Ahhh, Christians!

14 December, 2014

Christians! God love em! I used to be one, you know.

It’s adorable the way they like to think they believe the bible. They don’t, they believe in the bible. The bible as a thing, as a cultural prop, as a sure foundation on which their lives rest.

But the stuff written in it? Not so much. Oh – they like to think they believe it. But they don’t actually. You can tell this by the things that they do.

Here’s some bible verses for you.

John 14:15“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. … 21Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”

1 John 5:1Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. 2By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. 3For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. 4For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.

2 John 1:5And now I ask you, dear lady—not as though I were writing you a new commandment, but the one we have had from the beginning—that we love one another. 6And this is love, that we walk according to his commandments; this is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, so that you should walk in it.

Seems John sure loved hisself some holiness. Yeah, sure – I know perfectly well that there’s no way that “John” wrote the books attributed to him. But that’s not the point. It’s The Bible, right? Christians belive [in] The Bible. But sometimes they seem to forget that Jesus is not just supposed to be your saviour, he is supposed to be your lord. Salvation is not free – it comes with a price tag. (Although actually it doesn’t, because we owe God our fealty anyway – a fine point of contract law).

Now, if you want to say at this point that not everything that the bible plainly, in black and white tells christians to do counts as a “commandment”, then by all means stop reading.

If you actually belive the bible, then let us continue.

Here’s Jesus talking:

Matt 5:31“It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ 32But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

THAT’S OUT OF CONTEXT!!!!11!!eleven!!!11!

Oh really? Well, lets have a bit of context, then:

Matt 5:27“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. 30And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.

Oww. The context of that verse is Jesus – Jesus mind you – saying “Unrepentant adulterers go to hell. Oh and BTW, that includes divorcees who remarry”.

You know that nice, lovely christian lady who divorced her horrible loser of a husband and remarried a nice christian man and they are very happy and raising their kids well?

Well, they are going to burn in the lake of fire forever and ever. They do not love god, they only think they do. We know this because they do not obey his commandments.

The Catholics are right. The bible clearly states as simply as can be that divorced people are not to remarry. Of course, they have this absurd business of granting “annulments”, but don’t think or a second that God won’t see through such a cheap trick (Monty Python reference, there). “Ok,” says God, “you can divorce. Once. But then it’s over – none of this serial polygamy bullshit.”

Finally: let’s send a shout-out to any Pastor, anywhere, ever, that has knowingly performed a marriage for a divorced person. They will spend a lost eternity in hell, and if God is just so will you.

⁂ ⁂ ⁂

By what criterion did Jesus separate the sheep and the goats? Not by what they believed, not by what they said, not by whether their Sunday clothes were nice. He separated them on the basis of what they did and did not do.

I know that you don’t really believe this stuff. Not really. I mean: come on! Let’s get serious. The bible also says to sell your home and spend every last cent trying to reach the lost for Jesus before his imminent return. Who’s going to do that? Nobody, and idiots, that’s who.

So how about you stop coming to my door all smiley and inviting me to your christmas sermon. It’s bullshit, and you know it is.

Now I can hear; now I can see.

13 December, 2014

I am not mad.

It is the others that are mad. A strange, every-day madness – scurrying around, building homes of mud and stone and wood. Buying, selling, having families. Somehow, they make themselves blind and deaf.

We fought our way through the observatory. Creatures – demons – assailed us. We slew one, our bard charmed the other, suggesting it surrender. (Surrender? Madness!) Their language was … oddly familiar. The language of the whispers in my mind. The language of my prayers.

Behind them, a spell caster. A man? Perhaps. Hooks and piercings in his flesh. Faugh grappled him, pinned him, kept him from casting. We ignored the demons, focussing our efforts on him. He rose into the air, but Faugh did not relent. Something summoned fog onto the battlefield. I did not see who took the final blow.

And then the woman, the leader of the snow-men (odd hairy creatures) arrived on the field, swept away the fog with her magicks. “Is it done?”, she asked, “have you slain him?”. We played for time – we had come to claim an astrolabe, an armillary sphere, and an orrey, and we mean to do so. My companions moved inside the observatory, I guarded the door. “Stay back!”, I warned her, “It may be unsafe in here.”

I do not think she believed my pretence. She tried with magic to influence my mind. And a second time. “Madam,” I said, “the outer dark wards my mind against such magics”. She attacked me with a blast of snow and ice – I shrugged off the damage, Coin’s potion of Yeti-fur protecting me. But she had just revealed herself a witch, and hostile.

You know, normally when you tell a spellcaster “You can’t charm me, I have Yog-Sototh guarding my mind”, they go, “Hmm.” But this chick didn’t even flinch. Maybe she failed her K(the planes) check.

But the DM played the witch well. Brus looks like a big, dumb, half-orc fighter. So what do you do? Go the mind-affecting attacks. Oops – he’s actually a cleric: no wonder this shit ain’t working.

