Sunday, April 9, 2017

Fractally Wrong... So Very Fractally Wrong

Well, it's Sunday and I'm all out of bubblegum, so let's kick some ass.

Oh and Melvina? Last week you asked if this was going to be an Idiot Plot where everything could be resolved if the characters would JUST FUCKING TALK TO EACH OTHER! Congratulations, you're right. Feel free to collect your No-Prize at the door, but if you're not interested, it can be redeemed for No-Money! It really is nothing but that. This book is the equivalent of someone writing 300 pages about how someone :gasp: stuck File B in the slot for File C. There is seriously nothing going on! I referred to a previous chapter as the Millard Fillmore of chapters, but I'm just going to have to cut to the chase and say this book is just the Millard Fillmore of books in that not only is it bad, it's not even bad in a way that is memorable or interesting. Like Millard Fillmore, it's so punishingly dull that it makes you hate it even more than you think it is possible to hate it!

All right, I'll stop ranting about our 13th President. Don't know if anyone even knows or cares about the guy anyway. Let's just say between Andrew Jackson and Abraham Lincoln, there were a lot of low cards in the presidency, with the possible exception of James K. Polk.

I'm well aware that many consider Andrew Jackson himself to be a low card and he does deserve to be forever shamed for the Indian Removal Act, but I'm hesitant to say too much. By all accounts, Andrew Jackson is probably the most terrifying man ever elected to the presidency. He's been in 13 duels that we know of, but suspected of having done a whole lot more, and well, when an assassin made an attempt on his life, it was the rare case where they had to save the assassin from the president, rather than the other way around. I highly suspect the reason the US Mint dragged their feet regarding the twenty, was that they were terrified as to what his angry, vengeful ghost would do to them. After all, he was plenty terrifying when he was of flesh and blood and capable of being killed. Though when he got to the White House, he did celebrate by kicking off a massive kegger and inviting everybody, rich or poor, politician or outsider, to come. And apparently people really liked massive wheels of cheese back then.

Oh fine, I'll stop talking about US presidents. For those of you wondering, I learned so much about the combat/fighting skills of dead presidents from this book. It's a bit depressing to say that the only ones I stand a chance against, are ones widely considered to be the worst.*

I don't really feel sorry for Kenny-boy, but given how quickly his friends and family are willing to assume the worst about him and how they do so without any hesitation...okay, I'll be honest: I do feel maybe a, uh what's the smallest measurement of weight in existence? Because that's how sorry I feel for Kenny.

Kenny's going home with a skip and a hop, probably thinking about how he's finally going to get laid, but to his surprise, Kat isn't around and her parents seem kind of cheesed off at him.

Imagine his surprise when her parents greeted him with less than enthusiasm. They appeared grim, preoccupied. Kenny remained upbeat, exulting over the change in his schedule that allowed this. “Is something wrong?”

“Well, we don’t know,” Mrs. Risto said. “Ekaterina sounded rather upset, said Mr. Steele had called an emergency meeting of some little group of yours and asked her to be there.”

Kenny almost blurted the name of the Millennium Force, but he was surprised enough that Raymie would have invited Ekaterina. What in the world was up, and why hadn’t he heard directly from Raymie? Raymie knew that Kat knew about the Force, because Kenny had told him himself.

Of course, Kenny would remain upbeat. Like any good LB protagonist, he only cares about the feelings of others if their feelings inconvenience his.

Though this whole bit about the secrecy of the Millies...I can understand why they would keep it from the TOL, but why do they have to keep it from the Millies? It's probably just Alpha-Male posturing. If others knew about their Sooper Sekrit He-Man Woman-Haters Club, they would want to join and it would no longer be all secret and special. Okay, y'all know my love of creating head canons, so any of you want to help me out, come up with something similar to the earlier LB books, where we had Loretta the Off-Screen Badass?

Again, theory is that Loretta has organized the rest of the congregation to get stuff done, but keeps the Tribbles out of the loop, because they would only slow her down. She let's them hang out and posture about how they are the Tribulation Force, because Rayford and Buck need to feel like the biggest, most important people around, while she and the rest of the congregation are getting stuff done. Oh and that earthquake? She and Verna took advantage of it to fake their deaths and get away, so they can get even more stuff done. #League of Awesome headcanon.

