Saturday, June 10, 2023

Slush Pile 14: Scrapped Posts

Since it's only been two months since the last slush post, this one is a bit different: instead of a nice list of notebook ephemera, it's going to be a post-mortem on some posts I have scrapped in the name of early summer cleaning. Need to get things moving the draft doc has been hovering around 30,000 words for months now.

Old Slushpiles: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 8.5, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13

Into the Trash Pit With Ye!


Scrap Post 1: Making a Better Toki Pona


I don't like Toki Pona all that much, and had floated the idea of either re-doing the vocabulary via direct crafting or sound change into something more varied and interesting, perhaps adding more complex grammar later.

Reason to Scrap It: Well, I don't like Toki Pona to begin with, why am I wasting the time and effort trying to make it something better when I can just start with something I do like and make that better?

Also, every single resource for sound changes out there is severely deficient in one critical area, and it's a different feature that's missing in each one. Incredibly aggravating and also something no one else would care about (and for good reason). I still want to do something with diachronics, but it will be with some other source language. If I can ever find an actually useful resource for stupid sound changes.



Scrap Post 2: Implied Class Politics in Dungeoncrawling


A lengthy post starting with the premise "A fighter, a thief, a wizard, and a cleric delve deep into ancient, monster-filled ruins in search of treasure." and spinning it out into a full implied setting of a collapsing imperialist power economically exhausted by forever-war against its neighbors. Fighters are veterans that were never able to re-integrate into society after the war, thieves are emblematic of widespread organized crime filling the power vacuums left be a weakened centralized state, wizards are specialized remnants of the war machine now finding that there are far more wizards out there than there are jobs for wizards now that the war's done, and clerics are there specifically to put the undead (caused by generations of forever war) back to rest at the behest of some major organized religion or another.

Reason to Scrap It: Honestly, I don't give enough of a shit about Generic Vernacular Dungeoncrawling to write out a Marcia-style critical analysis, especially when the end result is going to be "It's a successor state to not-Rome, that looks a whole lot like not-America when you squint at it." There's nothing novel or new there, and so the entire exegeitic exercise, no matter now fun to daydream about, is spinning wheels and wasting pagecount.

If I'm going to do it, I should actually do something with the concept instead of just navel-gazing. It's good flavor, but no one's going to call a pot full of only paprika good cooking.


Scrap Post 3: The Good Parts of 60 Years in Space

As is my custom, I over-promised and under-delivered. Not for lack of trying, but eventually I had to get delete the drafts for my own sanity. I had some tables, some loosely sketched factions, a history of the solar system, all junked.

Reason to Scrap It: These books are unusable - not even the cocktail of hyperfocus, sunk cost fallacy, and white-whale chasing could squeeze something directly usable from these books. It was quite obvious that I was only going to make myself stressed and miserable trying to make it work, so I had to pull the plug.

I did have a personal revelation that, in these cases where I become hyper-fixated on games that I like conceptually but strongly dislike otherwise, comes from subconsciously compensating my own executive dysfunction by latching onto something where the executive functions and most of the legwork is already taken care of by someone else.

(God, of the Three White Whales, why do the ones that actually have stuff to work with have no 3rd party license while Eclipse Phase has CC but so little to work with.)


Scrap Post 4: The Longest Night Compilation

The Longest Night is a mod for Dwarf Fortress taking place in the nightmarish transhuman future and it's got a lot of really cool flavor tucked away inside of it. I wanted to do a compilation of monsters and posthuman clades and whatnot, which only got as far as a bit of copy-pasting descriptions from the entity files.

Reason to Scrap It: Low payoff for considerable effort in copying-compiling-cleaning the data.


Scrap Post 5: A Terrible Mass Effect Theory

Thesis: the ardat-yakshi condition is the result of inbreeding. Asari are an extremely long-lived, low-population species with generation-overlapping childbearing periods (high consanguinuity risk), culturally and potentially biologically reinforced exogamy (most effective means of preventing consanguine relations), and consider the ardat-yakshi condition so culturally shameful that its existence is hidden from the greater galactic community and anyone known to have the condition is either sequestered in a monastery for the rest of their life or hunted down and killed (response would be overkill for a congenital condition unless there was an unspoken factor at play.)

Reason to Scrap It: I have written it, the idea is exorcised. Also since we don't know the extent of the prothean uplift project this theory is rather tenuous and I'm certain the writers at Bioware were not thinking of this implication when writing ME2.



Scrap Post 6: Gazu Hyakki Yagyo Translation


The Gazu Hyakki Yagyo (Night Parade of a Hundred Demons) by Toriyama Sekien is an illustrated bestiary of yokai first published in 1776 and that's the post. It's a big four-volume list of spookums and a fine resource for any referee, but while digging through the wikipedia pages I got to thinking about its value as a work-in-translation. Translation in the sense of keeping the same concept but altering the name and appearance and the externalities to put it in a new context. The same book with different faces, different cultural milieus and environments. I can imagine versions adapted to the ancient Mediterranean, to Appalachia, to deep space, and so on. I'd written down a list of all the yokai in the first two volumes, started going through the kanji of their names to make literal translations first and then thematic ones later, but it never really went anywhere. 


Reason to Scrap It: Frees up cognitive load. The Muse arrived, and then departed, don't have the drive for sitting down with Wiktionary right now. Maybe I'll come back to it, whip up Yokai of the High Frontier


  1. There will likely be more posts like this, I am STILL at over 31k wordcount in the drafts folder and several have been sitting there for literally over a year at this point.

  2. Number 2 reminds me of that (possibly apocryphal) anecdote of the writer who woke up in the middle of a fever dream and, overwhelmed by inspiration, scribbled down as much as they could before returning to sleep.

    In the morning they went back over their notes, which were nearly completely unintelligible... aside from phrase, which seemedto anchor all the mess of ideas: BOY MEETS GIRL.

    The muse is a prankster sometimes.

    (counterpoint: although reverse engineering the social context of the adventuring party results in a familiar outcome, maybe the journey is the thing here, not the destination? Then again, if that's a journey you've completed to your satisfaction, Iudnerstand why you might decide not to go back there)

    1. The curse of Xanadu strikes eternally and without warning

      The big issue with Scrap #2 is that it is much more effectively communicated in mediums that aren't just raw text, I think