Donning Red

An excerpt from the fictional series Wokest Tales of Truth.

We all know Little Red Riding Hood as an old-timey European folk tale, but what if it took place in modern-day America? Now, sit back and enjoy our presentation of Little Red Riding Hood as told from a hyper-Americanized perspective. For the comfort of others, please no smoking.

Red hon, I just got off the phone with your grandma. She’s stuck in bed with gout because she refuses to go to the doctor. Can you deliver some food to her house?

Why doesn’t she just go to the doctor?

Well, honey, she refuses to participate in socialized medicine. She believes the last president was a secret Muslim hell-bent on destroying America. She rejects anything his administration implemented. She thinks the previous president hated her freedoms — and she’ll do anything to stand up for the America she so dearly loves.

Is that why she’s on Facebook complaining everyday?

Now, Red, can you please just deliver this basket of canned goods to your grandma?

Okay mom.

As she left the house, Red put on her red-white-and-blue hoodie. It was her favorite. Her dad gave it to her right before his deployment. He was a Navy Seal that served his country proudly.

Being a Millennial, Red always sought the easy path through life, so today she decided to take the shortcut through the woods despite what her mom told her about going the longer more secure route.

As Red walked through the woods, a wolf spotted her coming.

Hello dear, don’t you look every bit of delectable today?

Red just kept walking, she couldn’t hear him anyway because she had her wireless Apple AirPods in her ears while listening to a Spotify playlist.

Being of the wiser baby-boomer generation, the wolf knew he could easily take advantage of this clueless child that walked right by him. He guessed her destination because there was only one house at the end of the road and he jogged as fast as he could.

Upon arriving at the house, out of shape and out of breath, the wolf heard the sounds of FOX NEWS blaring through the windows. He banged on the door yelling “Open up! The liberals are coming to take your guns!”

Granny yelled back, “I never lock my front door! Come in and hide my guns!”

The wolf entered and gathered up all of Granny’s guns and threw them out the window, leaving the poor woman defenseless. Granny was too busy mailing out checks to Republican politicians and coal-mining CEOs to notice. She knew they’d use the money to create jobs and would manage her Social Security funds better than anyone.

The wolf sat by the front door waiting for Red while Granny remained distracted in the kitchen, yelling about liberals.

When Red finally arrived, she popped out her AirPods and knocked on the door. The wolf quickly answered and told her to come in. He had a college loan application ready and waiting, all Red had to do was sign it and she’d be on the hook for $50,000. When she wouldn’t sign, the wolf got angry and approached Red menacingly.

All she could think about was what her dad told her before he left, “the only thing that can stop rampaging evil is a good-guy with a gun.” After the initial pop, Red’s ringing ears heard nothing as she emptied a magazine of Black Talon hollow-points into the savage beast. When the body hit the floor she re-holstered her concealed-carry firearm.

Granny! It’s me, Red! Are you okay!?

As Granny emerged from the kitchen carrying an apple pie, she and Red turned to the American flag that flew majestically in the front-yard. With right hands over hearts, they recited the Pledge of Allegiance. America had become great again.

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Intro To Magic

An excerpt from the fictional tales of Way of the Wizard: Modern Magic

So the question becomes, how do we program our world? There are those among us that claim such alteration is possible and we have no cause to doubt them. Skepticism is certainly not reason enough, as that’s merely a form of stodgy conservatism. To make any change, great or small, we must believe in its possibility.

Typically, when we start using computers, we’re not even aware that computer-programming is a thing. The operating system, and the applications running on top, just exist. And when we learn that actual people wrote said software, we believe it to be a feat apart from ourselves, a task undertaken by geniuses tucked away in a laboratory. We could never do that, it’s simply not possible.

We wouldn’t even know where to begin. What do we write, where do we write it? And if we dare look it up, we’re deluged by complexity. What if we look for a book? Which book do we pick? And once we start, how do we keep our head above the sea of uncertainty? Plus, a simplistic step-by-step guide is one thing, an unguided project is a far different beast.

It turns out that software development is more art than math. It is not so much completing equations, but a constant treadmill of trial-and-error. We should therefore expect world-level programming to be quite the same. For instance, let’s examine a realistic scene from the desk of a software developer:

“Will it work? Let’s see. Nope. Okay try something else. Nope. Wait, why’s it doing that now!? Okay how about this. Hmm. Okay let me look something up. Ah, okay, I’ll try this. Ooh better. Ahh, nope, now the other part doesn’t work. Okay let me take a break and see if inspiration strikes. [Later that day…] Aha, that’s it! [Fervent typing ensues…] It works! Now onto the next problem….”

