"Only the shallow know themselves." - Oscar Wilde
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By Doroteo Arango II in "The day the bleep bloops died" on MeFi

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Damn, so sad!

It was going to be part of my 'lets see how things have changed in 15 years' stop-over in London. I have a sweet story from Fabric, and I am waiting for some automated tests to finish, so story time it is.

In 2002 I made a literal last minute decision, standing at the check-in line at the airport after a visit to my sister, to stay in London and see how long and how far I could make it with 100 pounds and basic English.

It took me a day to find the lusophone underground in a hostel in Kensal Green, where Portuguese nationals were more than happy to sell their IDs to recently arrived Brazilians. I got an education on how to live at the very edge of the law in the UK, specially how to get a job and a bank account.

With 5 pounds left I got a job in the kitchen of a fancy sushi restaurant in Notting Hill. There I met the Mexican underground, which had its epicenter around Earl's court.

I ended up hot bunking in a studio with 6 other Mexican dudes and a girl. Seven dudes hot bunking on 2 mattresses on the floor, while the girl got the one tiny 'bedroom'.

We were all in the service industry, from dishwashers to pub chefs. We did not like the wealthy Mexican kids who, as was in fashion at the time, would go to 'work' in London for a year, getting money from home and partying all the time. In my flat we were always working, always saving money and sending it back home.

Mario and me talked a lot. He had won a radio contest in Mexico to see U2 in concert in London and meet Bono. He did not care for U2, but he had been trying to make it to the USA for years, and this sounded like the next best thing. He did not make it to the concert, he ditched the radio contest people and walked around central London talking to anyone with a Latin American accent he could find. That is how he ended up at the house.

He tells me that he thinks he is gay, but is not sure. He talks about how although he does not believe in the church, inside him he stills feels like a sinner, and may never feel better. He never felt like he belonged in Mexico, he was hated and harassed by the police, the church, his family, his bosses. In London at least he was invisible.

Mario got me a job as a bar-back at a place in Kings Cross. We worked hard and fast, and in a couple of months we were promoted to bartenders, and we got enough shifts in other bars that I quit my sushi job and Mario quit his cleaning job. We met a ton of other people in the industry, and as is always the case when living underground, we ended up owing and being owed many favors.

Some British dudes needed help dealing with some Peruvian people, we helped move things along, and they offered free back-door access to Fabric (and to parties at I place I think was called Egg).

Here I need to explain that we lived in a cultural bubble. All Mexican, all undocumented, all homesick. We would either be working, sleeping, or getting stupid drunk with other Latinos in the same situation. We knew nothing of London's (or the UK's) culture, except where to score weed, where to find cheap hot spicy food, and how to keep out of the police's radar. To be honest, we were scared of everything. Fabric and Egg just sounded too scary.

But one day we are bored after our shift ends at 1 a.m. On the way home we meet up with a few other Mexican friends, who just scored what may or may not be proper MDMA. We remember Fabric, and decide to go check it out and try the pills.

We go there, call our contact, and we get in through the back door. We get all the free alcohol we want behind the bar, and we are having a great time. Most of us have done some serious drugs before, and are willing to take the risk with mystery pills, but Mario has a virgin mind, barely even drinks, and really really wants a pill. We give Mario, honest to God, a baby aspirin, tell him to hold it under his tongue.

Next day we have the mother of all hangovers, but Mario is super happy. He tells us how he felt so happy on 'E', how he danced and danced, and started feeling all the love in the air. And he met some French dude on the floor, and they made out, and it did NOT feel like a sin, it felt RIGHT and GOOD.

I came back to Mexico soon after to look after my mother and lost touch.

In late 2004 Mario finds me in MySpace or Friendster or whatever people used at the time . Mexico City just legalized same sex marriage, and he is getting married to the same guy he met at Fabric. In 2005 they went back to London and have been together since (what will happen to them after brexit? no idea).

So the plan was to do a 15 year reunion in 2017, and go drop some baby aspirin at fabric, if they let old people in.
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omegar
77 days ago
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México, D.F.
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Star Wars album covers

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Star Wars Album Covers

Star Wars Album Covers

Star Wars Album Covers

I totally loved this...famous this...famous album covers modified to include Star Wars characters. characters. The Bjork/Leia one is just perfect. More album/movie mashups on this Instagram account (like this Game of Thrones take on Sgt. Pepper's).

Tags: moviesmusicremixStar Wars
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omegar
101 days ago
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México, D.F.
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istoner
101 days ago
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The Bjork one is amazing.

