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Tri-Cities Boardwalk

The Tri-Cities boardwalk had always been a miserable place, except for maybe the first thirty minutes of its official opening, some hundred years ago. In an infamous historical moment at the ribbon cutting ceremony, then Mayor Caleb Waldorp had taken a misstep from the celebratory platform which had been constructed for the event, and tumbled end over end off the side. A horrified crowd watched his neck snap as he hit the lower deck, bouncing like a toy thrown by a petulant child into the water below. The section of boardwalk jutting out over the water where he’d fallen to his demise was renamed Waldorp’s Drop, and the whole endeavor had never really recovered.

Now, fat seagulls squawked lazily at one another as they picked through the trash lapping up daily on the storm walls, floating down from the drowned villages farther north. Sections of the boardwalk had long since gone to ruin, and there were days when the water surged up over the storm walls, flooding into the streets and nearby businesses, and threatening to reclaim even the boardwalk itself.

It was on such a day that Sandro picked his way carefully along the flooding boardwalk, searching for interesting scraps of junk washed up and caught in the bars supporting the handrail. There was one particular promontory of boardwalk platform which acted like a giant sieve and from which Sandro had collected many interesting things in the past. Waterlogged toys and electronics. Medical waste. Sealed packages of food from presumably grocery store shelves up the coast. Some of what he found still seemed good and usable, and anything he didn’t keep he would bring to trade with the sellers at the van market in the old Tri-Cities Shopping Plaza parking lot on the weekends. He was hoping for a score.

Sandro picked his way carefully out further and further toward Waldorp’s Drop, avoiding by muscle memory places where the wood had gone soft, and a wrong step could send a foot through, and twist an ankle. Salt water lapped up over the surface of the boardwalk, soaking his shoes. He would have taken them off, but found it was better with them on to protect his feet from splinters, errant nail heads poking out of the wood, and random unseen objects caught out of sight. So he suffered through wet shoes now and would take them off, tying the laces together and slinging them over his shoulder later when he came back to dry land.

At the end of the pier two enormously fat seagulls were fighting for the right to sit on the rail and survey the floating debris. Sandro could hear glass bottles clanking somewhere dully against wood. He saw a length of two by four bobbing up and down, but didn’t bother to try and fish it out. He couldn’t get much of anything for it at the market. Some clothes, or fabric or something. It looked soiled and torn. He left it, scanning as he walked further out. The gull which had won squawked loudly once at him and lifted off with a pained expression as he came to the edge of Waldorp’s Drop.

A flash of red bobbing up and down. A gasoline container? Judging by the weight of it sitting in the water, it looked like it might be partially full. He slipped the rope out of his pocket, assuring the hook looped through the end was firmly attached and tossed it over. Once, twice, three times and hooked the handle, pulling it up to where he could stick a hand through and grab it, raising it hand over hand up over the rail. He set it down in front him, fighting with the cap, and sniffed. A whuff of gasoline vapor. This would be worth a few dollars. With a second piece of cord, he tied the handle off inside the railing as an added measure of security for his find, as he peered round all sides of the structure.

More cloth. He chucked his hook at it out of now bored curiosity. There was not much out here today. He began reeling it in. It was heavier than expected, and as the object floated into range, he stuck an arm through the bars of the railing to see what it was. A jacket. But it was caught on something, wrapped around a…

Sandro slipped backwards as he let go, landing with a splash onto the watery deck. A body. Hair floated to the surface. An arm, a hand. Bloated. Sandro nearly vomited from the stench. No wonder the gulls had been staking out their territory here. He scrambled to his feet, abandoned his hook and line which was still embedded in the cloth of the jacketed corpse, hastily untied the prize of his red partly full fuel container and got the hell out of there.

Human botnet flashmob

Everyone on the list got the text at 3:15pm. It was a Friday afternoon and the mob was planned for 4:05 sharp.

It was to go down at the old Tri-Cties Shopping Mall food court, near the Show-Business Burrito Hut.

When Jessicon and the others arrived some forty minutes later, they were to mill about as passersby. They were not to gather in groups of more than two, or linger in any one location for more than thirty seconds, which was the supposed window of comfort for not entangling the interest of the crowd monitoring and machine vision system which monitored that area and the entire mall.

The begin signal was to be: a woman wearing a yellow coat would pass by the mall fountain, climb the two stairs to stand next to it, open a red umbrella, and throw a coin into the water. This was to set all the various teams into motion, following their own assigned tasks or patterns as the greater orchestration of the moment unfolded.

