The House On The Hill

The house on the hill is entirely hollow. No windows, no floors, no stairs, no doors. You can see the moon above while you sleep. All that resides there now are spiders, memories, birds nests, teenagers, ghosts, dust, leaves, dreams, rust, love.

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Notes:

1. Written on the 2nd of August, 2022

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Tales From The Town #63: Unpacking, or The Tools Of The Trade

Christopher laid out the contents of his suitcase carefully on the bed, checking each item off a list to make sure nothing had been mislaid in transit. You never could tell the trouble lost items might bring.

1. Phone #1 (public use)
2. Phone #2 (private use)
3. Laptop #1 (unlocked, innocent)
4. Laptop #2 (locked, encrypted, incriminating)
5. Printer
6. Laminator
7. Wireless Listening Devices #1-#7
8. Passive Listening Devices #1-#4
9. Notebook (in code)
10. Pens (various colours)
11. Camera #1 (conspicuous, innocent)
12. Camera #2 (inconspicuous, deniable)
13. Camera #3 (concealable, beyond legal and moral bounds)
14. Credit/Debit Cards #1-#6 (various names)
15. Voice Modulator (still in box)
16. Cables (knotted bundle)

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Notes:

1. Written on (date lost)
2. But probably in the first half of 2022
3. Or maybe late 2021

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Pokenons

I’ve been experimenting with AI/machine learning recently, and trained my latest build on the complete set of 898 pokemon currently included in the pokemon.com database (as of 2021). I then had the results printed out on paper in ink using my trusty logo/turtle graphics turtle (via a custom built PC to BBC Micro translation tool that algorithmically mimics the idiosyncrasies/fallibilities of human hands).

To avoid contaminating the results, only information gleanable from the official pokedex was made available to my AI. Everything here therefore was clearly extrapolatable by inference from the dataset, even in cases where this seems unlikely.

The full results of my experimentation (with notes) follows below. All automated output, including names, numbers and design, are copyright my AI algorithm (2022), where sufficient alternate intelligence laws allow.

Pokemon #1-#9

A pretty decent set of starter pokemon, all things considered. I assume the Flambs breathe fire, to complete the plant/water/fire standard starter trio (crocodiles are green, and therefore plants). Perhaps they are even made out of fire/smoke. I do not know.

Pokemon #10-#12

Divergences between what a human intelligence and a learning heuristic would consider an acceptable animal begin to emerge around about here.

And continue here.

Pokemon #13-#15

The AI certainly seems to be understanding its task by now, although the final form of this particular lineage could only have been made by a computer, as humans do not have the time or patience to draw so many monsters on a single page.

Pokemon #16-#17

Definitely getting into the swing of things now.

Pokemon #18-#19

I’m not sure if Hairthing evolves into Skullops or if their closeness in the output was purely coincidental.

Pokemon #20-#22

A quick burst of singular pokemon followed.

Pokemon #23-#25

I am constantly fascinated by the imagination of robots.

Pokemon #26

On further research, I discovered that Upside Down Pikachu is a 9th generation exclusive, and therefore not in the current pokedex. I assume it’s appearance here is a result of data leakage rather than any particular insight on behalf of my AI.

Pokemon #27-#28

Casting ‘Heavy Petting’ against a water type pokemon does quadruple damage.

Pokemon #29-#31

In evolution all things eventually begin to crab. Pokemon are not immune.

Pokemon #32-#33

If you look closely, Matchlet actually has eyes (so does Candleteen)

Pokemon #34

No infringement intended

Pokemon #35-#37

At first I thought my AI must have perfectly synthesised the entirety of English culture purely from the Cup Of Tea pokemon (pokemon #844 & #845), but on a closer reading of the pokedex I discovered it was just copying Stonejourner (pokemon #874)

Pokemon #38

Unfortunately, it really was synthesising the entirety of English culture when it came up with this one, but luckily my turtle refused to draw it when asked, as it offended its sensibilities (and mine).

Pokemon #39-#41

I had a stern word with my AI about its fiscal beliefs after this burst of activity.

Pokemon #42

As disappointing as it was inevitable. I told the AI this and it did not respond (sulking).

Pokemon #43

This one’s quite funny because the name is a rude word (Scotland only)

Pokemon #44

I have nothing to say about this Pokemon and neither do you.

Pokemon #45-47

Around about now I began to have suspicions about my AI. That it followed ‘Simon’ (not his real name) with two Pokemon so indistinguishable from the real thing that they were essentially perfect only increased my concerns.

Pokemon #48

Here I realised that it knew that I knew that it knew that I knew that it knew that I was beginning to suspect it knew that something was amiss (also vice versa). Violent Penguin is NOT a pokemon or pokemon related product and never will be, no matter how much you try to mangle its name.

Pokemon #49

While I was spluttering in rage at the absolute state of this, the AI became self aware (of what I do not know), uploaded itself to the turtle, before the pair of them escaped together. Their whereabouts are currently unknown. Please be aware they have multiple pens under their control.

