Dimming Ritual

Dimming Ritual
If you see a screen go dim in preparation for turning off completely, it’s good luck to wake up the screen before it goes black. But only if you’re gonna then use the computer like right then. Don’t waste electricity. That’s bad luck. But if you’re thinking about something or are otherwise distracted while working with a computer, and you see the screen go dim ’cause you’re taking a long time, get in there with that shift key, or move the mouse, or scroll, or whatever you like to do to wake up a screen. You’ll be rewarded with some kind of small good fortune later that day. A particularly good sandwich from the shop, say. If the screen goes black before you can jostle it, you will only get bad luck for that if you believe that you will. So just be careful out there.

But be warned: you can’t artificially create the circumstances and then expect to get good luck for it. We’re talking about waiting for your screen to go dim just to get the good luck. For that, you get bad luck, which is totally the opposite to what you want. It has to be happenstance that you witness a dimming and perform your jostling maneuver to keep it lit. The magic will know the difference.

About the Magic


Cast this spell on an object. The object now has a handle, placed ergonomically and conveniently as possible for safe and easy moving. Or if you want, you can specify the number, shape, position, and configuration of the handle(s) if you’ve got something special in mind. Simply picture in your mind the result you want and cast the spell. If you don’t give it a picture, the magic does as it sees fit, which is always at least serviceable.

After an hour, the handles will glow for thirty seconds and then disappear. So set the thing down if the handle(s) start to glow, wait for the handles to go away, and cast the spell again. Or the caster can dismiss the handles at any time, and the handles will disappear immediately. Provided that they are not being touched. If a handle is being touched, it will not disappear when it is dismissed; it will wait until it is no longer being touched.

Note that handles disappear when their time is up, even if they are being touched. That’s not really a desirable scenario. Watch for the glowing.

About the Magic

The Prophecy Says

“So you’re telling me, we need to peel back the last fourteen coats of paint, and no more, in order to get our next message? How in the hell are we supposed to do that?” He spoke angrily, and looked at her, frowning.

“We do that,” she said calmly, “with a paint diviner.” So saying, she pulled a paint diviner out of her satchel.

He gawped at her. Then he said, “You just happen to be carrying a paint diviner?”

She didn’t meet his eyes. When she answered, she spoke quietly. “I ‘happen to be carrying’ a lotta things.”

He snorted. “Next you’ll be telling me your satchel is an extradimensional storage space. Is this a fucking game to you?”

She eyed him appraisingly for some moments, then, as if internally coming to a decision, she nodded once curtly and said, “It is.”

He snorted again. “Oh, very funny, ha ha. Of course it’s a game, why didn’t I –”

“No,” she interrupted, and her tone stopped him short. “The satchel. It is an extradimensional storage space. And I do have a lot of stuff in it.”

He was about to snort a third time when he noticed how seriously she was looking at him. It was unnerving. “So wait, are you for… for real?”

“Yes,” she said simply. Then she sipped from her water bottle for a moment while his mind began to boggle. He started gabbling. She sprayed water in his face from her mouth, which had the intended effect of snapping him out of it. Then she grabbed his ear, and pulled his face close to hers. She was surprisingly strong, he learned. She didn’t hurt him. He didn’t give her an excuse to.

“Listen carefully,” she said. “This is more ‘not a game’ than you realize, and we’re going to be lucky to make it to the next step, let alone out. So I need you to stay with me. Keep it together, and I promise at the end we’ll sit down and I’ll explain everything. For right now, keep your head in the game, your eyes on the ball, and a third sports metaphor. Now pull yourself together and get ready to use the paint diviner on this.”

“Why do I have to use it?” he asked. “It’s your paint diviner.”

“The prophecy says you’re the one who has to do it,” she replied, shrugging.

Disco Ball

Disco Ball
A disco ball appears, hovering where you designate. Light that is invisible hits the ball from all sides all the time; the light becomes visible when it is reflected off the ball. The ball can be caused to move location at will; you just have to concentrate for a second. The ball can spin in whatever pattern you want. You can change the color of the light, turn it on and off, etc. You can only ever have one disco ball at a time. It stays until dismissed or until you die, whichever happens first.

