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www.floatingpoint.pub

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MadLib Writer’s Prompt

Let’s write some Javascript to generate a writer’s prompt from a list of nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs, etc.

First, we’ll add some loading code. This code gets invoked two ways: first, we run it when the window is finished loading, so we get can update the DOM and give the user something to look at. We’ll also add a button to generate a new MadLib on demand.

window.onload = generate_prompt();

This is our workhorse right here, but it’s pretty simple. We have a bunch of arrays and we’re going to pick from them a random element and add it to the string.

function generate_prompt() {
	
     prompt_string = adjective1[random_0_to(adjective1.length)] + " " + 
          media[random_0_to(media.length)] + " " + 
          adjective2[random_0_to(adjective2.length)] + " " + 
          noun[random_0_to(noun.length)] + " " +
          action[random_0_to(action.length)] + " " +
          venue[random_0_to(venue.length)] + " ";
	
	if (random_0_to(10) == 0)
		prompt_string += ", in Latin."
		else  
		prompt_string += "."

	display_prompt(prompt_string);		
	}

Here are some sample arrays to get you going. You can add as many elements as you’d like to the arrays, just make sure they’re all separated by a comma.

var prompt_string = ""

var adjective1 = [
	"A gripping",
	"a frivolous"
]

var media = [
	"novel starring",
	"short story about"
]

var adjective2 = [
	"an anxious",
	"a pretentious"
]
var noun = [
	"duck",
	"bunny"
]

var action = [
	"dancing",
	"flying"
]

var venue = [
	"on the moon",
	"in my imagination"
]

We’re going to need a function to generate those random numbers.

function random_0_to(n) {
	return Math.floor(Math.random() * n);
	}

And lastly, a function to update the DOM.

function display_prompt(s) {
	document.getElementById("prompt").innerHTML = s;
	}

Cool, all done with the .js file.

This is from the HTML file that I use here at www.floatingpoint.pub. It defines the area in the DOM where the prompt gets updated by the display_prompt(s) function and contains a little self-contained javascript to update the prompt when someone clicks the (new) link.

		<p class=prompt><strong>PROMPT:</strong>
		<a id="prompt"></a>
		<a href="javascript:generate_prompt()" style="text-decoration:none !important;">(new)</a>
		</p>

That’s it! Have fun with it and be sure to email me to show off how you’ve used it to do something really cool on your own.

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I wrote “Vacuum” from The Onion, November 15, 1988

Under the byline Mike Evans, because we used a lot of fake names back in those days instead of the current “no bylines” policy. The first year of The Onion had a lot more “creative writing” in it. Only the front page story was a “fake news” article. Inside, the stories varied stylistically, and sometimes not even “funny”, but often just plain weird, and occasionally unsettling. Important caveat: I’m 90% certain I wrote this, but my memory of things from thirty years ago isn’t perfect and we used fake names for our bylines, which in retrospect seems to have been a bad idea.

When I’d finished with work that night, I headed home to cook myself dinner, toting the shop’s vacuum cleaner with me. It was an Eureka Deluxe Vibra-beat, model number 842, built low to the ground and saucer shaped with wheels and a metallic extension hose four feet long. The main body of the machine was turquoise. It was a majestic beast, and just what I needed to sweep up my dusty studio.

I walked home briskly, with a spring in my step, tilted just slightly to the left under the weight of my borrowed burden. The sun, just beginning to set, painted the sky ablaze in autumn splendor.

Turning up State Street towards the capitol, I felt a surge of fear, as if all eyes were upon me. I looked around. They were. Everyone had stopped going about their business and had turned to stare at me and my borrowed turquoise Eureka.

I flipped the selector to Dusting/Upholstery and held the extension hose like a weapon, tightly gripped in my hand, held ready to strike. The crowd in front of me moved backwards, keeping just out of my reach.

Behind me I heard, “He won’t do it. Let’s rush him.”

I swung around in time to glare at the heckler. I flipped the selectgor to Curtains/Draperies and engaged the Vibra-beat. He turned pale, spun, and disappeared into the crowd.

