Friday, May 31, 2013

Shining At Last

There is, finally, another update to The Shining Walls. Pardon the delay; my week off has been spent in resting and cleaning, and not so much in writing. But it's there, and it marks the beginning of the next chapter: Cryptic Stronghold. As usual, if you see any glaringly obvious errors, please let me know.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Notes from the Mad Science Lab: To Do

Taken from the desk in the Mad Science Lab...
To Do:
1. Grocery Store (eggs, toilet paper, shampoo)
2. Oil Change
3. Laundry
4. Finish cloaking system for orbital cannon
5. Send Thank You note to aunt Edna
Really, folks, the life of a mad scientist isn't all that difference from anyone else.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Musical Filler: War Is Bad

So, I'm on vacation this week. This might mean that things'll be really quiet hereabouts; it might also mean that I'll suddenly have a lot of stuff to write. No telling. But, just to amuse myself (and hopefully the rest of you, too), here is Steven Brust singing War Is Bad:

Friday, May 24, 2013

Local Bands: Urizen

We just finished the Big Local Music Festival, and - as usual - I've come away from the event with a couple of bands that I'd never heard of previously, but which turn out to be surprisingly good. My personal favorite for this year is Urizen, a band which describes itself as "a theatrical 8-bit-infused heavy rock band from Ft. Worth, TX."

This is largely accurate, though the word "theatrical" may actually be understating things a bit. In addition to the music and the band's outfits, there are various characters who come on stage to interact with the band, the music, and/or each other. The result isn't quite a full-scale musical, but it's considerably more than a typical concert. So if you get a chance, check them out - it's possible to just buy their music, but I'd really recommend catching a live show if you can.

More videos below the cut:

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Another Sort Of Ark

"Okay, I see the pattern - someone is stealing animals, rare and common alike, from farms and zoos all over the world." Alaric touched his forehead, where a pair of small, upturned horns betrayed his half-demonic heritage. His horns were pulsing - never a good sign - but he pushed on: "And we're investigating this why, exactly?"

Old Man Stevens shook his head. He was a tiny, wizened figure, completely dwarfed by his office chair and the massive mahogany desk in front of him. "We're not investigating. We already know what's going on. The man responsible is a preacher named Charles DuLange. Has a small but loyal congregation in West Virginia; preaches a lot fire and brimstone, insists that the end of the world is coming soon."

"...And only the worthy will be saved," finished Alaric, reflexively cynical. "So where do the animals come in?"

"Anna took a stroll through his dreams last night. She thinks he's expecting a massive flood, and plans to use the animals - and his followers - to repopulate the world once the waters recede. Normally, I'd want more confirmation--"

Alaric nodded. Dreams were a notoriously unreliable way to gather information, but the sorts of sensitives who could pry into someone's thoughts directly all had to operate at very close range.

"--but two hours ago, a group of DuLange's followers hijacked a cruise ship. They put most of the passengers overboard in the lifeboats, but kept about thirty as hostages... or eventual sacrifices. Meanwhile, Dulange and the rest of his congregation have packed up and formed a convoy; they're on their way to the coast to meet the ship. Our best guess is that they plan to move the animals onboard with them, seal the boat up, and hold their final worship service."

"Is that a problem?" asked Alaric. "Our kind of problem, I mean? It smells more like Jonestown than an actual incursion." His horns pulsed again, insistently.

"Anna says that DuLange has been in touch with... something. She says his dreams were tainted. She's not the only one who thinks so. Something is coming, and whatever it is, it's about as bad as it gets."

"So you're sending me."

Old Man Stephens nodded. "Get onto that boat, or intercept the caravan - whatever you have to do to stop DuLange. Whatever it is that's using him, it's powerful enough that if it ever does manage an incursion, it might very well be able to raise the waters and end the world. Don't let that happen."

Alaric nodded. "May I sink the boat?"

"Whatever it takes." Old Man Stephens' voice was flat. It was hard to read expressions on that mummy-like face, but Alaric realized suddenly that the little old man was scared.

"I'm on it," he said, and turned to go.

Short Movie: Behind Closed Doors

Warning: deeply creepy and disturbing little film. Probably not safe for work. May be trigger-y for abuse-related themes.

Love the animation.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Wind And Water For A Single Blade

It was the blade that did it.

Cat was standing in North Hall, awaiting Master Carn's attention, when Yarl arrived. He had been there for some time, while around him the new students were welcomed and congratulated on their choice; he waited, with no sign of nervousness or impatience.

