Sunday, November 8, 2015

Words or Music? I wonder.

Should I give myself to studying music, or learning more propositional knowledge?  The end of the first is to make new music, and the end of the second is to make new propositional knowledge; and also to teach others music and to teach others propositional knowledge.

Don't know.  Sorting my way through, down here at the crossroads.  But nobody seems to know me, they all just pass me by.

Back to topic.  Music makes me happy, keeps me at peace.  Most of the rest of life is preoccupied with keeping things on an even keel.

Plus, I sense a nudge from God to back out of my previous strategies to keep on balance.  Not overt sins, but not where I want to go ultimately.  What I've been doing is not my telos.  This nudge shifts the balance to make making music a high contender for what to do with my life hereon.

Home. Family. Teaching students.  Making music.  Keeping the farm running, as it were.  No great thing, all in all.  Like Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus, if someone wants me for something, they know where I am.  And if God wants me, I hope I can hear Him when He whispers.

"How Improbable." A plot for a story, and a too close for comfort previous story

Had a dream that gives me a premise for a plot for story.

Two people are talking.  The Hearer is done, is ready to turn and go and do whatever he's going to do; but he also didn't understand what the other person was saying, exactly.

At this point, reality in a multiverse branches, and both versions of the Hearer go on within their respective Realities.  At some point, one or the other Hearer is ready to rejoin the other one, because the other one is better off.  It might be five seconds, might be five minutes.

Much longer? I don't know what that would do to the story.  We could stipulate a 5 minute limit; or not.  We could also stipulate that there is always no more than Hearer Prime, a branching Hearer1 and a branching Hearer2.

So the realities merge into the chosen track.

Let's say that the Hearer1 who walked off actually heard it all correctly.  The Hearer2 that lingered might then rejoice the other Hearer1 in a unified timeline, becoming again, HearerPrime.

The additional element in my dream was that EVERYBODY could do this.

Thus endeth the dream.

There was a story in Justice League of America/JLA, about 7 years ago, right before the New 52, that used a similar (but different) notion.  The evil villain split into unlimited many versions of himself to play the odds in unrigged situations and at least one of the versions of himself would win the bet.  If the odds are 20:1 to win a drawing, or to get a job, he would become 20 versions of himself.  Then they would all meet and merge with the winning version.  The winning version became immensely powerful over time.  The downfall, as I vaguely recall, was that he could only play his trump card, super power, so many times, and then something bad would happen, like he would die or run out of luck or something.  But I'm not using that same power, just remembering when the plot had been used before.

12. JLA #18-19 “The Strange Case of Dr. Julian September”

Title: Synchronicity
Release Date: May 1998
Writer: Mark Waid
Penciller: Howard Porter
Inker: John Dell
JLA Members: SupermanBatmanWonder Woman (Hippolyta), AquamanGreen Lanternthe Flashthe Martian ManhunterPlastic ManSteelHuntressBarda, and Oracle.
Bad Guys: Julian September.

So what happens?
The JLA is suddenly being plagued by strange coincidences and disappearances: Plastic Man and Aquaman just happen to be in the same part of the Snake River to catch some bank robbers, then Aquaman vanishes; Huntress just happens to be in the right place to foil an assassination attempt on Bruce Wayne, then she disappears; Wonder Woman, Superman, and Steel save seven airliners from crashing into each other, then Steel disappears; Zauriel and Orion also mysteriously vanish. Rains of lizards plague Ohio, a piece of Skylab falls into the National Air and Space Museum, and typhoid strikes every single person in Wyoming with the last name "Dixon". All this while the number 7 eerily crops up over and over and over and a man named Julian September wins a Nobel Prize, makes millions on the stock market, AND wins seven lotteries in a row...

After the Justice League stops seven different supervillains who have decided, independently and by pure coincidence, to try to kidnap the President at the same time (and after Barda also pulls a mysterious disappearing act), they discover that Julian September has also somehow become the President! Turns out that September used to be a quantum physicist who discovered how to manipulate probability. Shocked that he's been found out, September cranks his "Engine of Chance" into overdrive, causing an earthquake in Washington and making seven Tokyo skyscrapers simultaneously burst into flame. Luckily, Batman is able to break the Engine, and September disappears. Unfortunately, the laws of probability are continuing to break down, and more and more bizarre things are changing by the minute.

Luckily, Batman has it all figured out. He says the recurring sevens seem to be the universe's way of using synchronicity to tell them, first of all, that there won't be any more disappearances--the League now consists of exactly seven members. And most importantly...

With that, Batman disappears...

Title: Seven Soldiers of Probability
Release Date: June 1998
Writer: Mark Waid
Penciller: Howard Porter
Inkers: John Dell and Walden Wong
JLA Members: SupermanWonder Woman (Hippolyta), the Martian Manhunterthe FlashGreen LanternPlastic Man, and Oracle.
Guest Stars: The Atom.
Bad Guys: The Probability Cancer.

So what happens?
With the disappearance of Batman, the JLA has been pared down to exactly seven members, including the computergenius (and former Batgirl) Oracle, who has discovered that Batman no longer exists because historical probability has been altered to save his parents from being killed so many years ago. And history and probability continue to change radically, changing America back to a British colony and speeding up the Earth's rotation.

The JLA goes out hunting for Julian September, hoping he can help fix the situation, but they discover that, by an unfortunate coincidence, he has just died of a heart attack. When Oracle balks at decoding September's encrypted computer files, J'onn accuses her of gambling that history could change to keep her from being paralyzed, but she says she's trying to figure out a way to keep Bruce Wayne's parents alive for good. Reluctantly, Oracle unlocks the files, but without any scientific background, the current Leaguers don't understand September's notes. And then J'onn unexpectedly starts to disappear also--but before he goes, he tells the rest of the team that the Atom is about to arrive. In a bizarrecoincidence, the Atom, a trained scientist, does indeed arrive on the scene soon afterwards, and he figures out what's going on...

Here's what happened--and this is the cool bit, 'cause it's based on a real-world experiment AND real-world results: September, working on a subatomic level, divided seven photons and found that any alterations he made in one half of a photon was instantly mirrored in the other half, no matter how far apart they were, with no physical link between the two halves. The experiment suggested that there was an interdependence between all things and all events, that everything is tied together somehow. September believed he could control synchronicity and coincidence by controlling the halved-but-linked photons, but he accidentally severed the links between the photons, creating a Probability Cancer that was poisoning the stability of reality.

So the Atom shrinks the JLA down to a microscopic size so they can all put the halved photons back together and repair the universe, but the Probability Cancer doesn't want to be cured, so it starts fighting back, changing Green Lantern into another person entirely and severely burning the Flash. But at the last possible second (is there any other kind of rescue in the comics?), they get the last photon together, and reality reverts back to normal.

With all the Leaguers returned from limbo, Oracle asks J'onn how he knew the Atom was about to appear. The answer, J'onn explains, is very simple: of all the superheroes who have ever served the JLA, the Atom was the seventh to join.

And now you know...the rest of the story...

Cool Moments!
The JLA forming a human chain to connect the last two photon halves--very cinematic...

Cool Quotes!
Green Lantern, after being shrunk: "Wait. I'm confused. If we're smaller than light particles now, how are we even seeing?"
Atom: "You're not...not in any human way. The five senses become something else entirely at this level. Your mind's doing you a favor. It's processing all this into familiar visuals so you won't go insane. By the way, you're not breathing oxygen, either. It's best not to think about it."
Green Lantern: "No kidding."