But given that the Tribbles were supposed to be rebels and do come closer to matching the definition of a resistance group than the Millies, who are again, God's Brownshirts, it's probably not going to work.

I am really fighting the urge to post this entire chapter, because it is so chockfull of stupid that there will never be enough time for me to take apart everything. Ellanjay are wrong at the fractal level. In fact, Ellanjay are a Fractal Wrongness Hydra where if you cut off one head, two more equally fractal wrongness heads only spring up to take its place. I am trying to hold back though, because my snarks get hella long as is.

I may decide to, a few times, just post quotes with little, if any, commentary, because Fractal Wrongness has a tendency to be paralyzing. I'd say it's like a Zen Koan in that it robs the mind of conscious thought, but Zen Koans help you to find the way to enlightenment. The same most definitely cannot be said about Fractal Wrongness, where trying to take it on, only leaves you stupider than when you started. Again, not really much you can do about the Willfully Ignorant. Until something shatters the Ignorance Dome that surrounds them, they aren't going to change. Maybe you'll be the one who shatters it, but odds are you won't. So try not to waste too much time on them, says the snarker who gets into long-drawn out debates on the Internet. telling people to stop debating idiots is like Boris Yeltsin saying "You know you should really cut back on all the drinking. I think you have a problem."

So anyway, first of Fractal Wrongness Quotes. If any of you want to comment and try to take them on, feel free:

The Ristos shook their heads. “We don’t appreciate this, you know,” Ekaterina’s father said. “This whole period is supposed to be a time of peace and tranquility. I don’t know what this little group is all about, but it can’t be positive if it has to have emergency meetings that its members— specifically you— know nothing about, and that an outsider— specifically Kat— is asked to attend, and which upset her so. She’s enough on edge because you were gone. Now what is all this?”

Kenny-boy tries calling everybody, but doesn't have any luck until he reaches his mom. I must warn all my readers to brace themselves for the shock of the impact to follow.

“Oh, Kenny! Where are you?”

He told her. “What’s going on, Mom?”

“I wish I knew. It’s like our office has been vandalized.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, those silly things like the phony personnel report on Kat and the ridiculous note about you could have come from anywhere within the interoffice mail system. But someone walked off with our employee list, and now we’ve gotten another crazy report.”

So the list Kenny had seen in Paris had not been the result of a computer hacking; someone had provided the actual printout. He didn’t even want his mother to know that yet.

Oh, there is just so much stupid...I freely admit that I do not know anything about hacking. The extent of my computer problem-solving abilities is 90% Turn It On-Turn It Off and 10% Panic When That Doesn't Work and Start Wondering What Sacrifices I Need to Make to Appease the Angry Internet Spirits.

But I'm fairly certain if the TOL got the list via hacking, it is much more worrisome. Hacking means they have access to your computer and can gather information about your search history, your passwords, etc. For the record, it's very difficult to destroy a hard drive so badly that law enforcement can't get some information out of it. And you know the RTCs would have all kinds of disturbing stuff in their search histories. Remember, like I said before, it's always Sex that dethrones someone on the Christian Right. The TOL could probably do some real damage simply by printing up search histories along with names and addresses. I'll let you speculate on how disturbing the porn in their histories is.

Because even if that directory is the only one in existence, about the only way to keep anyone from getting access to it, is for it to basically be like the Nuclear Football and be forever kept cuffed to Chloe's wrist. Because you guys have an insane amount of kids and people going in and out of that building and you mean to tell me that no one gets curious, picks it up, and is like "Oh what is this?" I suppose I could do my rant about how the COT daycare is probably more poorly-run than a Communist Romanian Orphanage, leaving no one capable of keeping any eye on the kids, but I'll spare you.

Or here's the obvious: maybe when Biblical Character X is wowing everyone with his copy-and-paste, a TOL slipped inside the office and took it. Or better yet, they could basically be Robert Hanssen, take the directory, make a bunch of photocopies on the Xerox (don't tell me Ellanjay would have the characters use something more modern), leave the original behind, and walk out with the copies. Ellanjay really need a five-year-old advisor to help them.

Also chances are the employees have their own versions of said documents and while maybe they're all loyal RTCs (with the exception of Qasim, the greatest eeeevil the MK has ever known), couldn't they leave it lying around and somebody grabs it when they're not looking or a TOL goes into the house either by breaking and entering or via deception (false repairman, etc.)