I was an analyst working for William Maze, aka Wormwood, when this event went down. It was my job to write a post-mortem of what most likely had gone down based on the available evidence.

Whatever else happened that day, the woman with the red umbrella did not show up. Or if she did, she forgot her red umbrella and her yellow raincoat. Instead a woman in a black t-shirt and jeans had climbed those two steps and otherwise followed the same chain of action which would have triggered the hidden actors to life had it been the right signal. But it was not the right signal, and what happened instead was par for when humans tried to organize themselves into botnets. Half the agents activated, thinking it was the right trigger sequence. Others did not, knowing it was not only the wrong signal, but the wrong time. And others still hesitated to see what everyone else was doing. But the participants were, officially anyway, unknown to one another. Though they might have been able to guess had they the chance to look around and place their silent bets on one another.

As the plan failed but half the flashmob haphazardly came online anyway, the interest of the risk system that governed the shopping complex was unequivocally piqued.

From its point of view, it saw several squads of four or five individuals suddenly come together and start waving their arms and shouting.

Several classifications raced through its decision matrix. Unscheduled coordinated actors distributed through space. Riot indicators. Hostage situation indicators. Street fight indicators. Shopping stampede indicators.

It was, admittedly, a bit of an old and jumpy system. Maybe needing maintenance, maybe tweaked beyond its official use parameters by third parties. I’ll leave that to forensics – if it ever gets that far.

But the system over-reacted, putting the mall on lock-down, and sealing sections off from each other to contain and mitigate any propagation between the observed cells. And not just that, the security robots were set out in an unusually aggressive formation against the would-be human botnet.

Well, mistakes were made and there were a number of human casualties and two fatalities.

When the human organizers behind the event were tracked down and interviewed by Newschan as the events unfolded, they said nobody should have gotten hurt. It was supposed to be a fun event. Nothing dangerous. Just some singing and dancing. They were going to try and #codechant.

But this was not the early 2000s anymore. You could not run around out in public organizing strange avant garde spontaneous participatory performances without the eyes of the Autonomous Cities watching your every move. And with everything which was to happen in the coming Shape Wars, no one for long would blame a few robots knocking down some mall punks which were acting suspiciously, even if a couple of them may have actually had their heads bashed in in front of Dick Greid’s famous Show-Business Burrito Hut to the terrified wonder of families who just were there for the cheezy crickadillas.

Orchard wassailing

“The orchard-visiting wassail refers to the ancient custom of visiting orchards in cider-producing regions of England, reciting incantations and singing to the trees to promote a good harvest for the coming year.”

Video examples:

“In English folklore, the Apple Tree Man is the name given to the spirit of the oldest apple tree in an orchard,[1] and in whom the fertility of the orchard is thought to reside.[2] Tales about the Apple Tree Man were collected by the folklorist Ruth Tongue in the cider producing county of Somerset.”

Entered Musicians of the House of Silence

Upon reaching a certain level of devotion, a master minstrel may elect to join the House of Silence. Through the completion of an elaborate ordeal which tests both their skill and character, they may be admitted by their Elders as an Entered Musician of the House of Silence. Entered Musicians join the Silent Orchestra which holds deeply moving quiet concerts free and open to the public year round.

A must see while visiting Quatria.

Irish File & Imbas forosnai

“The file is to be regarded as in the earliest times as combining in his person the functions of magician, lawgiver, judge, counsellor to the chief, and poet.” [Hull]


“However, the culture placed great importance on the fili’s ability to pass stories and information down through the generations without making changes in those elements that were considered factual rather than embellishment.”


“Nonetheless in Gaelic society the chief filí of the province, or Ollamh, was seen as equal status to the Ard-rí, or High King. This high social status existed right into Elizabethan times, when English nobility were horrified to see the Gaelic chieftains not just eating at the same table as their poets, but often from the same dish. Eventually classical literature and the Romantic literature that grew from the troubadour tradition of the langue d’oc superseded the material that would have been familiar to the ancient fili.”

“Imbas forosnai involved the practitioner engaging in sensory deprivation techniques in order to enter a trance and receive answers or prophecy.

In the Celtic traditions, poetry has always served as a primary conveyance of spiritual truth. Celtic texts differentiate between normal poetry, which is only a matter of learned skill, and “inspired” poetry, which is seen as a gift from the gods.”

“…a bearer of “old lore” (seanchas). In the ancient Celtic culture, the history and laws of the people were not written down but memorized in long lyric poems which were recited by bards (filí), in a tradition echoed by the seanchaithe.”

