Salutation not Valedictions!

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Welcome to the Works of Robert Madsen, the home and online heart of the various writings of the author Robert Madsen and the occasional artist of his association.  I, the administrator, am the completely unpaid exponent of the writer in question, chained now for nearly two years upon this work-station and to be occasionally savaged with the lash when the wages of my continuous exhaustion and near-starvation causes me to roll my face across the keyboard. Read More …

Pour my Beer in the Sink I’ve Got More in the Trunk

The mental exhaustion can be so palpable in creative endeavors.  I would write something meaningful, but I literally can’t conceive the words.

Things are going well.  There’s so many of them, but they seem to be going well.  I hope to have something for you guys by the day after Thanksgiving alongside a bevy of additional content that didn’t make the cut.  Whether or not I’ll be able to hit that deadline is a matter of some debate.  You see, I need to be marketing the book for about three months in advance, which means that if the book isn’t altogether completed shortly, that’s simply not going to happen.  That said, I’m not going to release a functionally unfinished book merely to hit release dates.

So what’s it about?  Originally I had wanted to release another entry in the Goliath Thunder series, but as I was running through the content I’ve already completed, I started getting excited about this little collection of interrelated short stories that I never ended up publishing.  Seemed like something easy to fix and finish.  Of course, as I began running through the text, I had all these ideas and shortly I was considering an altogether rewrite.  And that’s where we are now.  I’d call it dark fiction, and some people might label it as Urban Fantasy, but that’s not really the term.  Imagine a sort of film noir investigation drama in which protagonist is thrust into a universe comorbid with our own but at only rare points intersecting, operating by different rules and principles and possessing altogether different powers.  Just wants to find out what really happened to his wife.

Pic unrelated.

Staring into the Abrased Vestigia of Wednesday

I marvel sometimes at how little I know.  I should be comfortable that I’ve so comfortably surpassed mount stupid, but it’s not a terribly comforting feeling is it, the altogether realization of one’s utter worthlessness, absence of personal infrastructure?  This just happened to me yesterday, but for the rest of you it will have been some different yesterday, because god knows when this will ever see the light of day.

I was staring into the shells of my septfurcated pillbox one evening asking myself, “What day is it–or rather what day was it, for the hour had already passed midnight,” running my eyes across whatever traces remained of the abridged characters that indicated the dosage for the day, when I began thinking about the labors of several hours before.  You see, I am not a wealthy man.  That’s a strange thing to say at this juncture, isn’t it?  Anyways, I’m not a wealthy man, and as such I’m not willing to spend a good deal of a new laptop.  That’s another strange thing to say, it seems.  You see, laptops are constantly breaking, and investing many hundreds or even several thousands of dollars into a laptop is like throwing that money away, for repairs of this nature are never easy, as they generally require the dismantling and horrific reassembling of the entire chassis.  It’s for this reason that most of my work is completed through a tower desktop, for which maintenance is of the highest ease.  Anyways, this cheap laptop I possess came equipped not only with Windows 10 but also a solid state hard disk that had approximately thirty gigabytes of space on the drive.  On the one hand, there’s not a lot of moving parts in solid state, meaning they’re a good deal more durable than the traditional; on the other hand, they’re also very expensive.  So I had a tiny one, tiny in terms of space not actual physical volume.  Problem is when you install Windows 10 on a less than mediocre system like this is that it eats almost all the hard disk space and consumes almost all the random access memory while running, meaning you can’t actually do anything with the computer.

So, I got a Linux build, put it on a flash drive, reformated the drive and installed a new operating system.  Saved me a load of hard disk space whilst simultaneously freeing up massive amounts of memory.

But the problem is that I did a load of programming in grade school, high school, and university before I washed out of Physics because I hadn’t yet developed my drinking problem.

Seems like I forgot all of it.  Shell commands were to me a mystery.  Good lord I do not know why Linux adamantly refuses to implement executable installers.

So anyways, I was trying to install the drivers for this wireless adapter.  The one I’d been using was sort of bulky, and I was constantly (and accidentally) slapping my hands against it.  As such, I spent some money to acquire a very tiny alternative, too minute to likely bang my simian mitts against

But now the problem was that the Linux build didn’t have any standard drivers that would run the new adapter.  On the bright side, the machine came with a disk that actually contained drivers for Linux operating systems.  Problem was that this laptop didn’t have an optical drive and I didn’t have an exterior drive that could be plugged into USB.  Managed to download the drivers from the manufacturer’s website.

I was hopeless at trying to compile and bash and chop or whatever the damn files.  Probably did more damage than anything else.

This led me to a flurry of backing up any files that might possibly not have been backed up yet, on several different platforms.