Though maybe this all-important directory is written in code making it so that it cannot be read without the special ring or...I'm not buying it. Especially since Ellanjay's idea of an unbreakable code would be something along the lines of Loe-Chay Eele-Stay Ife-Way of Uck-Bay Illiams-Way

Chloe talks about how she has received another report and how it is so upsetting that her delicate heart can barely take it and she apparently can't talk about it over the phone, it's that bad.

Kenny tries to get her to talk about it, but fails. He leaves his stuff in his room, when he notices something truly unspeakable.

Kenny dropped his stuff in his room and noticed something strange. The chair before his computer was out, away from the desk. He tended to be fastidious about stuff like that. He always pushed the chair back in and left the mouse in the same position. It looked skewed too.

Great; now I’m imagining things.

Seeing as I am anal-retentive on a level that can only be accurately described with "As Hell" attached to the end, I suppose I probably shouldn't judge. But I think I will anyway. Because unless Kenny-boy basically possesses Rain Man-like level recall...okay, I'm just going to call BS. Since Kenny-Boy is as inobservant as any good RTC, I don't think he would notice if his computer chair had turned into boa constrictor and started strangling him, never mind someone leaving it in a different place. Though it does amuse me a little, imagining Kenny as Charles F. Urschel. I'm with Cracked: the F in that guy's name clearly stands for "Fuck Anyone Who Tries to Kidnap Me!"

Kenny tries calling everyone, but to his surprise...I'll just post the damn quote.

He tried calling everybody again. What were the odds they had all turned their phones off without it being on purpose? They didn’t want to hear from him! Why? They couldn’t have known he was going to be home earlier, or he would have been invited to the meeting. Wouldn’t he?

I've said it before and I certainly will say it again that Rayford and Buck are the single-most powerful, important entities in the LB-verse, outranking even Zod and TurboJesus. There is ample proof to back that statement.

Thing is, we haven't actually seen much of Buck or Rayford in this book. Yeah, we've gotten some cameos here and there, but most of the time, if Kenny-Boy isn't the POV character, Creepy Raymie is. So this makes me wonder if I need to rethink the great chain of being in the LB-verse. Do Rayford and Buck lose their standing once TurboJesus kills everyone? Though it could be since Kenny-boy has the blood of both Buck and Rayford flowing through his veins that makes him a veritable LB-verse Voltron, where the combo makes him even more powerful than Rayford and Buck are individually. The only hope Buck and Rayford have of overpowering Kenny's influence is if they, Chloe, and Token Jew, let their powers combine.

I should apologize for the 90s earworm you'll have until you die, but I don't think I will.

Kenny finally finds the Millies.

Kenny arrived to find them in the back room with, of all people, Qasim Marid. In an instant, Kenny knew something was terribly wrong. Raymie was pale and appeared grim. Zaki looked shell-shocked, as did Bahira. Qasim appeared stunned to see Kenny, but of course Kenny was most curious about Ekaterina. Her face was red, her eyes puffy. As soon as she saw him, she gathered up a sheaf of papers that appeared to be the same as everyone else’s and bolted from the restaurant.

Wait, I thought Qasim had been kicked out of your Sooper Sekrit Club for the crime of liking a girl Kenny was interested in (though he never gave any indication to her or Qasim), reacting in an immature manner when said girl dumped him for no real reason, and trying to help the cause however he can, including :gasp: trying to recruit others he felt might be able to help them.

In fact, merely by running Qasim's name through the search bar on my own blog, here's some quotes that were in the actual book, which I used in my snark.

Here's one from Creepy Raymie:

“Kenny, please. I’ve got half a mind to disband the whole thing. It’s getting out of control. Qasim is not even part of us, and I couldn’t have made that any clearer, yet here he is telling the Jospins that you’re some double agent, then telling a virtual stranger— at least to him— all about us and not even getting it right.”

And the other member of his Mutual Admiration Relationship, Bahira.

“Well,” she said, “frankly I think dealing with Qasim is overdue. Not that Raymie didn’t try to stifle Qasim long ago. This is Zaki’s creation, a fiasco he could have fixed early. So do you get the impression that Qasim finally understands he’s not associated with us in any way?”

Quotes were taken from this post.

