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Johann Gottlieb, field expeditor for the Aether Board, is a sort of field auditor and dispute adjudicator for the global authority that monitors the arcane energy supply. It was exhausted long ago, and restored only through massive effort during the Renaissance, and must be watched carefully. Renegade Fae Queens depleting the pranic energy supply that humanity has only recently regained offend Herr Gottlieb deeply. Fair and equitable distribution must be re-established.

I did figure out part of what was wrong with Last Geomancer. It's missing half the story. The Wito meyunna elder who teaches Jack has to have his story told in parallel with Jack's journey, so that the two songlines merge into a path they can travel together. That's going to require a lot of background research, which is going to take a lot of time and effort that I just don't have available right now. I've still got the Kaurna website bookmarked, and have some resources put by for whenever.

And it begins. I just bought a copy of Elizabeth Atwood Lawrence's Hunting the Wren: Transformation of Bird to Symbol, an interdisciplinary analysis of the tradition of the wren hunt in Europe. I haven't read an actual book since I gave up on Last Geomancer and quit doing the research for it. Lawrence is cited as the primary source in a survey article I found from March 2011, The Wren Hunt of the British Isles: From Belief to Practice, which is where I got the pointer to Tehi Tegi.


Happy birthday to me. I'm 58yo, I have no drivers license, I live out past the bus routes in the cultural wastelands of Nashville, and everyone but me in the house has COVID. The good news is that we're all fully vaxxed, the electric bill is paid, there's food in the fridge, and the roof doesn't leak. Think I'm going to wander off into alternate history Victoriana again and see what kind of trouble I can get Dorothy Raine into.

I dislike the end of my workout more and more, when I have to put my regular clothes back on and think about computers and politics and bills. My treadmill time is my most peaceful of the day. All I have to do is count steps between mode changes and maintain pace and form. On the other hand, I've reached the point in my progress where I'm now experiencing afterglow from the workout. The all over endorphin bath is really nice.

Okay, this is serious. I'm thinking about starting a Manuskript file for the Fae story, so I can start building the plot structure and organizing my notes. Apparently this is what I'm able to write at the moment, so I guess I'm going to have to go with it.

Spoilers, Don't Look Up, generally bad 

Just watched it. Have had my last shred of hope for humanity as a species burned out by the existential dark comedy. Of course none of it goes right, there were humans involved. The original idea was to parallel climate change, but I'm also looking at the pandemic, unavoidably. I empathize with Dibiasy when she reaches a point of burnout, and just walks away, accepting that the world will end and not enough people will care to stop it.

The story ties into the Tehi Tegi legend, the mother of kelpies and nixies, who turned into a wren to escape. Her name, usually translated as Fair Chooser, could be more colloquially put as Collector of Pretties. She's come to Earth like a butterfly collector visiting a meadow in the spring. It's an alien abduction story but with fairies and magic-wielding British government operatives in the Victorian era.

The Chantry, the British Empire's magical forces, organizes itself a bit more like the Anglican Church than a military. Its equivalent of the War Office or the Admiralty is the Scriptorium. Terminology is a mishmosh of determinedly Anglican theology and British folklore. The top boffins are Merlins. Warding and physical cleaning goes to the Deacons and Sextons. Spiritual cleaning goes to the Hobcatchers. The Remote Sensing Dept is called the Dowsers around the office.

Got a US$10 LED folding desk lamp to replace the clip-on lamp I bought in the Bronx and had been using as a very unsteady desk lamp. The new one is a USB device, so I put away the short cable it came with and pulled out a 6 foot cable I had in the spares drawer. Put that together with an AC to USB adapter from the same drawer and I have a much better desktop lighting solution. Compact, low power, three brightness settings, and powered with hardware I already had laying around.

Housework catch-up day. Got my morning workout in, then the catboxes changed, utility room, living room, dining room, and kitchen swept and mopped, laundry turned and sheets put away. Still need to reset the coffee pot and put away the clean dishes, and do something with the comforter that needs dry cleaning so I can use the basket for the clean laundry currently in the dryer. And scribbled a bit more for the Dame Pythia story. The clerk needs a name, as she's sort of the hound in this hunt.

Got my favorite game, Deadlock: Planetary Conquest, running on the new machine. There's no CD drive on an Ideapad, so I imaged an iso on the Thinkpad, copied it over, mounted it, then installed the game into a new Win7 bottle with the graphic resolution set at 1260x720. Works just fine and I even get sound now.

This morning, she's worn her dark blue suit with the cream blouse, indicating a probable visit to the Admiralty later in the day. The one decorative brooch on her jacket amid the clutter of arcane pins, charms, and such features an emerald given to her by the Admiral of the Prussian Navy, which could be seen as somewhat provocative.

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Dame Pythia Wilkes, LG, GCB, GPStj, VC, DFC, etc etc. Oh, there's a story about the Distinguished Flying Cross, but it can't be told outside of certain rarified circles, security of the empire and all that. It's worth noting that there are three military services at this point, the Army, the Navy, and the Gardelair (pronounced Guardler). A tall woman made of whipcord and brass, snow white hair (premature, there was a magical cost) in a tight French braid ending between her shoulderblades.

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Apparently I still really want to write the story of the Fae returning to a magically active steampunk Victorian era. I just put in 850 words redoing the opening scenes to set up a non-FASA world, humans only, magic reawakened parallel with science during the Renaissance, and Ebony Stick, in charge of arcane protection for the British Empire, is Dame Pythia Wilkes, known in certain circles as the Pythoness, although never within earshot.

Why can't I have an unread message count on the tray icon for Thunderbird on Linux? All the extensions that provided that functionality were broken a few versions back, and Thunderbird apparently has no intent of allowing non-Windows users (Mac users also can't get this) to have an unread message count on the tray icon. This is a small thing, but it chafes me.

Nerding out because I got the new laptop to play the Copland OS Enterprise startup sound from Serial Experiments: Lain on login. I have the wallpaper with the logo but it's going to look like crap at this monitor resolution. I think it was originally sized for VGA.


There is not a COVID test to be had in Nashville or Murfreesboro this week for love nor money. My spouse and daughter both have symptoms, and both work for Amazon.

After paying the rent, the groceries, the utilities, and the back property taxes on the farm, and sending some cash to folks we owe money to, we still had enough to get me a laptop at Costco on sale with a manufacturer's POS rebate. I'm turning 58 in 5 days. This is the 3rd time in my life I've gotten a new laptop. The first was a Lenovo Thinkpad that came with Windows 7, I installed MEPIS. The second was a Mac PowerBook. Both are long gone. My current Thinkpad is EOL. I'm still processing.


Walgreen's had so many people trying to schedule a COVID test this morning that it looked like a DDoS attack.

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Wandering Shop

The Wandering Shop is a Mastodon instance initially geared for the science fiction and fantasy community but open to anyone. We want our 'local' timeline to have the feel of a coffee shop at a good convention: tables full of friendly conversation on a wide variety of topics. We welcome everyone who wants to participate, so long as you're willing to abide by our code of conduct.