This common scenario plays itself out again and again. The solution so often comes from outside the programmer. Either it comes from an actual archive of answers (a forum for programmers), or from some mystical source of inspiration that’s accessed by the programmer’s subconscious once he engages in another task.

Let’s not gloss over this point, that the key to a programmer’s code comes from external sources. One source is a repository of discussion compiled by programmers over the years. And another source is some other-worldly well-of-knowledge that provides solutions for problems posed to it while the mind is no longer actively searching.

So a wizard should expect much of the same. First, he needs to grasp that magic exists. Second, he must believe it’s a process he can proficiently navigate. Third, he must dive into some introductory materials that provide a cryptic set of rules and steps for completing basic but essentially useless projects. Then as aspirations expand, on comes a contentious time of attempting to self-solve a particular problem. This is accompanied by research into the ways of others who solved similar issues, alongside bouts of inspiration from one’s own imagination. Voila! A wizard is born.

In programming, there is no set canon of introductory materials. Programmers learn their craft by various means. There are a myriad of languages and techniques and styles of programming. There’s countless sources of introductions. The common theme though, is the intent and determination of the practitioner. And there is one other commonality: every programmer begins by writing a small program that prints a simple phrase, a very telling phrase: hello, world

Ancient Bindings

An excerpt from the fictional tales of Way of the Wizard: Modern Magic

Okay Rich, blah blah blah computer-programming, but what about magic?

But don’t you see, if the world is a computer simulation, then programming IS magic:
World.place(object)

But here’s the thing, the easiest programming to understand is typically the most restrictive. In the high-level environments you’re granted access to a few preset commands that aren’t very customizable. In order to tap into the low-level stuff that alters individual pixels of the interface, you’ll need to delve into the ancient API.

The problem with ancient APIs though, is their archaic format and overall complexity. For instance: in high-level programming, objects are managed for you, whereas in low-level, you need to account for their maintenance and dissolution. To call something with the ancient API typically takes more consideration and is much more prone to error.

And of course, if you attempt to build an entire program by invoking the ancient API, then the complexity and bugginess is going to compound. To account for this, programmers oftentimes use bindings that simplify access to the ancient API using a more modern parlance. This also allows the program’s heavy-lifting to be done in a high-level style whereas certain customizations can be made with bindings to the ancient API.

This is what we wizards seek, the bindings into the ancient API. It is simply not worth trying to create a program from the ancient API, the time and complexity are too much. We’d be decades working on a teetering foundation — we need instead to stand on the shoulders of giants. But this takes great discernment of course — because how can we recognize what we don’t know?

Yet that is the wizard’s gift — the ability to recognize a source of power. It’s no different than how a chef recognizes a source of flavor — it’s a built-in attribute of the character. And like a programmer, a wizard conjures whatever needs programming. Either he sees a hole that needs filling or he’s the middleman between clients and their vision.

Through observation we can witness that this world is not merely a pre-compiled binary, there’s also some scripting on the fly. As in a scripting language, code can write code. But of course we must know the correct keywords and syntax as well as the appropriate method of code execution. Programmers for instance don’t simply open up a text document and write random words and symbols.

No, wizards must learn their interface, they must study syntax and keywords. They must seek out repositories of source-code, deciphering the instruction-sets within. They must understand where and when to apply such commands and obtain the tools by which to evoke their spells. This is the way of the wizard, programmer of worlds.

Toxic Division

An excerpt from the fictional tales of The Bytekings.

Can’t we just cut ourselves off from the rest of the country?

The problem is not regional, you’ll see the split sprinkled throughout a single street.

Then how can we get rid of the troublemakers?

Let me ask you this, if an undesirable substance mixes into a desirable substance, how do you separate the two? You employ a mechanism that catches and concentrates one, then discard the trash.

Just what are you saying?

I’m saying that the undesirable substance is currently concentrating, which will soon make it ready for removal.

Wait, you mean…?

Ha, no we’re not talking about people, but toxic ideas.

But now they have power to go along with those ideas.

How do you tame an unruly child? At first you show him that you understand his hurt. Then you bring him around, introducing him to productive tasks. You give him responsibility. You provide him the dignity he never thought he had.