As to Brus’ odd behaviour, well, he’s chaotic, she was originally an ally we were kinda working for, and she was pretty hot. We’ve already established that he’s not a beserker. Inquisitors are driven by purpose – we had come to get particular loot, and by Yog-Sototh we were going to get them.

Then all at once, our hobgoblin companion (Morgan’s rogue) flung a strange weapon at them, setting her snow-men ablaze, and the witch ordered “kill them!”. In truth, it was always going to end thus.

Yeah, we had this weird thingy: a goblin in a bottle, with a wick coming out of his head. Light it and throw.

Her snow-men attempted to enter the observatory. I fought and was joined. Somehow, the man with the hooks in his face reappeared! I forget the blow-by-blow of the fight: both he and the witch disappeared, became invisible. But one of the snow-men struck a mighty blow on me, his axe placed perfectly. In one blow, I was nearly done, and bleeding.

We play with the Paizo critical hit and fumble decks. This yeti dude managed to draw “Double damage and one point of Con bleed”. Ow! But, my inqusitor has a trick.

A focused my intent, my purpose, and by the power of the outer dark my wounds began to close. I called upon the dread name of Yog-Sototh (cast Divine Favour), and struck one more blow – the barbarian man was done. The field fell quiet. Both spellcasters had fled. We searched for what we came to find.

Judgment ‘o healing! Stops Con bleed dead in its tracks! I also am packing Judgment Surge feat. This is the first game night for weeks now that Brus hasn’t been reduced to unconsciousness. Yay! I finally used a judgment, and it worked. Having two per day instead on one per day is an enormous difference – less need to hoard them up. The bonuses aren’t all that great, but Dave pointed out that what they do is they keep an inquisitor on-par with a fighter, inquisitor being a ¾ BAB class.

⁂ ⁂ ⁂

We found the items, which we put in Coin’s Bag of Holding, and a great telescope. Our bard William; John, the cleric of Azathoth; and I were keen to look through it. I do not know what the others saw. I looked not at the stars but at the spaces between them, and caught a glimpse. No more.

The words, the whispers – I begin to understand them. The language of the demons, of the outer truth. I prayed for the favour of The Lurker at The Threshold, The Eater of Souls, to grant me to see the unseen, to peer beneath the veil. And so it was. And is.

We will return to Coin. We will bring down the House of Limen. Our lives a brief spark of light, before each our star is consumed.

One skill point into linguistics – Abyssal. And new spell See Invisibility. Sweet!

Also, a second point into linguistics to get undercommon, which Brus has been picking up from Faugh the deep gnome. Pathfinder is build so that every even level you get a feat, and every odd level a class ability, but because I took one level of fighter I will get inquisitor class abilities and feats at the same time. Still – a very handy utility spell and some extra spells per day. Not to be sneezed at.

Math is hard

7 December, 2014

So I posted this on facebook:

This is a serious problem all over wikipedia. The math-heads strip out any sort of tutorial or explanitory information, and leave only formal definitions. A fine example is the “sheaf” article. There’s no mention that the word comes from a sheaf of wheat, which would kinda help people get over that initial WTF.

I had a chat to Brett, and the upshot was that I was about to post this to facebook:

So anyway. I just had a bit of a chat to a D&D buddy who occasionally does a little mathematics that is maybe a shade further along than what I am used to dealing with.

Reflecting on his replies and my internal reactions to them, you want to know what I think? Well, I’ll tell you. I think that the core of my complaint is that the mathematics pages on wikipedia don’t have enough pictures, and that’s really all I’m bitching about.

The reply to this comment on the Sheaf talk page kinda covers it:

“Hi; I’m trying desperately to understand many of these advanced principals of mathematics, such as sheaves, but no matter how many times I review the material, it doesn’t sink in.”

(reply:) “… if you are new to math, it’s not enough to review the material; you should also do problems. If you want to learn math, you can’t do it with a summary like Wikipedia.”

If you want to understand mathematics, you have to put the work in. There is no other way. Euclid’s rebuke to King Ptolemy comes to mind.

But you know – looking back at that original SMBC comic I can’t help feeling that the plaintive cry for a pretty picture or two isn’t entirely uncalled for, and that maybe other people feel the same way.

Look – it doesn’t matter, ok? At the moment all I’m after, really, is a pretty picture of the hyperbolic plane tessellated with octagons projected onto a flat plane in a certain specific way that I have in mind (the hyperbolic analogue of the equirectangular projection, if you must know). I’ll settle for a grid of lines all at 45 degrees.

I suspect that the Beltrami-Klein model might be the best starting point. Isometries on it are just matrixes IIRC. I just need to work out how one family of parallel lines needs to be spaced out, and getting from there to the equirectangluar plane should be straightforward – just read off the distance from each point to the two axes.