Open Thread: Cute Wallaby

Today's open thread is brought to you by a very cute wallaby and a fictional diary about Elizabeth I.

Regular posting will resume Tuesday, May 1st. I apologize for this disruption in regular posting.


chris the cynic said...

Also, for reasons that are unknown to me, whenever I encounter the word "wallaby" it quickly morphs in my mind into "wombat".

Amaryllis said...

your zombie apocalypse team being you and the protagonists of the last three things you've read/watched

Hmmm. That gives me:
1. Mohan K. Gandhi (before he was the Mahatma)
2. Senator Elias Gotobed (Anthony Trollope's The American Senator
3. Mirei (Marie Brennan's Warrior and Witch)

The zombies don't have a chance. And all I have to do is sit back and take notes.

(If we disqualify Gandhi for being nonfictional, and also because I've only gotten through the Prologue of Great Soul, the substitute team member is Ruth Rendell's Inspector Wexford.)

Amaryllis said...

The wombat lives across the seas,
Among the far Antipodes.
He may exist on nuts and berries,
Or then again, on missionaries;
His distant habitat precludes
Conclusive knowledge of his moods,
But I would not engage the wombat
In any form of mortal combat.

-Ogden Nash

(Wikipedia, presumably edited by someone who does have conclusive local knowledge, notes that "Humans who accidentally find themselves in an affray with a wombat may find it best to scale a tree until the animal calms and leaves. " I think you'd be better off with the wallaby.)

Mary Kaye said...

I am facing zombies with Ariane Emory (undoubtedly a genius but I can't help thinking Florian and Catlin would be more useful), Jamethiel (seriously kickass but her combat style is too up close and personal for use against zombies), and Agent K from Men in Black (okay, he'll do it just fine). I can definitely just sit back and take notes.

Everything else I've been reading is about chess. It strikes me that literature may not contain a scene with chess and zombies--a startling omission! Or is there one in the Jane Austen pastiches?

Mary Kaye said...

Tangential from the wombat: My Mammalogy instructor, on a field expedition, removed a tree squirrel from a live trap and was about to explain to us how you determine the animal's gender. In the course of doing so he put it down on his leg, at which point it bit through his jeans and would not let go. (The reason the animal is "it" in this story should be obvious--we never did determine its gender.)

He remarked ruefully, afterwards, that small marsupials have teeth ill-adapted for biting people and usually do not try, and that he had been working on marsupials too long and lost his rodent savviness.

The other good story from that expedition came from one of my mousetraps, a narrow metal box with a push-door at one end, about 2"x8". I picked it up and realized immediately it was much heavier than a mouse, or even two mice, so I pushed the door open. Inside, completely filling the space, was the angriest chipmunk I have ever seen. His limbs were pinned to his sides, luckily for me as I'm sure he would have gone for my throat in an instant. I don't know how he managed to get in there.

Ana Mardoll said...

Love it. :D

As long as we're swapping animal-poems:


by: Rupert Brooke (1887-1915)

ISH (fly-replete, in depth of June,
Dawdling away their wat'ry noon)
Ponder deep wisdom, dark or clear,
Each secret fishy hope or fear.
Fish say, they have their Stream and Pond;
But is there anything Beyond?
This life cannot be All, they swear,
For how unpleasant, if it were!
One may not doubt that, somehow, Good
Shall come of Water and of Mud;
And, sure, the reverent eye must see
A Purpose in Liquidity.
We darkly know, by Faith we cry,
The future is not Wholly Dry.
Mud unto mud! -- Death eddies near --
Not here the appointed End, not here!
But somewhere, beyond Space and Time.
Is wetter water, slimier slime!
And there (they trust) there swimmeth One
Who swam ere rivers were begun,
Immense, of fishy form and mind,
Squamous, omnipotent, and kind;
And under that Almighty Fin,
The littlest fish may enter in.
Oh! never fly conceals a hook,
Fish say, in the Eternal Brook,
But more than mundane weeds are there,
And mud, celestially fair;
Fat caterpillars drift around,
And Paradisal grubs are found;
Unfading moths, immortal flies,
And the worm that never dies.
And in that Heaven of all their wish,
There shall be no more land, say fish.


Zombie Apocalypse-wise, I'm left with Anne Boleyn, Ariel the Little Mermaid, and a crocodile expert from a National Geographic documentary. I'm not hopeful. :(

Ana Mardoll said...

