June 21, 2018, 11:02:12 AM

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Messages - Bradley Darewood

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I'm imagining a raging fire in a school with Bea looking at that fire alarm for a moment before deciding "you're all on your own" and just evacuating the building without raising the alarm.

It does. I love Saramago

Can't remember if I've posted this yet, but so called "Deepfake" technology continues to advance at a frightening pace. With enough source material (common for public figures, like President Obama or others) it can easily generate fake speeches from the target and even create custom facial expressions.

Basically, it lets you make videos of people saying things they never said.

Gizmodo sums it up pretty well and has some great examples.


In my recent scifi book (set hundreds of years in the future) I had an aside where I mentioned that video evidence is no longer admissible in courts because it has become so easy to fake. Seems like we might be getting to that point sooner rather than later.

When I saw Trumps "space force" announcement I totally thought it had to be faked using this technology.


This article about phones and your brain is really really really really good.  Brave New World has arrived.


IMPORTANT QUESTION: do you think that people who play kajits in Skyrim are more likely to own cats/be cat people irl?

So I feel I should take a break from adding sections to my overdue nonfiction chapter on civil war to post in this thread.  Because... err... priorities.

Highly recommended.


I love the "Readers Also Enjoyed" section which includes "Steamed Up" steampunk erotica.

There's no rule that says brothels need to be women-only. I think it was in Rebecca Levene's book that you had a gender-neutral brothel, so to speak. This would balance the power, I guess...

There will still be a power imbalance between those who have money and those who don't.

The male sex trade is more ubiquitous than people think.  In Vietnam a Cafe-Um or "Cafe Hug" is where business is done by old men who have underaged girls sitting on their laps pouring their drinks and feeding them beef cubes.  I said no thanks to the underaged girl they sent my way so they sent me a dude.

In Saigon, dudes ride around on bicycles with special rattles in tight shirts offering massages for 1 dollar (spoiler alert, the massages aren't where they make most of their money-- interestingly they make money having sex with men then spend a good portion of it having sex with female sex workers at an insider discount. Also I have along story about that but it would take a long time to write here). There's also a "dating service" that sells Vietnamese men to status-conscious overweight Taiwanese women who want an attractive husband and the women are actually weighed and charged according to their weight. 

In Indonesia, violence against female sex workers is extremely common so the vast majority of street workers are men dressed as women-- like almost all of them. @Saraband 's post makes me wonder if there is some sort of historical legacy at work here. The female sex workers tend to stick to the tourist area, cafes and beaches and don't walk the streets.

In the US, male sex workers who serve women often have relationships with repeat customers, working for gifts or some sort of patronage. Women can find the men in specific resorts, beaches or frequenting places like furniture stores.  One-time sorts of arrangements are usually in response to ads (In my younger years i was actually approached by a girl at a party who wanted to recruit me to work with her as some sort of a team thing.)

Like @cupiscent noted, some sex work is entirely voluntary.

I'm not a pervert I'm just well travelled, I know lots of things and I worked for a human trafficking nonprofit.

Anyway Jmack has been reading my new first chapter of my WIP. It doesn't have a brothel in it, but my MC is a 15 year old thief and part of his backstory is that his mother had to turn to the sex trade when his father died, but his thieving helps her pay rent so that she doesn't have to.  So I'm guilty of about a million sins there: dead father trope, sex work trope... the mother only appears twice far later in the book so that might even be considered the dreaded "fridging" of a female character to color a male characters experience.  She does have her own arc in a later book I plan to bring her into a relationship of convenience with one of the antagonists of this book, but that subplot just didn't fit into this one. She's not super traumatized by it, but it's also not her first choice.

Anyway, a gendered sex trade, racialized poverty, and all sorts of things that suck are just part of the reality of our own past that I've brought into my novel. Maybe these tropes are a part of telling certain kinds of stories and that's okay. Or Maybe it just sucks and I'm an awful trope machine that should just revise everything again.  I really don't know. Sometimes I feel like writing is a minefield and I don't know where the mines are anymore.

Is he a blip or a huge rallying point?  The pictures on instagram made it look like there were enormous protests. Like an alternate universe racist-version of Free Mumia or something.


Can someone explain the Tommy Robinson stuff to me?

Pseudonym for a fascist who set up and left the English Defense league. Made a lot of press by being outspoken but achieved very little except uniting a number of left wing groups against them.

what stuff do you want explaining?

I just saw the #freetommyrobinson thing in my instagram feed and couldn't figure out what the deal was... there seemed to be huge protests (mostly composed of men) and something on going to jail for reporting on a rape case.

General Discussion / Re: Member birthday calendar
« on: June 19, 2018, 01:15:34 AM »
Happy birthday, Elfy!

