Uncategorized

“Invisible City” map of Taco Bueno

It seems Dr. Woodworth has scanned my map and sent it to Dr. Hessler, who sent it to me. So here it is!

Questions for consideration: Can you tell whether it is sloppy on purpose for artistic reasons (written by a madman) or genuinely sloppy (written by me at 2:00 AM)? Does it matter?

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The visit from the AUM students

Last Wednesday, the classes of AUM and OCU finally met. I already had a passing familiarity with the blogs of the AUM students—I admit I’ve always been biased toward the OCU student blogs—but now I could finally associate people with the postings I’d seen.

I suspect there is a widespread tendency to think we can know more than we really can about what a person is like from their online writing—or to at least create overly developed impressions of people from their behavior on the internet. I’m basing my suspicion on my own temptations to jump to conclusions about “internet people,” as well as on the unfortunate messes of insults that internet debates often degenerate into. These incidents seem to result from people making the mistake I find myself tempted to commit—making too many assumptions about the person on the other side of the connection.

It’s important to remember, of course, that while a person’s writing may demonstrate an important aspect of their personality, it is only one aspect and not their whole personality. As far as developing an accurate picture of them goes, reading their blogs is certainly is no substitute for knowing them in person. However, seeing someone in person and reading their blogs may provide a way to know them better than either of these methods of communication individually. People may not speak much in person yet write their thoughts in great detail (I count myself as one among this group).

I formed only vague impressions of the AUM students individually, although I definitely had some kind of “class picture” in mind for the whole group. I’m not sure what kind of picture it was, but it was pretty well shattered—neither for the better nor for the worse—by actually seeing (nearly) everyone in person.

My experience of seeing the students of AUM in person was interesting, though I wish I had gotten to know them somewhat better. Except for Liv by the Truth Daily and Great Spam, I never learned which students were which bloggers. All I knew was that the strangers in the room corresponded to the blogs I’d been reading. A curious combination of strangeness and familiarity.

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A line of “Where I’m From”

I’m from DOS Operating System, and from those adorable little blue and green critters who died by the thousands over many years, despite my greatest efforts—Lemmings.

Playing Lemmings in the dark at my grandparents’ house has for years been one of my very favorite memories. The goal of the game was to save a certain number of critters called “lemmings” (although they did not resemble the real-life rodents) in each level by guiding them from the entry trapdoor to the exit. Many lemmings died in my attempts to finish the game, but a few years after starting, I finally did it. I played the DOS version. The original was for the Amiga.

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A statement concerning the Invisible City mapmaker’s statement

See my mapmaker’s statement, included in the previous blog post, before continuing. I wrote the following explanation a few days ago but apparently forgot to post it; I was surprised to see it was not already on the blog.

I took a picture of my “Invisible City” map with my phone, but unfortunately, I have been unable to transfer it to my computer and do not anticipate being able to do so. I trusted in the technology to come through for me, but all for naught; there is clearly something wrong with either the phone, the USB connector, or the computer. I struggled through multiple issues and followed directions that have served me well in the past, but at this point without success, it is clearly best to give up while my sanity is intact.

Which brings me to the mapmaker’s statement. Although it seems that I won’t be able to upload the map, which is somewhat dismaying, the map itself is not as important as the statement. I spent much more time on the statement, and the map itself honestly feels like an afterthought at this point. Honestly, the map wasn’t very good, but I feel all right about the statement.

The day before the assignment, I went to Taco Bueno and began to write about weird and fantastic things that I could imagine being invisibly present there. I realized it might be fun to write as if I actually believed those things were true, as if I were a paranoid madman. On my way to the restaurant, I realized I couldn’t see the sign; I had expected that I could see the sign from the road, but clearly I had remembered wrongly. I wove this into the fantasy, keeping in mind that such a deluded person would be prone to interpreting any unexpected oddity as a sign of something strange and sinister.

I wrote the statement with little regard for professional writing quality, often underlining words and using ALL CAPS for emphasis. These techniques are sometimes used by imbalanced individuals who do not know how to get people to take their fantasies seriously. In writing my statement, framed as a warning of a vaguely defined evil conspiracy running Taco Bueno, I emulated the writing styles of four beautiful human beings whose works I greatly admire, and who I believe to be mentally ill. These people are:

Gene Ray, the discoverer of the true and final Theory of Everything, the Time Cube.