But what’s to say they won’t abuse the power?

Then what hope is there for the whole? Should we lord over them as masters? Why should we want to become tyrants always at the ready with rod in hand? No, if we want the world we dream of then we must strive to instill maturity within all.

Prose of Personality

An excerpt from the fictional tales of Richard Lawrence Worcestershire.

Richard Lawrence Worcestershire (pronounced like the sauce) is quite the peculiar character. Richard Lawrence Worcestershire speaks in a most erudite manner within his own mind. Of course, he has enough self-awareness to refrain from an upper-crust English accent out-loud, but mentally he’s always conversing in a highfalutin fashion, with words such as “whilst” liberally sprinkled in.

If you ever the occasion to meet Richard Lawrence Worcestershire, and you suspect he believes himself your better, you are most assuredly correct. When describing this fellow, words such as abrasive, argumentative, and pretentious come to mind. Yet despite his loftiness, Richard Lawrence Worcestershire grew up amidst mediocre means.

His vision-board contains turn of the century mansions built by barons of the so-called Gilded Age. The toils of daily life are far beneath the dignity of Richard Lawrence Worcestershire. Labor is for the little people that enjoy such trivial responsibility. No, for our dear Richard Lawrence Worcestershire, the weight of the world rests upon his shoulders.

Yet funnily, with all his superiority, Richard Lawrence Worcestershire does’t seem to accomplish much at all. Yet in his mind, what little he does do resonates exponentially, influencing the world in ways that go unnoticed by those lacking faculties to understand. This poor fellow, I can’t help but to pity him, a personality with an incongruous context.

New Chief

An excerpt from the fictional tales of The Bytekings.

Tell me, are you familiar with the concept of air supremacy?
Yeah, it has something to do with controlling the skies in battle.
Those who control the sky, determine who will die. I assume you’ve heard of the rockets my company produces?
Yes of course, they can even land themselves.
That’s right. And you’ve probably also noticed that my company makes semi-autonomous automobiles as well?
And I’ve seen the solar work you’ve been doing, it’s all quite fascinating.
Decentralized electrical power is decentralized political power.
There seems to be an underlying theme to all this.
Indeed there is. The way in which humankind is currently organized is outdated. I am going to fix that.
And those currently on top will allow you to do this?
How easy would it be for me to weaponize my rockets? How quickly could I weaponize autonomous vehicles? And I need no electrical grid to produce my power.
Just what are you saying?
Relax, I’m simply telling you what I could do, not what I will do. Tell me, are you familiar with the Simulation Hypothesis?
Yeah, the idea that our world is only a virtual reality.
Exactly, and I’ve been well aware of this condition for some time, hence my recurrent success. I lack the the fear and doubt that plague those that believe themselves living in an organic world.
Then what are you going to do?
I am an engineer by nature, a creator of systems, I am designing the foundation of the next era. I have my hands in banking, robotics, energy production, as well as transportation: terrestrial and beyond. Think of how early industrialists made their money, I have seeds in all those fields and soon my crop will establish itself.
But then what?
Then power goes to the people.

Frightful Sight

An excerpt from the fictional tales of The Winter Warren

Tom the timid rabbit spoke: I can barely see, can you help me?

The wise wizened rabbit replied: Your eyes are blurry because you’re afraid of the world. As a child you perceived something very frightening and from that moment distanced yourself from scary sights. But this is an error. Yes you were scared, but the cause of that fright was not an actual impending doom. You were scared because you had a negative reaction to a scene that played out within your mind.

The world is a dream. Your eyes never saw trueness — it is your mind that believes in vision. It is your mind that creates every scene within fictional surroundings. If you believe yourself myopic to shield yourself from ugliness, then it becomes so. But the contrary is also true, if you believe in beauty and so want to see it, then vision clarifies.

Your lack of clarity comes from your distrust of life. You so fear hideousness that you are willing to shut everything out. As a child immaturity is expected, but now you must leave those childish worries behind. The images you imagine scar only when you believe yourself solid. Deny this lie of solidity and henceforth be healed.

Do not be skittish of what lies behind each corner, for you are the author of interpretation. It is within your power to discern the elegance in all things. Shrink not from life because of an anxious idea, instead choose to see the beauty that surrounds. You can see as well as you want to, now create within yourself the desire.

Rise, remove your spectacles, and look.