Baseline

Interrogator: “Officer K-D-six-dash-three-dot-seven, let’s begin. Ready?”
K: “Yes, sir.”
Interrogator: “Recite your baseline.”
K: “And blood-black nothingness began to spin… A system of cells interlinked within cells interlinked within cells interlinked within one stem… And dreadfully distinct against the dark, a tall white fountain played.”
Interrogator: “Cells.”
K: “Cells.”
Interrogator: “Have you ever been in an institution? Cells.”
K: “Cells.”
Interrogator: “Do they keep you in a cell? Cells.”
K: “Cells.”
Interrogator: “When you’re not performing your duties do they keep you in a little box? Cells.”
K: “Cells.”
Interrogator: “Interlinked.”
K: “Interlinked.”
Interrogator: “What’s it like to hold the hand of someone you love? Interlinked.”
K: “Interlinked.”
Interrogator: “Did they teach you how to feel finger to finger? Interlinked.”
K: “Interlinked.”
Interrogator: “Do you long for having your heart interlinked? Interlinked.”
K: “Interlinked.”
Interrogator: “Do you dream about being interlinked… ?”
K: “Interlinked.”
Interrogator: “What’s it like to hold your child in your arms? Interlinked.”
K: “Interlinked.”
Interrogator: “Do you feel that there’s a part of you that’s missing? Interlinked.”
K: “Interlinked.”
Interrogator: “Within cells interlinked.”
K: “Within cells interlinked.”
Interrogator: “Why don’t you say that three times: Within cells interlinked.”
K: “Within cells interlinked. Within cells interlinked. Within cells interlinked.”
Interrogator: “We’re done… Constant K, you can pick up your bonus.
— 

Baseline Test, Blade Runner 2049

Originally posted by fyeahmovies

The Baseline Test - Behind the Scenes

If you like replicants, technology or anything Alien you should follow my blog

MU/TH/UR 9000 | Symbolism in Alien: Covenant | Alien Mythology Prequel Project

it makes me sad that people outside of the toy collecting community will never have the full context of the “optibotimus fake coke commercial” disaster because it is just so funny if you were there when it happened

i’ll try to explain it as best i can regardless

optibotimus is a fairly prominent transformers toy reviewer. you could call his reviews the most baseline they could possibly be. Thew and Vangelus are on the far end of the “entertainment” side of toy reviews, Peaugh is on the far end of “purely informational,” Optibotimus sits squarely in the middle. He shows you the toy in front of a white screen, shows you what it can do, cracks a joke occasionally, and that’s it.

so

one day, optibotimus decides that he wants to run ads on his videos

fair enough, right? people do that. they put vids on youtube, run an ad on ‘em, get a little bit of pocket money.

how did he decide to do it?

he made an ad for coca-cola and started running it on his videos

he did not come to any sort of agreement with coke, he didn’t arrange for a deal.

he just made the ad, ran it on his video, and hoped that Coke would give him a brand deal because he was already running ads for them on his videos.

coke personally, politely, declined his offer.

his fans didn’t exactly care for it either.

I invite you all to watch it:

Yes, the video is 20 minutes long. just watch the first minute. watch the first minute knowing that that advertisement was made with no arrangement with Coca-Cola, the dude just thought that if he started running ads for Coke, Coke would start paying him. 

it’s so funny

Let’s talk about prairie, history, and language. For communities so focused on “native plants”/”native gardening”/etc there’s so little acknowledgement or engagement with indigenous Americans and their history. 

When we talk about science, there’s a baseline assumption of objectivity. Science is Truth, something apart from messy cultural ideas. The reality is, culture and all it’s messes bleed into science, like here in ecology. We gotta be conscious of the histories we inherit in science.

A blood black nothingness began to spin.
Began to spin.
Let’s move on to system. System.
Feel that in your body. The system.
What does it feel like to be part of the system. System.
Is there anything in your body that wants to resist the system? System.
Do you get pleasure out of being a part of the system? System.
Have they created you to be a part of the system? System.
Is there security in being a part of the system? System.
Is there a sound that comes with the system? System.
We’re going to go on. Cells.
They were all put together at a time. Cells.
Millions and billions of them. Cells.
Were you ever arrested? Cells.
Did you spend much time in the cell? Cells.
Have you ever been in an instituion? Cells.
Do they keep you in a cell? Cells.
When you’re not performing your duties do they keep you in a little box? Cells.
Interlinked.
What’s it like to hold the hand of someone you love? Interlinked.
Do they teach you how to feel finger to finger? Interlinked.
Do you long for having your heart interlinked? Interlinked.
Do you dream about being interlinked?
Have they left a place for you where you can dream? Interlinked.
What’s it like to hold your child in your arms? Interlinked.
What’s it like to play with your dog? Interlinked.
Do you feel that there’s a part of you that’s missing? Interlinked.
Do you like to connect to things? Interlinked.
What happens when that linkage is broken? Interlinked.
Have they let you feel heartbreak? Interlinked.
Did you buy a present for the person you love? Within cells interlinked.
Why don’t you say that three times? Within cells interlinked. Within cells interlinked. Within cells interlinked.
Where do you go when you go within? Within.
Has anyone ever locked you out of a room? Within.
Within.
Where do you go to when you go within? Within.
Where is the place in the world you feel the safest? Within.
Do you have a heart? Within.
Stem.
Did you pick asparagus stems?
What comes from something else? Stem.
Have you been to the source of a river? Stem.
When’s the first time you gave a flower to a girl? Stem.
What did she look like? Stem.
Is it a slang word for people’s legs? Stem.
Have you planeted things in the ground? Stem.
Have you ever been in a legal battle? Stem.
Within one stem.
Dreadfully.
Is that an old fashioned word? Dreadfully.
Did you ever want to live in the nineteenth century? Dreadfully.
What’s it like to be filled with dread? Dreadfully.
Do you think you could find out all the answers to all the questions? Dreadfully.
Distinct.
How good are your eyes? Distinct.
Do you have a particular personality? Distinct.
What separates somebody from somebody else? Distinct.
Who do you admire most in the world? Distinct.
What was your most shameful moment? Distinct.
Dreadfully distinct.
Dark.
Were you afraid of the dark whan you were little? Dark.
What’s it like to hide under a bed? Dark.
Did they keep you in a drawer when they were building you? Dark?
Was it dark in there? Dark.
Do you have dark thoughts? Dark?
Did they program you to have dark thoughts? Dark?
Do you think it’s some kind of corruption these dark thoughts? Dark.
Maybe it’s a spot of rust or something? Dark.
Who’s the darkest person you know? Dark.
What is it like when someone gives you the silent treatment. Dark.
Who did you get your darkness from? Dark.
Against the dark.
What kind of power do you have against the dark. Against the dark.
Do you think there is such a thing as evil? Against the dark.
Do you think you can protect people against the dark. Against the dark.
Why are these things happening? Against the dark.
Do you prefer the day or the night? Against the dark.
When is the last time you saw a starry sky? Against the dark.
What’s your favorite part of the moon? Against the dark.
Fountain.
Have you seen the Trevi fountain in Rome? Fountain.
Have you ever seen the fountain in Lincoln center? Fountain.
Have you seen fountains out in the wild? Fountain.
What’s it like when you have an orgasm. Fountain.
Have you read the Fountainhead? Fountain.
White Fountain.
Is it pure white? White Fountain.
Is that a metaphor? White Fountain.
How did the white Fountain make you feel? White Fountain.
A tall white fountain played.
When you were little did you ever fall into a Fountain? A Tall White Fountain.
Do you like fire, earth, air or water. A Tall White Fountain.
Do you like skipping around in the water? A Tall White Fountain.
A blood black nothingness.
A system of cells.
Within cells interlinked.
Within one stem.
And dreadfully distinct.
Against the dark.
A tall white fountain played.
— 

The Baseline Test, The Art & Soul of Blade Runner 2049

Theatrical cut Baseline Test

Push-up Challenge

One thing I have wanted to work on is my arm/chest strength. This has always been a goal, but it is a little more pressing now post WLS to help with loose skin. I am starting to see some loose skin in my arms, and adding a little muscle mass would help.

