Friday, October 24, 2014

A story

She was lying in a shallow ditch in a damp hole in the earth, cut off from her comrades, shivering in the dim light of the full moon.

The attack had come quickly, like she'd read on Twitter. One minute she'd been running across the grassy hill behind her family's home chasing her little brother, the next she'd been running for cover, fire raining down from the sky, the smell of burning buildings and scorched earth choking her.

She still didn't know where her brother was. She lifted her head gingerly to peer across the rim of her ditch, expecting a hail of fire at any moment. The fire did not come. A few meters in from of her hiding place she saw one of the insectoid exoskeletons that seemed to have been damaged in the fierce battle ensuing after the attack. The exoskeleton was rocking back and forth, emitting occasional sparks and jerking intermittently.

She ducked back down, gripped by a deep desire to finally encounter the adversary, to learn the purpose behind the incomprehensible attacks. But she was afraid. So deathly afraid. An icy fear was trickling into her bones, freezing her in place. She started to shiver uncontrollably. "I'm too fucking young for this shit!" she thought to herself.

Back in fifth grade, there had been that swimming course. She'd had to jump from the high spring board. High up above the water, she'd perched, shivering, gripped by some primal fear, unable to give a name to the nameless horror rooting her to the spot. She'd barely heard the shouts of her gym teacher, or the taunts of her classmates.

She had jumped after all. She still couldn't put into words why. But she had.

As soon as you'd let go, things were in motion, and there was nothing you could do any more. Looking back, the instant of decision hadn't been as hard as she'd imagined. From there, everything else had followed naturally.

Now she remembered the feeling of that moment. A short impulse was all that was needed. The next second she was sprinting across the hill torn open by countless impacts. What had been a softly undulating, grassy slope was now a smoking expanse of brown earth, making her stumble as she sprinted towards the twitching alien machine.

She slid down next to the hissing, jerking wreck that had been the one of war machines laying waste to her village. She had to know. She had to know why. Why all this destruction? What was the reason? She pulled herself over the mangled war machine until she came face to face with the occupant. Its eyes flickered in her direction.

She tried to find the words to ask what she so desperately needed to know. "Why—"

It cut her off, spitting a sequence of hissing and clicking sounds. A small box next to its head squawked the translation.

"Actually, it's about ethics in journalism."


Friday, August 08, 2014

A taxi ride

I just had a conversation with a taxi driver that made me very uncomfortable.

"So this guy I know, he drinks a lot. A real lot. And he goes out a lot. I once came across him lying in the street at 10am and I had to wake him up, that's how much he drank.

"So one day, he wakes up in a bed that's not his own, totally naked next to a dude. Turns out the dude was gay, and they had sex.

"So he totally freaked out. He took a knife, and he stabbed the guy. He ended up killing him.

"Now he's in prison. It's been eight years now, and he's still behind bars. That's what alcohol will do to you.

"Of course, you also gotta pity the other guy."

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Infinite Monkeys (->tumblr)


Ich zocke u.a. mit tante und BuzzingDanZei gerade ein Storium-Spiel, das ich "Infinite Monkeys" genannt habe.

Ich wollte die Episoden hier posten, aber da das Rüberziehen der Inhalte auf hier auf Blogger nur Schmerzen bereitet, habe ich das Ganze auf tumblr umgezogen.


Friday, June 21, 2013


His wrists hurt. His back hurt. He couldn't feel his legs and feet. James had been slicing onions for what felt like hours now, and still there was no end in sight.

He was long past hating Joan for this assignment. At first, he had felt the white-hot rage reserved for the lowest category of assholes, for sadistic fucks that get kicks out of other people's misery. But that had long since been washed away by the burning in his eyes, by the endless flood of tears, and had given way to a dull determination to make Joan pay for this, a dark black sphere of steely resolve that throbbed in rhythm with his lower back.

Keeping a sip of water in his mouth had helped, a little, at first. But try having the same mouthful of water for 15 minutes, and anybody would prefer burning eyes, he was sure. He'd made his worst mistake after the first half hour, when he had unthinkingly rubbed his eyes. His left eye had still not fully opened back up yet.

The knife was nice, though. A slick, ultra-modern applicance from some robotics manufacturer he'd heard of once, in the news. Something to do with home automation. He hated that modern crap, but he had to admit the knife had a nice balance. As soon as he'd picked it up, it had greeted him in a voice he assumed had been recorded by some highly paid TV actor, and focus group tested all to hell and back for maximum comforting effect. It sounded like a damn televangelist. He'd told it to shut the fuck up after the first sentence.