“Let’s not anyone try any heroics,” I said loudly to the gathering throng. “I’m gonna pass through, now, so keep your distance and no one gets hurt.” I made sure that everyone close enough saw the Dust Bag Indicator and knew I meant business.

The crowd parted and I made my way up the street, slowly, keeping my eyes on any potential assailants. The crowd was made up of gawkers who shrank away at first sight of my fearsome weapon. No one here actually meant any harm. I was feeling safer and safer.

The crowd opened up on Gorham Street to reveal a lone man — a behemoth — standing in the intersection. Traffic had stopped. The lights changed from red to green to yellow to red, subserviently, recursively, unaware they were no longer being regarded. More important events were afoot here.

The stranger was tall and heavy. Most of his frame was made up of ages of American beer, dorm living and meatball sandwiches. His arms were like tree trunks. His neck was the symptom of some horrible thyroid disease: thick and bulging. It came up from a torso of sickening proportions.

He looked down at me and my Eureka, model number 842, with that horrible visage, slandering my character ina number of different ways and describing the things he’d do with my severed limbs. I could see he’d never eaten a good breakfast in his entire life; it showed in his attitude. He looked like a combination of every person who had ever beaten me up in high school.

This was it. This was the final confrontation.

I checked the settings on my Eureka. I notched the selector up to Rugs/Floors and sent maximum power to the Vibra-beat. I took a deep breath and tightened the fittings on the extension rod. I took a step forward.

“I’m gonna rip your head off, pull out your throat and blow smoke into your lungs, you hippy!” he screamed. Each step he took mauled the street; cracks exploded out from his feet as they bludgeoned the ground beneath him.

I held my ground. Tightly gripping the extension rod with one hand, I waited for him to come a little bit closer.

When he reached the end of my shadow, I threw the Eureka’s switch. I let him have it. The deadly beam of energy hit him full in the chest. He screamed agonizingly and melted horribly into the pavement, clawing at my shadow, reaching for me, still trying to rip my kidneys out through my ears.

I powered down the Eureka. I took a deep breath to settle my adrenaline level to something that resembled normal.

The crowd was beginning to disperse as the sun went down behind me.

I went home and fed the cats.

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The Benzobuddies Chronicles

For three and a half years, I wrote updates on my recovery and posted them on the website Benzobuddies.org, mostly in the “Birthdays and Celebrations” sub-forum, but a few times in the “Exercise Support Group”. I was out of my mind a great deal of the time, but there was some beautiful writing that came out of it. It’s reproduced here, lightly edited.

First Post

October 22, 2014

Hello. 

Been reading this forum since I stared tapering off 4mg Klonopin (since 2003/2004, I think) a day in March/April of 2014. Last 1/4th of a 5mg of Diazepam was July 2nd and have been in Withdrawal Syndrome since then. I guess it’s been a almost four months and three weeks now. Over the time, everyone here has given me a great deal of strength and helpful information, so thank you all for that.

Most of the I’m Losing My Marbles Help Me feeling is down to a somewhat manageable level, so I hope I won’t be a huge burden. I suppose I want to help, if I can. I guess I’m one of the types of people who are strongest for themselves when I feel I’m helping someone else.

Thank you for your time.


A Short Story

October 22, 2014

So, I wrote a little bit today a bit of a Halloween story I wanted to write because I thought of how scary what I’ve been though (and still am going through) is and I thought I’d share with my Buddies. Like every good Halloween story it’s a little bit scary and a little bit funny. Hopefully just scary enough to give one goosebumps. Hopefully the funny parts are actually funny. Anyhow, not finished. Also, super first-drafty. While the spelling is as impeccable as modern computer technology can assure, please forgive the errors both in syntax and in judgment.

“A Mouse In The House”

A mouse ran into my apartment, twice.

Early evening, August, dank and rainy. One of those nights that makes people disbelieve global climate change. It should just be miserable. Instead, it’s miserable and wet and cold. 

This gives me the perfect opportunity to splay myself in the beanbag. To read. Perhaps have an apple later. The Honeycrisps are on sale and I have a fridge full of them. Four of them, but they’re very large. And sweet. So sweet. Each bite is a melted liquor mouthful of cotton candy; the kind that comes in the paper foil bag, always slightly stale and firm but almost painfully sugary.