Scops & skalds

“Very little is known about the mythical scop, and its historical existence is questioned by some scholars. ”


Old English scop and its cognate Old High German scoph, scopf, scof (glossing poeta and vates; also poema) may be related to the verb scapan “to create, form” (Old Norse skapa, Old High German scaffan; Modern English shape), from Proto-Germanic *skapiz “form, order” (from a PIE *(s)kep- “cut, hack”) …

While skop became English scoff, the Old Norse skald lives on in a Modern English word of a similarly deprecating meaning, scold.[citation needed] There is a homonymous Old High German scopf meaning “abuse, derision” (Old Norse skop, meaning “mocking, scolding”, whence scoff)…


It is characteristic of the Germanic tradition of poetry that the sacred or heroic cannot be separated from the ecstatic or drunken state…

“There is no evidence that the skalds employed musical instruments, but some speculate that they may have accompanied their verses with the harp or lyre.”


Every king and chieftain needed a skald to record their feats and ensure their legacy lived on, as well as becoming the main historians of their society. The written artefacts of that time come from skalds, as they were the first from the time and place to record on paper. Some skalds became clerical workers, recording laws and happenings of the government, some even being elected to the Thing and Althing, while others worked with churches to record the lives and miracles of Saints, along with passing on the ideals of Christianity.


There is debate over the performance of skaldic poetry, but there is a general scholarly consensus that it was spoken rather than sung.

See also: kenning (technique)



Source image:


“mummers or guisers (also by local names such as rhymers, pace-eggers, soulers, tipteerers, wrenboys, and galoshins)”


“The principal characters, presented in a wide variety of manners, are a hero, most commonly Saint George, King George, or Prince George (but Robin Hood in the Cotswolds and Galoshin in Scotland), and his chief opponent, (known as the Turkish Knight in southern England), named Slasher elsewhere, and a quack Doctor who comes to restore the dead man to life. Other characters include: Old Father Christmas, who introduces some plays, the Fool and Beelzebub or Little Devil Doubt (who demands money from the audience). “

Old Horse:

“A group of men accompanied a hobby horse (either a wooden head, with jaws operated by strings, or a real horse’s skull, painted black and red, mounted on a wooden pole so that its snapping jaws could be operated by a man stooping under a cloth to represent the horse’s body)…”



Journey Method

  • Method of Loci / Memory Palace technique (Wikipedia)

Also known as “Journey Method” or “Roman Room technique.”

“In this technique the subject memorizes the layout of some building, or the arrangement of shops on a street, or any geographical entity which is composed of a number of discrete loci. When desiring to remember a set of items the subject ‘walks’ through these loci in their imagination and commits an item to each one by forming an image between the item and any feature of that locus. Retrieval of items is achieved by ‘walking’ through the loci, allowing the latter to activate the desired items.”

See also: pilgrimage sites.

Jesters & French Chansons des Gestes

“This modern term derives from the older form gestour, or jestour, originally from Anglo-Norman (French) meaning story-teller or minstrel.”

“Another theory (largely discredited today[16]), developed by Joseph Bédier, posited that the early chansons were recent creations, not earlier than the year 1000, developed by singers who, emulating the songs of “saints lives” sung in front of churches (and collaborating with the church clerics[16]), created epic stories based on the heroes whose shrines and tombs dotted the great pilgrimage routes, as a way of drawing pilgrims to these churches.”


“Similarly, scholars differ greatly on the social condition and literacy of the poets themselves; were they cultured clerics or illiterate jongleurs working within an oral tradition?”


“Several manuscript texts include lines in which the jongleur demands attention, threatens to stop singing, promises to continue the next day, and asks for money or gifts.”


“It has been calculated that a reciter could sing about a thousand verses an hour[31] and probably limited himself to 1000–1300 verses by performance,[27] making it likely that the performance of works extended over several days.[31]”

Adult Adoption in Japanese Corporation Management

From a Salon October 2014 article on why so many of the world’s oldest corporations are Japanese:

Even though primogeniture faded with the 20th century, owners still often pass their companies on to a single heir—although keeping business in the family is often aided and abetted by adult adoption, in which the company head legally adopts the right person to run his firm and then passes it on. (These adult adoptions are sometimes facilitated by a marriage between the heir presumptive and the owner’s daughter.) In 2011, more than 90 percent of the 81,000 individuals adopted in Japan were adults. Firms run by adopted heirs, research shows, outperform those run by “blood” heirs—and both adopted and blood heirs outperform nonfamily firms.

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