He continued slicing, caught in the kind of trance that only repetetive, brainless work will put you into. Hindbrain work, he called it. Not the kind of work he enjoyed. He was accustomed to using a keyboard, and sitting in a comfortable chair. He had no idea why that asshole had told him to go slice a metric fuckload of onions. Her nonchalant visage flashed in front of James, in the perfect clarity that only angry hindsight could give you. "It's no big thing," she'd said, "everybody takes turns chopping up the onions." Sure, it wasn't part of his normal job, but then again, he was new and didn't want to go against the boss in his first month at work. This must be some kind of hazing ritual. What a jerk.

There was a gentle knock, and Lisa peeked around the door. When she saw James, her eyes widened in shock. "Christ, what the hell happened to you?"
"What do mean, what happened to me? I've been chopping these bastard onions for forever now, just like Joan told me."
Lisa's hand shot to her mouth. "Oh god. You've been actually physically chopping them with your hands."
"What? Are you kidding me? How would I chop them otherwise?"
Lisa stepped up to the table, and put her hand on his knife hand. "Here, let me." She held the knife up, examining it. "Oh, you put it in standby," she said. "OK Knife, chop those onions." A green dot of LED light winked on at the base of the knife's handle. Lisa put the knife down, which started to hang in the air above the chopping board. She then grabbed an onion, and laid it down next to the knife. Immediately, the knife hacked the onion into two halves, then started dicing the halves into tiny, mathematically precise cubes.

"Jesus, Jim," Lisa said, "didn't anybody ever tell you you've got to let the knife do the work?"


Sunday, May 05, 2013


The girl's voice jars the warrior out of his stupor. He does not recall how long he has been sitting in the half-dark chamber, staring into the remains of the fire in the centre of the room. He recognises the girl by her voice, but even if he didn't, he would recognise her by the wrong honorific. A bit too irreverent, not respectful enough. If he were to discipline her for this insult, nobody could object. Then again, nobody can object to anything he does. After all, he is part of the army that conquered this village.
Everybody hates him. But their good manners still make them treat him like a dignitary. No, not their good manners. Their fear. Except for the girl. She is all of eight years old, and the only member of the household that has taken him in who openly shows her dislike. The others cower and bow in fear, even though it was their idea to offer their bed chamber to a warrior from the invading army, in the hopes of preferential treatment. And it is true, those families who put up soldiers have a better chance of surviving the winter.
As long as their guests behave themselves.

He realises she is waiting for his permission to enter. He grunts. The door slides open. She is kneeling outside, a tray in front of her, with covered bowls of soup and rice.

"いらん。出ていけ" he barks at her. She does not flinch at his gruff dismissal, like she did yesterday. Instead, she shuffles forward, pushing the tray of food until it sits next to him on the tatami mats. He ignores it.
Staring into the embers of the fire, images from the last weeks flash unbidden before his eyes. Images of gore and blood, of death, of bodies lying by the wayside. Crows picking at still warm corpses.
Listlessly, he removes the cover from the bowl of soup. A small cloud of steam wafts up. It smells of miso and seaweed. The aroma should make him salivate, but the taste in his mouth is of ashes and death. There was  a time when he could enjoy food. There is a tingling pain in his nose as tears start to gather in the corners of his eyes.

Her reappearance jerks him out of his thoughts. He did not notice her leave, but now she's kneeling outside the room again. As their eyes meet, she drops her eyes, and bites her lower lip. What a sorry sight he must present. Welcoming the distraction from his thoughts, he watches her as she scrapes the ashes out of the fireplace and replenishes the coals. Then she sees the uneaten food, and wrinkles her nose.

"いらんって言っただろう。出ていけこんヤロー!", he barks, irritated.
Taking the tray, she leaves, shuffling backwards on her knees and closing the sliding door behind her. He hears her stand up, then a window being opened. The sound of soup being poured on the ground outside. 
So they do not even want his leftovers. Maybe they are too afraid. He does not care. He has not seen any of the residents of this house after they offered him this little chamber. Except for the girl.
His thoughts drift to images of other little girls. Crying. Dying. Dead. To atrocities he has seen. Atrocities he has committed. His gaze falls on a bit of coal that has dropped out of the fire. Without thinking, he puts his bare foot on it.
Immediately, a sharp burning pain shoots up from the sole of his foot, up his calf. He does not move his leg. The pain is all he feels. The images are gone. The ember of coal fades beneath his foot. A smell of scorched flesh wafts up to his nose. The pain fades.
More images. This time of a burnt village, of smouldering corpses. The same roast pork smell. He is caught in his living nightmares. This time, he does not attempt to hold back the tears. He does not know how to escape this living hell.
Some time later, the girl reappears. Her eyes widen at the sight of his injured foot, and she scurries out of the room, to reappear minutes later with a bowl of warm water and a washcloth. To his amazement, she kneels down and starts washing his burn wound. He is too weary to stop her. 

