Game Changer

Allied News-Stream Network

Border War Update

Dallaustin, Texas

Paranoia and desperation are running through the American South. Since the start of hostilities with the Republic of Mexico, tens of thousands of Southerners have been displaced. The refugee situation has worsened in the Mid West and Northern states since the advance of the Mexican Republican army over the Texas border.

US President and former Texas governor George Hernandez  stated in a national address today “Texas is my home and an indispensable part of these United States. The battle is not over and she will not be lost.” He added in his colloquial manner “Y’all don’t mess with Texas.”

The Texas megalopolis of Dallaustin has become the frontlines of the conflict. Hyper sonic bombers and mechanized Army troopers have been strategically redeployed to Dallaustin and other cities in the southern United States for operations against Republican forces.

Since Mexico’s full industrialization and recognition as a first world nation 40 years ago, US intelligence reports indicated that it was mechanizing shock troops in secret to match the technological level achieved by US and Chinese forces. Sightings of power-suited Republican soldiers have been confirmed by US Army Headquaters here in Dallaustin.

New intercepted intelligence suggests that the servo mechanisms used in the Artificial Articulated Limb Reflex Systems (AALRS)  of the Republican suits are copies of the Chinese version. The revelation of the possesion of such advanced robotic technology is startling to US forces as they believed only America and her ally China had been able to develop nano-mechanical bionetic tissues.

With US and Republican conventional forces so evenly matched, the fear of nuclear exchange grows larger. The US and Mexico hold the largest nuclear arsenals in the world.

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This is the Wiki Game assignment. You pick two random words that will start and end some sort of written article of your choice. Starting on the first word’s wikipedia page you click on links in the article until you get to your finish word.

I went to watchout4snakes.com, which has a random word generator. It gave me “paranoia” and “mechanical.” Starting on the “paranoia” wiki page, I clicked the link “colloquial.” Then on the “colloquial” page I clicked “y’all” and so on. My words in total were:

paranoia/ colloquial/ y’all/ southern United States/ industrialization/ mechanization/  servo mechanism/ robotics/ mechanical

It was fun to find the words and I thought it would take a long time but it was about ten minutes. Once I had my word collection, I decided to do a kind of war report set in the future.

I was inspired in no small part by George Friedman’s book The Next Hundred Years where he tries to forecast the future.  He bases alot of the premise of the book on how geography determines international relations. He proposes that the North American continent is the center of gravity for world politics because it straddles two oceans. Sea power is required for world power as demonstrated historically by Britain and Rome. So who ever controls North America can control the sea and dominate the world. But will future control reside in Washington DC or Mexico City?

Shark

Adachi. Outskirts of Tokyo. Old and filthy. Unforgivable sins in the city of the sleek and the new. Large arcade, full of acrid smoke. Tobacco scented. Lights dim. Late night. Everyone focused, numb and obsessed. Lanky geeks, sweaty schizoids, forlorn losers. Oblivious to the passage of time.  Atmospheric electronic thumping beats the preferred music of the evening.

Tense stand offs abound. Violent contests in virtual landscapes. Angelic female figures on projected screens slide and dash. Rending vibrating electric samurai weapons with blue tracers. Red blood. Game over.  “Uso! Konoyaro!”

Talent, when combined with competition, fosters betting. Shark sniff out marks. Shark looks new to the game. Shark even throws the game once or twice. Then its all “Hey, Bud, lets go, one more game.” “Bakatare, jyozujanai yo.” goes the mark. “Just one more game. Lets put some yen on it.”

Game changes, Shark now shows skills. Practiced and true. A veteran. Intense blitz positioning. Jet fighter maneuvering. Blue light weaving. Blades brought to bare on over confident knave. The expert strikes. Crimson trails feather out from delicate limbs and torso. Enemy’s digital cadaver lies in ruin.”Shinjiraranai…” the mark laments.

Back alley. Smell of broiled fish and old wet garbage. Fresh winnings lining leather jacket pockets. Shark had his full. Lights up cheap Chinese cigarette. Waits for his girl in the neon glow. Sound of drunken revelers passing in the street. She’s late, she’s always late.

This was a writing assignment called Three Word Wednesday. You visit this site and it offers three words for you to try and incorporate into a poem or a story. It’s supposed to help over come writers block. My words were angelic, foster and ruin. My inspiration was Gibson and his adoration for all things Japanese cool. I got the arcade image from here

Warp Space

I’ve routinely been in contact with a group of extraterrestrials called Rigelians. They’re from star system Ceti Alpha Six. They chose me for trial experiments in the implantation of inter-dimensional communication devices in  human brains for when they come to conquer Earth (don’t tell anyone). At first  I was unwilling to have my brain experimented on but they changed my mind. Heh. Any how, I’ve gotten to know these visitors pretty well. They’re good people. One night they had me aboard their ship in geosynchronous orbit. They had let me  wonder around the ship after a series of painful electro attenuation calibration checks when I happened upon a transparent aluminum window. It was the first time I saw the Earth from space.