Yarl greeted him by name, and Cat ignored him. He'd asked to be accepted as Cat; he was listed in the roster as Cat; what writings he put in the library were added by Cat. His true name had no place here; it had no place with him.

Yarl stopped beside him in the center of North Hall, in the open training area, away from the other juniors who had chosen to study Wind and Water: the one who were being welcomed in even now. The Headmaster was an imposing presence, heavyset but graceful, even in the indecorous one-piece singlesuit that was the staple of clothing in the Westvalley school. He was larger than Cat, heavier, better trained and more experienced. Older, of course, but not old enough for it to matter.

Cat remained waiting. His attention moved absently around the room, observing: Master Carn in conversation with another new student; other juniors being welcomed by median and senior students; the racks of weapons available to the Wind and Water style of fighting; the rough granite ceiling, empowered to give light to the training area. He wore a student's dark green singlesuit, with calf-high black boots. He hadn't bothered with anything else, not even a belt.

"Three quarters of our students decide to stay with the style that they sampled last," said Yarl, his tone measured. "We divide the students into four groups, and each group rotates through each of the four styles. The idea is to give you a taste of each style, and let you make an informed choice about which one you will study. For some of them, it matters. But for most, it comes down to what is most familiar - and that is whatever they studied last."

Cat glanced at him, then looked away again. One of the girls had come forward; she was talking to Master Carn.

"I'm not surprised you didn't choose Noble Birds," said Yarl, naming the style that Cat had studied last. "I thought you'd take up Wolf Style, where you could learn the court sword and develop your skills as a Naissen, or possibly Eight Directions."

Cat continued waiting. He wasn't sure why Yarl was telling him this, and didn't see why it should make any difference.

"So," said the Headmaster, "What brought you to North Hall?"

Cat turned his head, and found Yarl studying him closely. He stopped his own examination a hair's breadth before their eyes would have met, and pointed to the weapon racks instead.

"What am I looking at?" asked Yarl.

"Navic," answered Cat. "I want to learn navic."

Yarl focused on the weapon, which consisted of a slightly curved blade about the length of a standard saber blade, but mounted on a handle that was roughly the same length as the blade. It was an odd choice, not quite a sword but not exactly a polearm either; one of those strange intermediate experiments that were still taught, but had mostly drifted into obscurity. It was also unique to the Wind and Water style, though Eight Directions taught something similar.

"We haven't had a navic specialist in years," said Headmaster Yarl. Young, he thought. They all are. He remembered being that age, fourteen or fifteen, and being annoyed when his decisions weren't taken seriously, but still: in the long run, Wolf Style would probably serve Cat better. It worried him that Cat might not realize that, but the choice had to be his. Even a Headmaster couldn't force a student to devote himself to something he didn't like. "You're sure this is what you want?"

Cat just nodded.

Yarl lifted his head and waited until Master Carn looked his way. Then he nodded, once.

Immediately, Master Carn broke off his conversation with a dark-haired new student. He was a heavy man, but his movements were slow and graceful. He approached them quickly, turning his attention to Cat as the student rose to his feet: "Cat. I bid you welcome to North Hall. The Wind and Water style is pleased to have you as a student."

Cat bowed in return. He was young, and still short his full growth; but he bowed in the Westvalley manner, not lowering his eyes. "I am pleased to study here."

Yarl bowed to them both. "I must check the other halls as well," he said, and Master Carn nodded as if he understood perfectly. Cat remained puzzled, since the choice of halls was resolved between the students and the masters; there was no reason at all for the Headmaster to check in.

"Come," said Master Carn, as the Headmaster departed. "I'm sorry to have kept you waiting. Your situation is more complicated than most... but I'm glad to have you, and I'm sure you'll fit in well here. Take your time, and focus on the basics - everything else will follow from that."

Cat bowed again; the advice seemed to warrant a more formal acknowledgement than just a nod.

Master Carn quirked his lips, then smiled. "...And if it's the navic you're after, we'll teach you that."

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Firstborn discovers a new word

In our house, bedtime is an exciting time. It's exciting because the mere prospect of having to go to sleep fills both boys with a fresh burst of vigor and vitality. It's exciting because even though we've used exactly the same schedule for the last five years, we never know what's going to happen. It's exciting because it's bedtime, but it's not even dark yet - it's just NOT FAIR - Waaaaaah! It's exciting because no matter how much stuff the Beautiful Wife and I have left to do, or how vital those projects might be, there is always a notable chance that one or both of the boys will manage to Not Go To Sleep until eleven-thirty at night.