A quick search of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Dawn of the Dreadfuls, and Dreadfully Ever After shows no use of the word "chess". :)

Selcaby said...

Poor chipmunk. How did you get him out?

Laiima said...

The Cyteen omnibus was the first CJ Cherryh I ever read, which occurred just last week. So I recognized the names of Ariane Emory, Florian and Catlin! Yay!!

I also have the Cyteen people; Dag and Fawn Bluefield (LM Bujold's Sharing Knife series); but then there isn't a third thing.

Zombies would probably eat me immediately. Oh well.

chris the cynic said...

I have a textbook, well actually part of a textbook as evidenced by the volume starting on page 663, called "How Does a Poem Mean?" There is a bookmark in it (a ticket to an Obama event that I sadly never got a chance to use because they gave out too many tickets) right at that poem. Immediately before is Departmental by Robert Frost, and immediately after is A Deep Discussion by Richard Moore. Good poems all.

graylor said...

In the zombie apocaplypse, I'm likely to survive because Sam&Dean (they're a unit, okay?) and Sam Vimes would be with me. Oh, and Meredith Gentry, who might or might not be helpful depending on her angst to mysticism factor at the moment. If Merry could bring her men, though, we'd be set.

Launcifer said...

your zombie apocalypse team being you and the protagonists of the last three things you've read/watched

See, I'm sorely tempted to cheat here, since I've been doing some beta-reading and proofing for people looking to submit short stories to Games Workshop's publishing arm. That would give me a superhuman killing machine, a 2000-year old vampire lady and a bound daemon which may or may not also be Jimmy Page. I might stand a chance with that lot.

Last three novels I've dipped into recently would give me... er... Steerpike, the Devil and Thomas Convenant. Methinks I'll not be surviving this zombie apocalypse.

Mary Kaye said...

If I recall correctly, we managed to open the door all the way and gravity-assist the chipmunk out of the mousetrap into a more appropriately sized container.

One more lesson from that class: I was in the Cascade Mountains, in a grassy meadow, laying those mousetraps. I walked across the meadow and laid 25 traps over a space of maybe 100 feet. I didn't see a single mouse nor any sign of their presence. I walked immediately back to the start of my trapline and picked them up, and I had 23 mice. It was astounding. There must have been a hundred or more deermice in that meadow, but I could probably have been there all day and not seen one. It brought home just how little of the natural world I can actually observe or grasp.

Amaryllis said...

@Ana: I've always liked that one. "Wetter water, slimier slime!"

@Laiima: I should think that Dag and Fawn between could handle a host host of the undead.

@Launcifer: Oh dear oh dear oh dear. You, on the other hand, are toast.

depizan said...

Oh, well, if we're doing the zombie apocalypse thing here, let me copy and paste my team (I left it in a reply on Chris's blog).

I don't think this works well with what I've been reading, watching, and playing, but what the hell. I apparently get Han Solo (I'm currently re-reading Brian Daley's Star Wars EU trilogy), whoever the hell the protagonist of Star Wars:The Clone Wars is - can I have Ahsoka Tano? She's the least annoying, and... SW:TOR doesn't have a protagonist, it's an MMO, will my Imperial Agent do? (Yes, I've been rather Star Wars binging.). I think I'll make out all right, as long as they all stay pointed at the zombies. There's even some chance they'd get along. And, even allowing for the high quantity of recklessness and bad luck there, I think they'd - we'd - save the world.

I still think the world would be saved quicker with Chris's team, and several other people's teams, though. Not because I'd actually have trouble pointing them at the zombies - zombies take precedence over quite a lot and my Agent is bright enough not to mention his occupation to an obvious Jedi - but because of the aforementioned bad luck and recklessness and their unfortunate tendencies to get captured, injured, and otherwise delayed and waylayed.

Silver Adept said...

Huh. Okay. That gives me U.S. Marshall Mary Shannon, an Oxford historian from 2060, and Fire, from Cashore's novel of the same name. With a quick instruction on where to shoot the shotgun, I think I'd have a good chance of surviving. Although I don't think Fire's talents, past the point of being able to shoot well, would be of help.

Fluffy_goddess said...

your zombie apocalpyse team being you and the protagonists of the last three things you've read/watched/played

I've been reading romantic fanfiction and watching global, so I'm not sure of which are the protagonists in the pairings, but it would be either...

