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Our church has eight bells so it can play rudimentary melodies. Over the years certain melodies came to correspond to certain broadcast messages. “Time for worship.” “It’s a girl.” “You’ve been rickrolled.”
But this melody the Bellmaster is playing now, I don’t recognize. I rush to the church. “What’s happened? War? Alien landing?”
The Bellmaster smiles. “That is my melody for summoning the curious. It works.”
I bought a game. Celestial Mechanics. It’s one of those kinetic puzzles where you flick tiny balls (“asteroids”) in just the right way to hit four moving targets (“planets”) in the middle. I sucked at it: I kept hitting the negative-point “gas giants” instead. I put the game in a box and forgot about it.
Today I hear beeping from the box. The game is flashing “Level 2” and one of the “planets” is launching things back at me.
Be right back; gotta practise my asteroid flicking.
I travelled to 1730s Leipzig to hear the original organ of the Nikolaikirche. Bach himself played it. It was like the voice of god.
Finding the seat temporarily empty one day, I succumbed to temptation and played it. I fumbled a few baroque pieces and then—you would do the same—snuck in the instrumental from “A Whiter Shade of Pale”. I didn’t think Bach was listening.
Now, back in my own time, that melody is classified as BVW 1181, and the Procol Harum song has changed.
Everyone knows rosemary‘s for remembrance. Shakespeare also knew that fennel is for infidelity and columbines for insincerity.
What he didn’t know is that every flower stands for a state of mind. Some are quite specific.
Pohutukawa symbolizes the joy at seeing a friend totally own a celebrity on Twitter. Jacaranda is for the awkwardness of being too tall for an old cottage ceiling. Rafflesia is for the embarrassment at saying “you too” when a waiter tells you to enjoy your meal.
Humanity has unified and colonized Mars, and I am the first to scale Olympus. Now, as I near the central caldera, I pass through an invisible veil, and see … a different Mount Olympus.
There is Aphrodite, and Artemis, and Dionysus. All the major deities. Except one. “Where’s Ares?” I venture.
“You’re standing on him.”
I look down and realize I am standing on a grave. What…?
“We had no use for a god of war here.”
Sorry, shoulda CW’d that to begin with. Also sorry for the earworm.
Hilbert’s Paradox of the Grand Hotel is a thought experiment about countable infinities. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hilbert's_paradox_of_the_Grand_Hotel
Fantasy afterlife, death mention
It might have just been a thought experiment about infinity to David Hilbert, but it’s my reality.
The night after I died, I found myself in a sumptuous hotel room. Room 1, I read on the door as I left the next morning.
Next night the hotel had to make space and I was put in Room 2. Next night, Room 4.
8, 16, and so on. It’s a mite inconvenient. Is this heaven or hell?
Plenty of room at the hotel Hilbert thought of.
“Humans are the only animal to make tools.”
“Ok, but only humans have theory of mind.”
“Fine. Only humans make art.”
Every time someone makes a bold claim like this, a chaotic god ensures that we soon discover a counterexample in the animal kingdom.
So I’m saying it here: humans are the only animals to rick-roll themselves.
The flying saucer landed in my back yard, and two figures descended to the ground from the underside. I approached them. “Do you want me to take you to my leader?”
“No, we already have one of those,” spoke their translator box. “Our world has completely eliminated friction. We have come to see a—“ (the translator paused at the unfamiliar word) “—knot, and to hear a—“ (another pause) “—violin.”
I taught the image-generating AI to invent human faces. Every day it would display the portrait of a random person who never existed.
One day it generated an image of a middle-aged black woman with tight curly hair. This was unremarkable, but the next day it drew a different picture of the same woman. From then on, the AI always portrayed this woman.
It’s impossible to know what an AI is thinking, but I like to believe that in this person the AI has found its self-portrait.
#MicroFiction, food mention
When the Zombie Wars began, there was a lot of misdirected anger at the other Undead. The Mummy community bore the brunt of it. A lot of humans couldn’t or wouldn’t tell the difference.
There was a prolonged lawsuit and, finally, a court ruling: a Mummy was an Undead that got drier as it aged, and a Zombie was an Undead that got moister as it aged.
The Mummy community celebrated with a giant symbolic Jaffa Cake.
Story inspired by this little guy. (Image CW: pet eye contact)
I am in my one-bedroom cabin with my best friend. “It’s nice and quiet here but this little fellow—“ Orville swoops down from the rafters and perches on my shoulder “—means I usually wake up shaped like a pretzel.”
My friend says what everyone says. “He’s small, why don’t you just move him?” Orville is about the size of a chihuahua.
“Dragons fly using antigravity. He’s graceful now, but when he’s asleep, he has a deadweight of forty kilograms.”
Like a lot of people, I’ve been working from home a lot this year. My cat hates it.
I didn’t realize how much he hates it until I started getting emailed interview appointments for jobs I hadn’t even applied for. My cat has learned to type.
I asked him if these jobs were for me or for him. He deliberately curled up on top of my laptop keyboard and went to sleep.
My name is June. My mother’s name is May and her mother’s name is April.
You might think that this is cute and saccharine, but it’s an absolute pain when computers get involved. For instance, I’m making a family tree, and _no_, Excel, my daughter is _not_ called July.
Her name is Julia.
(Due to a bureaucratic bungle, this warning is also legally required on white chocolate and carob.)
In California, all chocolate products are required to carry this notice:
From the Lycanthrope Care Society
“Chocolate is poisonous to werewolves during the full moon. If you have a werewolf in your life, please ensure that at least a day before full moon, all chocolate and cocoa has been removed from your premises or consumed.”
I don’t have any werewolves in my life but I’m totally using this as an excuse to binge that whole block.
Consider this a friendly, local pub. Make yourself at home, bring your friends, have a good time! Meet new people, have a laugh, enjoy the ambience, and the Oxford commas.