And sometimes, it's exciting for... other reasons.

Last night, Firstborn - who will turn seven in June - got out of the shower and picked out a towel with which to dry himself. The towel on top of the pile was the Cute Yellow Duck Towel, which has an extra layer of cloth in one corner; the idea being that you can sort of tuck that corner over the top of your child's head and wrap the child with the rest of it, thus transforming your little darling into a terribly unconvincing duck and probably setting off an hour-long temper tantrum, but I digress. Where was I?

Note: not my child.

Oh, right. Firstborn grabbed the Cute Yellow Duck Towel. He was about to begin drying himself off with it when he noticed the Cute Green Froggy Towel under it. (The Cute Green Froggy Towel is a slightly more elaborate design, but very much the same general idea as the Cute Yellow Duck Towel.)

Note: also not my child.

So, once he'd dried himself to an acceptable point, Firstborn hung the Cute Yellow Duck Towel on his head. Only he didn't set it so that it hung down his back, as is the usual practice. No, he positioned it so that it hung down over one shoulder. Then he scooped up the Cute Green Froggy Towel, and hung it over his other shoulder. Half of him was now green, and half of him was yellow, and he could see out of the opening between the two hoods.

...At which point he charges out of the shower, comes dashing into the kitchen, and loudly announces: "Look! I'm half frog and half duck! I'm a FUCK!"

I... I just... I'm just grateful that he didn't burst out with this in the middle of a grocery store or something.

Monday, May 20, 2013

The things you have to explain to people...

So, um, this:

Apparently this is something that dancers do? I dunno. But I presume that the problem must have reached truly epic proportions if we've gotten to the point where we're putting up signs about it...

Friday, May 17, 2013

The Matrix Retold by Mom

Because I'm too busy to write anything of my own, and this is hilarious:

"I don't like violence, so a lot of times I closed my eyes, so I probably missed 'bullet time'."

Sarah Kane vs. Cannibal Corpse

Because I think the end of the world and the utter destruction of all living things really needs more cheerful, catchy anthems:

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Fill In The Book

Someday I would like to write the sort of book that would go with this disclaimer. And by "write" I mean "finish".

That is all.

The Shining Walls, updated!

There's a new post up at The Shining Walls. As usual, any and all corrections, feedback, and shameless compliments are appreciated.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

There is something wrong with Teddy

Every once in a while, a Teddy Bear starts to feel bad. But don't worry, with the aid of modern medicine, there's every chance that Teddy can make a full recovery and live a full, happy life.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Real Parenting Conversations: Alphabetizing Words

Firstborn: "A... Nothing with A. B... Before. Oh, and been."

Me: "And what else?"

Firstborn: "Begin."

Me: "And what else?"

Firstborn: "Baby."

Firstborn: "That's a lot of Bs!"

Me: "It is. It is a whole swarm of Bs."

Firstborn: (giggles)

Notes from the Mad Science Lab: Growth Ray

What do you mean, "what's wrong?" Why would you assume that the only reason I'd be calling you is that something's... Oh. I do? Yes, I suppose I do. Very well, I'll tell you what's wrong: our son is getting taller.

He does that anyway, so I might not have caught on for quite a while if he hadn't given himself away. And let me tell you, a three hundred pound Retriever puppy is a dead giveaway. But in any case, he's been using my growth ray on himself. And that is why, in the face of our genetics, this year he's one of the biggest kids in his class.

No, of course I can't "just fix it". If I could, I wouldn't be calling you about it. No, calm down - it's not a technical problem. You don't think I'd build a growth ray without designing a shrink ray as well, do you? Well, I didn't. I have a shrink ray. I can bring him back to his original size.

I'm calling you because I don't know what his original size is. How big should he be? No, of course I don't keep track of things like that. You're his mother; don't you...?

I see. All right, very well, I'll pull up some charts and see if I can't make a decent statistical estimate.

What? Oh. No, I don't believe so. He said a couple of the kids were giving him trouble about being so small, but after that incident with his science project I don't think any of them are actually bullying him. It's just something he's sensitive about.

Well, I suppose I could, though we might have to make some adjustments later, so he doesn't end up as an eight-foot-tall adult. Or some childhood equivalent that his teachers might notice. Let me pull some data together, and I'll find him a size that's large, but not too large. And then I'll set some security on the growth ray.

Yes, I'll be careful. All right, you too.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Real Work Conversations: To add, or not to add, that is the question

Event Person: "So, the link for Sponsor X doesn't seem to be working on our sponsor page."