Many of the programs I have seen are overly complicated. I found one in Men’s health that I am going to try. 

  1. Determine your current max reps. This is the number of pushups you can do with proper form without stopping. This becomes your baseline. 
  2. On Monday, Wednesday and Friday, do four times your max number of reps, taking as long as you need to do it, even if it’s a while. It’s OK if subsequent sets have fewer reps than your max.
  3. Every 2 weeks, reevaluate your max # of reps and set a new baseline.

I have decided to do modified pushups, on my knees to start. My baseline is set at 10 as of today. 

Here is a baseline pic - with loose skin in display :p

4

i know i havent posted much in a long time, but have some tododekus + a very good boy for ur troubles thank u

2

• 1 0 / 0 8 / 1 7 •


spread for the first week of august! 🍇
(random fact) left this spread open in the sun for a few days and found that the pentel sign pen oxidised into a warmer purple, so that’s cool lol
🎧: runaway - ed sheeran
BLADE RUNNER 2049 Facts NOT JUST ANY BOOK

When K returns from killing Sapper Morton in the film’s opening, he’s subjected to a “Post-Trauma Baseline Test” to ensure that he has not become emotionally affected by the killing. As a successor to the Voight-Kampff Test used in the original film to trigger and measure emotional instability in Replicants, it appears to function the same way. K is tasked with repeating a set of call-and-response phrases after prompts are given, with emotionally-charged questions posed to trip him up – assuming he’s strayed from baseline. Several of the prompts are taken from a longer string:

And blood-black nothingness began to spin A system of cells interlinked within cells interlinked within cells interlinked within one stem. And dreadfully distinct Against the dark, a tall white fountain played.

It’s no random phrase, but lines of poetry taken from Vladimir Nabokov’s Pale Fire. It’s no random book either, but a story built in layers around a fictional poem and its editor, seen as an early precursor to metafiction, and even pre-Internet hypertext. Playing with the idea of what is real, what is not, and who gets to decide, the novel also takes it title from Shakespeare’s Timon of Athens – the Bard’s most enigmatic work. If you’re interested in giving it a read, look for the same copy K keeps in his apartment: the one that Joi, ironically, hates.

anonymous asked:

Any advice on how to write a heist story something like oceans Eleven?

Well, you can start by watching Ocean’s Eleven, and Ocean’s Eleven, and then Leverage, and then Burn Notice, and then The A-Team, and then Mission: Impossible, and then all the other heist stories like The Italian Job or Heat. Watch, read, uncover as many stories about criminals as you can from fiction to nonfiction to reading security analyst blogs. Read the spy memoirs, the thief memoirs, the fake ones and the real ones. Check out magicians, hypnotists, card tricks, and sleight of hand. Watch the making ofs and director’s commentaries looking for clues behind the thought process of these stories. The hows and the whys as you look into the research they did. Burn Notice, for example, is famous for using stunt props and technological rigs that work in real life. Like using cell phones to create cheap bugs on the go.

The worlds of criminal fiction and spy fiction rely on being able to present (or convincingly fake) a world which feels real. A heist is all about exploitation. So, you need a world with security structures to exploit. You’ve got to know how things work before you can craft a way to break them. Social engineering, hacking, and every other criminal skill is about breaking the systems in place. So, you’ve got to get a baseline for how law enforcement and security analysts work. What security systems are set up to look like. The ways we go about discouraging thieves. Better yet how people behave. Real, honest to god human behavior.

So, you know, pick somewhere in order to start your research. Get an idea of what you want write about stealing, then learn everything about the object, the museum, the city, the country, and its customs as you can.

If you’re setting a heist in a futuristic or fantasy setting then luck you, you get to make all of it up.

Learning the plot structure and conventions of the heist genre is the first step. This means watching lots and lots of heist movies, shows, and reading books. Over time, as you become better at critical analysis, you’ll begin to see specific story structures and character archetypes emerge.

The Heist Story is a genre. Like every other genre, it comes with its own structure, cliches, archetypes, plots, and genre conventions which necessitate the narrative. The better grasp you have of those, the better you’ll be at writing a heist.

For example, a heist story like Ocean’s Eleven relies on a collection of thieves rather than a single individual. The character types are as follows:

The Pointman - Your planner, strategist, team leader, and the Jack of All Trades. Can also be called the Mastermind. They’re the one who can take the place of anyone on the team should they fall through. They’re not as good as a specialist, but they’re very flexible. Narratively, he plans the cons and subs in where he’s needed.

The Faceman - Your experienced Grifter, here for all your social engineering needs. These guys talk their way in.

The Infiltrator - Your cat burglar or break-in artist. Basically, the conventional genre thief. Your Parker, Catwoman, Sam Fisher, or Solid Snake. The stealth bastards, they’re all about silent in, out, and playing acrobatic games with the lasers.

The Hacker - The electronics and demolitions specialist. Usually this is the guy in the van overseeing stuff remotely. Your Eye in the Sky. Their skill set can be split up and swapped around as necessary.

The Muscle - The one who is good at fighting. They’re combat focused characters, usually with mercenary and special forces backgrounds. Though, that’s optional.

The Wheelman - The one who handles the getaway. They’re your often overlooked transport specialists. It’s not just that they can drive, they’re skilled at getting lots of people around, figuring out how to move your valuables, and exiting hostile cities or countries undetected. They get the team in and they get them out.

For an example of these archetypes, I’m going to use Leverage. Nathan Ford, The Pointman (technically, he’s written like a Faceman). Sophie Devereaux , The Faceman. Parker, the Infiltrator. Hardison, the Hacker. Eliot, the Muscle. They all take turns being the Wheelman.

Other examples like Burn Notice: Michael Westen, the Pointman. Sam Axe, the Faceman. Fiona, the Muscle. They all take turns with explosives, Michael will invariably take all the roles during the course of the show.

Ocean’s Eleven has multiple variants of these archetypes, all broken down and mixed up.

You can mix and match these qualities into different individuals or break them apart like in Ocean’s Eleven, and more than one character can fill more than one role, but that’s the basic breakdown. For example, your hacker doesn’t need to be a guy in a van overlooking the whole security grid. One guy or girl with a cell phone can sit in the lobby of a building with an unsecured wireless network and crack the security. Welcome to the 21st century. The skills don’t necessarily need to take the specific expected shape.

