly serves, it's a great movie.

Or at the very least is the best yet- which may not be saying that much.

Progress continues!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Game of Thrones : Problematic

Progress continues!

Alas, there have been terrible developments. Apparently in the series Game of Thrones...

A fictional woman was raped.

The scene, described by many as 'offputting' and 'disturbing' is the straw that broke the camel's back.

I would like to note at this point I am not a fan of George RR Martin. I do not watch the television series. I wish no ill to any writers involved in the program- this sets me apart from these folks., created to facilitate worthwhile change in society- being used once again to whine about trivialities.
Now I may not be a fan of the series, but I have been unable to entirely avoid exposure and if I understand correctly... This is not an especially remarkable occurrence.

In fact, according to this single rolling stone article :

In SEASON ONE alone.

1. A man's head has molten gold poured onto it.
2. A female character is raped. (According to the book lore, apparently their first time with their husband was at age 13.)
3. A ten year old child is shoved out of a window to cover up incest.
4. Buckets of blood- which I understand is rather mundane.

Through a casual bit of looking around I understand some character named Theon had Mr. Happy sliced off as well and in general was tortured in various ways.

A mighty din. A powerful racket. A Legend of Zelda fan who perhaps is confused on the show's setting.
I dislike Game of Thrones and George RR Martin, but I can't say I care any more for these hypocritical whingers who are happy to see any number of horrible things up until it treads on their moral panic agenda. At which point NOW it's a super-important ultra-horrible thing.

Will they stop watching? Nothing else that has happened in these episodes stopped them.

Yet for all this there is no reason to argue this latest rape scene should have been unexpected. It was set as the wedding night for a particularly sadistic character. I wonder if they expected them to sit around and play Dark Fantasy Uno.

It's not as if Game of Thrones had been, up until this point, a whimsical story about a fantasy world's largest game of musical chairs. I could understand that. If people were watching Sesame Street they might be reasonably put out if Snuffleupagus curbstomped Big Bird over a territory dispute.

How self-unaware do you have to be to watch the Horrible Things Happening To Characters Show and get hopped up on righteous fury over seeing a horrible thing happen to a character?

A small push for reason.
Bonus self-unawareness:

Just to be clear: Pictured is Chris Kluwe

More of a portrait in ignorance, Arther -Derp- Gies is the review editor for Polygon and was very upset there weren't more People of Color in Witcher 3. Apparently he believes that historically medieval POCs were regularly brought to Northern/Western Europe by flocks of swallows.

Progress continues.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Fitting Memorials

Progress continues.

Today I'm just going to display the work of Toshi_TNE, Alejandro Argandona.

Arthur "Mindkilled" Chu

I don't actually remember who this is, but I bet they're charming.

Jonathon "Full" McIntosh

Sarah Nyberg

The inimitable (because no one wants to) Phil Fish

Brianna "BATMAN" Wu

Randi Harper, Blockbotsmith

And finally my absolute favorite :

Leigh "I Am Become Deaf, Destroyer of Careers" Alexander

Completely unrelated.

Progress Continues.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Trigger Warning, Trigger Warning Trigger Warnings.

Progress continues.

Trigger Warnings.

They are the unnecessary hand disinfectant of the internet.

Trigger warnings, for the blissfully unaware, are notifications preceding amateur writings or slapped on by amateurs ahead of classic works with the intent of warning people about 'jarring content' so they aren't 'triggered'.

On the surface this is a courtesy, and that is how it is sold to people. That to not use these things makes you a jerk at best and a monster at worst. In truth, if you truly wish to do humanity a service you should never ever use them at all.

Trigger warnings are often used by the foolish to filter out all jarring or unpleasant information to preserve a sort of bubble where they never have to deal with disturbing details. The reason this is folly however is that it leaves them emotionally and mentally weaker when the bubble- as bubbles are wont to do- inevitably pops.

You could look at it as being similar to the human immune system. It must be tested in order to remain strong. If you live in a overly sterile environment for too long, you will find yourself sickened more often and more dramatically when you leave it by virtue of having atrophied your body's natural defenses.

The same thing is true of unpleasant media. If you filter it all out, you can easily forget how to deal with it like an adult when you are forced to encounter it eventually. Worse, by reinforcing your fear of the given subject matter with avoidance you are actually making yourself more scared than is rational.

Even if you have traumas and bad memories are 'triggered' by certain media the answer is not avoidance but rather measured exposure and desensitization.

Indulging too much in a desire to hide away from all of the unpleasantness of reality and fiction turns you into the mental equivalent of a bubble boy. This is a bad thing for the individual and society alike.