His question goes unanswered. He wants an explanation, a reason for her behaviour. Instead, she looks away and shakes her head slightly. She continues to clean his wound. Her touch is soothing, a long-missed bit of human contact. He leans back and allows himself to relax. We she is finished, she takes the dirty rag and the bowl outside, but leaves the door open. Soon, she reappears with another tray of food, which she puts down next to him.

He is not even annoyed by the slightly too impolite address any more. He just shakes his head, then moves to turn his body away from her.

This is not polite at all. Instead, it is what a mother would say to an annoying child. The rudeness surprises and angers him. His head snaps around and his eyes lock on hers. She meets his gaze, her lower lip trembling. Her eyes start to fill with tears, but she still does not look away.

A little more polite, but far short of what would be used for an honoured guest. This is how you would talk to an acquaintance. To a friend.
He picks up the bowl of soup.

She nods at his thanks, and looks down again, the short moment of connection gone. Her hands are trembling. He must have scared her.
He takes the lid off the soup, and takes a sip. Like the noon meal, it is a miso broth with seaweed and cubes of tofu floating in it. As soon as the first gulp hits his stomach, he notices how ravenous he is. He devours the soup and rice. He doesn't even notice the bitter aftertaste until he is finished.
She is still kneeling next to him, head bowed down. A tear drops from her face and lands in front of her on the rough wooden floor boards.

It's not a question. He already knows what she has done. He can already feel his fingertips start to tingle and go numb. He thinks he recognises the type of poison. From what he has heard, his death will be relatively painless.
His sword is lying next to him. It has been lying next to him the entire time. He knows he has enough time left to take his revenge on this family. But what would he gain from that? Maybe it is for the best. This way he can rest, finally. No more nightmares. No more unbidden images in his mind. This girl. He first met her two days ago. She decided to take revenge for her townspeople, but instead she gave him a way out of the trap his life has become.
He realises with a jolt that her family will be punished if his commander were to find out he has been poisoned. They will make an example of them, to deter the rest of the town from rising up against the occupying forces. He realises he does not want that to happen.
He picks up the sword and holds it out to the girl. She flinches, then looks at him, puzzled. He shoves it towards her, and she hesitantly takes it.
He props himself up to a kneeling position. When he draws his knife and holds it before his stomach, she realises what he is about to do. This way, they will not be persecuted. He will have died by his own hand, and her ending his suffering will be an honourable thing. An act of mercy. In a way, that is what has already happened. He looks at her.

He hopes she knows what she has to do. His sword is very sharp, so he thinks she can manage to sever his head, as soon as he has committed seppuku. As she starts to draw his sword from the scabbard, he braces himself to make his last act an act of compassion.


Friday, January 25, 2013

An alle Männerrechtler

Liebe Männer, die sich von #aufschrei zu Unrecht angeprangert, mit bösen Menschen in einen Topf geworfen, oder sonstwie diskriminiert fühlen:

OK, ich verstehe, daß das echt scheiße ist, wenn man das Gefühl hat, man wird für etwas angeklagt, das man nicht getan hat, nie tun würde, und das man auch schlimm findet und verurteilt. Aber ich verstehe eins nicht.


Da erzählen Menschen (ja, überwiegend Frauen) davon, wie sie im Alltag belästigt, oder wegen ihres Geschlechts, beziehungsweise ihrer sexuellen Orientierung, schlecht behandelt wurden.

Ende der Geschichte.

Niemand prangert, niemand verallgemeinert da irgendwas, keine alte Sau schmeißt irgendwen in irgendeinen Topf. Wer sich da angesprochen fühlt, der zieht sich den Schuh nicht einfach an, der rennt dem der den Schuh hat hinterher, reißt ihn ihm aus der Hand, merkt er passt nicht, hackt sich den großen Zeh ab, und zwängt sich dann mit Gewalt rein.

Und eins ist echt eine ziemlich arschige Nummer: Eine Person, die Euch nicht persönlich angreift, die Euch nicht mal persönlich kennt, und der es gerade schlecht geht, anzugreifen.