Sooo... care to take the chance to tell us where you really live? ;)

Happy belated birthday @Doctor_Chill and @Elfy

@Lady Ty and Elfy-- I'm excited to hear that you are computer generated actors. Does it pay well? I've always wanted to be an Australian....

General Discussion / Re: Dogs and Cats
« on: June 18, 2018, 11:17:11 PM »
What would happen if a dog married a cat?

You'd get kuppies!

Can someone explain the Tommy Robinson stuff to me?

I like that sticker!! Only 3 of us voted? Looks like the turn out of an off-year US Congressional race

Fantasy Movies, Comic Books & Video Games / Re: WoT series on Amazon
« on: June 15, 2018, 08:28:29 AM »
PS Amazon has also picked up the Expanse which is great and I thought Amazon's Brittania was pretty awesome

Fantasy Movies, Comic Books & Video Games / Re: WoT series on Amazon
« on: June 15, 2018, 08:27:14 AM »
I only know this series by reputation, but what I hear is mostly about really weird gender wars stuff. And every single woman acting like a 13-year old.

Hahahaha I don't think that's a fair assessment

Do you think that fans of fantasy are less sceptical towards the existence of spirit, psychic phenomena, ghosts, astrology, tarot, life after death etc, than readers of other genres? After all, we like reading about magic.

I know that in the fantasy and sci-fi writers group I run, the science fiction writers are more sceptical than the fantasy writers, but that’s just one group.

I’m certainly less sceptical than most—in fact, I believe in all sorts of stuff that some would find strange. What about you?

I think the outlier here might be the sci-fi types moreso than the fantasy writers.  I'd guess that scifi writers at least in the Isaac Asimov vein are more likely to be hard science atheists. Where as fantasy writers, like most of us, have some nagging voice in the back of our heads that secretly believes in magic.

When I was growing up I knew some wiccans at school.  One was schitzophrenic and hallucinated demons everywhere, another liked to wear all black and make runes with wood and her own blood in the light of every full moon. Neither read any fantasy.  I think I read fantasy b/c back in those days fantasy was a white nerd thing to do (things have changed obviously), but at the time I was very much a white nerd.  I stayed at home and read LoTR while other kids played basketball in the summer, and after soccer practice I would go to my friends basement and play D&D or Shadowrun or whatever our current nerd gaming passtime was.  But it definitely didn't prime me to believe magic or gods were real.

Magic, I think, came from Catholicism.  (Is there a correlation between Catholicism and fantasy? that might be our mechanism). I grew up in a church founded by Capuchin monks (think radical Franciscans a la the nuns that throw pigs blood during protests against the School of the Americas... there are rebel-churches scattered throughout the US, my uncle's was exiled to a Unitarian church b/c they used feminist language and invited non-Catholics to take Eucharist). Anyway, Catholicism is very much rooted in ancient traditions, with all sorts of pagan magic. Protection amulets are now scapulars (i often wear a scapular of the Divino Niño for example), the old deities saints. There's a patron saint of sore throats with a whole ceremony to prevent them from happening for example. 

Once you get into Latin America, where I've lived much of my life, the old traditions are very much alive, altars with the same fruits and plants that were offerings to the local god, painted statues of miraculous virgins in boxes with stories of terrible things that happened when someone stole them, charm bags of various colors meant to bring health or wealth or luck sold alongside candles and crosses outside churches, ancient processions through the mountains where people hurl unlit candles at a miraculous statue once a year in exchange for a wish.  The indigenous of the amazon have their magics as well, found in ayahuasca, floripoño and guanto.  Some of it will make you trip for 3 days, shamans have been know to threaten the lives of loved ones with dark magic.  But also the forest breathes-- there are certain places where it rains to greet you.  Every morning you wake up at 5am to drink a special guyausa tea boiled over a cookfire with your extended family (it makes you vomit, which is supposed to be good for you). As you dip your bowl into the cauldron, you share  your dreams from the night before, since the warn you of dangers to come.  I dreamed of having dinner with a family of skeletons, and they said someone both old and young was going to die soon.  That day and old man died, as did an infant.

In Africa and Indonesia, where I've also lived, Islam has a much more antagonistic relationship with the animist religions that preceded it. In Indonesia, car wrecks are common and it's believed that ghosts of people who died haunt the cars they died in, so magic mechanics are very common, relying on islamic exorcism to free the cars. They also do it for people, pinching you really painfully to free you of the evil spirit that has latched itself to you. TV shows sometimes have the Muslim version of the exorcist, complete with spinning heads and everything.  But still old traditions live on, including spirit possession.  Dukuns are consulted to hex enemies or offer protection.  Unlike Conservative American Christians who treat the bible as a legal document b/c their education system has been cut and they lack the reading comprehension skills to notice the bible was supposedly written by people other than god (the chapter titles weren't enough of a clue?), Islam's conceit is that the book is word-for-word god's to do manual. Since religion is very much a legal system, the Adat or customary law of religious peoples holds an important place... this sometimes ties into magical beliefs as well.

