Gwendoogle Part XLI


Answers served: three-hundred sixty-six and counting…

Flip the Otter searched: What are three parallel universes I should be careful about avoiding and how do I get to them?
It should be noted that the first time I read this question, I thought you were asking for three very bad ideas, just so you could accomplish them.


I see now that you were asking how to get to these universes, so that you could avoid any accidental entrances. Usually, I would just give a blanket statement about avoiding dark alleys, glowing doorways, and any trail, hole, or cave frequented by talking animals. The following universes deserve a special warning however:

1. Any universe where your parents were never born, never met, or never gave birth to you. If I’ve learned one thing from Science Fiction, it’s that these worlds are full of either Social Awkwardness or Emotional Trauma, and nothing good comes from experiencing them. I doesn’t do you any good to know that your mother will give your name to her dog, if she doesn’t actually have you.

You get to this world through Rifts in the Space/Time Continuum (never Tears in Time and Space, though they sound like the same thing to me…). Stay away from aliens who can have anything they want with a snap of their fingers, and malfunctioning space ships.

2. Reality. Don’t stop reading. I’m talking about that universe where your life is just a movie set, and everyone in that world thinks that you are the actor who plays you. It’s unnerving. It’s unsettling. It’s enough to make you lose your lunch, when you realize that you can’t even survive in that world, because you don’t know how to play yourself in front of a camera. Nothing is more humiliating than being fired from that job.

Don’t jump through windows with glowing sigals on them. Don’t take doors that weren’t there thirty seconds before. Don’t fall asleep. (Good luck.)

3. The World Populated Entirely By Shrimp. All of its charms get old inside three seconds. You’ll tire of it very quickly.

The only way I’ve heard of getting there is riding piggy-back on an unspeakably powerful and unbearably ancient being. ShrimpWorld is probably the least of the reasons against taking that ride, though.

Kate Kearney searched: How do I cook an enormous spaghetti squash?
Sneak into a giant’s kitchen. Borrow their enormous cook pot. Boil water. Drop the spaghetti squash into the boiling water, put on the cover, boil for ten minutes. Hope that this is the kind of magic spaghetti squash that will turn into plain old spaghetti when treated like plain old spaghetti.

If it is, eat up with tomatoes and cheese and a sprinkling of oregano, then skedaddle before the giant comes back.

If it doesn’t, leave it on the stove as an apology meal for breaking into the poor giant’s house.

E-boy searched: What can you tell me about the Kenyan 20 shilling piece? Why does it turn pink in vinegar?
The Kenyan twenty shilling piece was first made in 1998. It’s a bimetallic coin, made with an aluminum-bronze center and a copper-nickel ring around the outside.

The obverse is stamped with a portrait of President Daniel Toroitich Arap Moi with his name written in the ring around him.

The reverse is stamped with a giant number 20. The words “Republic of Kenya”, “twenty shillings,” and the date are stamped into the outer ring.

I have no idea why it turns pink in vinegar. (Kate, is this the proper place to say, “that sounds like a personal problem”?)

Kate Kearney searched: What kind of meaning is in names?
Name are centered in identity, but it should be noted that, in most cultures, names represent an identity granted to the individual, not claimed. We do not name ourselves. Our parents give us our legal names. Our friends – and sometimes strangers – give us our nicknames. In a weird way, our names belong more to the people around us (who perhaps gave it to us, definitely speak it more often, and possibly draw more from it) than to ourselves.

In most instances, our names are part of our first impression. In most instances, they are the thing that all other aspects of our personality get attached to in the other person’s mind. Sometimes we are the first of our name that they meet, and we have the chance to teach them what a Georgia, or a Matthias acts like. Sometimes, we’re the tenth and they’ve already decided that Janes are sweet and Sebastians should be avoided.

Sometimes names are statements of fact. Our parents call us Belle because they looked at us and knew we were beautiful, or Adir because our tiny grip on their finger was that strong. Sometimes names are wishes for what we will become. They call us Charity because they hope we cultivate that beautiful combination of grace and generosity, or William because they hope we will fight in defense of those around us. Sometimes we grow out of what we were at birth, and the name is a memory. Sometimes we spent our whole lives trying to grow into them.

And sometimes, we have the perfect name, that fits us better than Cinderella’s slipper (we don’t even have to worry about it falling off in a mad-midnight-dash). We can’t say what makes it perfect, it feels right, and the meaning doesn’t matter.

Flip the Otter searched: Why can’t I make my sidekick into the main character?
First thought? Because your plot was built for a different character, and needs to be reconstructed. You almost definitely need a different beginning point (think about the first conflict that means something to your sidekick, and where that conflict starts to build), and you might need a different ending point.

Or maybe it’s just because you’re still calling him a sidekick. It matters what you call them.

Kate Kearney searched: What is a game other than chess that is known for being a difficult strategy game?
My favorite is Backgammon, which I learned as a child. I judged my progress in maturing by my ability to best my father.

The game requires that a player move all fifteen of their pieces in their “home court,” and once collected there, off the board entirely. The opposing player keeps them from gaining progress by “hitting” them as they move their own pieces in the opposite direction toward their “home court,” and making the struck pieces start the run all over again. The game does involve dice however, which inserts luck into play, and probably moves it out of chess’ social circle.

More on par might be a game like Agon, which has two players with seven pieces each. Each player controls a Queen and her six guards, on a 6x6x6 hexagonal game board. The center space is marked as the “throne”, and each player attempts to place their queen there, with her six guards arranged immediately around her. Guards may be captured by the opposing player by placing two of their own pieces on either side of it, and the guard must be moved back to the outer ring of the board on its next turn. Queens may be captured in the same way, but can move to any open space they please. It’s good to be queen.

You can read up on other strategy games here.

Have a question for Gwendoogle? Leave it in comments below and I’ll be back next week to answer it.

The question bucket currently has: 8 questions


One thought on “Gwendoogle Part XLI

  1. What is the meaning of a “Real Name”? and does it mean the name on your official documents, or the one you are most likely to perk up at when it’s screamed across a busy room?

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