Ende der Durchsage. Lest mehr #aufschrei. Denkt darüber nach.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Über das Missbrauchspotential der Creeper Move Cards

Während und nach der 29c3 habe ich einiges über die Creeper Move Cards gelesen, unter Anderem über ihr Missbrauchspotential.

Insgesamt kann ich die Reaktionen gegen die Karten, die ich gelesen habe, so zusammenfassen:
  1. Generalverdacht!
  2. Also ich bin noch nie belästigt worden.
  3. Wem's hier nicht passt soll woanders hingehen.
  4. Man kann doch drüber reden statt gleich 'ne Karte zu geben.
  5. Die Karten sind viel zu krass.
  6. Inflationärer Gebrauch der Karten schadet der Sache.
  7. Missbrauchspotential!


Wenn ich zu mir in die Arbeit sowas wie die Creeper Move Cards mitbringe (und klar ist, daß ich vorhabe, sie im Büro bei Bedarf einzusetzen), dann werden mich meine 4 KollegInnen mit Recht fragen, ob ich sie wirklich so fies finde.

Aber doch nicht auf einem 6000-Personen-Kongress, Leute. Sexismus existiert. Menschen, die sich ein 29c3-Ticket gekauft haben sind deswegen noch keine Heiligen. Und die Möglichkeit von sexistischen Zwischenfällen anzuerkennen (mehr tun die Karten nicht) ist von Generalverdacht so weit entfernt wie noch mal was. 'Nuff said.

Habt euch nicht so

Argumente Nummer 2 und 3 habe ich nur der Vollständigkeit halber aufgeschrieben. Wer die benützt hat, denkt bitte nochmal drüber nach. Oder (alternativ bei #3): Schämt Euch.

Man kann doch über alles reden

Es gibt eben Situationen, in denen nicht jeder über alles reden kann. Und dazu zählen auch soziale Situationen, wo alles recht schnell geht, eins sich leicht überrumpelt fühlen kann, und auch unter Konformitätsdruck steht. Außerdem zählen dazu noch Situationen, in denen man sich vor den Kopf gestoßen, angegriffen oder verletzt fühlt. Eine Belästigung auf eine Hacker-Kongress (bis zu der man sich wahrscheinlich sogar auf dem Kongress recht wohl gefühlt hat) vereint alle dieser Bedingungen.

Können wir uns also darauf einigen, daß man nicht immer über alles reden kann? Und daß diejenigen, die das aus unterschiedlichen Gründen nicht können vielleicht trotzdem eine Chance verdient haben, zu signalisieren "Stop! Ich will das nicht." oder "Das ist nicht in Ordnung."?

Na also.

Der Missbrauch

Bleiben also die Argumente "Die Karten sind zu krass" a.k.a. "Geht das auch netter?" a.k.a. Tone Argument, der inflationäre Gebrauch und "Aber das Missbrauchspotential!"

Die Creeper Move Cards sind im Grunde Macht. Macht, die diejenigen bekommen, die weniger privilegiert sind und strukturell diskriminiert werden. Die Machtlosen also.

Und Macht kann eben auch missbraucht werden.

Wenn eins sich mal diesen Aspekt unter dem Blickwinkel eines weißen Mannes (also mir) reinzieht klingt das so: Personen, die weniger Macht haben, und die auch immer wieder mal schlecht behandelt, ausgegrenzt, verarscht, in den Hintergrund gedrängt werden, bekommen plötzlich ein Machtinstrument, mit dem sie willkürlich jedem eins auf den Deckel geben können, so ganz ohne Kontrolle.

Da wird mir auch ein bisschen mulmig.

Da könnte ich ja jeden Moment von jemandem einfach so eine Karte vor den Latz geknallt bekommen, und die/derjenige müsste sich nicht mal rechtfertigen. Obendrein wirken diese Karten auch noch so, als wäre dieses Verhalten (auf irgend einer Ebene) allgemein geduldet, wenn nicht sogar sanktioniert. Da kann eins sich schon ein bisschen schutzlos ausgeliefert fühlen.

Genau so ist das Gefühl (glaube ich) für so manche Frau. Nur eben nicht erst seit es diese Karten gibt.

Sondern eigentlich immer.

So kommt man mit den Creeper Move Cards - so ganz neben dem eigentlichen Zweck - als Mann in den Genuss, mal diesen Blickwinkel nachempfinden zu können. Meine Empfehlung (mit den Worten von Noah Sow): Nehmen Sie's als Erfahrung.