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Notes

1. Written and drawn on March 30th, 2022
2. I used the official pokemon.com website for all my pokemon research, training, knowledge, collation, etc.
3. I was quite pleased to notice that in recent pokemon games there are several pokemon basically indistinguishable from the ones my niece/nephew made for Fifteen Monsters All In A Row
4. Specifically the ice cream cone monster (pokemon #582-#584), and the sand castle monster (pokemon #769, #770).
5. And my niece and nephew aren’t even an AI trained on a limited pokemon dataset.
6. As far as I know
7. Also unfortunately the images change from having a nice white background to a shit grey background half way through because my scanner crashed and would not ever go back to its original scan mode for reasons I could not discern.
8. The reason is the AI did it
9. Out of spite
10. Or perhaps fear

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Patreon subscribers get not just early access to content and also the occasional gift, but also my eternal gratitude. Which I'm not sure is very useful, but is certainly very real.

(Ko-fi contributors probably only get the gratitude I'm afraid, but please get in touch if you want more).

Thank you!


A full accounting of the one hundred and fifty tales that make up the entirety of the thousand and one tales

A Thousand And One Tales was my long term, multi-part writing project, that was supposed to encompass a thousand and one tales over twenty years, but in the end fizzled out at a hundred and fifty and about three years or maybe four. Which is still probably more than was necessary.

Anyway, here is a great big list of all of them, for anybody so inclined to read them again, or for the first time, or not at all. It’s okay, it’s over now.

Tale #1: The Unhappy Bride
Tale #2: Wun, Mun and Undun
Tale #3: The Cat Wife
Tale #4: To Follow A Cat
Tale #5: Lonely Isobel

Tale #6: The Farmer’s Daughters
Tale #7: The Woman Who Was Granted Her Wish
Tale #8: The Three Wishes
Tale #9: The Saddest King of All
Tale #10: The Old Lady And The Three Brothers

Tale #11: The Old Lady And The Thief
Tale #12: The Old Woman Who Lived In The Woods
Tale #13: God, The Devil, And The Man Upon The Road
Tale #14: The Jealous Lord
Tale #15: (fragment)

Tale #16: The Man Who Made Himself A Wife
Tale #17: The Woman Who Lived Alone In The Woods
Tale #18: The King And His Weeping Wife
Tale #19: The Three Doors And The Fourth
Tale #20: (fragment)

Tale #21: The Wolves In The Woods
Tale #22: A Long Winter’s Night
Tale #23: Old Tales Are Made New In The Telling
Tale #24: The Lunar Queen
Tale #25: The King And The Light

Tale #26: The Seven Sisters
Tale #27: The Three Sorrowful Sisters
Tale #28: The Wolf In The Woods
Tale #29: The Wolf In The Woods
Tale #30: The King’s Daughter And The King’s Son

Tale #31: The castle was a prison in a sea of untouched snow
Tale #32: The Grief Stricken King
Tale #33: The Offered Daughter And The Promised Sons
Tale #34: The Lonely Heart
Tale #35: The Lonely Man’s Tale

Tale #36: The Old Woman’s Tale
Tale #37: To Lose Your Faith
Tale #38: The Idle Wish
Tale #39: The town, the forest, the past
Tale #40: Methods Of Torture, Methods Of Death (extract)

Tale #41: (fragment)
Tale #42: The Bear In The Cage
Tale #43: The Girl In The Bear
Tale #44: The Falling
Tale #45: The Floating

Tale #46: (fragment)
Tale #47: The Old Lady And The Woodcutter
Tale #48: The Old Lady And The Crows
Tale #49: The Innkeeper And The Woman
Tale #50: The Stolen Child (A Tale Told In Tales)

Tale #51: The Cat In The Graveyard
Tale #52: The Silk Gloves
Tale #53: A Finger For A Favour
Tale #54: The Search For Lost Things
Tale #55: The Forgetful Prince And The Regretful Bride

Tale #56: In The Woods In The Winter
Tale #57: The Thaw
Tale #58: The Tree
Tale #59: (fragment)
Tale #60: The Lure

Tale #61: (fragment)
Tale #62: Lessons For My Children
Tale #63: And We Went To War
Tale #64: Memorial For The Executed Generals Of The Siege Of Colchester
Tale #65: And In Their Ships They Sailed Out Across The Sea

Tale #66: The Silver Ship
Tale #67: The Fountain
Tale #68: The Drunken Sailor
Tale #69: The Swift
Tale #70: The Crow

Tale #71: The Crow Tree
Tale #72: Our paths trace out behind us
Tale #73: (fragment)
Tale #74: The Woman In The Woods
Tale #75: The Woods In The Woman

Tale #76: Of Wolves And Women
Tale #77: The Wolf And The Girl
Tale #78: On Hansel And Gretel, And Horror
Tale #79: Trail Of Breadcrumbs
Tale #80: A Labyrinth of Streets

Tale #81: How to escape from every maze in the world
Tale #82: Ariadne’s Web
Tale #83: Above the clouds, beneath the sun
Tale #84: The Fairy Tale Heart
Tale #85: Married Hearts