Me: "This is true. There is no link for Sponsor X on our sponsor page. The reason there is no link for Sponsor X on our sponsor page is because I removed the link for Sponsor X from our sponsor page. The reason I removed the link is because this morning I received an email from the webmaster at Sponsor X asking me to remove the link from our page because it was somehow causing them to be 'penalized' by Google, whatever that means in this context."

Event Person: "Really?"

Me: "Yes. So, I have sent an email back to the webmaster from Sponsor X, the local franchise operator for Sponsor X, and our own sponsorship coordinator, and asked them to figure out an answer. I can put the links back up easily enough, but I really don't want to end up playing ping-pong with them."

Event Person: "Okay, then."

You have no idea how much I wish I was making this up.

So, um, I'm not posting that here.

All right. A while back, I mentioned that I was working on pulling some of the short stories I'd put up here into an anthology and making it available for sale. (This, basically, in preference to setting up some sort of "tip jar" arrangement.)

So I collected some of my favorites, put them all together, and started editing to get the manuscript ready. I also figured that I'd put a little something in there that wasn't available here, as a sort of thank-you for anybody who actually buys the thing.

Well... the piece that I was going to put up this afternoon fits the bill nicely. So instead of putting it up here, I'm putting it in there. So I really don't have anything for this afternoon. Um... sorry 'bout that. Instead, have a question to play with:

What is the most socially disruptive superpower you can imagine?

Consider this an open thread.

Music: Dark Princess

This is one of the bands I find myself playing at work every so often. And, since I'm at work...

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Let me tell you about my day...

Morpheus asks What if I told you that I could be done by now if you'd quit interrupting me to ask how much progress I've made.

Parent or Superhero? (Continued)

It's time for another episode of Parent or Superhero - the game in which you read a series of direct quotes, and try to guess whether they come from parents, or from superheroes.
1. "How do you lose an entire train?"

2. "Do not throw that car at me."

3. "Okay, that's it. You have to stop crushing people's heads."

4. "Annnd, he got away. He's too fast for me."

Thanks for playing, folks, and remember: No capes!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Filler: Silly Music

I got sleep last night. This shouldn't be newsworthy, but... well, it is. I got sleep last night. (I got sleep last night!)

So on the one hand, I'm feeling much better than I was yesterday. On the other hand, I'm not feeling enough better than yesterday. So, rather than try to do something that requires any sort of concentration, I'm just going to put up some music. Silly music. Music... with puns.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Soul Reaver figures

Firstborn has a particular liking for the Soul Reaver video games:

I must say, this represents excellent taste on his part; I love those games myself. So it's really no surprise that Firstborn was, well, very interested when he discovered that I own action figures for both Kain and Raziel. He asked if he could have them for his birthday.

Having gone to some effort to acquire them, I told him that I was keeping these two. However, I also told him that I'd have a look online and see if I could find him a set of his own.

Well, I did. And I discovered that Kain, in the original packaging, is going for a good $50 - while Raziel is up at $70. So, um, no. We're going to have come up with another plan.

The Shining Walls - into the city

The next section of The Shining Walls is up! As usual, any feedback is welcome.

In related news, we've hit the peak of my busy season - the time when the avalanche of work events finally comes crashing down - so my schedule has basically imploded. So if I'm incoherent or just plain absent, that's what's going on.

Monday, May 6, 2013

The closest I've ever come to getting shot

I really don't want to get into a gun control debate; I don't think there's any way to say anything particularly useful given the current framing of the issue. But, as an amusing personal anecdote, I would like to tell you about the closest I have ever come to getting shot.

It was not, as you might expect, while I was rescuing diplomats from a military coup in some plausibly-deniable location. I mean, I can understand how you might leap to that conclusion, but no: that wasn't what happened. Nor was I hijacking a convoy of food and supplies from the forces of an evil dictator so that I could take them off to feed widows and orphans. Though, again, perfectly natural that you might think that.

No, it was actually on a college campus. Given recent news, I should probably go ahead and reassure you that it was not any sort of school shooting scenario. Nor was it one of those cases where some idiot is keeping a handgun in the dorm room in defiance of about half the rules in the student handbook. In fact, it was just about as far from those scenarios as it's possible to get: it was on an indoor rifle range, during class, with at least two instructors supervising.

This particular college, you see, had an ROTC chapter. As a result, one of the classes available was Rifle Marksmanship. A friend and I decided to take this as an elective. Now, you have to understand, this was ROTC Rifle Marksmanship, so we're not only shooting with military rifles, we're also breaking them down and reassembling them - timed, of course. And everyone else in the class was ROTC - well, for that matter, everyone else in the building was ROTC, one way or another.

