goodfellow's

An Other called Buck

“So, wait. It can’t fly?” You ask with a frown.

“Nah. Big bastard probably wishes it could though. We’d be sooo fucked though if it did, could you bloody imagine?” Buck gives you a meaningful look, then smiles.

 You laugh. It all seems so strange; stuff you never thought possible just laid out of for you so clearly. ‘A deal well struck,’ you think.

“There’re a lot of other things people think the old Slug’s kin can do. But they can’t really. That Beast didn’t need none of that fancy Hollywood shit when it fucked the King up good and proper. No sir, just waltzed in and stirred the Elsewhere up like you wouldn’t believe. Weren’t even meant to be here in the first place,” said Buck.

 He looked sad for a second. Staring at the ground, his golden eyes glittering with old memories. You almost feel sorry for him.

‘It’, you correct yourself. Not ‘him’.

‘It’.  

 At first glance, you might’ve described the thing that called itself Buck as a person. But once you had a closer look (if you were an idiot), you would quickly realise that Buck was too perfect. He looked photoshopped; an immaculate black man with flawless features, that smiled and moved just like a person. But Buck was not a person.

“And, yeah, now it’s just sitting around. Under the old English building, doing fuck all. Lazy prick.”

 Buck smiles again and looks at you.

“Anything else you’d like to know, kiddo?” he says.

 You think for a moment.

“Yeah, actually. You mentioned…” You resist the urge to rub the iron nail resting in your back pocket, “…the King. Is that like, um, I mean I’ve heard about the Royalty and the…”

“The Queen?” Buck nods, his eyes flit around for a second, searching the shadows with fierce glowing eyes. To you, it seems like it’s just the two of you, but you can’t be sure.

“Sorry Pumpkin, not really my story to tell. Always a bigger fish, and all that. Bigger teeth. You understand.”

You frown, a little disappointed, but you decide not to push your luck any further. If even half the rumours you’ve heard about the Royalty and the Queen are true, then you suppose that not knowing might be for the best.

“Um, no, in that case that’s all I’ve got, I think,” you say.

 You double check your list:

-Ask about the Good Neighbours (check)

-Where they came from (check)

-What they are (check)

-Why Elsewhere University? (check)

-What else was out there (double check; you just know you’ll be having nightmares for months)

-The Royalty (better luck next time)

 Buck was very thorough with answering all your questions. For hours, the two of you had explored all the angles and details of your queries with a forthrightness that surprised you. The Fair Folk weren’t known for their candour. But then again, that had been part of the bargain you’d made.

“Excellent. Glad I could help you out.”

 Buck’s smile widens, but in a human way. Not the ear-to-ear grin that you’ve seen from some of the other… Others.

“Your turn now,” he says, “I kept my side of the bargain.”

“Oh. Shit, yeah.” You hesitate for a moment.

“Come on, just one kiss.”

 The deal was one kiss for all the answers to any question you could every want an answer to. You’d brought a list to remind you, so you couldn’t leave with anything left out. You’d found Buck, one of the more ‘human’ of the Fair Folk, and broached an exchange with strict guidelines.

“One kiss. And I leave this meeting in the same condition that I arrived, no funny business. That’s what we agreed.” You say, nervous and sweating, your heart pounding now.

 Buck rests his hand on your shoulder, you feel almost at ease by this very human gesture.

“I know, don’t worry. No changes of any kind. You’ll leave this meeting the same way you came. Mind, spirit, and body. I gave my word,” he says, “now pucker up.”

 You close your eyes and he kisses you. Bucks lips are cold and clammy, pressed against yours. He tastes like sour milk and rust, and you try not to gag.

 He pulls away. You realise that you’ve been holding your breath.

“You taste great. Minty. I like it,” you hear Buck say.

 You open your eyes.

 A sharp wetness hits your pupil and the world blurs, stinging, as you blink franticly. It burns. It throbs with an icy burn that blisters the insides of your lids. You rub at the pain furiously and your palms come away wet with tears and fairy spit.

 Then you squint around, searching amongst the unfocused, too bright haze of Elsewhere University, looking for Buck. You keep blinking, the pain recedes and you can finally see with a vague clarity. The focus sharpens suddenly and you can see Elsewhere for what it truly is.

 You babble inanely for a moment as your eyes stream, still tender with a dull ache. Madness tickles at the edge of your mind. Shards of light and torrents of shadow swirl about you. Eyes of all shapes and colours gleam out at you, attached to faces born of pure insanity.

 Buck smiles at you. The smile breaks, exploding with golden teeth, his body covered in filthy, matted fur. It is no longer even remotely human, with fur that bubbles like molten tar and drips like oil, ever changing. Long leathery fingers reach out for you.

“Don’t worry. You’ll leave in the same condition that you arrived. Mind, spirit, and body. But in the meantime,” Buck’s golden eyes flare with delight.

“Fancy another kiss?”

 

You awake on your back. Staring at a dazzling sun, you wince. Thinking for a moment you remember what you were supposed to do. You’d brought a list after all. You’d thought this through.

 Now all that is left is to find the Other they call Buck.

3

Adversarial Machines

There’s been some interesting developments recently in adversarial training, but I thought it would probably be a good idea to first talk about what adversarial images are in the first place. This Medium article by @samim is an accessible explanation of what’s going on. It references this talk by Ian Goodfellow, asking if statistical models understand the world.

Machine learning can do amazing magical things, but the computer isn’t looking at things the same way that we do. One way to exploit that is by adding patterns that we can’t detect but that create enough of a difference in the data to completely fool the computer. Is it a dog or an ostrich?

There’s been quite a lot of research into finding ways round this problem as well as exploiting it to avoid facial recognition or other surveillance. And, like I said, there’s been some interesting recent developments that I hope to talk about here.

https://medium.com/@samim/adversarial-machines-998d8362e996#.n7j43766v

2015 Goodfellow Family Cellars Clover Reserve Pinot Gris

The good humans at Goodfellow Family Cellars are some of my fave humans ever. They make such good juice. Brown pears, browning apples, lemons, and green herbs on the nose. Pear, apple, waxy lemon, and vanilla on the palate wth a mineral finish and fresh, crisp acidity. Yum!

4/5 bones

$$

Pinot Gris

13.4% abv

Oregon, USA

Fey Boys as Memes
  • Puck: ~picks up sixteenth glass of faery wine~ ...This bitch empty...YEET! ~throws goblet into Oberon's head~
  • Ash: ~Mab says something~ Why you always lyin'~~?
  • Rowan: I came here to have a good time, and I honestly feel so attacked right now.
  • Sage: ~inhales deeply~ BOI.
  • Glitch: ~stuffing breadsticks into bag~ Something just came up and I really have to go.
  • Tertius: ~looks into camera like he's on The Office~
youtube

Yay and competitions start tomorrow so everyone should be able to watch if you use a vpn