On the radio — except it’s not a radio, it’s digital, delivered over the internet instead of the airwaves, though in one of those ironic twists that spice up daily life, the internet is delivered through radio waves now — through the speakers of my ancient, analog stereo system that once complained of being overdriven to distortion in the neighbor-disturbing amplification of Paradise Theatre or possibly The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars painstakingly distorted clicks and bleeps tumble out into the room, clip about like ponies in a clover field, then reassemble about the beanbag with smirks on their faces to assure me they mean business and what would I think if they clawed about the labyrinth for a while and upset some grocery carts and possibly put the compost in with the recycling. How would I feel about that?

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Fitness

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The Politics of Tom Clancy’s: The Division 2

The author as a rough man; sleep well, sweet dreams. White House for scale.

© 2019 Jonnie Wilder

“People sleep peacefully in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf” — Richard Grenier paraphrasing George Orwell

In the fictional near-future, I’m standing overwatch on the wall of the Haunted House Control Point near the present-day Octagon Museum, about two blocks from the White House, watching a group of men burn to death in a fire I set with a portable flame-thrower turret. It’s a beautiful sight. 

Some of them drop their weapons and I walk in to take them for myself as the fire dies out, then I roll behind a jersey barrier and fire off a few rounds of suppressive fire toward a heavily-armored man weilding a chainsaw. He’s barely phased by the bullets that pancake on his ballistic armor and he revs the chainsaw menacingly as he runs at me.

I’m rebuilding society in the shadow of a biological terror attack, making America great again. I’m playing Tom Clancy’s The Division 2, a video game about killing people who kill people and take their stuff, and then taking their stuff so you can kill even more-well-armed people and take their stuff too. I kill people to show that killing people is wrong.

Much has been written about the ham-handed politics of violent video games and simultaneously, the timidity of game publishers to take what might be seen as political stances in their video games

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Farewell, Worthy Adversary

© 2019 Jonnie Wilder

Seattle Weekly’s last print issue hits the streets today. It’s another exclamation point at the end of a string of exclamation points that signal the exasperation of excitable writers witnessing the end of an era that began in the mid 1970s with the rise of alternative weekly newspapers.

Alt Weeklies, as they were called, were the counterculture’s attempt to take back the media narratives that were at one time controlled by daily newspapers. Dailies were the CNN, FOX News, and MSNBC of their day, respected and read by everyone who wanted to know what opinions they’d have at the clubhouse after a round of golf.

The alternative was newspapers like the Chicago Reader, Village Voice, and the L.A. Weekly who reported weekly on the culture beneath the dominant culture with a loud and proud voice that told it like it was. The mid-to-late seventies were a time of cultural upheaval, and the rebels wanted their own balladeers to properly sing their praises. The upstart young poets would weave epic tales worth rhyming, and the hearts of the broken-down cities of the ‘70s were bleeding to the beat of a different drummer.

The birthplace of great writers such as Susan Orlean, Ta-Nehisi Coates, and Matt Groening — where television personalities Chris Hayes and Jake Tapper got their journalistic start — alt weeklies were the WNBA of the literary sport: the place you’d go to see the game the way it was meant to be played, without the oversized egos and the steep ticket prices.

After Woodward and Bernstein’s investigative journalism had just brought down a President, what else was it capable of doing for the public good? This was the ‘70s on a stage set in the aftermath of the assassination of Dr. King, the riots at the Stonewall Inn, and the fight for an Equal Rights Amendment. Great social change was ongoing, and it was in this chapter of Journalism’s greatest story ever told, the Seattle Weekly proudly proclaimed themselves the alternative to the alternative weekly.

What the hell, Seattle Weekly?

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Start ’Em Young: Embrace the Violence of Video Games

©2019 J. Wilder

I’m surrounded and the enemy is closing in.

Backing away from them, I look over my shoulder at the edge of the futuristic Egyptian garden wall and imagine myself leaping into the mists below, where I will surely perish. 