Unicode

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I'm excited about the proposal to add a "brontosaurus" emoji codepoint because it has the potential to bring together a half-dozen different groups of pedantic people into a single glorious internet argument.
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popular
100 days ago
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omegar
101 days ago
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México, D.F.
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Covarr
101 days ago
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🎄🎃🏀🎼🍦
Moses Lake, WA
wreichard
101 days ago
In scared little-kid voice: I see empty boxes.
drchuck
101 days ago
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I want a brontosaurus emoji.
Long Island, NY
satadru
100 days ago
Only if we also get an apatosaurus emoji.
tante
102 days ago
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"Unicode" (and the absurdity of technical standards when it comes to language and expression
Oldenburg/Germany
wyeager
101 days ago
Unresolved Tension! https://xkcd.com/859/

By Rhaomi in "Story of Your Life" on MeFi

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I am so super jazzed about this. "Story of Your Life" was the story that got me into Ted Chiang's work, and remains among my all-time favorite short stories, of any genre. I was a little leery of the Eric Heisserer screenplay (read the whole thing when it leaked as part of the 2012 Black List), but honestly the changes it makes are necessary to make the plot viable in the mass market, rather than some inaccessible arthouse flick à la Upstream Color. Not that that wouldn't be amazing, but it more likely wouldn't be finished at all if they'd attempted that approach.

(For those seeing the trailer for the first time -- good news is there are plot twists the trailer doesn't even hint at. Unfortunately they are about the most conventional aspects of this adaptation.)

Also, I'm taking this opportunity to post updated links from my 2010 post on Chiang, including links to his newer work:

Tower of Babylon (1990) - A Bronze Age laborer joins the construction of an impossibly high structure on a mission to breach the vaults of Heaven. Nebula Award (Best Novelette).

Division by Zero (1991) - A brilliant mathematician wrestles with the consequences of her earthshattering proof.

Understand (1991) [.mp3 1 2 3 4 ] - An experimental treatment bestows a regular person with superintelligence, propelling him into a dangerous series of mindgames.

Story of Your Life (1998) - A talented linguist reflects on her life as she struggles to grasp the meaning of an alien language. Nebula Award (Best Novella).

The Evolution of Human Science (2000) - Scientists despond as their mentally-augmented descendants leave them in the dust.

Seventy-Two Letters (2000) - In a world where mystical scrolls impart animating power, a shocking discovery threatens to upend society.

Hell is the Absence of God (2001) [full .mp3 ] - An unbeliever struggles with the question of faith when God is scientific fact and angels routinely visit the earth. Hugo, Locus, Nebula Awards (Best Novelette).

Liking What You See: A Documentary (2002) - A documentary examines people's reactions to a technology that allows one to see others without bias or judgment. Chiang declined a Hugo nomination.

What's Expected of Us (2006) [full .mp3] - A simple time machine undermines the concept of free will, with disastrous consequences.

The Merchant and the Alchemist's Gate (2007) [full .mp3 ] - An ancient alchemist introduces a traveling merchant to a mysterious time-traveling gateway. Hugo, Nebula Awards (Best Novelette).

Exhalation (2009) [full .mp3 ] - A non-human scholar relates the dissection of his own brain, and the implications his discoveries hold for his curious clockwork universe. Locus, Hugo Awards (Best Short Story).

The Lifecycle of Software Objects (2010) - The relationship between people and their creations are explored in a near-future world of sentient AI.

Dacey's Patent Automatic Nanny (2011) [Ctrl+F "dacey"] - Victorian social mores are explored through the efforts of a disgruntled inventor to devise a mechanical nanny.

The Truth of Fact, the Truth of Feeling (2013) - The experience of two societies separated by space and time contrasts the natures of truth, fiction, and collective memory.

The Great Silence (2015) - A heartbreaking message from the parrots of Arecibo to the builders of the great radio telescope that lies there.


You can find the first eight stories, plus extensive commentary, in the updated collection Stories of Your Life and Others (Amazon). His short story on the Automatic Nanny is available through the fantasy anthology The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities.
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bibliogrrl
106 days ago
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Chicago!
omegar
106 days ago
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México, D.F.
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adamcole
105 days ago
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Ted Chiang, y'all. Fucking READ HIM.
Philadelphia, PA, USA

Cuba's homemade Internet, delivered by sneakernet

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The always-on Internet we take for granted in the US is more difficult to come by in Cuba. Some residents subscribe to a service called El Paquete Semanal ("The Weekly Package") where someone comes to your house with a 1Tb external drive and loads the past week's Internet highlights onto your computer.

El Paquete is a weekly service where someone (typically found through word of mouth) comes to your home with a disk (usually a 1TB external USB drive) containing a weekly download of the most recent films, soap operas, documentaries, sport, music, mobile apps, magazines, and even web sites. For 2 CUC a week Cubans have access to a huge repository of media while turning a blind eye to copyright.

Cubans told me of children waiting anxiously for "El Paquete Day" when they'd get the next set of cartoons, music and shows.

Tags: Cuba   video
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omegar
106 days ago
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México, D.F.
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Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Your Greatest Weakness

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Hovertext:
The opposite of Dunning-Kruger isn't that great either.

New comic!
Today's News:
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omegar
107 days ago
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México, D.F.
popular
108 days ago
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francisga
110 days ago
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How to nail that interview.
Lafayette, LA, USA
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