Walter Sherman from The Finder
Arthur or Eames from Inception
Thor or Loki from comic-book Thor.

I'm feeling fairly secure with any of them, really.

Rikalous said...

I've been reading Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Pride and Prejudice without zombies in tandem, so I can tell what the zombie version changed. I've been watching back episodes of Once Upon a Time, and I last played a puzzle flash game where you try to lead the zombie you love into a cage for safe-keeping while avoiding being killed by her or the zombies you don't love.

With the "and Zombies" Elizabeth Bennet version I've either got a master zombie slayer or an intelligent and refined young lady to go with a bail agent and someone who can jump many times their own height without apparent effort. I'm reasonably safe.

Actually, if we count webcomics I read recently because they updated recently, I could find myself with Agatha Heterodyne and John Egbert, which makes my future essentially secured.

Arresi said...

Huh. I think this depends on precisely what counts. Let's see, in reverse order, I watched the music video for "The Rifle's Spiral" by the Shins (, read some Avengers fanfic, rewatched the first half of Batman, watched an entire episode of the Mythbusters, and watched an entire episode of the Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes, and watched the entirety of Captain America: The First Avenger. So, depending on what counts and what doesn't, some combination of the following:

1. the lady magician ("The Rifle's Spiral")
2. Captain America/Steve Rogers (movie'verse)
3. Iron Man/Tony Stark (movie'verse)
4. Batman/Bruce Wayne (1989 movie)
5. Jamie (Mythbusters)
6. Adam (Mythbusters)
7. Hawkeye/Clint Barton (A:EMH)
8. the Hulk/Bruce Banner (A: EMH
9. Captain America/Steve Rogers (movie'verse)

I . . . think I've got decent odds.

Will Wildman said...

Hmm. If it's the last three things I've properly watched/read (rather than just 'is on in the background while I'm washing dishes') then I've got Sam&Dean from Supernatural, Neo from The Matrix, and Alex (I guess?) from Everything Is Illuminated. If we're inside the Matrix, obviously having Neo on my team is guaranteed victory. If we're not, then Sam&Dean are our major source of brawn, with Neo and Alex providing the comic relief that will prevent Sam&Dean from descending into debilitating angst. Either way, not looking too bad. And if any of them got disqualified for whatever reason, I'd end up with The Bride from Kill Bill or one of my Star Wars TOR heroes, so, still reasonably optimistic about my chances.

Dezster said...

Well, I think I'm in luck then. I get Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Fire from Kristin Cashore's novel Fire and Katsa from Kristin Cashore's novel Graceling. We're gonna kick some butt!

chris the cynic said...

That's my thing about getting characters from divergent settings together. Neo in the Matrix is is quite different than Neo not in the Matrix.

JC Denton and Tsukasa a pretty well tied to their settings (Tsukasa moreso but his setting doesn't make a lot of sense for a zombie apocalypse) which is why I figure that my team assembled in 2052 which was somehow linked to the platonic ideal of a game from 2010.

Of course, in that case you have the setting to deal with, JC's 2052 has a conspiracy on the verge of taking over the world, the Matrix has the machines. If you're in the Matrix, how are the machines dealing with the zombies? (Are they doing as bad a job as they did with Smith?)

Anyway, I've written somewhat more on this topic, a snippet of a zombieless conversation that, in the absence of zombies, would have much closer to the end of the story than it would be in the zombie having version.

Will Wildman said...

If you're in the Matrix, how are the machines dealing with the zombies? (Are they doing as bad a job as they did with Smith?)

I wrote and rewrote a couple of paragraphs that always boiled down to "based on how badly they handled Smith, I wouldn't trust the machines to handle an outbreak of hiccups, let alone a zombie infection".

Have I talked endlessly about how I'd have rewritten the final part to the Matrix trilogy before? Because it would have been different. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it would have revolved around a villain turning heroic.

Matrix Revelations hinges on the idea that the machines will, for some reason, honor an agreement which they have no pressing reason to honor, and morally hinges on the idea that Smith is far more evil than the machines. Reloaded drew a clear parallel between Smith and the 'redpill' humans - both have been released/exiled from their previous worldview and institutions into a system where they are utterly independent but everything is hostile to them. It is a terrifying, freeing thing. Revelations ditches that in favour of Smith as some kind of ill-defined devil figure.