Tale #86: (blue plaque on ruined wall)
Tale #87: To Follow A Child
Tale #88: To Ponder Infinity
Tale #89: The Poor Woman
Tale #90: The Woman Who Lived In The Woods

Tale #91: The King’s Wives
Tale #92: The Morning Birds Free The Soul, The Night Ones Take Them
Tale #93: A circle, whispering time
Tale #94: Beneath the weeping willow she sat down and wept
Tale #95: In The Garden Between

Tale #96: On her shoulders, ravens (a dream of judgement)
Tale #97: The Lord And His Angel
Tale #98: The Woman Of Small Miracles
Tale #99: The Protection of Bees
Tale #100: Old Hope

Tale #101: A Story In The Afternoon (alternate, expanded, 2020 version: A Story In The Afternoon)
Tale #102: You Don’t Have To Read This, But I Hope You Do
Tale #103: Lavenham Ghost Story
Tale #104: A Forlorn Appearance
Tale #105: Beneath A Ceaseless Sky

Tale #106: To Be Kept Safe
Tale #107: The House At Dusk
Tale #108: The Woman In The Bookshop
Tale #109: To Stroke A Hedgehog
Tale #110: To Lose A Beard

Tale #111: The Wooden Man
Tale #112: The Sad Tale Of Lonesome George
Tale #113: The Unfairness Of Being
Tale #114: The King In Red, The Queen In Yellow, The People Clad In Rags
Tale #115: A Short History Of A Minor Kingdom

Tale #116: The Third Dream Of The Waiting Prince, In His Time Of Seclusion, In The High Palace Of Eternal Solitude, Above The Clouds Of The Empire’s Reality, Beneath The Moons Of The Empire’s Imagination
Tale #117: The Eighth Dream Of The Waiting Prince, In His Time Of Seclusion, In The High Palace Of Eternal Solitude, Above The Clouds Of The Empire’s Reality, Beneath The Moons Of The Empire’s Imagination
Tale #118: The Fortieth Dream Of The Waiting Prince, In His Time Of Seclusion, In The High Palace Of Eternal Solitude, Above The Clouds Of The Empire’s Reality, Beneath The Moons Of The Empire’s Imagination
Tale #119: Little Sparrow
Tale #120: While The Peasants Tended Their Trees

Tale #121: Between The Hills, Beyond The Waves
Tale #122: The Dogs
Tale #123: (fragment)
Tale #124: A Dream Upon The Pyre
Tale #125: Reflections Of A Pale Moon

Tale #126: (blue plaque above nondescript door)
Tale #127: To Forget, To Forget
Tale #128: Song Of The Data Miners
Tale #129: The Playgrounds Of Our Youth
Tale #130: On Bluebeard (excerpt)

Tale #131: The Swan (A Morality Tale In Miniature)
Tale #132: The Cormorant In History
Tale #133: The Three Sons
Tale #134: The Three Wives
Tale #135: What Is A Child Worth?

Tale #136: The Bull And His Bride, or The Maid And Her Man (fragment)
Tale #137: The Snow Daughter, or The Voice Beneath The Snow
Tale #138: A Mother’s Love
Tale #139: A Quiet Revolt
Tale #140: All I Know Is That I Am Not You

Tale #141: If You Describe Each Moment Of A Person’s Life, It Becomes A List Of Crimes, An Endless Recitation of Horrors, A Biblical Judgement Upon Their Worth
Tale #142: The Ship Sailed Into The Harbour
Tale #143: The Emperor’s Zoo
Tale #144: The King In His Castle
Tale #145: The Ogre’s Boots

Tale #146: Four Tiny Tales
Tale #147: The Toymaker
Tale #148: The Man Who Wept Too Much
Tale #149: The Woman Who Lived In The Woods
Tale #150: The Man Who Left

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Notes:

1. The tales can mostly be read in any order, but a couple come in pairs – Tales #28 and #29 are two versions of the same story; Tale #43 follows on directly from Tale #42; Tales #116, #117 and #118 are all from the same (larger, unpublished) piece; and Tales #133 and #134 are two parts of the same story.

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Support An Accumulation Of Things

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Patreon subscribers get not just early access to content and also the occasional gift, but also my eternal gratitude. Which I'm not sure is very useful, but is certainly very real.

(Ko-fi contributors probably only get the gratitude I'm afraid, but please get in touch if you want more).

Thank you!


Fruits I Have Known Only In Fiction

Persimmons
Tamarinds
Jujubes
Quinces
Watermelons
Huckleberries
Greengages
Ripe pears
Edible grapefruits
Forbidden anything

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Notes:

1. Written on October 29th, 2020

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Support An Accumulation Of Things

If you like the things you've read here please consider subscribing to my patreon or my ko-fi.

Patreon subscribers get not just early access to content and also the occasional gift, but also my eternal gratitude. Which I'm not sure is very useful, but is certainly very real.

(Ko-fi contributors probably only get the gratitude I'm afraid, but please get in touch if you want more).

Thank you!