jueves, 25 de febrero de 2016

The interview

Every time the interviewer asks a question, she sits slightly back. She has a nice face, a nice handshake, a nice looking smile, a nice suit
And her body is not bad either, even if it's not right to say it aloud.

That's one of those slightly incoherent things: people who say in every occasion that they're not to be judged physically, but still devotes time to choose favoring clothes despite comfort. Just like I do in a job interview like this one, with a suit's jacket over the sweater.

I guess that people do realize we are not judged solely by how we look our looks influence the judgement from the moment they're perceived; it's only they dislike the idea enough to make themselves unable to acknowledge it without been confronted to. Some even after been confronted.

There was an actress, don't remember her name, she was a latin actress in Dick Tracy or Sin City or something... She said something like being pretty, helps, being not, doesn't, and I couldn't agree more. I know there are other opinions, but just seeing how reality is proves those other opinions are just wishful thinking.

Of course looks are not the most important trait for almost anything, but help, they do, just as manners or a nice smile.

And the interviewer has a nice smile, but it seems too much a professional smile. It's an effort worth noting and worth thanking, but it's just a professional habit, an unconscious gesture that can't deceive someone with enough talent to see the real emotions or someone who has so little talent that is continuously paying attention, for that is what it takes to understand the everyday people.

I answer her questions as honestly as I can. When she asks about defects, I say perfectionism, but since most people think that is kind of a bliss in disguise, I feel in the obligation of clearing the misunderstanding.

I know it seems just something to say in a job interview to make the interviewee seem better, but it is not: sometimes we need to end a program or a feature in a deadline and our clients are more worried about having it now than having it later but more reliable and more easily and quickly repaired or adapted, should need arise.
And then I want to devote time to code quality tools to let us discover the bugs we left before the client does, but nobody wants to pay for that. Or almost nobody does, my current company has enough liberty for us to decide how we do things, and though it's not always respected, most times I can indulge that impulse and not only do things, but do them right.
That is a real defect for a company focused only on delivery, but I think it adds value not only to the clients, even if they don't realize, but also to the programmers, who have a company's enforced chance to improve as professionals instead of having only their free time.

I keep answering questions, where I've worked, what my positions where, how much money I would like...

After some more time, she looks to the papers she's been taking notes in, and smiles "well, I have no more questions. Do you want to ask something?"
As always, I express my curiosity about what kind of projects I would be working in, but of course she doesn't know. "Human resources". I understand some people needs to specialize in judging honesty in would-be workers, but it would be nice to have them know at least some information useful for the interviewees.

Killing my nemesis

It has been a long journey, not a chase as much as a long hide-and-seek game with bouts of struggling, but in the end, here we are, in his own house. The fight has ended at last, he has surrendered to the inevitable fate.

He has stopped trying to defend himself, just lying there, breathing heavily so I can take my time, do it nicely.

I am not merciless. I have imagined so many ways... Push him in a car's way, or a bus' or a train's; an overdose; hang him or suffocate him with a bag or the car's escape trick; cut his belly open or even involve him in a fight and get others to actually kill him.

But I can take my time and prove I have mercy, so I cut him in his inner thigh.
If done right, a half stab, half deep cut, between the muscles, there is not too much collateral damage, not too much pain.
I do the other one too, to accelerate things. With a single femoral artery bleeding it is about two to three minutes until you lose consciousness due to loss of blood, and then about one more minute until actual death, but being unconscious, that doesn't matter. A relatively pain-free death, not a bad way to die.

He keeps bleeding, still looking at my hands and the knife while I clean the blade, but his blinking is slower, and slower.


Maybe the adrenaline is keeping him awake a little longer than I thought, but the strength is abandoning his fingers.
This is almost a spiritual moment and I put the knife away and sit back.
He slides until he lies on the floor, and so do I. He blinks
once more, and then he close his eyes. Even with
my own eyes closed, I can feel him
finally descending on

Then he's gone,
and so

martes, 23 de febrero de 2016

La escuela de baile

Hacía frío, o más bien entraba de la calle. El baño del vecino de arriba perdía agua y se había filtrado tanto tiempo que el moho ya había tomado un color entre negro y verde.  El dueño del piso era quien tenía que hacer las reparaciones pero, como tantas veces ocurría, hacía oídos sordos a lo que no fuera cobrar la renta, así que todo se había alargado meses más de la cuenta, y los afectados por la gotera mantenían la puerta de la calle abierta todo el tiempo que podían con la intención, o quizá sólo la esperanza, de contribuir a secar la humedad o al menos reducir el olor de yeso mojado.

Era una pena, porque no hacía tanto tiempo que las salas habían sido arregladas y adecentadas en la medida en que el dinero lo había permitido, pero con los edificios del centro es siempre lo mismo: construcciones viejas con más años que cuidados, pero situadas en el mismo sitio que tantas y tantas personas que un negocio tenía fácilmente más futuro allí por la afluencia de público que en otro lugar donde las instalaciones pudieran ser mejores y costara menos mantenerlas.

La pintura y los nuevos espejos de las salas habían mejorado el aspecto, y apartar al antiguo dueño y, sobre todo, su continuo fumar, habían cambiado por completo la sensación inicial al ver la recepción, transformando el lugar cerrado y claustrofóbico que parecía antes en una sala abierta donde podía esperarse cómodamente a que empezara la clase de uno.