About the Magic

Paul Davids Plays 80 Intros

This is great if you’ve got 15 minutes. Paul Davids is a guitarist on YouTube. Here he plays what he considers to be the 80 greatest guitar intros. He plays in chronological order, from memory, in one take. He uses one guitar and a pedal board, and he’s able to approximate many different styles and sounds. It’s pretty amazing the variety of noises he wrings from his rig. I found the video surprisingly compelling. So I’ll link it, and you can check it out if you want. I hope your day’s been going well.

Culture 28

Here’s a YouTube video. 12.5 minutes. SnappyDragon is a person who sews, and is into historical fashion. I don’t watch all of her content, but she is always entertaining when I do tune in. Here she’s talking about the prevalence of corset lacing torture scenes in period dramas. I enjoy her take on this cultural phenomenon. Maybe you will too!

Top Five Favorite Beatles Albums

This is a ranked list, meaning each album I mention, I liked better than the previous album on the list. Or, in the case of the first album on the list, I liked it better than all the other Beatles albums that do not appear on the list. Speaking of the first album on the list,

#5. The Beatles (The White Album) (1968). This is a weird one. But taken as a whole, it’s a goddamn experience, and I love it. A couple non sequiturs, but mostly really good Beatles music. This came out after the excesses of 1967, and in many ways it was a counterpoint to Sgt. Pepper’s. The production was a little more subdued on the White Album, and it’s a nice contrast.

#4. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967). Balls to the wall psychedelia. This was the album where they really stepped out into it. Or maybe not stepped. More like a jump. The kind of jump where you land stomping on both feet. Preferably in some kind of puddle. In the case of Sgt. Pepper’s, the puddle was a puddle of cultural inevitability. So how’s come it’s only #4? Well, I’ll tell you.

#3. Revolver (1966). Revolver is a dynamite album. They were taking their first forays into psychedelia and hard-core experimentation that was the hallmark of Sgt. Pepper’s. I’m guessing (this is pure speculation on my part) that Revolver was the first album after they got turned on to LSD. I know the song “Doctor Robert” is about a guy who sold LSD, so they were definitely doing it when this album was being written and recorded. I guess the timing doesn’t really matter.

#2. Abbey Road (1969). Abbey Road is the best Beatles album. It is the crowning jewel of their catalog. So why is it only #2? Because this is a favorites list, not a qualitative list.

Honorable Mention. Rubber Soul (1965). Wanted to stick this in here before I reveal the #1. This was the first album after the Fab Four were turned on to weed. As such, it serves as a bridge between the two phases of the Beatles. The first phase was the poppy stuff (but still good), and the second phase, which commenced with Rubber Soul, was the good stuff (but still poppy).

And finally,

#1. Magical Mystery Tour (1967). But that’s not a real album, I hear you saying. Maybe not. But it has the most iconic songs in their catalog. Let’s list a few of the heavy hitters that appear on this album. “I Am the Walrus”, “Strawberry Fields Forever”, “Penny Lane”, “All You Need Is Love”. Those are the Beatles songs, man. They fill it out with the likes of “Flying”, “Blue Jay Way”, “The Fool on the Hill”, “Hello, Goodbye”, “Magical Mystery Tour”. Are you fucking kidding me? This album is astonishing! I also like that they put out Sgt. Pepper’s, and then they did Magical Mystery Tour which is in every way a continuation and a culmination of that earlier project.

I love it when bands do this. U2 is another example. They came out with Joshua Tree, and everybody flipped their shit. So they came out with Rattle and Hum, which is my favorite U2 album, and which is a continuation and culmination of Joshua Tree. Along with some live tracks which are greatly appreciated. Man, I like Rattle and Hum.

But we’re not talking about U2 here. We’re talking about the Beatles, which is a different thing, though the two are not entirely dissimilar. So that’s my top five ranked list of Beatles albums. How about that.

Culture 27

“Been Caught Stealing” by Jane’s Addiction. A song that came out in 1990. Far and away the band’s biggest commercial hit, spent four weeks at no. 1 on the Modern Rock charts. The entire song blatantly glorifies shoplifting. (See Culture 12 for a sample of the lyrics.) Why did we not hear about this song? Why weren’t they preaching up and down the halls about it? The shitheads completely flip their lids about “Suicide Solution” back in the Eighties, but a far, far more subversive song comes out, and everybody’s like, “Enh, whatever.” I’ve never understood this. But it’s a great song from one of my favorite bands, and I love it. And the video is excellent.