What you do need is the basic breakdown:  You need someone to plan the con, you need someone to be your face or grifter, you need someone to break in, you need someone to watch the security/electronics, you need muscle to back you up, and someone’s got to cover the getaway.

These shift depending on your plan, but this is the expected lineup for a heist narrative. The first step of a heist narrative is not the plan because we don’t have one yet. We’ve got an idea. Pick your target. Maybe it’s a famous painting. Maybe it’s a casino. Maybe it’s a rare artifact from a private investor’s collection loaned to a museum for a short period of time. Maybe it’s art stolen by the Nazis during WWII. Whatever it is, figure it out.

The next step is simple. If you want the thing, you’ve got to find a way to get it. This is a big job, your standard thief won’t be able to pull it off alone. So, you gotta go recruiting. Get your team together. Make sure to establish the goals of the different members for joining. Who they are. Their pedigree. One might be an old flame or an old enemy. This is where we lay out some character driven subplots.

When everyone’s together, we’ve got to lay out the plan. Before we have a plan though, we need to establish where the object is and the issues in getting it. Why this has never been done before. So, what are the challenges? Invariably, an object worth a great deal of money will have a lot of security protecting it. Figure out what that security is, who the item belongs to, what sort of retribution do the thieves face beyond what they might expect. Lasers, pressure plates, cameras, security, other career criminals, mob bosses, the rich and powerful, whatever.

After that: How do you get it? Then you’ve got to plan the con, while taking everything into account.

Then, We prep the Con. There will be steps to take before the con can be put into place, your characters taking their positions in plain sight. Stealing whatever pieces you need to make it work. Casing the joint. Etc.

Then: Run the Con. This is the part with the actual stealing. Better known as the first attempt. Things go well, there may be a few mistakes, but things are going well and then we…

Encounter Resistance. While running the con, something goes wrong, pieces fall apart, the thieves come close to success but the object gets moved and they suddenly need a new plan. New information may pop up, it may be one of your artists was running a con of their own separate from the rest. If there’s a double cross in the works then this may be when and where it lands.

We’re ready now, so it’s time hit up: Steal the Thing, Round Two. Your characters put their new plan into play and get about thieving the object of their desire.

Lastly: The Get Away. This is the part where your thieves make for the hills with their stolen treasure. This can be short or long depending on the kind of story you’re telling and other double crosses may occur here. It could be the end of the story or the beginning of a new heist.

Heist stories are like mystery novels. They’re all about sleight of hand and misdirection. You’ve got to keep just enough information on the table to keep your audience on the hook, and just enough information off the table to surprise them later on the twist. Yet, when they go back to re-read the novel again, they’ll find the answer was there all along. They just didn’t see it coming.

If anything, learning how to write a well-done heist or a mystery or any kind of novel in this genre will teach you a lot about how to manage your foreshadowing and create superb plot twists. Like any good con, you need to lay out all the conflicting pieces where people can see them, let them draw their own conclusions, withhold the critical context, and then hit them with the whammy.

Like lots of audiences, new writers (and even some old ones) can get distracted by the shock and awe. They see they’re impressed by the conclusion, not the lay-up. If you want to write any kind of fiction, you need to learn to see past the curtain and pay attention to the critical pieces leading into an important moment rather than the moment itself.

Good writing isn’t modular, you can’t just strip out pieces and run with them because you’ll end up missing the crucial, sometimes innocuous pieces that ensured the scene worked. Like the Victorian Hand Touch, every moment between the two leads and most of their scenes with secondary players are working for that singular instance of eventual, gleeful catharsis.

If you’ve got a plot twist coming in your novel, every sentence from the second you start writing is working towards it. You start laying out your pieces, funneling in your tricks, and playing with misdirection. You may have multiple twists, to cover yourself, divert your audience, congratulate them for successfully guessing your ploy, and reassure their initial suspicions before catching them again on the upswing.

The clever writer is as much a con artist as their characters. The only difference is the target of their con is their audience. The tricks in their bag are narrative ones, and they work with the understanding that it doesn’t matter if someone guesses the end so long as they’re entertained by the journey. A great story stays entertaining long after the audience has figured out all the twists.

So, don’t get caught up in Red Herrings and frightened about not being able to outsmart other people. Tell a good story with conviction and heart about a bunch of crooks out to steal their heart’s desire.

That’s all there is to it.

-Michi

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anonymous asked:

Do you have like a checklist or something of things that need to be done before you can move out? I have over a year to get ready, but I'm not certain what "ready" means exactly. What needs to happen before a person can live on their own (in the USA)? Thanks for answering, love your blog!

I’m realizing now that I have lots of posts that detail different parts of this moving into a new apartment process, but none that discuss everything. So this post is essentially a conglomerate of four different posts: Adulting 108Moving (On Your Own), Living On Your Own, and Apartment Hunting 101.

But here they are, in step by step order! Enjoy!

Finding an Apartment (Apartment Hunting 101)

Overview: There’s no getting around it, apartment hunting is a stressful process. The waiting and wondering gets the best of everyone, so give yourself a break and remember not to be too hard on yourself. The more prepared and decisive you are, the better off you’ll be!

1. Step One: The most important step in this entire process is coming up with your list of “Need and Won’t”. This list can always be adjusted in the spur of the moment, but will act as a baseline to help you easily disregard impractical apartments. Before you even start your search, sit down with any roommates (SO or otherwise) and come up with a list. Here is my list:

  • Need: Dishwasher, pet friendly, heat included.
  • Won’t: First floor apartment, all or mostly carpeted apartment, no closet space.

2. Step Two: Decide your price range. The paycheck to paycheck life is not a great one to live, so try to find an apartment that still allows you to put anywhere from $100-$500 into savings every month. Figure out how much you make monthly, with taxes taken out. If you’re paid every other week, this is two paychecks. If you’re paid every week, this is four paychecks. Start with your total monthly income, and subtract the following expenses. Let’s say you make $1,000 with taxes taken out:

  • Rent - Let’s say you’re living with a roommate, and your rent is only $500 per month.
  • Electric - My electric expense is $60 a month for a one bedroom. Once again, you’re living with a roommate so let’s say that you pay half of that. $30.
  • Internet - $30 a month internet only. Please don’t waste your money on cable. Just use your mom’s Netflix account.
  • Travel expenses - I spend about $85 a month on gas. Let’s say you use public transportation and spend around $100.
  • Food - Figure you’ll be spending $100 per person each month. So that’s another $100.
  • Misc expense: Let’s just add an additional $50 worth of expenses on. Because you never know what’ll happen.

That leaves you $130 a month extra to put in savings or to use in the event of an emergency! That’s awesome. Substitute your own numbers in, and figure out how much you can afford for rent. Immediately disregard any apartments that do not fit in this budget.

3. Step Three: The best way to find dependable apartments is to consult with your fellow apartment renters. Consult with coworkers, friends, family- anyone who is currently renting in the area that you would like to rent in. Get the inside scoop on potential apartments, both their advantages and their pitfalls. If you don’t know anyone who is renting where you’d like to rent, here are some other apartment hunting options:

  • Craigslist: Obviously
  • Drive-bys: Literally drive around until you find a cool looking apartment complex. Find their rental office and go right in, this is how I found my first apartment.
  • Your college: The Dean’s Office will have a list of apartment offerings to give kids who don’t qualify for on-campus housing.
  • This Site: A list of the top ranked apartment hunting sites.