And here are two more quotes from another snark, both by Creepy Raymie:

Raymie, whom Kenny had always found both wise and decisive, did not disappoint. “I don’t know what Qasim is telling anyone else, but I have totally distanced myself and the Millennium Force from him. I told him he has no standing with us, and that regardless what he chooses to do in relation to the Other Light, we don’t want so much as a report from him, not even a secondhand report through Zaki.”

“Of course not. He was angry, which showed me his true colors. And Zaki is not happy either. I had to tell him that he would be next if he couldn’t see the wisdom of our totally parting ways with Qasim. I feared offending Bahira if I did that, but she has never trusted Qasim, and I suppose you know we have a sort of mutual admiration society.”

For those of you wondering, those quotes were from this post and both the posts mentioned, were on the first page of the search results so in short...I'm totally Bill Paxton in Aliens right now.

Kat is all "I don't want to see you again, Kenny!" and Kenny is like "Why? What's going on?" and Bahira is like "You've been found out."

Creepy Raymie is like "We've got the printout of an email you sent." And since, like I said, even though they are his friends and family, they have no problem instantly believing the absolute worst about Kenny, though he has been nothing but a good RTC. As for that email, consider it another Fractal Wrongness Quote dump. Even Snidely Whiplash is saying, "Aren't you being a little too over-the-top in terms of cartoonish villainy?"

To: Ignace Jospin, Executive Director

The Other Light International

Paris, France

From: Operative 88288, Kenneth Bruce Williams


Re: Progress

First, Ignace, it was great to reunite with you and your brother despite the sad occasion of your cousin’s death. It had been too long, and communicating like this is never as good as in person, especially when we share such a bond.

I very much look forward to seeing you and Lothair in Paris and thank you in advance for making available to me the lovely Nicolette again. The nights can otherwise be lonely in a strange city, even one as beautiful as your capital.

You’ll be pleased to know that my parents remain wholly in the dark. It’s nice that they are so naïve. I don’t doubt their sincerity, but the blind devotion believing parents have in their offspring makes duping them so easy. My dull-witted mother remains convinced that I share her beliefs and points to the night she claims to have “led” me to Jesus. Well, Mom, you have to mean it if you pray that prayer.

I trust you got the personnel printout. My mother is making noises about putting locks on the doors; my access to her office won’t cross her mind this Millennium.

My uncle Raymie suspects nothing. I’m sure he was brought in on the Risto personnel matter, plus the later defaming note about yours truly. Imagine if they even dreamed I planted both those myself.

Rest assured your fears over the new girlfriend are unfounded. She’s no Nicolette, but she’s cute enough and more naïve than my mother. Her parents are homely, swarthy little people who worship the ground I walk on. Her father was apparently a spectacularly unremarkable tradesman, and her mother is basically a nondescript homebody. They will not be an issue. I may even go through with marrying this girl, which will only make my work for you at COT that much easier. She is in another department, which merely broadens my reach.

I’ll provide a virtual core dump of other vital information when I arrive. Keep Nicolette warm until I get there. I’ll see you soon.

Loyal to the Other Light forever,


You know that 80s Anti-Drug PSA? That's basically my brain right now. There is just so much wrong that I'm fighting the urge to go fetal. Though you know the parts that the Millies object to most, probably isn't the treason, but all this stuff suggesting that Kenny-boy may be enjoying S-E-X with an attractive, willing female partner. The only way it could be worse is if it was an attractive, willing MALE partner. Though given the last line of the first paragraph where it says Kenny, Ignace, and Lothair share such a bond...I'll let my loyal readership of dirty-minded pervs go from there. Rest assured, I am not judging any of you; If you've read most of my other posts, you'd know I am in no position to judge any of you.

Of course, rather than use some basic intelligence to point out the obvious BS, Kenny does this:

Kenny was nauseated. Where did one begin to try to defend himself against such a detailed, devastating document? He scooped up the pages and stood, woozy and feeling utterly alone. His parents would visit that evening. That loomed as an oasis. Surely they wouldn’t believe a word of this.

But who wrote this, and where did they get their information? The nuances, the detail, made it so much worse. And yet it was so dead-on that Kenny was surprised someone didn’t see through it. What were the odds that almost every line would incriminate him?