Algunas clases, como la de claqué, hacían pensar que una cierta insonorización podría evitar interferencias entre las actividades de las distintas salas, pero las clases de flamenco ponían por delante reforzar el suelo, sobre todo al escuchar a los alumnos que daban clase debajo y comentaban entre risas cómo se sacudían las lámparas y el propio techo.

domingo, 21 de febrero de 2016

The Silver Spider, as PC

That story was originally focused on a dark elf monk, serving the interests the Elf Queen could not express.

He has a 3 point complicated relationship with the elf queen, because he's part of her forces but they do not always know it or are at liberty of showing such knowledge.
His backgrounds are probably divided between his public occupation and his secret occupation. 
Maybe secret agent sounds too modern, but elf queen's spy, ...saboteur or even ...assassin are good. The public backgrounds could be dark elf exiled mercenary, ...hunter, ...trader or ...wanderer. I would probably put 4 points on the secret one and 2 each on a couple of cover ones.

The original thought was to make him a monk, but the same relationships and background ideas could work with a rogue, sorcerer, fighter or ranger. And bards make usually good spies.

As Bard I think the Spider would be primarily a Charisma bard, with the talent Balladeer to help him blend in. Also, Spellsinger and Jack-of-Spells seem nice enough, considering the Elf Queen's status as one of the best sorceress in the world. If he was to primarily spy on a particular group (in particular, Archmage, Lich King, Priestess or Great Gold Wyrm), Mythkenner or Loremaster could help making a cover, with the two additional background points and the extra icon relationship.

As Fighter I imagine him being the quick, expeditious kind of fighter, favoring Strength and Dexterity, fighting with two longswords or maybe scimitars. The talents Comeback Strike and Counter-attack help making that image, letting him taking advantage of a foe's failed attacks and having less chances of failing his own. The third talent could be Deadeye Archer to bring in the idea of covert killer. His initial maneuvers would probably be among Carve an Opening, Deadly Assault, Precision Attack, Second Shot and Two Weapon Pressure.

As Ranger I think he's probably a good candidate for Favored Enemy: humanoid. A spider Animal Companion is drow-flavored, but he's supposed to be undercover, so I wouldn't take that one. First Strike, Lethal Hunter and Two Weapon Mastery match the assassin kind of character, while Fey Queen's Enchantments connects him with the powers of Elf Queen.

As Rogue, the talents Improved Sneak Attack or Murderous make him the assassin type, while Smooth Talk is more spy-like and Shadow-Walk links him with the darkness drow character everyone expects him to be.

As Sorcerer I would clearly take the Fey Heritage talent and probably Sorcerer's Familiar. Blood Link is interesting to let another relationship into the character and help his cover.

Finally, as Monk, the forms that most call my attention are Greeting Fist, because it seems like a good way to end a fight quick, Heaven's Arrow match the secret, stealthy and ranged style of ninja-style kunai, as Spinning Willow Tree gets him a nice projectile dodge ability and Leaf on Wind gives him the extra movement I expect from a mainly infiltration ninja kind of character.

There you go, six different characters with the same story.

Critic thought

When I talk about religion some people ask what damage it does?

Of course, the first thing that comes to mind is jihadists suicide bombers (or worse, non-suicide terrorist, at least the suicide ones kill themselves too) or christian fundamentalists denying medical care to their own children because it goes against god's will.

Then they specify that they were talking about the more discreet believers. You know them, the ones who don't read their holy books, wouldn't believe what is written on them but couldn't care less anyway. Those are the ones attending their services without thinking about what they mean and whose behavior is hardly influenced in any way by the religion they say they follow.
Actually, they are not far from behaving as atheists, except for a few things.

First thing is they waste their time attending those services.

Second thing is they keep teaching their children that religion, in the best case making them the same kind of person they are. In the worst case, they're easing those children way into damaging others because of their religious beliefs. Any way you look at it, any believer is more easily converted into a religious extremist than an atheist is.

Third, and this damages their children even if they never go farthest than their parents went, even the discreet kind of believer is used to discards any fact in conflict with their beliefs, and that is a custom easily extended to fields different from the religious one. Usually politics, economy and society opinions are the first ones being fixed thanks to that disregarding of anything conflicting with the opinions they hold, but they often don't stop at that.

That third damage is the more dangerous, because it's more subtle but more easily taught, and a necessary condition to advance from normal believer into hardcore believer. That third problem can be summarized as having the ability to turn their critic thought off, except it's not under their control.

The critic thought is what makes us react when something is incoherent or inconsistent, what makes us realize when somebody is trying to manipulate us, because they are usually incoherent with other things they say or do, or because they're incoherent with what reality is.
So, that lack of critic thought is what lets other people take advantage of us, and teaching our children that normal, standard religious way, no matter what particular religion, is making more difficult to them to develop that critical thought, so necessary in our lives

That's one subtle way the "normal" believers of every religion burden and damage everyone (else and themselves).

viernes, 19 de febrero de 2016

Empezando de nada

Un adulto sentado en una silla, una niña tumbada en la cama.
El adulto le ha contado un cuento.
La cadencia de su voz ha distraído a la niña de los juegos de una hora antes, distraído, si corazón ha ralentizado sus latidos. Distraída con el cuento, se ha calmado su respiración. Bostezaba sin darse cuenta hasta que se le abría tanto la boca que no podía no cerrar los ojos, y mientras escuchaba las últimas palabras que pronunciaba su padre, intentaba en vano no dormirse, escuchar el final