At one point, midway through the semester, one of the instructors discovers that one of the students has never fired a pistol. Which, y'know, if you're going into the Army, seems like something you should probably have done at least once, right? So he brings in a revolver, and he walks her through the process: stance, grip, cock the hammer, squeeze the trigger. And it's not like he's just turned her loose with the pistol, either. He's standing a little bit back and to one side: close enough to be in reach, but not close enough to distract her by looking down her shoulder.

Well, she fires off a shot. This is where you can see that she's never shot with a pistol before. For one thing, it's louder than the rifles - a lot louder. For another, it kicks in her hand in a way that rifles really don't do. So she gets this surprised look like, Oh my God, on her face. And she turns her head - just her head - to say something over her shoulder to her friend.

And the barrel of the pistol turns too, tracking with the movement of her hand. It was an odd movement, because it was really just the wrist that turned. She was still in a shooting stance, her arms were still extended forward toward the target. But her eyes moved, and her hand moved to follow.

I was, just at that moment, coming in the door from the back. So I stepped into the range proper (as opposed to the offices and storage areas) just in time to see the pistol sweeping around to point at me. And I had a very nasty moment where I had to choose between diving back out the door and onto the floor (embarrassing, and probably unnecessary, but just possibly lifesaving) and standing there staring at The Wrong End of a pistol (dignified, but potentially life-threatening).

Fortunately, while I was standing there frozen, the instructor stepped up, reached around, and realigned the pistol to be pointing downrange.

The student looked around, surprised - she hadn't been at all aware that the pistol had moved.

Anticlimactic? Absolutely, and I'm persistently grateful for that. If there's a lesson here, it's mainly that you have to be extra careful with handguns; it's a lot easier to swing one around without noticing where you're pointing it, than it is with something the length of a rifle. But, again, this isn't intended to make a point. It's just an amusing personal anecdote: the closest I've ever come to getting shot.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Notes from the Mad Science Lab: Spideroarr!

I just got off the phone with my ex-wife. Apparently there has been a slight miscommunication, and as usual she's determined to blow it entirely out of proportion.

Genius, it seems, can misunderstand as well as be misunderstood.

During his most recent visit, my son expressed his desire to create a "Giant Spideroarr" - a creature which would be half spider and half lion. And, of course, it should be giant.

This seemed to me a perfect opportunity: a chance to charm the boy with the sort of birthday present that only his father could provide. So, naturally, I went down to the lab and began designing. Once I had a good idea of what the beast should look like, I started running simulations through the sequencer. After that came the actual production, and then some time in the growth tank to get my creation up to full size in time for my son's birthday.

All of this, you understand, was no small challenge. Oh, the work itself wasn't so bad; it was trying to get it done before his birthday. I didn't have as much time for tweaking and tinkering as I normally prefer. Still, design-wise, everything came out just fine. It was even ready in time for my son's birthday party.

That, too, went exactly as I meant it to: the crate arrived, the boy opened it, and the spideroarr imprinted on him just as I'd designed it to do. My son, however, kind of freaked out.

It turns out that what he actually wanted to create was a Skylanders Giant Spideroarr. When we first discussed his idea, I'd assumed he was referring to a cartoon or somesuch; but as it happens, Skylanders Giants are characters from a particular video game. The characters are activated in the game by placing small plastic statues on some sort of sensor - the statues are sold separately, of course.

So what my son wanted to design was a new character inside an existing video game, with a corresponding plastic statue to activate it. He was not expecting a roaring, eight-legged beast roughly the size of a horse. Nor were his friends; the spideroarr's arrival apparently triggered a brief stampede of panicked fifth-graders. This was, I assure you, not my intent.

My wife's complaints were numerous. In addition to frightened children, she was bothered by the amount of webbing around the house, the fact that the spideroarr broke the bed and then the couch while trying to curl up with our son, and the amount of food required to feed a carnivore of that size. So it seems that the spideroarr will be returning here, where it can live in the cryptozoo with the results of my various other projects.

I, meanwhile, will be talking with my old college roommate to see if he's willing to hack into Activision and insert the code for a Spideroarr character. If he can manage that, creating the statue to activate the character should be comparatively simple; no doubt we can manage that in time for Christmas.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Strange Dreams

Had a really bizarre dream this morning, in which I was visiting an old friend at his school/college (something like that). That in itself was a lot of fun; in real life, I haven't had a chance to hang out with him in nearly a decade.