It was pretty awe inspiring. Then the alien scientists that had conducted my brain calibrations came around to see me off to the matter teleporter for the trip home. I’ll call them Ben and Carl because their telepath names are unpronouncable.

“Yes, it is nice. We love E-arth. Seven billion humon brains ripe for scientific experimentation. We Rigelians love our work, you see.” said Carl.

“Hey Ben, how fast can this ship go?” I asked .

“10^18 times the speed of light”  Ben replied telepathically.

“I like to go fast! Lets go real fast!” I said.

Ben said something about how I couldn’t because of the limits of the conscious human mind against the unbearable forces of time-space dilation and how his species had spent generations genetically engineering themselves to withstand it, or something. But I wanted to go real fast!

Later, in Warp Space…..

AAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHhhhhh h h h h h h h h h h ho o o o o o o o o o o o o . . . .

My disembodied consciousness became an unending torrent of insanity and fear. I swam through colors I had never seen before. I saw all creation in its unending cycle of death and rebirth. I reached a place of nothingness, profoundly vast emptiness, well beyond all human conceptualization.  Once the ship came out the other side of the warp dilation’s event horizon, I opened my eyes and said “. . . . o o o o h h h h AAAAAAAA!! Oh God, yeah, wow, um, you guys were right. I shouldn’t have done that.”

“But we have to take you back” Carl said, as he re-initializing the theta matrix compositor.

“No, waiiiiii i i i i i t t t t  . . . . . . . ”

This was the writing assignment “Your DigiArt Tells a Story,” to use an art application like MSPaint to make some pictures and then write a story that goes along with it. I made a neat picture in Gimp of a view of the Earth from orbit with the moon and a sunset. Then I thought I’d talk about the time I was hanging out with my Rigelian friends.

I made these images mostly through Gimp. It was time consuming. I made generous use of the elliptical tool; the earth, the heads, the moon and the window were elliptical tooled with some different colors. The computer displays were made with the rectangle tool. I hand drew the bodies and Japan with the mouse. For the sunset picture I used the gradient tool to make a kind of twilight effect. Then painted some yellow and pink in one corner and smudged it around with the smudgin tool. I did that for the clouds too, I painted some white around then smudged it up. The stars are just white airbrush spots.  For the window picture I copied it twice and change the text in it. For the warp picture I used Youpaint, which is a drawing program for kids that came pre-loaded on my desk top. I wish I had started with Youpaint from the beginning! I hand drew the picture, all except for the stars and space rain drops. Youpaint had a little stamp tool with some of that stuff so I threw it in there. I stole the spaceship out of Youpaint and put it in that one orbit shot that I made with Gimp. The Youpaint ship looked a lot better than the one I made on Gimp, is why.

Vocaloids: Gateway to Geekery

Why it’s Daunting:

For fans of the William Gibson novel “Idoru”, her rise was foreseen. She topped the charts with a number two album in 2009 and a number one single on iTunes in 2012.  Her name in Miku Hatsune, and she is a Vocaloid. Vocaloids are synthetic music software programs that anyone can purchase and use to edit and create songs. They can then upload the song to the web or make  a CGI video with an avatar dancing and performing the song. Miku’s most popular web videos where compiled into albums and a devoted fan base developed. Americans find it strange to be a fan of a digital entity that doesn’t really exist. In an industry that auto tunes most acts anyway, there can hardly be said to be a difference.

Where to Start:

Miku’s first viral video was of her singing a Finnish polka song “Ievan Polka” while animated in Japanese “Chibi” style, waving an onion. The plucky electro pop beat and quick lyrics are quite catchy. This is also an example of the irreverent nature of her open source contributors.

Miku’s iTunes chart topper “Tell Your World” is fairly standard Jpop. The natural sounding piano instrumental combined with her buzzing vocals makes an uplifting, inspirational piece.

Next Step:

Her fan base originated on the Japanese site Nico Nico Doga, a video media streaming service. She propagated to Youtube from there and reached a larger international audience. All told, tens of thousands of users have created content for the Hatsune Vocaloid. Finding what is appealing is a matter of a short web search.  She is used quite well in the electronic and trace genres, fitting considering her electronic origins as a robotic researchers voice software. “Lost You” is a deliciously chilly progressive trance track, probably my favorite.

“Sky High” is a deep ambient piece, with a ghostly disembodied other worldliness in the vocals.

If you tire of the endless computer searches and want to enjoy an evening out, you can purchase Miku Hatsune concert tickets. That’s right, a virtual idol has live concerts. She’s projected as a hologram on a stage and performs her most popular songs with a live band. She’s had shows in Tokyo and Singapore

To get the full Miku Hatsune experience, you can buy the program and make Hatsune songs yourself. This is what is so profound about her. Anyone with talent can produce there own music and have it performed by a beloved national idol to the adulation of tens of thousands of fans any where in the world.

Where Not to Start:

Miku Hatsune Death Metal