Anyways, I was musing that I could read Greek and Latin with great proficiency, had a masterful knowledge of composition, knowledge of comparative mythology, American common law, could perform triple integrals and occasionally even impress my parents.

And yet I can’t install a set of drivers intended for use by little babies.

Then I remembered it was Wednesday.  Rather, it had been Wednesday about an hour and a half before.

As I hit the bed and attempted to claw in a few more pages of Paradise Lost before my soul sunk once again into Erebus, I marveled that it required people who were very intelligent to create this sort of software, software used predominantly by people who don’t even understand it in theory.  And then I mused that those that made it, most of all, were more tolerant of difficulty in their pedagogy of programming, and so they achieved higher knowledge by their hard work and diligence, which might as well be a primary compartment of intelligence.  In some time, there may be no-one left alive who understands the work necessary to keep this civilization afloat.

And then I thought that the ancient Roman villa had a slave chosen specifically to guard the door.  That was his only job.  And he usually had a dog, which frankly did most of his job for him.

The Fall of Bioware

If you’re like me, born in the eighties or perhaps early nineties, you may remember a time where Role Playing Games, aside those of the tabletop variety, were both extremely popular and extremely Japanese, whether on home consoles or even the PC.  That turn-based, spread-sheet style of gameplay might have become the dominant format, infecting titles to this very day, if not for a little company called “Bioware,” which released the RPG title “Baldur’s Gate” when I was still a source of constant agony and occasional amusement to my parents.  Since that time, up to 2012, I have purchased and played to boredom every title Bioware has released, save for three, which you could probably quite easily guess.

There just wasn’t anyone else releasing the kind of content they were working on, a unique style of Western RPG that would ultimately prove highly influential, which typically molded turn-based mechanics with a real-time presentation.  Made the games feel a great deal less stiff, and many of these titles were incredibly nonlinear, very notably the original Baldur’s Gate.  People talk about sandbox environments in our contemporary titles, but nearly out the door you could fuck up straight down the southern edge of the sword coast and get kissed to death by bleeding fucking nymphs.  I’d say it was something of a beginner’s trap, but the game was filled with potential instant deaths, being faithful to its D&D source material.

So what went wrong?  How did Bioware go from the Baldur’s Gate series, which is one of the most respected in video game history, all the way down to the punch-out ending of Mass Effect Three and whatever the bloody hell all the titles of Dragon Age were supposed to be?  The particulars have most assuredly be answered by people more knowledgeable than I, but I do want to add a few little words of wisdom.  No-one buys a videogame expecting to be lectured on their political orthodoxy.  They don’t buy entertainment expecting it to be art either; they expect it to be entertaining.  If it can do both, that’s marvelous, but an entertainer should never lose sight of his essential objective, and those predominantly concerned with the injection of political invective need to go join the legacy media before the whole shebang utterly collapses.

I Bet You Slobs Would Like an Update

Well fuck you!  I’ve got better things to do more typically involving the dangerous libation than the wasting of my time with the three subhumans that will actually ever see this.

Anyways.  Stuff.  Is.  Happening.  Not that you’d know, you fruit.  Get out of my house.  You and your mother.

You ask why?  You should be complaining “When?”

You disgust me.

You and your mother.

Like all women.

Get out of my house.


A joy to some and utterly unknown to many, Berserk can be considered a facet of what are sometimes either erroneously or mockingly called “Chinese Cartoons,” in this case a manga [basically a comic book] of 37+ volumes in production since the late eighties that has since then spawned several television and movie adaptations and video games beside.  It has been exceedingly successful, and yet even within its home country of Japan, it’s far from being a household name, but I have a sense that fans of Grimdark fiction in probably any country would be familiar with the series at least by reputation.

Imagine a medieval, fantastical universe in which the gods do indeed exist but in which they are similarly a genuine reflection of the human psyche which contains hordes more misery and woe than the few precious gems of genuine joy it has rudely hewn from the rock in anger.  In theory, that should be all the description you’d need, but it’s so far from elucidating a picture of the action.  The protagonist is a character called “Guts,” or “Gats,” depending on the romanization, who was born the product of a dead woman, inducted at infancy into a mercenary regiment, and suffered as the stings and arrows that sort of pedagogy would provide, including the usual physical abuse and several notable instances of rape.  With the accidental slaughter of his adoptive father, he flees their company in the fear of his life, somehow surviving naked and alone in wilderness, some time after which he grows into a fine young man more than a little accustomed to the hefting of blades that more and more resemble the entire weight of a motor vehicle.  Shenanigans accrue, and in a short time he’s missing an eye and his arm in the aftermath of something I’ll only call the “Eclipse,” and he’s out for revenge against the fantastical monstrosities he never should have survived in the first place.