Francis E. Dec, the most creative conspiracy theorist of the last 100 years—much more interesting than David Icke.

Ted Kurts, who is, in fact, God. Ted will tell you all about what it’s like to be God at his website.

Last but not least, Charles K. Johnson, president for thirty years of the Flat Earth Society and writer for the Flat Earth Society Newsletter.

I am not really sure how good an idea it was to do the statement in this way; the only test of whether it was a good strategy or ill-conceived is whether it was entertaining. I have occasionally thought of strange ideas for how to do projects in ways that go quite off the track of the way the project was designed, and this has resulted in some of my best work and my worst work. I really don’t know which category this one will fit into.

Whether the idea itself was funny or not—or whether it will be funny to someone who isn’t already a fan of real-life deranged rantings—the main flaw in the statement as it currently stands, and an aspect which has a lot of room for improvement, is that it is too long. It is very much a “quantity over quality” piece, with spiels of rambling that may be of varying levels of cleverness. I did not get many ideas that I did not write down, and I didn’t spend enough time on it to weed out which ones may be better and which were rather less inspired. Additionally, the map itself was fairly weak; although a certain sloppiness fits with the idea of having been drawn and written on by a lunatic, I didn’t allot myself the needed time to make it more artistically sloppy in a way that would better get across its intended impact, so it is mainly just genuinely sloppy. However, you may not get to see it for yourself (unless you’re the student who received it) so you’ll just need to take my word for it unless I find another way to get it uploaded from my phone.

Categories: Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Taco Bueno is an invisible city, host to ne’er-do-wells and CON MEN mobster-satanists

I decided to do my “Invisible City” map of the Taco Bueno across the street to the west of Oklahoma City University. I have been there very often. It is closer to my dorm than the cafeteria is.

On the surface, Taco Bueno is possibly less exotic or exciting than some of the places other students have chosen to map. The restaurant is not distinctive to Oklahoma City. Many cities have their own Taco Buenos; most of them are generally undistinguished from one another, and this Taco Bueno is no different.

My reason in mapping it was primarily the fact that I knew about it. I simply have not explored Oklahoma City very much during my several months of living here. I rarely go far from the campus. This isn’t because I don’t enjoy going places—I do. But I simply haven’t had an incentive to go anywhere.

Strange things began to make themselves known to me as I headed out on Tuesday with the intent of spending some hours at Taco Bueno to scout out the place and writ down my thoughts and fantasies of what might be pretty neat to imagine there. But as I walked toward it, I noticed the Taco Bueno sign was not visible from the street I was on, and I am quite confident it had always been visible prior to that time. In fact I am 100% sure I could see it before, but now I could not. Turned out, the sign was now only visible when going around the corner and getting closer to the building. Very strange. I ignored this bizarre bit of out-of-the-ordinariness, perhaps unwisely, and went inside. (I never did learn the explanation for that particular incident, and none of the secrets I shortly discovered shed any light on it.)

You probably know the atmosphere of Taco Bueno; this one was like any other. Nice enough, but nothing especially fancy. I thought, since I spent so much time there, why not make it slightly more interesting? I wondered if the very fact that it was not especially exciting to begin with may end up being a virtue of the map. Some of my classmates might make interesting places more interesting, but taking a less interesting place and making it more interesting seemed an equally worthwhile challenge. I decided to wait until later to order some food, and I carried my sketchbook and computer to a table to begin writing down some more ideas. I was writing a bit of stuff that was along the lines of what I had blogged about a few days ago, about “magical life-sustaining food and burritos that increase study skills by 65%” and other such things, and then I again started to notice strange things.

The first thing I started to consider was how, adorning the walls of the restaurant, there were some pictures (drawings or paintings, I am not sure) of a place that looks like Mexico. One of the pictures shows the entire city, and the frame bore the label “Bueno City limits.” There is, of course, no such place. I made a strange find in realizing that each of the other three pictures shows a chunk of the main picture, in close-up. To clarify, one picture shows the ENTIRE city; the other three pictures each shows an expanded section of it.