In poor parts of the cities and rural areas people still worship the old gods in West Africa as well.  I saw a seance in Niamey once. It was surreal that people could play their instruments at that pace *all day* while in trance.  It was incredible.  As the mediums whipped, beat and burned themselves with open flame, the ultimately became possessed, convulsing uncontrollably with thick white froth coming from their mouth and nose.  When one got possessed they would sit on another, causing them to convulse and froth as well.  I've never seen anything like it.  Then they would be perfectly calm, dried snot crusted on their lips, and speak the words of colonial French generals or anyone else who had died in the area.  Given my prowess in palm reading, a local soma (witchdoctor of sorts) offered to initiate me into somahood.  He would have had to kill a goat and I felt sort of bad about blood sacrifice so I declined the offer.

Here in Los Angeles, i live close to a Sanctuario de la Santa Muerte. 

The Sanctuary has services every so often.  The Santa Muerte (Holy Death) is believed to be tied to a very old Mexican diety, but she is consulted by an increasing number of Latin American Catholics.  She is sort of the patron saint of those who aren't good enough to be among the "good people" of the world.  Corrupt police, drug dealers, gang members, the LGBT community, people who are in a life that demands doing what the church considers "wrong" who don't feel virtuous enough to be heard by Virgin Mary may come to the Santa Muerte for protection. Offerings might be a small one-dollar bottle of tequila or some cigarettes.  Those in the know say she really likes water.  Some of the "good" Latino Catholics I know regard her with a bit of fear, as if asking her for her help is some sort of black magic that will stain you forever.

In 2011 lit a 7-day candle to the Santissima Muerte around my birthday, which falls close to Halloween and Dia de los Muertos.  I was staying in an enormous artist's loft-- with a theatre and gallery and walls that didn't quite reach the ceiling, it was dark and dusty and rustic-- but everyone else was gone on trips of some sort. I was up all night writing an article for publication, and I heard a hissing noise coming from the kitchen.  When I arrived a pot of water was boiling on the range.  The range was turned off.  I set the pot on the other (cool) burner and walked around searching for the person who must have turned on the range.  No one was there.  A few minutes later, the pot boiled again.  The previous burner was now cool, but the burner under the pot felt piping hot.  Confused, I poured myself tea leaving much of the water in the pot, and it stopped. 

The next night, again around 3am, I was doing dishes in the kitchen and behind me and I heard the pot boiling once again.  I took the pot, set it on the other burner and returned to my dishes.  A few minutes later, the previous burner hand cooled but the pot was now boiling on the second burner.  I poured myself tea and it stopped.  I told my friends and they said I was crazy. My friend Isaac insisted I must have been drinking and just forgot I turned it on.

The third night I went out to some warehouse parties with friends for my birthday. Around 2:30 me and a friend dropped by my house to get a bottle of liquor for an afterparty.  I don't know how I knew it was going to happen right then, but I did. I said "Isaac, wait I want to show you something.  Look at this pot." We looked at it for a moment, and he looked at me confused.  "What?" The pot started hissing.  Isaac checked the burner.  It was turned off.  He started freaking out and jumping around. "Now watch this." I took the pot off the burner and set it on the other one.  I had Isaac feel the old burner.  It was cool.  And the pot started boiling on the new burner. "No way!" Isaac kept gripping his hair.  I poured myself tea and it stopped.

After my birthday, it never did it again.

I also saw a super heavy table move on it's own in a haunted ranch in Montana once.

So I guess, believing in stuff... idk what to believe.  If god is real, I can't help but think he'd be pretty upset that people have the audacity to speak for him, so organized religion, being inherently political, almost seems to stand in the way of god as opposed to being some sort of ticket to heaven. That said, I'm glad the Nazi Pope is gone.  Do I believe in the afterlife? Tarot cards? Heaven and Hell? I really don't know. Fantasy has always been an escape from reality, not something that would make me believe in magic.  But I can say that I've seen some seriously weird shit, and that makes me seriously wonder.

This year I lit a candle to the Santa Muerte for Dia de los Muertos and placed a bowl of water and an ivy that I got at Food For Less.  I'd killed 7 English ivy plants and I really wanted this one to live.  That thing is frigging enormous now, tendrils spanning 6 feet.  None of the ivy I bought before or after lived. Was it the Santa Muerte?  I really couldn't say.

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