If I don’t, I will either be crushed by a well-dressed man with a giant cybernetic fist, poisoned by a one-eyed grandmother, or nuked by a South Korean esports legend. But more likely, the overly polite climatologist with a reputation for freezing her enemies, will blast me with her freeze gun and then stab me in the eye with an icicle.

I choose to rob them all of the satisfaction and step off into the void.


Multiplayer combat-oriented video games have been an growing popular form of entertainment over the last decade. With names like, “League of Legends”, “Overwatch”, and “Fortnite: Battle Royale” they rake in billions of dollars and strike fear into traditional and new media alike.

Netflix recently explained to its shareholders that it’s biggest competitor is the online multiplayer game Fortnite, not HBO.

These games are addicting, stressful, violent, and insanely fun. Parents are increasingly wary of their potential to engulf their children’s free time; to the detriment of face-to-face social interaction, outdoor time, and performance of household chores. 

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Bullies Rule The World Only Because We Demand It

©2019 Johanna Wilder

For most all of my childhood, and quite a bit of my young adulthood, I was bullied. Growing up in rural Indiana in the ’70s and ’80s was a challenge that required a child be either rugged brute or resilient target. Target I was, but I was neither resilient, nor rugged, nor brutal.

While I was being hunted down by my menacing peers, I was scoping out alleyways for safer routes to school. I didn’t want to fight. I wanted to be left alone so I could focus on what was important to me at the time: reading fantasy and science fiction, orchestral symphonies, track and field, the neighbor girl with the pretty brown hair who seemed to like me, and the Doctor Demento radio show. All of these apparently anarchistic thought-crimes that would bring about the demise of the heretofore incorruptible moral traditions of Terre Haute, Indiana.

I was a twelve-year-old enemy of the state that needed to be dealt with extrajudicially, so as not to sully the impressionable.

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I comment on Reddit

The Internet machine lets me type on it and I can’t resist a box with a blinking line in it.