Smith hated the Matrix because he hated humans. He hunted Neo like a sad retiree coming back to the old shop because they don't know what to do without their old job. Neo didn't need to fight him - Neo needed to negotiate with him: help me break the machines' system and set free all of the humans, and we will leave and never come back, leaving you as the god of the Matrix, unsullied by organics, clean as code. You will be able to do anything you want, anything at all.

Instead we've got the messiah making a deal with the oppressive empire to be nice to his people if he sacrifices himself to kill one of their servants who has taken free will and run with it. What.

chris the cynic said...

Not that I disagree with that in general, but
A) Could the world really support such a large human population? People who never move and stay peacefully in their vats probably require a lot less energy to sustain them than a walking talking population. Energy that, as near as I can tell, will not be coming from any normal food source. (What with the humans stupidly utterly destroying the entire biosphere.)
B) What about the other programs? Unless the plan calls for splitting off a second matrix for them to live in (which wouldn't be a bad idea, but why would Smith allow part of his domain to be taken away) all of the programs are going to be left as Smith's slaves.


Personally, I'm just* annoyed that they never really considered that programs ought to be able to do things other than walk around, fire guns, and preform martial arts. You get vague mentions of programs doing other things, but it never really comes to anything.

If there's a program that controls the movement of birds, as we are told there is, that makes for some interesting possibilities come a civil war. Even if said program is non-sentient, and there's really no reason for it to be otherwise, why couldn't a sentient program take control?

Ok, so you see a little bit of the possibilities when the programs brick in the exits to the safe-house in the first movie, but the Matrix trilogy basically represents a war in a place where everything, all the laws of the universe and everything within the universe, is subject to change -the only exception being a few human beings who are disconnected from the system- and then doesn't really explore it.

Now at first the idea is to keep everyone nice sleeping sheeple who have no idea what's going on, but if that pretense of normalcy were dropped, imagine what could happen. Eywa sending reinforcements at the critical moment would be as nothing compared to the things someone messing with the Matrix's programming might do.

Who says that when it rains, the things falling down have to be rain drops? How much code would one have to change to replace those raindrops with some other object?

For that matter, keeping all else the same, why should lightning strikes be random? If you fiddled with the program that controlled that, think of the advantage that might give.


* "Just" is probably the wrong word here. I'm annoyed at many things. Many, many things.

Silver Adept said...

I think we're supposed to believe that the symbiosis between humanity-as-battery and the machines that depend on them for power is what keeps the programs from waging full-out war with each other - if you kill your power supply trying to kill someone else's power supply, you lose. Either that, or we're supposed to believe that the only glitches that would affect the smooth operation of the Matrix are vested in The One, and all other programs, save those who resist their deletion (because they were touched by The One) are perfectly happy with their lot in life.

To which I wonder whether, really, the Architect and the Oracle have a handshake (or more) agreement to play a Masquerade of their own - no fair changing the program deliberately to give yourself an advantage, but if you can get The One on your side or "accidentally" let some humans out so they can be a chaos force in your favor and have plausible deniability, then game on.

But yes, there are a lot of things to say about the Matrix where you think that the people of The Methods Of Rationality could come in and clean up.

chris the cynic said...

Sure, in the beginning they want to keep things to a minimum which is why they limit themselves to possessing people in broad daylight and changing architecture. But consider Smith's revolution which happened largely offscreen, there must have been a time in there where some programs, sensing their impending Smithification decided to forget the whole shadow war thing, pull out all the stops, and do whatever they could possibly do.

Lonespark said...

Wow, you guys are almost making me want to see the two other Matrix movies. Almost.

Silver Adept said...

@Lonespark -

There are lots of reasons to see the other two Matrix movies. The plot is not one of them. You can see what would become the digital battles of Lord of the Rings, for example, in the Burly Brawl of Neo versus the Agents Smith. (assuming I have my timelines correct)

@chris the cynic-

Maybe a lot of those programs aren't aware enough to sense what's going on elsewhere. If Smith inserts himself far enough up the chain, he can get all the child programs and objects before they realize something's wrong. If there are only a few program types, like the Agents, that are aware of something more than their assigned duties, then so long as Smith avoids them before he gets enough to be a force, then Smith amasses a lot of allies before he has to deal with hostile forces.

All speculation, though.

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