4. Set up an appointment: After finding a potential apartment, consult with the landlord or apartment representative to set up a date and time to see the apartment. Respond promptly to any email or phone call they leave for you. On the flip side, if they aren’t prompt in their response to you RUN.

The first apartment I ever looked at, my boyfriend and I showed up on time and the landlord wasn’t there. We called her and she said that she was running late, and told us that the apartment was open and we could show ourselves inside. Serious red flag, but we gave it the benefit of the doubt and went in. Long story short, she never showed up. She gave us a tour of the apartment over the phone and kept saying that she was five minutes away, but never came. We later found out that her rental office was two minutes from the apartment we looked at. Talk about flakey! We told her we weren’t interested, if she can’t even show up to show us the apartment, how the hell can we depend on her to fix any problems we might have? Because you’re young and inexperienced, some landlords will try to give you the run around. Your age is no concern of their’s, and has no bearing on how you will act as a tenant. Here are some red flags for flaky landlords:

  • Not contacting you within one day of leaving them a message. Disregarding the weekends.
  • Not showing up when they say they will.
  • Repeatedly telling you that you’re “young” or “inexperienced”.
  • Telling you that the apartment “is good for college kids” or “a good first apartment” (that just means it’s a shit hole).
  • If they tell you that the apartment has a large turnover (people are leaving for a reason).
  • If you speak with one person on the phone, and meet a different person who shows you the apartment.
  • If they can’t or refuse to give you the exact rent amount.
  • If they tell you that have to “run some numbers” based on your history. An apartment’s rent should be the same for everybody.
  • If they can’t answer basic questions about service providers for the apartment.
  • If you get a weird vibe from them. Listen to your intuition! This is the person who is going to be responsible for fixing all your apartment related problems, you will be dealing with them every month at least. If they seem unreliable, don’t sign the lease!

5. Step Five: Find your appointment buddy! Never, ever, EVER go to look at a potential apartment by yourself. I don’t care how friendly Wendy seems online, she may be a serial killer. There’s no way to tell. Here’s a list of people who can accompany you:

  • Your older brother
  • Your boyfriend/girlfriend
  • Your Aunt Meredith
  • Your second cousin
  • Your friend who can scream really loudly
  • Your Mother
  • Your Step Mother
  • Your old nosey neighbor who smells like cats
  • Literally anyone you can trust

Bribe them with chocolate, I don’t care. Take someone with you! If you absolutely cannot find anyone to go with you, then you need to take additional precautions. Here are some options:

  • Kitestring
  • “Share My Location” on your Iphone
  • Pepper Spray
  • Posting to Facebook the address you are going to and when you are expected to arrive and leave.
  • Rescheduling your appointment to a date and time when you can be accompanied

Apartment Checklist

A mental checklist is good in theory, but will you remember it when you’re actually at the prospective apartment with your Aunt Meredith? I think not! Make a physical list of some of the following points, and feel free to add your own. my list is super extensive, but that’s just who I am. I am detail oriented.

Tuck this list in your back pocket and consult it when the person showing you the apartment is not looking.

Expense related

  • How much is the rent?
  • Is the rent just the rent, or are there any amenities included? Some apartments include heat, hot water, or electric expenses.
  • Is hot water included (if the apartment has a washer/dryer in it, then the water is probably a separate expense)?
  • What Internet service providers are available?
  • What electric service providers are available?
  • Do I have to pay for garbage removal?
  • What is the average electric expense that other renters deal with?
  • Ask when rent is due. Find out what the rent check procedure is.

Basic

  • What type of heating/cooling is provided?
  • What appliances are in the kitchen? *If there is no oven or fridge and you are required to buy your own then run*
  • What is the apartment complex turnover rate?
  • Do you have a choice of carpet vs. hard wood floors?
  • Will window blinds be provided? *If the apartment complex won’t pay for something as simple as window blinds then the landlord is a cheapskate and can’t be trusted*
  • Is there a “curfew”? Most apartments have a time of night when all the tenants are supposed to be quiet. This is generally not enforced.
  • What will your address be?

Additional

  • Is any furniture included?
  • Is there a Laundromat in the complex? If not where is the closest one?
  • Similarly, is the Laundromat in the complex card operated or quarter operated? Do you have to pay a fee for the card? Is there a quarter dispensing machine?
  • Will you be given a free parking permit? *If parking is not free then run*
  • Ask about local shopping and gas stations.
  • Ask where your mailbox will be.
  • Ask what their pet policy is. (some apartment complexes charge an fee)
  • Ask what their policy on repainting/decorating is.
  • Ask what their maintenance request policy is.
  • Ask where the nearest dumpster is.
  • How often does the complex loose power?
  • Is there a nearby police station or fire department?

General check

  • Check all cabinets (for bug infestations or mouse droppings or that they open properly).
  • Open all the windows and check to see that there are screens installed. Especially important for us cat owners! If there are no screens- are they going to install screens before you move in?
  • Check that all the light switches work.
  • Check that the water turns on.
  • Flush the toilet.
  • Check all the closet space (for size, mold, and water damage).
  • Check how all the doors are set (some apartments will put doors in incorrectly and they’ll never close properly).
  • Check the outlets (bring a phone chord and plug it in).
  • Check any balcony access.
  • Take a look at the paint- is it chipped? Is it stained? Will they be repainting?
  • Knock on the walls to see how hollow they are (hollow walls require studs if you want to hang anything up).
  • Open up the oven and make sure it’s clean. If it’s not clean make it clear that it should be cleaned if you want to move into the apartment. It’s not your job to clean up after the previous tenant.
  • Check that none of the floorboards are sticking up/creaking.
  • Check for nails and screws in between hardwood floor, tile and carpet (I’m not even kidding).
  • Check your phone to see how much cell service you have.
  • Can you hear any neighbors? Could you hear them in the hallway?

Final Decision

If the apartment you visited fits all your criteria, feel free to tell the landlord that you’re interested in pursuing this apartment. This way they can advise you of the next steps. Before you sign ANYTHING, visit the apartment complex twice more to make sure that everything is kosher. Do NOT tell the landlord that you will be coming by.

  • During the day: Do a drive-by of your prospective apartment to see what it looks like during the day. Is it safe? Are there lots of people standing around outside? Is it loud?
  • During the night: Come back another night to check the safety of your apartment. Ask yourself- would I feel comfortable taking the trash out late at night? Having friends over? If the answer is “no” then run…

Applying to Rent the Apartment

Overview: After choosing an apartment that you like, there are lots of steps that need to be taken before you can actually move in. 

1. Rental application. You will need to fill out some sort of rental application when applying for an apartment. You’ll be asked for previous addresses (if you’ve lived in previous apartment complexes landlords will actually call and ask about how good of a tenant you were), if you’ve been convicted of a crime, pay stubs, references and/or credit information. If you don’t have a credit score, some complexes will require you to co-sign the lease with someone who does, like a parent. If a landlord does NOT ask you to fill out any kind of application, I’d advise you to run for the hills and not rent from them.

2. Approval. Apartment complexes will mail you a packet of information after you’ve been approved. This will list your new address, what power company services are available, apartment amenities, school districts, local attractions, as well as your next steps. My current apartment complex also mailed me what Internet providers are available, which was a nice extra bonus.