Naturally Kenny had never faced a crisis like this, but in the past when he had what now appeared minor, petty issues, he’d turned first to his mother, then maybe to Raymie or his dad. Who could he turn to now? For all they knew, he was what the document purported: a turncoat. Hardly anyone had been spared.

And like the brave persecuted pastor of that great RTC film, Persecuted, Kenny doesn't bother to do the basic act of defending himself, instead opting to slink away without a word, because that, in no way, will make him seem even more guilty.

As he's slinking away, being all glum, that Nicolette, aka Hattie Durham II, shows up.

And what was that vehicle that had crossed at the corner ahead of him? It looked like the van that had delivered him back to Israel. When it stopped, turned around, and came toward him, he stopped and stared. The window was lowered and Nicolette leaned out.

Kenny wanted to run, to warn her to stay away from him, but he couldn’t jeopardize his cover with TOL, regardless of whether they were behind trying to ruin him.

She jumped out and approached. “We missed our turn,” she said. “Ignace wants to fly out of Tel Aviv.”

“Back the way you came,” Kenny said, still reeling and desperate to cover. “That’ll take you to the main route toward Tel Aviv and the airport.”

“You’re a peach,” Nicolette said, leaning close to kiss him on the cheek.

“Yeah, yeah, see ya,” Kenny said, only realizing as she pulled away from him that Lothair had been hanging out the window and had shot a picture of the kiss.

Since any brain-damaged five-year-old can see what's coming next, I'll let you all speculate on what Kenny is doing to punish himself for his sinful thoughts. Sex is the greatest sin of all, remember. I suppose you could make the classic cold shower joke, but given how disturbing the RTC subculture is, I'll assume ritual flogging is in order, though probably all that would do, is cause him to develop a weird association regarding sex and pain know, what I'm done. I'm going to go take several, several showers now.

*Don't bring up FDR. I've put him in a special class, because no matter how that fight with him goes, I don't come out looking good. If I win, I beat up a man in a wheelchair with polio and people are like, "I hope you're proud of yourself, you monster!" If I lose, I get to go to the Pearly Gates and explain to Saint Peter how I got pwned by a polio-stricken man in a wheelchair.

I suppose you could say similar things regarding Woodrow Wilson, because he was so debilitated by health problems that by his second term, his wife, Edith, was pretty much running the country, making historians wonder if she should be considered the first female president, because she was president in all but name. But Woodrow Wilson was really racist, like even more so than some of our actual slave-owning presidents, so maybe I can pound on him with less guilt.

But FDR was one of the best presidents this country ever had, so I don't know how to justify whaling on him. Yeah, he did the Japanese Internment thing and he deserves to be shamed, but he did a whole lot of good. His establishment of Welfare and Social Security and the positive effects both continue to have on society, probably cancels out a lot.


Anonymous said...

Well, you asked... what you mean by "the smallest measurement of weight in existence" is officially the yoctogram, which is a millionth of a millionth of a millionth of a millionth of a gram (that's 24 zeros, if you're counting). Never mind that this is a measurement of mass, not weight; it's obvious what you mean.

Whether anything is actually that small, other than what you need it for, is open to debate, of course, but perhaps that's your point :-)

Firedrake said...

Surely sticking File B in the slot for File C is a Sin, with the burning hellfire for eternity and all that?

Who's running the Internet, anyway? There are some RTC techies out there, but in my experience they tend not to be very good at the kind of analytical thinking you need to do more complex problem-solving than "plug in a replacement bit". And nobody's making replacement bits, what with 97%+ of the Chinese burning in hell.

To follow up Anonymous, there's no concept in physics of "the smallest possible mass"; Planck's Law suggests you can get photons with arbitrarily low energy. The lightest thing with a measured nonzero rest mass is an electron at about 9E-31kg - so you're looking at a little over a thousand of them to get one yg. Atoms come somewhere in the 1-400 yg range.

Melvina said...

...Don't these people have access to TurboJesus? Wouldn't he know what's really going on with Kenny? Isn't TurboJesus on the earth? Aren't they supposed to be his chosen people?? Considering that, it's incredible how absolutely minuscule a part he has in any part in the lives of these people. I'm pretty sure a yoctogram has a larger presence than TurboJesus seems to have in this book...

spiritplumber said...