I wondered why this was so. If the pictures had been meant purely as decoration, each one would surely have been different. There was no explanation for why each picture was distinguished only by the fact that it was a close-up of a different part of the presumably fictional city.

But then the “sounds-crazy-right” thought occurred to me, that perhaps it was not a fictional city at all but was in fact a quite real city. You see, I had to ask myself, why would each picture emphasize a different part of the city? It seemed like a kind of code, like it was a message that only certain people were supposed to know what it meant. Then I realized that it was plausible—not likely, but plausible—that each picture had something to do with transportation to the city, that perhaps each picture had the ability to transport somebody to a different part of it. Maybe this was so people did not have to travel as far to get where they wanted to go. I got up to examine one of the pictures more closely, and found no additional suspicious details. I was about to dismiss the thought as an idle fantasy when I remembered a disturbing event from a few weeks ago.

I had taken a nap between classes and, upon awakening, I found myself totally unable to move. All I remembered shortly after it happened was that I was able to get up a few moments later. Immediately afterwards was my class in psychology with Dr. Jowaisas, and he said IN THAT VERY CLASS, without my saying a word to him or anyone (!) about what had happened to me, that the inability to move after waking up was a common result of the numbing of part of the brain that occurs during sleep, or some such. Somehow, though I remembered no direct connection, I felt that this slightly alarming coincidence had some bearing on the present situation. I had to investigate further.

I began to look at the complete picture of “Bueno City” (meaning “GOOD CITY” but now I wondered if it was not actually “good” at all, or if in fact it was possibly quite ill-meaning and with deathly/deadly intent), and I looked at it from multiple different angles and tilting my head and the like. Eventually I stopped dead in front of it and stared at a particular point, at the edge of one of the buildings on the picture. I was very close so that it filled my entire field of vision.

I could swear (in fact I do swear), as I looked at the picture, unblinking/unmoving, there can be little to no doubt that it demonstrated some degree of change or some kind of effect, and it was as if I was getting a glimpse into something beyond the ordinary, something very abnormal. What this phenomenon was, I find myself, now as then, almost at a loss for words to describe. Nevertheless, something was WRONG with that picture. I had to stare at it for what seemed like a very long time, perhaps a few minutes before it happened, but once I got myself into that state I could clearly see that the picture was moving or shifting in some unnatural, almost ethereal way, rather blurring and glowing and even vaguely “shifting,” its colors altering weirdly. All I can say is, that was not, in any regard, natural. I quickly averted my eyes after the effect began—and all returned to normal. That kind of thing has never happened when I have looked at any other picture or drawing or painting of a Mexican city.

I will let you draw your own conclusions as to what that means.

Other oddities abounded. I saw a tissue on the floor when I first sat down, but after I had gotten up to look at the picture and later sat down again, the thing on the floor was then a napkin. This was no “trick of the light” or any other of such. I saw what I saw. Tricks of the light can not transform tissues into napkins, now, can they? I can’t be sure of what kind of plot that trick was a part of, but I can be sure it was done AT THE VERY LEAST to “mess with” me, if not for some more wicked and unholy plan.

I had no doubt, then, that the picture was a portal and that perhaps by speaking some foul word of the tongue of demons/aliens/etc., one might disappear the glass that lay in front and allow for travel into that realm to the “Mexican” city that is surely in HELL or on THE DARK SIDE OF MARS or other vile places, etc., etc.

Now, I did not remember it at the time, but as I thought back to the incident of paralysis upon waking, I could recall (and more vividly each moment, even to this very minute!) then that there was more to my condition than what I had recalled before; I must have suppressed the memories out of trauma, and truly traumatic they were. I remembered with horror that as I lay paralyzed in bed, I had seen out of the corner of my eye, a creature walking towards me, or rather it kind of GLIDED, it HOVERED and KEPT HOVERING over me lying motionless/helpless—and it held out a kind of cockroach leg-type hand and at the tip of its appendage was a burrito, yes, I am sure I remember it! After that, however, I have no further recollection.