3. Initial expenses. Your next step will be to put down a “security deposit”. This will either be exactly the same or very close to the amount you pay for rent monthly. This deposit ensures that you don’t destroy the apartment, if you do they won’t refund you. You will also be asked to pay your first month’s rent in advance. Most rental companies will only accept money orders for these initial expenses, you have to go to your bank to get these. They’re essentially checks that take the money out of your account right away.

4. Apartment check. After you’re approved for an apartment, ask to see the actual unit that you’ll be moving into. Make sure that you see said apartment before signing any lease. Notice how loud your neighbors are, how good of a cell signal you have, the condition of the apartment, etc. This is a pretty extensive list.

Before You Move

1. List it up. Make a list of everything that you will need to accomplish before you are ready to move. This includes items that need to be packed, people that need to be contacted, pet accommodations, etc. I love lists, but you may not, so use any organizational technique that works for you.

2. Divide and conquer. After you’ve made your list, organize items based off of how much time they’ll take you. Packing will be fairly time-consuming, so this is something you’ll want to invite friends over for and break up over several days. I like to have “moving” parties whenever I’m getting ready to move, essentially I buy some chips and dip, play some Trap, and invite my friends over to act as my minions. Something like canceling your subscription to Cosmo will take you very little time and energy to do, so it’s something you can do when you’re ready for a stress-free activity.

3. Contact companies. Speaking of canceling your Cosmo subscription, you will need to update your address with all of the companies you use. If you’re no longer going to be using that company, you’ll need to call them and tell them when to end your service. If you’re going to continue to using that company, you’ll have to call them and tell that you’ll need an address change. Give them the exact date you’ll be moving so that they can backdate your information. Some examples of companies:

  • DMV in the county you’re moving to (if you’re going to drive)
  • Your doctor’s office
  • Your college (even if you graduated, they send out alumni letters all the time)
  • Your credit/debit card company
  • Your bank
  • Your phone company
  • Any government programs you’re a part of
  • Any companies that you have loans with
  • Your health insurance company
  • Your auto insurance company
  • Amazon

4. Pre-move in List. Make a shopping list of all the non-perishable items you will need before moving in. I’m talking trash cans, first aid kits, toilet paper, laundry detergent, etc. I like to work on this list over the span of several days, and do a large shop before moving in. Your moving day will be stressful enough as it is, don’t add the stress of missing something you need. Here’s a pretty good list.

5. Electric set-up. Use the information packed your landlord sent you to find out who your electricity provider is. Call them, you’ll probably get a pre-recorded message. Choose the option that says something along the lines of “set up electricity”. You will be connected to an actual human being, who will ask you to read your new address. Tell them to turn on power to your apartment a couple days before you move in. They will set up a billing plan with you (ask to be put on a budget, it’ll save you lots of money) and give you your account information.

6. Internet set-up. Setting up your internet is similar to setting up your electric, but a bit more hand’s on. Most cable/internet companies always have some sort of deal going on, a year or two years of discounted service. Be aware of when this discount will end, and contact the company to see if they can offer you a new deal. If Verizon is offered in your area, I strongly advise you to use them for Internet service. i was on a two year plan with them that saved us $40 a month on internet service, and after it ended they put us on a new plan that is now saving us $42 a month. Fuck yeah! Also make sure to set your internet installation date for the day after you move in, so that you’re not stuck sitting in your internet-less apartment, unable to read my blog. Know that most internet companies charge installation and routers fees, and if you complain enough they’ll drop one or both of these. Just be like “I’m a poor college student” or threaten to go to another internet company.  

7. Send ahead. If possible, send/drop off some of your items ahead of time. If you have a family member or a friend that lives nearby where you’ll be staying, ask if they can hold a few boxes for you. You can also mail yourself packages and ask your local post office to hold them for you, but you’ll need to arrange that ahead of time.

8. Forwarding address. You will inevitably forget something, so make sure to leave your forwarding address and contact information with your ex-landlord, college, ex-roommate, etc.

9. Signing the Lease. The last thing you will do before moving into your new apartment is signing a lease. You will be given a copy of the lease to keep, as well as the key to your apartment and/or laundry key. Keep your copy of the lease in a safe place, and make sure to get duplicates of your apartment keys.

During Moving

1. Take your time. Don’t try to unpack everything in one day! Take some time to explore your new space, and decide where to put everything in a leisurely way. There is no set schedule for moving.

2. Assistance. If you have friends/family helping you make the move, assign them specific tasks so that nobody spends their time pestering you and asking “what do you need help with?”. You can even decide these tasks ahead of time, during your plane or car ride over.

3. Be neighborly. You’ll likely meet some neighbors during this process, and make sure to stop and greet them, even if you’re in the middle of something. First impressions do matter, even when they shouldn’t, and spending thirty seconds to greet someone in a parking lot may save you a lot of hardship in the long run. Ask your neighbors to recommend local attractions, places to eat, what laundromats to use, etc.

4. Check everything. During your first few days moved into you new apartment, look around and make note of anything wrong. Outlets that don’t work, scratches on the wall, peeling paint, etc. Report these ASAP to your landlord to be fixed. This will give you a good idea of how put together their maintenance unit is. Make sure to offer maintenance workers water and be polite to them when they’re fixing anything in your apartment.

After You’re Settled (Specifically for Living Alone)

1. PKW. Phone, keys, wallet. Every time you go anywhere. Check twice. The worst part of living on your own is having to rely on yourself to never forget to lock yourself out or leave your wallet at a sandwich shop in a mall. Make absolutely sure you have duplicates of your keys (I would get a couple made) and give one to a friend who lives nearby who you can count on. I also like to keep an extra set inside the apartment itself in a secure place, just in case. Your landlord can let you in during office hours, but giving a key to a trustworthy friend helps you 24/7.

2. Cleaning routine. You don’t have to sit down at a writing desk and draft this out, but spend a few minutes coming up with a basic cleaning regime for you to follow. It’s definitely easier to do a little each day, but if that doesn’t work for your schedule set aside at least an hour and a half during your time off to get your apartment spotless. I don’t know about you, but whenever I deep clean my apartment I feel like I’m living in a hotel for a day, and I absolutely love it.

3. Make a “moving” shopping list. This is everything you will need (minus food) for your first week at your new place. Do a big shop, and get all the essentials out of the way: first aid kit, cleaning supplies, tape, cat food, etc. Your first week moving into your new place will be stressful enough, you don’t want to be halfway through setting up your living room and realize that you forgot to buy trash bags.

4. Secure yourself. I’m not the most agile or fast person in the world, and I do live in a mid-sized city that has a good deal of crime. The apartment complex I live in is very safe, but I still like to double lock my front door at night. It might be smart to keep some pepper spray or a baseball bat somewhere in your apartment, just in case.

5. Stay social. Even the most anti-social person gets lonely. Make sure to hang out with your friends, not just your co-workers, your actual friends. Get out off your apartment every few days and go see a movie, get a cup of coffee, go people watching at the park, etc. It’s easy to get depressed if you’re living alone and doing the same things the same way every day- allow yourself to mix it up.