Firedrake, "who's running the internet anyway?" is pretty much the prompt that originated Tripocalypse and Left Beyond Quest :)

I have most stuff still run on 1990s era systems because there never really was time or opportunity to upgrade the structure, since TOL can't really do much other than work piecemeal and believing concerns wouldn't probably bother as long as the phones work.

Of course, in Tripocalypse it's a moot point - the organization set up by Carpatia to keep the telecom systems running, CATS (Custodial Arrangement of Telecommunicaton Systems) after the Snare has mostly found itself keeping Ground Minus One safe, and recommending interoperability standards.

Here's a bit of fic for ya (pre-Glorious-Appearing).

In LBQ, the Omega starts off as TOL's attempt to build a cloud computing platform. It develops quasi-sentience (but still depends on its sysadmins) and breaks off as its own faction when it becomes clear that TOL have a contractual obligation to pick up the idiot ball by the end of the Millennium. It goes... interestingly.

By the way, are my attempts at world expansion appreciated, or should I stop spamming?

spiritplumber said...

Melvina, that's actually a huge plot hole. In theory, either every believer or at least every Glorified has TurboJesus on speed dial on their skull-phone (Oh wait, no, in that case it's supposed to be a miracle rather than the one bit of futuristic tech that shows up).

Step 1, pray. Step 2, get answer (which may not be true, but which this culture would consider authoritative either way). Step 3, conflict over.

The only real bit of conflict in this book shows up later (RayRay is in it) and even that one ends with an angelus ex machina.

Interestingly, throughout the Millennium, TOL is supposed to start from nothing and then end up building a billion-strong army, so... if L&J wanted conflict, they just had to set the bulk of the story at say +950 instead of +93, when there is room for conflict because TOL has a significant presence.

Melvina said...

It's just so WEIRD calling this Christian literature when no one ever even seems to pray.

Mouse said...

Well, praying seems kind of pointless when you're already perfect in every single way and God exists to serve you.

Though to be fair, the chapter did have Kenny praying. But I left it out because the snark was hella long as is. Anyway, here's the prayer for those interested:

Naturally Kenny had never faced a crisis like this, but in the past when he had what now appeared minor, petty issues, he’d turned first to his mother, then maybe to Raymie or his dad. Who could he turn to now? For all they knew, he was what the document purported: a turncoat. Hardly anyone had been spared. “Lord, You’re all I have left,” Kenny prayed as he headed toward home. “Please tell me You’re still here.” He nearly wept with relief when he felt the peace only Jesus could give, but still Kenny had no idea how to dig himself out of this.

spiritplumber said...

"The peace only Jesus can give" but no help...

Sounds like the divine equivalent of call-on-hold muzak.

Mouse said...

Spiritplumber, now I'm thinking of this song from the Stephen Colbert Christmas Special:

spiritplumber said...

That's hilarious....

Angels soaring through the air, eh? Looks like we need to up our air game.

Melvina said...

I understand that they don't want to mess up writing dialogue for God, but... Really? I'm a Christian, and I always believed that heaven was that place where you can actually talk to God face-to-face. No part of me understands why you wouldn't be always around the guy who has literally all the answers to any questions you might ever have ever if given the chance. Isn't this supposed to be heaven on earth? These people do have that chance!

Granted, the Jesus I read about in the Bible and their TurboJesus don't have anything in common. I wouldn't want to hang out with their TurboJesus... Maybe some part of Ellenjay don't either...

Mouse said...

Melvina, doing that would require them to put forth effort and you know how Ellanjay are opposed to it. They believe so strongly in the saved by grace bit, that they've come to believe that doing good works is actively evil because it distracts from the all-important issue of saving your own ass. Since they are opposed to good works, they are also opposed to effort and caring for similar reasons.

Like I've said many times, this series is Ellanjay doing the Requirement. If they didn't try to convert the heathens via the Requirement, both them and the heathens would burn in Hell. But if they've read the Requirement, if the heathens take the bait, that's good, both of them will go to Heaven. But if the heathens don't, they'll still burn in Hell, but the RTCs are off the hook, because they gave the heathens a chance to save themselves.

I keep telling people there is no deeper zen to Donald Trump or the Rightwing subculture. The simple truth is, "They do not care." They sold their souls for money and power decades ago and long ceased to care. The only way to make them care is to hold their feet to the fire, either literally or figuratively. I'll leave it up to you.