How very strange, strange indeed, that Dr. Jowaisas gave his “explanation” for such paralysis during sleep on the very day it happened to me—too strange. I am forced to conclude Dr. Jowaisas was PUT UP to it, yes, he was IN on the “charade” with the thing I saw. Or perhaps he was not in on it per se, but only indirectly. I do not rightly know whether the man was acting knowingly, willingly, or if he had been put up into an actual MIND-CONTROL state, and that in this sad, helpless state the freaks had controlled his actions and even his words in class that day, all in order to trick me into thinking I had not played host to the monster in my room earlier that very day. I shudder to think they might have done the same to me as to him, I shudder even as I write this.

Recalling this dread episode, I realized all was not well in Taco Bueno. Now quite suspicious and on edge, I was not yet in fear of my life but instead quite anxious to get the bottom of all this.

Is this Taco Bueno unique, I wondered?? Is this the only one with such strange goings-on, I asked myself? And then I answered myself: surely not. You, good reader, will remember that three “Bueno City” pictures showed close-ups of various parts of the city, meaning those portals go to the individual places shown, perhaps because the Satan-worshipping Venusians were, shall we say, too LAZY to walk around the whole city, so they used multi-teleporters to get around from point A to point B. I concluded there was only one answer as to why ONE of these pictures showed the whole city; that one was actually a symbol of the base of operations, and it led, I have no lack of assurance, to the central hub—and there, I expect (for I remember seeing such pictures in other Taco Buenos) there are portals or teleporters to other Taco Buenos, in all likelihood, all of them, including your own city’s.

A potentially important side-note: Microsoft Word thinks “teleporters” is not a word; it even underlined it in JAGGED RED. And that is not the only thing that is jagged—I will return to that shortly. Herr Word even tried to make me “re-think” what I had JUST TYPED, but I have done quite enough re-thinking on my own and do not need the mobster hack Bill Gates (communist Martian sell-out) telling me what I can and can not type. No, I will not put up with it and I will be writing a complaint to him personally, this very night, no sooner than I finish writing this. Scratch that, my internet isn’t working. They are cleverer than I feared… (I have, by the way, known “teleporters” to be a true and bona-fide English-language word from the time I was nine years old, if not younger still.)

The fact is that I am no longer writing this as an “Invisible City” project, but in truth I am writing it to WARN YOU of terrible, strange and deadly happenings that are now happening in the world. Read on, dear reader. Read on, if you dare to peek out from behind the shroud of ignorance and learn that your safe, cheerful/happy world-of-fun-and-frolic is actually a WICKED and SATANIC LIE.

Now returning to my note of a certain something that is jagged, literally and figuristically, I made another astute little observation that I am pretty proud of myself for noticing. Chances are most people did not have the brains to see it perhaps as they were brain-washed into a sleepy stupor—more on that later—but the architecture of Taco Bueno is surely not natural. See, its east-side walls are jagged, as I alluded before. Sitting in the middle of the room and looking around at them, I felt intimidated. You can see the walls on my map. You will no doubt agree, if you are free from mental bondage, that those walls are at VERY STRANGE ANGLES. Frighteningly strange; just look at the map with your own EYES, and tell me with a straight face that normal walls i.e. Walls Built By Humans look like THAT. If you can say those words, I will be forced to conclude you have actually been literally BRAIN WASHED by the Satan-worshippers (i.e. Satanists and/or Satanazis) running that fine fast-food eatery.

If you are offended by my suggestion you are in a zombie-brain bamboozled state right now, that is definite/conclusive proof YOU ARE in fact BRAIN-BAMBOOZLED right now at this very moment. Otherwise you would not care to take offense, would you? Can you “explain” any other possibility to me that might “explain away your reactions?

At that point, after I’d been sitting in the restaurant jotting notes for about an hour or two, I began to get hungry—uncovering conspiracies is, naturally, very demanding work—and I got up to order some burritos. As I stood at the counter to order, I noticed another thing; the flavors of smoothies are different now than they were a few weeks ago. Some weeks ago, they were strawberry and pomegranate berry. Now, they had been replaced by lemonade and something else, respectively. Can you think of a reason why? Could it have to do with newer and more effective/efficient BRAIN WASH POISON???

The choice is, of course, yours to make—my role is only to offer questions for you to consider. I suggest you consider them carefully.