6. Meal prep. It can be stressful and seem useless to cook complicated or “fancy” meals when you’re living on your own. Plan your meals for the week and make a list before going shopping. Get yourself enough food to make a variety of dinners that will only take you fifteen minutes. If you do want to go crazy and make steak and mashed potatoes for yourself, make enough for two meals. Also, nobody is going to think poorly of you for stocking your fridge with a couple frozen dinners.

7. Customer service. Living alone means that you are going to be doing a lot of talking to customer service representatives. Get comfortable talking to people over the phone. Tell the rep what you need as quickly as you can, and try to be polite because customer service at a phone center is a garbage job that doesn’t pay well. On the flip side, don’t be afraid to ask for a manager if you’re upset or unhappy with your service. Take their survey at the end of your phone call, tell them how unhappy you are. It’s someone’s shitty job to look at all those surveys, no complaint goes unheard. Companies with great phone service: Verizon, Apple, Amazon. Companies with awful phone service: USPS (literally the worst), electric companies, health insurance companies.

8. Guest space. This is not required, but it’s a good idea to have some sort of space for a friend to stay the night. A friend of mine had a bad breakup, showed up at my apartment with ten minute’s notice, and then fell asleep on my couch after an hour of crying. It as 7:30! Whatever, she needed it. Keep an extra blanket and pillow in your closet, I like to keep travel sized shampoos and conditioners in my bathroom cabinet on the off chance a guest wants to use my shower. I got these at a hotel for free, but they’re available at CVS and other pharmacies.

9. Toilet paper. Don’t let yourself run out of toilet paper! I like to buy more when I notice I only have one roll left. The same deal goes for paper towels.

10. Enjoy. Living on your own is simoltaneously exciting and exhausting, but an all around must-have experience. Enjoy the freedom to forget to make the bed, to decorate your bathroom however you want, to have ice cream for dinner, to watch reruns of Friends and cry when Rachel decides to move to France. Make sure to give yourself lots of space to move at your own pace, but please remember to eat three meals a day and to go to the doctor’s for a checkup at least once a year!

You can ask not to be weighed at the doctor's office, if the weighing is triggering or upsetting. I do it all the time.

If my doctor actually needs my weight for something specific, I’ve made the baseline assumption that they will let me know that. 

You’d be surprised at how chill almost every office is with letting you skip it. 

In the original Blade Runner, the Voight-Kampff method was used to distinguish Replicants from humans. In this film, a more advanced technology analyses a Replicant’s operational stability. “The Baseline is designed to test the effects of a Blade Runner’s job on his brain and psyche.” Explains Ryan Gosling. “Because they have to kill their own kind, they constantly need to be assessed as to whether their work is having some kind of impact on them.”

Two versions of the Baseline scene were filmed for the movie: the original scripted version, and a much longer take written by Ryan Gosling himself. It was a lengthy eight-minute staccato dialogue, and Gosling delivered each take without hesitation for every camera angle.

The moment it was filmed, everyone on set felt that they had witnessed something unique and powerful. “When you are shooting a movie, there’s always a scene that makes you feel you’ve made contact with the soul of the story,” recalls Villeneuve. “That was it, and it became our own Baseline for the rest of principal photography.”

This feeling was shared by Joe Walker in editorial, “it was one of those great times as an editor, where you lift off from the page and it’s no longer about the scripted material, but there is blood running through the veins of an idea.” The long scene was later fine tuned to serve its percussive purpose in the final cut. “It’s an attack on K’s psyche, so it has to wrong foot him and be hellishly aggressive. That gave me a lot of material to work with rhythmically in the cut”

From the art and soul of Blade Runner 2049

Spotted on r/bladerunner

The Baseline Test Script Theatrical cut

The Baseline Test Script Full

Dropping in a line, the inspiration behind the Baseline Test

If you like replicants, technology or anything Alien you should follow my blog

MU/TH/UR 9000 | Symbolism in Alien: Covenant | Alien Mythology Prequel Project

19epona91  asked:

Was Ben Franklin, by your standards, a good founding father or a bad one? All of them had good intentions I know but the whole freedom for all really only applied to white males (and in some cases still does if you sit up and look). I know you have said you have a degree in this so I figure you'd be the best stranger to ask.

HONESTLY AS FOUNDING FATHERS GO HE WAS RELATIVELY GOOD BUT, LIKE, THAT’S A REALLY LOW BAR. THE BEST FOUNDING FATHERS WERE STILL REALLY BAD, IT’S JUST THAT THEY’RE SLIGHTLY BETTER THAN THE AVERAGE FOUNDING FATHER. 

FRANKLIN FREED HIS SLAVES AND BECAME AN ABOLITIONIST, WHICH IS A HELL OF A LOT MORE THAN JEFFERSON OR WASHINGTON EVER DID, BUT IT’S STILL WAY BELOW THE BASELINE ABSOLUTE MINIMUM OF ACCEPTABLE HUMAN MORALITY WHICH IS “DIDN’T OWN SLAVES IN THE FIRST PLACE.” 

SO LIKE, COMPARED TO THOMAS JEFFERSON OR GEORGE WASHINGTON, BEN FRANKLIN IS WAY BETTER, BUT IT’S VERY EASY TO BE BETTER THAN THOMAS JEFFERSON, AND BEN FRANKLIN WOULD BE AN ABSOLUTE DEMON WHEN COMPARED TO JUST ABOUT ANYONE WHO NEVER WOULD’VE OWNED SLAVES IN THE FIRST PLACE, EVEN IF THAT PERSON WAS “SOME GUY WHO GOES AROUND HITTING RANDOM PEOPLE UPSIDE THE HEAD WITH A SOCK FULL OF QUARTERS JUST FOR KICKS, BUT HAS NONETHELESS NEVER OWNED SLAVES”

Jay-Z, Scarface, Beanie Sigel and DMX, photographed during a recording session for The Blueprint²: The Gift & The Curse at Hov’s Baseline Studios in 2002.

Brad later explained how this session went down: “Our studio session was more or less like a big joke… You go in there and see Jay shooting pool. You see Beans on the sofa asleep. Jay always plays shit for me, torturing me, playing the new Blueprint. I think he does that to fire me up. Then he’ll play the songs he wants me to get on. I’m like ‘How can you do this to me, man? You play all this heat and you want me to compete with the heat?’”

u cant be a grown person and have “dont say anything about me that could possibly be construed as negative, or anything negative that could possibly be construed as being about me” as like, a baseline expectation 4 social interactions. it leads to bad things

OFF THE CUFF HOMESTUCK THOUGHTS #3: THE SELF PILE DOESN’T STOP FROM GETTING TALLER OR: THE PROBLEM OF DEAD MARIOS

DISCLAIMER

IMPORTANT THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK

[CHECK THE TAG FOR MORE THOUGHTS]

So, a long-ass time ago, Rose and Dave had a conversation like this:

TT: After you go, what do you think will happen to me?
TT: Will I just cease to exist?
TG: i dont know
TG: i mean your whole timeline will
TG: maybe
TT: Maybe?
TT: Is there a chance it’ll continue to exist, and I’ll just be here alone forever?
TT: I’m not sure which outcome is more unsettling.
TG: the thing with time travel is
TG: you cant overthink it
TG: just roll with it and see what happens
TG: and above all try not to do anything retarded
TT: What do you think I should do?
TG: try going to sleep
TG: our dream selves kind of operate outside the normal time continuum i think
TG: so if part of you from this timelines going to persist thats probably the way to make it happen
TT: Ok.
TG: and hey you might even be able to help your past dream self wake up sooner without all that fuss you went through
TT: I think the true purpose of this game is to see how many qualifiers we can get to precede the word “self” and still understand what we’re talking about.