Not rude at all, you were very polite. Thanks.
Let me preface by saying this is my experience, and my perspective on my experience, and I’ve made no attempt at all to adjust for other’s experiences and perspectives.
I’m old. Long, long ago, when the internet was new and shiny, the word “transgender” was used among trans people to describe those of us who wanted to “live the role of someone of the other biological sex, without seeking medical intervention.” I grew up reading weird science fiction where people could switch bodies while keeping the same mind. Those stories resonated with me. I had an uncomfortable relationship with my (male) genitalia from with my earliest memories: puberty was very traumatic for me.
Growing up, trans people on television were portrayed as jokes and/or sex workers and usually ended up as incidental murder victims on cop shows, illustrating the decline of civilization. That wasn’t me, I would think, so I never built an identity as a trans person.
But what I felt I was internally never left me, and when I started to read more about it on Usenet what seems like a million years ago, I was able to talk with and read stories of trans people much more like me, who sought biological change, not social change.
You ask, “what’s the difference between changing biological sex and changing gender”. For me, it was as simple as saying I wanted to change what I was, not who I was. I like who I am! I’ve liked who I am for my whole life. But I was deeply uncomfortable in my physical body. I’ve met trans people who share those same feelings, but I’ve also met plenty who were mostly uncomfortable with their social role as determined by their biological sex. (Saying “biological sex”, by the way, is completely redundant, but I do it with purpose because the terminology gets so skewed with usage.)
Back in the day, and probably still now, we are required to partake in quite a lot of therapy to suss out exactly why we want to make this change. My therapist described her experience as a lesbian growing up in the bad old days, thinking it would be so much easier for her to change sex than to be accepted as a lesbian, and she sought one out, but the therapy process helped her identify what she really sought out of life: which was to be comfortable with her same-sex attraction.
There are quite a lot of us who see this process as a type of oppression and have worked very hard to remove it from the process of transition. There are quite a lot of trans people who feel that the whole medicalization of their identities is a type of oppression and have worked very hard to redefine the trans experience as a non-medical, completely social process.
I fully support their desire to have a non-medical, completely social, gender change process. I can’t see into their hearts and divine what makes their life complete, so I have to trust that they will do what is best for them. I just don’t believe that it should supplant what I feel I need for myself, and unfortunately, there are cis-sexual people who benefit from trans people being defined completely through a gender lens.
Most trans people just want to be able to use the bathroom that we feel safest in, and work and live in peace. I’ve watched, over the last twenty years, a bargaining take place with the left. I remember when the Pride parade in Seattle was the Gay and Lesbian Pride parade. They begrudgingly added bisexuals and fought for years to exclude trans people.
In the end, in order to be included we gave up being transsexuals and agreed to be transgender.
Because who cares, right? It’s just words. Nobody really cares what those words mean anyway, and as long as I can have some peace, it’s worth giving up a definition without a distinction.
Well, the chickens are coming home to roost.
I said in another comment, 90% of this is about bathrooms, and when people think about bathrooms, they think about penises and vaginas. The conversation on the left has been about how people feel inside, regardless of their outsides, which is a beautiful conversation because sex-reassignment surgery is incredibly expensive and there are people who will never be able to afford it.
Oh, yeah, and we gave up calling it sex-reassignment surgery. I think I might be one of the last people to have gotten sex-reassignment surgery. I signed paperwork with the surgeon in 2001 to pay for it and everything read “sex-reassignment surgery” but after the surgery, when they sent the letter that I’d have to use later as proof, it read “gender-confirmation surgery”. I made them change it — because I am a belligerent, pedantic asshole — and they did. But by that time, the whole pipeline had been changed to “gender-confirmation surgery”.
As for me, personally, my gender and biological sex don’t match. I am the bro-iest bro that ever brah’d, but I have a surgically-constructed vagina and breasts that grew in at the ripe old age of 28, from the estradiol I was injecting. I do have very long pretty hair, but that’s never been a Seattleite trait that was tied to a specific sex or gender.
We have a map of our bodies that is wired into the folds of our brain. If we poke the brain with electrodes, it makes us feel sensations in our body. My hypothesis is that my brain map was the female one, not the male one; though I had the male body. Since I couldn’t change my brain map, and medical technology has gotten to the point where we can do some pretty decent terra-forming, that’s what I went with. I am very, very happy with how things turned out.
Could they have turned out better, certainly.
In the future, when we can change the brain map to match the territory? Those will be interesting times. Humans are strongly attached to the identities that we form to match our ideological terrain. Deaf communities reeled at the invention of the cochlear implant. Trans communities will certainly reel at the invention of a “brain fix” for what we call Gender Dysphoria.
When I was a kid, I devoured science fiction, because it detailed a world where people were free to be what they wanted to be. There was a strong libertarian streak that ran through the fiction I read that I felt an affinity toward.
In the future I hope for for my people, we can have both brain fixes and body fixes and people can choose whichever fits their own situation best. Maybe that’s utopian, but that’s my dream.
In the meantime, I am very cognizant that whenever I enter a women’s restroom — even in Seattle — I have a responsibility to alleviate the anxieties of the people I share the restroom with. When I pee, I’m a sitter, so quite often a men’s restroom isn’t the best choice for me. But I’m a big scary person to someone who hasn’t met me and I’m not very feminine.
I am, however, exceptionally kind and courteous. I would like to see my people using that as a tactic to earn our safety in the restroom debate, not assertions of oppression.
Let me end by saying that I, and every other trans person I’ve ever met, has been horrifically scarred and traumatized by this experience. Most of us are so embattled that every interaction triggers the fight-or-flight reflex and we become very difficult to have any kind of empathy with or sympathy for in those moments. When you see us with a grimace or a scowl on our faces, it’s because we are mentally preparing ourselves to be harassed and/or harmed. It’s not about you, it’s about survival instincts that get triggered by living a traumatic life of exclusion and shame.
I wish I could write more, but this is already deep, deep into tldr territory. Thanks for being courageous and asking for information. I wish people would be more kind to people who are curious about other people, so I hope that I’ve treated you with the kindness you deserve.
tldr I’m a weirdo, but I’m not a bad person.

https://new.reddit.com/r/SeattleWA/comments/9raivw/to_those_wishing_to_participate_in_street_actions/e8g4co7