Can you think of a reason why your BODY becomes COLD when you are soaked in water? Can you think of a reason why your HEAD (i.e. BRAIN) becomes COLD when you consume a cold drink of such a kind as a smoothie too fast? My friend, consider all that I am saying to you very carefully.

As I was saying, I ordered my food, and I ordered it to eat THERE, INSIDE the restaurant, but it was instead put into a TO-GO BAG. When I pointed this out quite politely, they acted as though it was an accident—but obviously it was a clever attempt to get me to leave, meaning they knew I was onto their game, but you see I was not about to fall for it. I ate my food there in the place, after carefully smelling it to ensure it was not poisoned. I have eaten their burritos before without coming to harm, so I considered it was safe—for the time being. This action was, you are surely itching to tell me, extremely foolish. I know that now, but then I was quite hungry and light-headed.

When I sat back down, my chair was now clearly off-balance; indeed, one of the legs was shorter and/or longer than the other one (see map!!!). I did not come close to harm, but if I had been too careless it is possible and/or plausible and/or probable that I might have or would have lost my balance. Indeed, it became quickly quite clear this was literally a LAUGHABLY transparent attempt to make me Lose Balance, leading me to fall over and possibly crack My Skull open—by “accident” (“axe-ident”) they would tell the police, and perhaps bribe them with free food, as well.

I began again to look around the establishment and my eye happened upon another funny little detail they thought I wouldn’t notice. But of course, contrary to their expectations, I had resisted their brain wash poison and had not had a smoothie in some weeks. At this point, I saw that there were TWO kinds of chairs in the place: chairs crafted with metal, cushion and wood and chairs made only of cushion and metal. Why have two kinds of chairs? I racked my brain to recall anytime I had seen customers sitting on the metal chairs.

I could not recall a single time.

Something was amiss, and at this point there had been enough signs, enough evidence, that something was terribly, terrifically wrong. There was a reason I had never remembered seeing somebody sitting in those chairs. I began to brainstorm the options.

  1. They were reserved for the mobster-shyster creatures that ran the operation, which was by this point taking on cosmic proportions.
  2. They were another kind of TRAP CHAIR similar to the one I nearly died in, by which people were insta-transported away to the kitchen or perhaps Mothership UFO or some inter-dimensional combination thereof, where mayhaps they were systemically butchered, cut up, and cannibalized. Or rather, hunted predatorily for food by another race, so it was not cannibalism in the most technical sense.

I am inspecting my memories of seeing the kitchen to my utmost ability, but for the life of me, I can not remember the dimensions of that area. I have a good memory, but I don’t remember seeing any back or side walls of the Taco Bueno kitchen; I simply don’t. Therefore, I can only conclude—in this case, tentatively—that there was possibly some kind of optical/mental illusion that was pulled, a wool-over-the-eyes one might say, that prevented me and other customers from seeing or suspecting without great thought and resistance to brain wash poison that the room was actually INFINITE in size via alien technology and/or witchcraft and actually HAD NO WALLS. Again, I am going by memory alone so this particular theory is only very speculative, but I am about 80% sure there was something up with that kitchen. It fits with the already-established fact that these beings have the ability to alter the nature of space in an unknown and (to us) unknowable way.

Like I said before, there are portals in all Taco Buenos to a central hub in some place that looks like Mexico but is NOT Mexico that, in turn, contains portals to all other Taco Buenos in the world. There is no doubt this is universal, and I am sure the CEO of the company knows and is in cahoots with who is responsible, but probably s/he her/himself is not responsible. But then, WHO is responsible?????

A clue was to be found in my receipt.

I had ordered 3 bean burritos—$3.27—and 1 small self serve drink—$1.59. That is the price now that they have removed the student discount (VERY SUSPICIOUS TIMING!!!) Now let us look at those numbers; let us “seek” and we “shall find.” On the receipt they can be seen like so:

3.27

1.59

Let us look at these digits in order. You can do these equations yourself. Do not take my word for it. I will not for even a moment ask you to take a single word I say on trust. Do this for yourself. In order, the digits are:

327159

Take the first two digits and multiply. 3 X 2 = 6

Take the next two digits and subtract. 7 – 1 = 6

Take the final two digits and divide! 5 / 9 = .56

I do not believe, my friend, that you are gullible enough to look upon the mark of the wicked one and think “Oh, this looks innocent enough.”