This is the most important sentence in Homestuck.

I am dead serious.

Well, OK, I mean, it’s pretty important for understanding some major Homestuck themes and shit or something like that.

Also, I totally should have said: Pre-Retcon Doomed Timeline Non-Dreamself Rose but ultimately about to become Dreamself Rose who semi-merged with Pre-Retcon Alpha Timeline Rose and Doomed Timeline Dave aka Davesprite AKA future Davepetasprite^2 or as we all call them around the office, Davepeta, had that conversation.

Maybe you begin to see what I’m going to talk about here.

One of the major frustrations a lot of people had with the retcon was that the characters we ended up with at the end weren’t the ones we’d come to love and know throughout the story. Was it even worth it, to lose the characters we loved to the tyranny of Game Over? The victorious kids, with the exception of John and Roxy, were other people, with other histories, other goals, and other choices.

Allow me to submit that that may be the whole point.

SBURB is cruel. We’ve known that for a long time. It’s cruel not as Caliborn is cruel, but as the cosmos is cruel, as a supernova is cruel. It wants what it wants, and doesn’t care about how that intersects with the needs of humanity. It wants to make universes through a complex game-playing method, and drags hapless, vulnerable adolescents along for the ride. And most of the time it doesn’t even succeed, leaving its champions to rot in a doomed timeline or similar! Skaia’s victory is an amoral creation myth where individual human beings are just the carved pieces on the chessboard. (I mean, the other ones. Not the carapacians.)

Again, let’s consider the theme of VIDEO GAMES vs. REAL LIFE.

Homestuck, let’s be real, is basically some postmodern horror timey-wimey Jumanji. For a generation way more familiar with pixels than cute little tokens It’s easy for teenagers and in fact, basically everyone, to fantasize about escaping their life and slipping into some game world forever, where they get to do awesome things and be a heroic person.

Homestuck makes that literal. Congratulations, everything you ever knew is dead. You will never see it again, except your internet friends, who turn out also to be your family and other important people. I mean, from a distance, SBURB sounds like an awesome game, right? You figure out who you are and get to wear a cool costume displaying that identity. You get to make anything you want and enjoy this hyperflexible mythology tailored to YOUR CHOICES. HS fans talk all the time about how cool it would be to play a real version of SBURB. That’s a big part of the appeal of SBURB fan adventures. They put you and your friends in the story. Or your favorite characters! It sounds like a fantasy come true.

The thing is, as fantastical as it is, it’s also really fucked up, and ultimately you and your friends are being used. By a giant frog to let it have its babies. By the universe. By a smug blue cloud thing that doesn’t care about you at all.

SBURB does not care about you at all.

The funny thing, SBURB features a mythology with so many layers and nuances and seemingly human motifs about growth and self that you might search for some grand ultimate meaning behind it, but it’s not even human enough to have a personality, to be something you can argue with or fight. It just is. It’s all the cruelty and power of a god without any of the dazzling personality. It’s empty. It just wants to make universes all day long, or fail trying. It is a great, weird tadpole-making machine that eats children.

One of the big ways it doesn’t care about you is its attitude toward the self. Humans and trolls and whatnot prefer not to be relentlessly duplicated. SBURB says, oh yeah, let’s make tons of copies of the player characters and use them for a lot of different purposes.

There’s the dreamself, an essential bifurcation of identity (you are now and were always the dream moon princex) that sometimes gets merged into god tier but sometimes doesn’t. There’s doomed timeline selves, who exist ultimately to augment an Alpha timeline whose Alphaness is decided very arbitrarily and frequently by Lord English. There’s the you who exists before a scratched session and the you who exists afterward, who are two different people but started as one baby in an act of ectobaby meteor duplication, your player self and your guardian self. Dead timeline yous fill up the dreambubbles made by the horrorterrors and get endlessly confused with each other. Any one of these could be the you experience being at any given moment, and which one it is entirely arbitrary. Don’t like being Dead Nepeta #47? Tough hoofbeast leavings, kiddo.

To top it all off, in Terezi: Remember, we learn that every single time we thought someone changed from one self to another, was resurrected or something like that, it was another act of duplication. For every time someone’s died, there’s another version of them waiting in the Dream Bubbles, surprised that they’re not the main character anymore. And we have no way of knowing which is which. Even John, good old everyman John, may or may not be the person who died three or four times. It’s really impossible to say whether we’ve been following the same person throughout our story, or just the illusion of the same person, like a horrifying cosmic flipbook.

The retcon is a return to this same theme. Ultimately, there’s very little new in the changes John makes to reality except that they drive the point home.

John’s friends all died. John and his friends won the game. These things are both true at the same time, except those things may not have happened to the same people. There was a happy ending. Hooray! For, um, some folks who may or may not be the ones we care about. In fact, it’s very confusing, because from Rose’s perspective, Roxy is dead but came back to life, and from Roxy’s perspective Rose is dead but came back to life, except also she came back to life as a weird tentacle catgirl of pure id and self –indulgence. So there’s that. Um. Which Rose are we rooting for again?

Or wait: is it none of them, because the first Rose died in a doomed timeline, hundreds of panels and a number of years ago?

There’s a tension here which one experiences between saying it’s okay because it’s still the same people, and saying it’s not okay, because it’s not the same people at all. This tension is exactly what we’re meant to wrestle with. To put it another way, Homestuck asks if identity can work in aggregate. Are all Johns John, all Roses Rose, and do they all share in what they accomplish? Or are the final victors only accidents created by the whims and needs of the frog baby machine?

What I’m saying, basically, is that the retcon, in the sense that it pointed out our confused relationship with these characters, was already here.

In interviews and questions put to him over the years, Hussie constantly compares HS and SBURB to other video games, particularly Mario, which he frequently returns to as a baseline of comparison that most of his readers will know. One answer, from a recent Hiveswap interview, is particularly revelatory. To the question of “Why do you kill off all your characters?” Hussie replies:

[…]HS is supposedly a story that is also a game. In games, the characters die all the time. How many times did you let Mario fall in the pit before he saved the princess? Who weeps for these Marios. In games your characters die, but you keep trying and trying and rebooting and resetting until finally they make it. When you play a game this process is all very impersonal. Once you finally win, when all is said and done those deaths didn’t “count”, only the linear path of the final victorious version of the character is considered “real”. Mario never actually died, did he? Except the omniscient player knows better. HS seems to combine all the meaningless deaths of a trial-and-error game journey with the way death is treated dramatically in other media, where unlike our oblivious Mario, the characters are aware and afraid of the many deaths they must experience before finally winning the game.

The big man hass the answer.

Homestuck is the story of those dead Marios.

Other works, like Undertale, have engaged with this topic as well. But one of the major differences between Undertale and Homestuck is that in Undertale, between “lives,” one’s consciousness is preserved. In Homestuck, it’s discontinuous, and the value of the overall trial-error process is called into question by the fact that you, the player, may not even get to experience the victory. What meaning does victory hold if that is the case?

