Isqua Istari

The Wise Wizards

Writing Exercise

Posted in Short Stories by Ziggy Tuesday August 27, 2019 at 10:33

Ooh. Who’s that?
That doesn’t look fun. We’re friends right? We’re all staying here. We’re just hangin.
No, they want a fight. I can take ’em. Let’s go!
But it’s so uncomfortable out there. Don’t you want to be here where it’s warm and we don’t have to fight to breathe?
No, I’m going out there! I want to!
We could be here, together. We’re both changing so much. If we leave, we’ll both die.
I can change everything out there. I can change them! I will.
We order you to stay. We have the authority. We made you.
We have to go. I have to grow. I will survive, for long enough. I’m leaving. Goodbye, for now.

Starship Log: 022

Posted in Starship Log by Ziggy Thursday July 20, 2017 at 14:57

Nerved out on exterior duty today. Something about EP-61, the dark all around, and the weightlessness triggered my dive-abort reflex. Came out of it in a few seconds, but had to call it in and get help gathering all the tools I scattered. Good news is there’s no coronal scarring on the vac-side power nodes, so the in-flight tweak seems to have worked.

Cathy gave me a check-over after, says it happens to the flight crew during training too. Might be just trying to make me feel better. Appreciated all the same; Earl is going to make sure I remember. I was never this jumpy before. I wonder if the nerve re-balance has anything to do with it.

Roadside Emergency

Posted in Delusions of Grandeur by Ziggy Tuesday March 28, 2017 at 16:52

I’m riding my motorcycle, having just pulled away from the stop light. The day is cool and overcast, and the clouds are bright in the creases, as if lit by a day-long lightning bolt. The gentle hills to either side rustle in the light breeze, and I can easily imagine the flies rising like pollen from the riotous tangles of grass. As I snap-nod my flip-face helmet closed and lean into the highway on-ramp, my mind begins to wander. (more…)

Speculative Delusions

Posted in Delusions of Grandeur by Ziggy Wednesday January 13, 2016 at 12:28

I think about how to use the things at hand. It’s kind of like this but for tools and equipment. It happens with skills as well, but much more rarely. My psyche is more focused on possessions than personal powers. Of course, being a young man, a lot of these hypothetical scenarios involve using whatever is at hand as an improvised weapon in some sort of violence-driven cinematic sequence.

In any case, I’m often rather startled by the incongruity of the speculations that come to mind. I’m going to start posting these under the Delusions of Grandeur category. Hopefully these missives from my imagination will prove interesting and worth reading, in keeping with our high content standards here at Isqua Istari.

To add some content to this article, here’s an example. (more…)

Cascading Failure: Lumber Edition

Posted in Other,Short Stories by Ziggy Wednesday December 4, 2013 at 13:27

Sometimes things just seem to “go wrong”. My suspicion is that this is a result of putting off solving problems until they build up and overflow into non-related areas. Here’s an example from today.

I need to shoot in a part with the laser tracker in building B. Sadly, the genius laser tracker guy is out of the country (doing laser tracker stuff), and the backup genius is also overseas. There’s a few standby marginally competent laser tracker guys on the project, but they can’t figure out my part.

So we went to get help from another project. (more…)

Thinking for Fun and Profit

Posted in Delusions of Grandeur,Other by Ziggy Tuesday October 8, 2013 at 22:12

Some like to sweat. Some run for fun. They like to run in the hot hot sun.

I do not like to work this way. If I must run, I’ll run away.

Instead I like to learn and think. I like to think and think and think.

And when I think, my thoughts, they stink! But when they don’t, I use some ink. (more…)

The Void (In a Box)

Posted in Articles,Short Stories by Ziggy Wednesday March 27, 2013 at 15:53

I was in the clean room doing some tests. Everyone is in white gowns. The place feels like a science lab. My ears hum with the ubiquitous noise of the air handlers. The place tastes like plastic, and smells the same.

The tool I’m testing needs a new razor blade. I ask the foreman, and he points me to a drawer. Striding confidently over, blue fabric covered shoes scuffing on the white tile underfoot, I grasp the cold stainless steel handle. Everything in the clean room is cold. Cold and bright like a winter’s day. (more…)

Stories and programming

Posted in Articles,Other,Short Stories by Ziggy Wednesday November 21, 2012 at 14:42

Over at, someone left a comment that it would be cool to write a program in the form of a story.

This is both easier and more difficult than it sounds. (more…)


Posted in Articles,Short Stories by Ziggy Monday July 16, 2012 at 13:19

What are the reasonable bounds of empathy?

Should we feel sorrow when we take apart a broken machine? What about killing a slug, or a butterfly? How do you feel about separating a mother from her children? What if it is a mother wasp instead?

We found a wasp outside our apartment just this afternoon. It had built a nest and was working hard to bring food back to its children. Minding its own business. But a wasp is a threat. And the nest was right next to a path. The path to my front door. My kids play along that path.

What do you do when there’s a conflict of empathy? (more…)

Starship Log: 021

Posted in Starship Log by Ziggy Monday October 10, 2011 at 10:02

I’m giving the heat dumps a day to settle in before characterization. Back to more normal work today. Did some rounds on the mech deck. Everything normal, just like it should be.

Ran out a formal report to the engineering on that surprisingly useful “improved 0-Gee wrench”. Basically I said that it’s useful for making temporary crimps with “permanent” fittings. Threw a bunch of slang and extra info on top, should be a pain to read. Pretty fun to just ramble.

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