This series is so replete with rape, murder, and mayhem, that I suffered an existential shock that burned me for years after completing as many volumes as I then had available.  The only optimism is the result of hard work–the strength of arms that separates a living man from a corpse.  Nothing is given.  I realized, and it burned my heart for years, that the only thing separating another man’s dagger from my heart are his good intentions and the strength of the justice system to prevent and punish him.  I was deeply affected.  I couldn’t just move on.  I became comfortable becoming a recluse.  It would be hard work to overcome this miserable epiphany, which I maintain still to this day.  It didn’t help that I had a history of paranoia.  I just can’t think of much art that can do that to me.  Made me realize that the persona we present to the universe is really a sailing vessel floating aboard an ocean of tears.  In calm seas, it’s easy to maintain the facade, but sometimes you can’t even hide from yourself.

Now I’m going to be honest.  I absolutely love this series.  It’s one of the few influences in my writing I’d actually list from anything like a comic book, which usually bore me with their Mary Sue, overpowered protagonists.  The list otherwise contains such names as Homer, Ovid, Nietzsche, Gogol–list goes on.

Now for a few general comments:

Kentaro Miura, the creator of the series, is very good at using the medium to its fullest.  What’s the point of great text bubbles that consume the entirety of the frame?  If you wanted to write a book, why did you draw a comic instead?  On the contrary Miura is a very talented artist, with an exceptional understanding of weight and proportion–which is increasingly a dying art, unfortunately–and most of what needs to be communicated in frame can be done easily with the illustration alone.

And speaking of powerful opponents, even if Guts is capable of hefting around a sword that in all probability would weight about two tons, against the sort of enemies he’s regularly pitted, he’s constantly an underdog.  And I like that sort of thing.  Powerful characters need more powerful opponents.  Pitting superman against virtually any opponent bears as easy a resolution as “Let there be light.”

Pricing in the Competition

I must have been in fifth grade.  I think that’s about right.  I was over at a friend’s house, a friend I visited frequently, older by me than a year.  He had younger brother and sister, although he and his brother fought like tomcats.  Good lord.  Anyways, both the parents were out.  Father worked a lot for a living and the mother had some sort of superactive social life that implied she was seeing people on the side–frequently–and as such there was a sitter over, whom I’d met before frequently.  She was a friend of a family friend, which is how I met my own friend incidentally.  Anyways, she said they were occupied and that I’d find my comrades downstairs.  So I ambled down into the dungeons to join them.  It was normally a sort of ramshackle affair with an abused pool table that mutated into a ping-pong table–children’s toys lying and lingering ubiquitously about and several closets from which they’d been robbed.  There was a proper cellar for the boiler room and the like immediately beside the stairwell, but I never spent much time in there.  Anyways, they had the ping pong table put away and were instead presenting a host of hand-painted styrofoam rocks and several miniature fake trees, present a rather rustic setting and upon it were these 28mm miniatures of little space men and silly looking space goblins playing about as a sort of table-top turn-based strategy.  I couldn’t remember who was winning.  Probably the older brother.  He wouldn’t give the younger the opportunity, even if he had to cheat his little mind out.

Anyways, turns out this was my induction to “Warhammer 40,000,” a fascination I maintained for years afterwards, cultivating and painstakingly painting many armies of miniature men and only infrequently actually warring with them owing to the dearth of friends I had that would actually bother with what was even at that time a fairly expensive hobby.  From where I’m currently sitting, if I look to my seven o clock, I can see several Space Wolf Scouts and an Imperial Knight, which I’ve yet to actually finish.  Maybe one day I’ll get the time.

I admit my enthusiasm for the hobby has seriously waned ever since I first entered university.  I didn’t really have the time, and I certainly didn’t have the space, but I nevertheless tried here and there to complete the occasional detachment of fantasy dwarves and the like.  Ever since I came out of the educational system, ever since I presumably have had the time, the inclination remained waned.  They’re just so fucking expensive.  I mean, back when I was a kid they were expensive, but these things have frequently doubled or tripled in price.  I have to pay the bills; I have to eat; I have to pay for this website.  It’s like not I’m going to shave off the precious time needed to paint and play with these things if the company selling them has done everything in its power for the last decade to price me out of their audience.

And that’s really what I don’t understand.  Most of the people I know who ever enjoyed the hobby would tell you the same thing or something similar.  They can’t afford to.  And if you take those that can’t who also are familiar with the costs of competing lines of miniatures–well–you’d find they’d be offended.  Games Workshop has seriously artificially inflated the costs of their miniatures, and with the rise of competing lines that are both cheaper and frankly more beautiful in cut and posture, well it’s obvious that GW is only running on the quality of their name and their IP and in nowise upon their quality.

Update: Week of June 4th, 2017

I occasionally have something interesting to say.