In the dream, we almost immediately got in trouble - for what, I don't remember. It may not have been terribly clear to begin with. But the campus had this ridiculously intrusive (and armed!) electronic security system, which not only watched nearly everything, but actually had gun turrets and other measures at strategic points.

The security system had been installed by the president of the university, who was played (quite convincingly) by John Malkovich. No, I have no idea why that was, but he was perfect for the part. Anyway...

It turned out that we'd gotten in exactly the right - or else very, very wrong - sort of trouble. The president wasn't going to punish us; he was going to use us to shut down the security system. The system, it seemed, had gone completely out of his control and was now running the university itself. The president, naturally, wanted to regain control before anybody found out what was going on.

This involved the three of us - myself, my old friend, and his friend (Maybe they were roommates? I'm not sure...) sneaking around in some abandoned corridors, dodging security measures, and generally trying to avoid the attention of the security system, which was now getting ready to start assimilating the students. (It had mind control chips or something similar with which it was going to fit the students.)

Unfortunately, I woke up before I found out if we managed to stop the security system.

April is a month for Excperements!

Firstborn brought his April journal home from school today. Unfortunately, unlike the earlier journals, I can't see the prompts he was responding to... but given some of his answers, I can make some fairly reasonable guesses. And, of course, his responses are as quirky as ever:
Magnitisim power to the rescue!

I grew a seed army / magnitisim / volcanoes eruptid.

The baby plant wanted dirt. This one is funny because he's drawn a grid in the illustration; it has two circles in the far left column, and a caption in the bottom row: "Potato mines can only be planted on land."

If I had magnits on my shoes I would use them to go on to the bottom of a ship and go to Ohio and see my cousin Logen.

When I climb trees I normely don't need help. The drawing for this one has a tree and a stick figure. The stick figure says, "Do you need help?" The voice-bubble from the tree says, "No thank you."

The plant is living. The zombie is non-living. Well, sort of.

Sunflower. ''''' "There's a zombie on your lawn. There's a zombie on your lawn. There's a zombie on your lawn. We don't want zombies on the lawn. I dreamed that the Earth was full of the Undead!

One day I hope to see a skylander giants VS. Zombies of ice!

I will do all the hard homework on Monday and get the skylander gaint eyebrawl!

I am pleased to see that my child is just as warped as I am. Not surprised, mind you, but pleased.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Random Afternoon Music: Sisters

Because this is what I'm listening to right now. Now you can too, if you're so inclined.

Sisters of the Light:

More below...

Juxtaposing some thoughts...

I'm not sure where I'm going with this, but I want to pull a couple of things together, here, so I can look at them side by side.

Start with Walter John Williams' observation on Escaping History:
“If we ever succeed in populating other worlds,” I said, “the first thing they’ll do is lose interest in Earth history, because none of it will be relevant.”
Now set that next to John Rogers' observation that Immortality is So, So Creepy:
Even pseudo-immortality, the thousand-year lifespan, has a nasty ring to it.
Not just because of what it might mean for the individual who's rocking the forever-life, either -- and there have been plenty of discussions of that idea, both in the vampire myth and in science fiction.
No, what's even creepier to me is what a society of such people would be.
...People are people, and the vast majority of we humans formed our core values in our adolescences, locked our social and political opinions in our early 20's. Grudges dig deep. To call out a specific example: no matter who you voted for, wasn't it a little goddam tiring in the 2000 election to still be refighting the 32-year old Vietnam War records of the two candidates for the US presidency?

Now imagine it was the Civil War.
These observations don't strike me as contradictory or incompatible. But place them side by side and they're... interesting. A society of immortals, or even near-immortals, could easily end up locked in a sort of social and cultural stasis. If they were still having children - population pressure concerns aside - you could easily hit a point where the only way for the younger generations to effect social change would be to rise up and murder their elders...

Or go elsewhere. Another planet, say. Someplace so completely distant, and (perhaps more importantly) so completely different, that new insights and new ways of doing things might become possible again.

If they could manage it. If they could gather the resources and develop the technology. If the eldest among them didn't forbid it, or couldn't prevent it. (And here we raise the specter of bloody rebellion again...) If they could find a suitable planet, or planets, and if they had a compatible ecosphere or some means of terraforming.

Nobody talks about the history of Earth anymore. Hell, nobody talks about their own history. People come to the outer planets to forget...

I think I'd like to read that story. Which means I think I'd like to write that story - in my copious free time, of course. I even have a title for it. I'd call it Gerontyranny.