So, to put it in a nice thesis format:

One of the central themes of Homestuck is the challenge of reconciling an arbitrary and destructive pattern of growth and victory with the death and suffering you experienced along the way. Homestuck asks: is victory worthwhile if you’re not you anymore? And would you be able to know?

What even is the self? Is there such a thing?

If you were left feeling somewhat disconcerted by our heroes’ tidy victory and departure to their cosmic prize, or by how which Rose gets the spotlight is so deeply, deeply arbitrary, there’s a good reason for that. You’re supposed to be.

The philosophical problem of Wacky Cat Rose is insignificant next to the bullshit of SBURB.

And don’t forget—John and Roxy’s denizens helped them achieve the retcon. Ultimately, the victory they achieved was mediated by the same amoral system of SBURB, and was a victory over an enemy, Caliborn, whose power was created, perpetuated, and ended by that same system.

Okay, so here’s where it gets contentious. There’s an argument to be made, which I’m not sure how I feel about, that some of the character development that could have been in post-retcon Act 6 was left out precisely to push this feeling and play up this tension. Note that this is not the same thing as saying that they were deliberately badly written, but that they’re deliberately written to make us uneasy.That Hussie deliberately played with the balance between making these retconned characters feel familiar and making them feel eerily different to leave us feeling uneasy with the result.

I’m not sure I like that idea. It smacks a little too much of that “everything is perfect” thinking that comes sometimes from the far Metastuck camp. Some of the differences may also be the result of flawed writing. (See: Jane and Jake’s character arcs, which I might talk about later.) And I want to be able to critique those flaws. Ultimately, I think we still needed more time and development to figure out who these new people were—even if our goal was ultimately to compare them to their earlier selves. And again, more conscious acknowledgement of the problem from our heroes—especially John, the linchpin in this last and biggest act of duplication—might have helped drive this theme home.

Still, I think the Problem of Dead Marios is one of the most fundamental questions of Homestuck, maybe THE biggest question. It’s essential to understand it to understand what Hussie’s doing—or attempting to do— in the retcon and the ending.

I don’t know that Homestuck offers us a clear answer to that question. There are some confusions around the issue, too. Where do merged selves fit in, exactly? Clearly they’re a big part of the discussion, because Hussie spends some time in Act 6, especially near the end bringing the identity-merging powers of the Sprites to the forefront. (See also: the identity-merged nightmare that is Lord English.)  Can we even come up with a clear answer to what it means when a dead Mario returns to life grotesquely fused with Toad? How does he beat the game? Does he tell himself that the princess is in another castle? Or what if he merges with Peach? Are they their own princess? How do they know if they’re in the right castle?

Um. Anyway—

Interestingly, it’s not all grotesque—spritesplosions suggest that personalities that are too different don’t stay together long, so a fusion might rely on some inherent compatibility between the two players. Erisol’s self-loathing, sure, but also Fefeta’s cheerfulness. Davepeta seems to be a way of bringing out the best in their players, a way of getting Davesprite past his angst and Nepeta past her fear. Honestly, I know a lot of people don’t like Davepeta as the ending of these two characters’ arcs, but I can’t help but love it. They’re the ultimate coolkid. Cool enough to know they don’t have to be cool. Regular Dave got there, too, of course. But was his retcon assist from John ultimately any different?

Then, of course, we come to Davepeta’s speech to Jade in one of the last few updates before Collide. Davepeta suggests that there is such a thing as an ultimate self beyond the many different selves one piles up throughout the cosmos. A set of principles that describes who you are that’s larger than any individual instance of you. Your inherent Mariohood. (Maybe this is comparable to your Classpect identity, which attempts to describe who you are?) Davepeta even tells Jade, strikingly, that one might learn to see beyond the barriers between selves. Be the ur-self, in practice, rather than theory. This would be incredible news for Jade, who wrestles with the issue of different selves perhaps more than any other character. (There’s a lot to say about Jade.)

Honestly, I wish this ur-self idea had been developed more, and I honestly expected it to be. It doesn’t fully come to fruition, I feel. (Same goes for Davepeta’s character. Ohhhh, ZING!) I’m not sure it entirely makes philosophical sense, especially with fusion—I mean, doesn’t Davepeta themself disprove it? Or at least complicate it? Like, are they part of the ur-Dave or the ur-Nepeta? They seem to imply they’re BOTH? Does that even work? Does that mean that Marieach is all the Peaches and Marios at once?

(In fact, Bowser/Peach/Mario are but the three manifestations of one eternal principle. Also, Bowser/Peach are the true power couple. Read my fanfiction plz.)

And what, say, of Dirk, who ultimately ends up rejecting aspects of his other selves? It feels like there’s a lot more you could say here, and I wonder if Hussie would have said more, if he’d had time. What’s weird is, none of our victorious kids never reach an ur-self (though to their descendants, they become archetypal to some degree), which one might have expected. They’re just individual selves who happened to get lucky. Does that make them representative of the whole? It feels like something’s missing here, or like something got dropped at the last minute.

Same goes for the idea of the Ultimate Riddle. You’d be forgiven for missing it, but there’s been this riddle in the background lore of SBURB that seems to have something to do with personal agency in this overwhelming, overarching system. Karkat called it predestination, saying something like “ANY HOPE YOU HAD OF DOING THINGS OTHERWISE WAS JUST A RUSE.” But others have interpreted it more positively. My favorite interpretation, from bladekindeyewear: the answer to the Riddle is that YOU shape the timeline through your existence, personality, and choices, even when it looks like it’s all predestination. Ultimately it’s your predestination, your set of events, based deeply on your nature, that you are creating. Someone like Caliborn can use his innate personality to achieve power; someone like John might be able to use it to achieve freedom.

I definitely expected something like that to be expressed more explicitly. Like, a big ah-ha moment that helps John or Jade or whoever understand how to escape Caliborn’s system. Something like that would have been very helpful for a lot of our heroes, actually, who’ve been pushed around by Skaia and SBURB together, in finding a cathartic ending.  Once again, I wonder if something was dropped or rushed because there wasn’t time to put it all in. There’s places where you can see hints of that Answer being implied, maybe? But it’s kind of ambiguous.

You can see how the Answer to the Ultimate Riddle ties into some of Davepeta’s ideas. If your personality, the rules of your behavior are a fundamental archetype that goes beyond each individual self, then the answer to whether it matters if one self of yours makes it through to victory is an emphatic YES. You are all of those people, and by winning one round with Skaia, you’ve won the whole game, despite all the arbitrary challenges and deaths it heaps upon you along the way.

This may strike some as too positive for Skaia’s brutality, or again, some way of excusing flaws in many characters’ arcs, or unfair things that happen to them. To be fair, I don’t know that Davepeta’s necessarily meant to be taken as authoritative or the voice of Hussie. They may simply be offering a purrspective.

Hussie not choosing to come right out and engage with the Ultimate Riddle leaves the question of Dead Marios and what they mean for the victorious versions of our cast very open. I like that in some ways—let the reader decide—but I can’t help but wish we had more to work with in making that decision. Plus, it might have brought the thematic messages of Homestuck all the way home to tie them more closely to our characters and their experiences—character development being one of the things most people found most lacking in the ending.

NEXT TIME: All that wacky gnostic stuff probably