So I’ve been sitting on this collection of short stories, similar subject matter and a handful of recurring characters, but I’ve never really been able to figure out what to do with them.  Never really seemed finished, and I could never think of a suitable title.  I was recently watching Jordan Peterson talking about frogs and the underworld, and a whole host of different ideas came to me, and the entire matter resolved itself in my mind.  It’s going to take some more work to finish, but I’ve a strong idea of what it will look like when finished.

My Politics

…is frankly something I prefer not to talk about.  In that regard, I won’t, elucidating only why.

I grew up in this liberal quagmire of unseemly socialism they call “Massachusetts.”  It used to be the bastion of the Republican Party, but all the hard work of their ancestors was met with mean-spirited disregard for them, announcing “I will play in the world made for me by my ancestors,” whilst simultaneously cajoling, “scum that they are,” and concluding by not having any valid children of their own.  The group think there is powerful, nurtured by a mass media that for the most is utterly convincing.  I had the good taste to want to shit down the throat of that fucking Rothschild Anderson Cooper before I realized the faggot would probably enjoy watching a young man crane his anus over his exposed incisors.

Anyways, before getting too far down the logic delineating why Massachusetts, like Mecca, should be wiped off the face of the Earth, I’ll add merely that my dad once said, “Robert, you have unpopular opinions.”

I could mention the professional courtesy that allegedly forbids me from making main my political beliefs nevertheless entertainer, but I think that excuse is somewhat insincere.

The vast majority of people–god bless them–will believe anything anyone in a two piece suit on television tells them, and they will remain ardent in that belief until the two-piece suits say something else.  Even if I could convince such a person of the validity of a different position, that revelation would be immediately deleted by the next two piece suit of the legacy media he comes across.

I do have unpopular opinions that could damage my reputation if I gave voice to them certainly, but what it comes down to, again and again, is “Does it even matter?”  With the majority of people being so intractably numb, nothing I say is going to change anyone’s mind.  In all likelihood, those that could be convinced otherwise already are, and those that can’t will doom themselves and us with them.  Democracy is the rule by a majority after all.  All a demagogue needs to do to own the reins of power is control the lot of these and convince a slim majority of those capable of thinking for themselves.

Anonymous Conversation

Man is least himself when he talks in his own person.  Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.

–Oscar Wilde

I almost feel that this should go without saying.  Unpopular opinions can’t be aired in the public square without serious recriminations.  The state might guarantee freedom of speech, but it doesn’t guarantee you protection from the social consequences of what you say, which can often be just as devastating as criminal penalties.  It’s a conspiracy that everyone’s a part of.  We all know what the score is, and a large portion of our adolescence has been the pedagogy of what things can be said and what things cannot, particularly in mixed company.  Perhaps we would all love to speak the truth, but I imagine this isn’t the case.  Too many of us benefit from the indulgences granted by this policing of speech, which is functionally little different than a policing of thought.

But it doesn’t have to be this way, particularly in light of the possibilities provided by the default anonymity of the internet.  This is something that bearded nerds discovered long before society in general was even aware of the internet’s existence.  Various different fora provided a means for those in the know to exchange ideas either entirely anonymously or under adopted handles, which nevertheless provided similar protection.

What’s interesting is what this has blossomed into, especially in the last election.  From the epicenter of various anonymous imageboards, a sort of internet culture that had only previous been fringe began becoming mainstream, influencing the narrative of even legacy media, most famously with the slanderous libel that “Pepe” of all things being a symbol of white nationalism.  But the second you had a major candidate for president complaining about internet memes before the national and international media and therefore the entire world, it was realized that the mainstream had completely lost control of the narrative, which was slipping into the hands of hundreds of thousands of people, operating independently and congregating of their own volition on the internet, people who didn’t even know each other–people who didn’t own majority stock in massive news organizations, people who were just regular Johns and Janes.

This power didn’t come from decades of planning, regular militaries, and huge volumes of cash.  It came from a combination of two things–the truth and humor.  The former to bring wickedness to light and the latter to abuse it not only thoroughly, but in such an amusing manner that the truth would be easily disseminated, most often in the form of memes, amongst general nobodies not even a direct part of this mass movement.

It’s such a simple concept.  Do an honest man’s job and laugh as you do it.

Update: Week of May 29, 2017

I feel like this graph, which I’ve used before, sums up my entire life–sums up that of many, I imagine.  Been very quiet lately.

If I had anything to lament, social media really isn’t social.  There’s an absolute dearth of respectable venues which genuinely engage in honest intercourse; you more or less are stuck warbling about in the deep web if you want to hear a stranger speak the truth.  That’s where our society has come to.  You have to go to the shivering shadows of the back alley to feel like you’re in the company of actual other people.

Makes it difficult to interact with my audience.  I’d be better off if I made soap, but I’ve got bad habits.