The Science

Finally many people use trigger warnings as a means of foisting responsibility for how they respond to stimuli onto someone else's shoulders, which I find odious at best.

Progress continues.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Something May Be Coming

Progress continues.

So, it is official. Arketer Labs has a new cult in it.

Actually I am not sure I should call it a cult. I mean, it has cultish aspects but among other things there doesn't seem to be a charismatic leader of any sort. Not exactly, anyway.

According to #0 it all started with a Project Lead who remarked that there was entirely too much certainty at play in the world. Everyone certain about any number of things they had no business being certain about. While this strikes me as something of a reductionist simplification, there is some merit to this in my opinion.

You have, after all, (statistically very few) Muslims in the world who are so certain depictions of Mohammed are worth killing over that they will do just that, and die over it as well. Such as in Garland Texas recently when two Muslim gunmen attempted a massacre at a "Draw Mohammad" event, forgetting what state they were in fatally as they were shot dead before they could quite rampage as they intended.

The winning entry, a depiction of a man that almost certainly bears no resemblance whatsoever to the genuine Prophet Mohammad, by Bosch Fawstin.
A bit less certainty from the gunmen would probably have saved their lives. The winning entry, again, looks more like the lamest possible hybridization of Hitler and Hugh Jackman's Wolverine.

But I digress. Suffice it to say the idea was broached that perhaps a new faith was called for that emphasized uncertainty. It was at this point the Project Lead suggested founding the Church of Urmgosh the Nebulous, Bringer of Uncertainty.

The idea took off, with several other- I would note normally steadfast atheists- agreeing that this was probably an OK idea and jumping on board. The Project Lead himself doesn't consider himself part of this new faith though and is one of those who has professed to be vaguely troubled by the success of their idea.

The success of a joke religion is not without precedent. There is, for example, Pastafarianism.

"The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, or Pastafarianism, is the religious following of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, commonly abbreviated as FSM. According to Pastafarianism, FSM is a benevolent supernatural entity who created the world some 4000 years ago while very drunk, although the world is intentionally built to make humans think it's older than it really is."

Touched by His Noodly Appendage, by Arne Niklas Jansson.

Pastafarianism, however, is almost entirely a mere parody of Christianity. So far as anyone can tell this new Church of Urmgosh isn't parodying anyone, though there seem to be tones of it at times.

Quite frankly, no one seems to know what to make of this new faith- perhaps especially the adherents, who nonetheless embrace it with a nervous optimism.

I am personally alarmed, but it could just be a joke fad. If it is somehow sincere, we have freedom of religion within Arketer Labs so I have even less reason to come down on it so long as they don't become intrusively evangelistic, which I am assured by proxy that they will not because they really have no idea if their faith should be shared. Or if they really have any faith.


Progress continues.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Offal Potpurri

Progress Continues.

The coffee crisis, such as it was, is resolved. I have to say I appreciate the enthusiasm demonstrated for solving the caffeine conundrum. The budget is being reworked as I type this.

Developments, meanwhile, continue in the great internet slapfight that is Gamergate.

Most heartening, a member Society of Professional Journalists has taken up an interest in Gamergate. Specifically, it would seem, the way it makes the other supposed guardians of ethical standards hyperventilate and go into hiding when the topic is brought up.

It's almost as if there is something that scares them far more than a 13-year old on twitter calling them bad names. I wonder what it could be. Perhaps it's coming to realize they are for the most part an irrelevant bubble paying lip service to ethics while in practice the only thing they care to protect is themselves.

Journoterrorist : "There is nothing more hypocritical than a thin-skinned journalist."
One Mr. Koretzky is making the effort to improve the image of the SPJ by demonstrating possession of a spine. I wish them well.

Meanwhile Joss Whedon, Director of The Avengers : Age of Ultron, after the school of Piranhas he normally swam with on Twitter turned on him over perceived misogyny in his depiction of the Black Widow, coincidentally deactivated his Twitter account. Pure coincidence. So bothered was he with the implication that this hateful swarm of people who he had presumed allies was the reason for his departure, he gave Buzzfeed- truly the most deserving of 'news' outlets an interview over the phone.

He twitted his way through two Avengers movies but NOW it's too noisy. It has absolutely nothing to do with this, though.

Totally unrelated. These are probably all Gamergaters anyway, right? Ranting about someone being sexist in the most vitriolic of terms?
Well, whatever Mr. Whedon tells himself, I am glad he has seen fit to retire from Twitter. Which, as has been suggest by better writers than I, is only good for making short jokes and tends to make people who use it for anything else into objectively worse people.

Rather listen than read? TotalBiscuit has you covered.

But enough about this!

I'm hearing curious rumors of a new faith among certain members of the staff within Arketer Labs, a cult even, and quite frankly I don't know what to think about it. As it could be a dire development indeed I believe I will take Mr. Whedon's cue and try once again to stop paying attention to all this in favor of something more productive.

Progress continues!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Mad Coffee Science

Progress continues.

A certain makeup enthusiast has proven to be amenable to serving as the equipment manager for The Band Down Under at the subterranean lab. While I am not necessarily thrilled with having an employee who contributes nothing to the advancement of our various projects, I am gratified that at least they are making things somewhat easier for the people who are.

In other news there have been complaints over my decision to stop importing Kopi Luwak coffee. This was one of the changes decided upon during the budget crisis, as it was indeed the purest form of excessive luxury within Arketer Labs at present.

First and foremost, the price of Kopi Luwak coffee is absurd. By the kilogram it would be cheaper to purchase any number of useful isotopes.

Cheaper versions exist, but raise certain ethical concerns in it's production.

Beyond even that though, the text of many of the complaints has led me to believe many of the most vocal complainants are not even aware of precisely what Kopi Luwak coffee is beyond 'The Best'.

So, for those individuals electing for elitism in ignorance, I am rescinding that privilege.

Kopi Luwak, Vietnamese Weasel Coffee or Civet Coffe is coffee made from beans harvested from the scat of the Asian Palm Civet.

What. It's a living.
The Civets either eat or, as one should not be surprised when such a high price tag is involved, are caged and then forcibly fed coffee cherries.

You don't have to be crazy to work here, but the inhumane living conditions will render you that way soon enough.
Enzymes, bacterial cultures, whatever the case when the beans come out the other end they are cleaned and roasted before being flogged overseas to people who adore the flavor.

Naturally there are specialty farms endeavoring only to harvest from wild civet scat, for those perfectly at ease with the odorous origins of the beans, but there are precious few ways to ensure no one is cheating and selling the unethically produced beans at a conscience-friendly ethically sound price.

Now, there are alternatives. For instance I understand we have not gone through our supplies of Black Ivory coffee. This is also one of the most expensive coffees in the world. Where does it come from?

While not significantly less expensive for the most part, Elephants are harder to fit into battery farm cages and far more likely to kill anyone who attempts to put them in one. So, ethical concerns are less likely at least. In regards to the treatment of the Elephants anyway.

Meanwhile once our present supply of Black Ivory coffee is gone only with sufficient demand will any more be brought in for the odd celebratory event.

Now there is a final option, and this is the one I encourage everyone to consider. Coffee beans treated outside of random creature's intestines.

I know we have some people with the expertise necessary to, if they wish to as a hobby, synthesize the processes by which these expensive coffees obtain their prized flavor. I am willing to divert the entire fund that was previously allocated to the importation of these coffees to the facilities with a sufficient number of enthusiasts interested in working on this in addition to their present projects.

Meanwhile I would be grateful if complaints came to an end. Please keep in mind that vitriol is extremely counterproductive.

Progress continues!

Friday, May 1, 2015


Progress continues.

The stealth system, I would like to note, works brilliantly now. Naturally there are long-term studies to be carried out, but all indications point to it being as safe as the usual background EMF radiation of our modern lives- so long as no one is idiotic enough to run it at length with the generator housing open. Again.

In other news, Internet Journalism continues to look very much like a Unicorn. Which is to say, something people talk about, but any examples inevitably prove to be a Donkey someone nailed a walrus tusk onto before spray-painting them white.

Or purple and it's in fact a photo-shopped Musclebrony.

A pair of internet jokesters were interviewed by Buzzfeed 'News' reporter Ema O'Connor. One of the interviews can be seen here as the record was posted to forums of comedy site Something Awful before the article.

I'm sorry, internet blog reader, but I'm afraid I have to block you now as a safety reasons.
The article itself is a brilliant piece, just not in the way the seller perhaps imagined.

Editor's note: we can't prove anything we're saying in this story and the only sources are internet trolls, but here it is anyway. Source
In a statement of profound self-unawareness you may note in the top right quarter of that they mention a "The King of Bullsh*t News". It's not about themselves. Pot, kettle, splinter, log.

Central European News is reporting false information, unlike us here at Buzzfeed! Source
Well done, Something Awful.
This is all Poe's Law in action, and sadly for all the laughs the internet trolls are getting out of this, this misinformation will remain profoundly useful to the Buzzfeeds of the world, who don't care if it is a joke so long as it serves their purposes.

Progress continues!