As I write this, it is now 1:01 AM of the night before the “Invisible City” assignment is due, and I am beginning to see even weirder things. I see Brief Flashes Of Light, and perhaps some vague, surreal movement, out of the corners of my eyes. It never happens in my center of vision, only in my peripheral vision, but I see it now, even NOW, in my DORM ROOM. This is not encouraging, but I need only to make it through one night and then I can get this warning out to the world. It seems dangerous to stay here, but more dangerous still to walk to the university center at this time of night. I don’t even know if the center is open now.

The UNIVERSITY INTERNET has not been working consistently in my dorm room in over one week, and it is this Clear so-obvious-a-child-could-see-it Corruption that is now potentially about to prevent me from getting the word out about this strange stuff. Those two-bit mobsters (probably with the C.I.A.) can surely not be ignorant of the lack of internet connection in Harris Hall; no, there can be no doubt of FOUL PLAY, no doubt they’ve been planning for WEEKS if not MONTHS to make things diffiCULT for me because their puppet-master Satanazi controllers knew that I might have known the cockroach that was sneaking chicanerously in my bedroom a few weeks ago. Those sons of witches have been in here before, they could be here again. How I wish I could just remember whether I locked the door that first time it appeared in my room. Then I could know whether I am safe with the door locked or if they can still get in. Not that there is anything stopping them from breaking the windows in and MURDERING ME IN MY SLEEP.

Bugs are flying around my head and then disappearing into thin air. I must hurry to finish this and then take my chances with Morpheus, god of sleep/dreaming.

A few hours ago, I had to leave Taco Bueno because (A) It was nearly closing time and (B) They had no outlet for a computer to be plugged in for power, so far as I could find. This is very unlikely to be by accident, because it is an established fact in our age that people go into restaurants with their computers to do work. This is well known, and restaurant owners know it as well. Probably, they singled ME out (and this is shown by the giant bug’s aforementioned presence in my room) to ensure I COULD NOT FINISH WRITING about them and their iniquities and their treason to Planet Earth, yes, their nasty secrets regarding the criminal-underground mobster C.I.A. treason to Planet Earth.

There was instead a kind of outlet on the wall that I did not recognize. Maybe it was meant to power robots, or to connect to and possibly VIRUS-INFECT our Internet and/or technology such as cars, TV, hospital computer life-support systems of the dying and near-dead, and even Internet.

More notes on the Taco Bueno experience. I have never been through the emergency exit, nor in the Women’s Restroom, and now that I think of it, I am 99% positive I have never seen Female Customers go into the women’s restroom—only Female Employees. Could they be reporting to the Mothership, or a gang of high-rolling mobsters, or maybe to their Master, the Prince of Darkness? I only offer suggestions, but, it is clear to me that nothing at Taco Bueno is what it seems—AND I personally have NO Reason, no reason at all, to believe these doors lead where their signs SAY they lead.

Why should I believe the door signs? I could only believe them if I ignored the other, More Important signs i.e. the signs of danger and treachery. Why indeed, why on earth, should I believe the door signs?? A sign on a Gestapo prison camp door says “shower.” Do YOU believe it???

As I was about to leave, I was struck by the queer shape of the trash cans. They were about the right size and shape to house a human adult-sized being, or maybe of below-average size, but nevertheless a being possibly Armed With A KNIFE or perhaps axe or machete (or perhaps gun, but this is rather unlikely) and who/which was ready to DO ME IN once and for all. Not willing to take such a foolish chance as to get near it, I left my tray on the table and left quickly. I barely escaped with my life.

And if the evidence I have today presented you is something you can live with in your lovely peaceful little world, PLEASE tell me what you are smoking that lets you delightfully/deliriously stay asleep and IGNORE the Very Strange oddball not-quite-right events that besiege us here in the Real World.

Taco Bueno still has excellent burritos and the staff (though reptilian-shapeshifters) are very nice, and for those reasons I can say without hesitation that I will continue to eat there and take my chances with the mobster Satanazis. Every decision in life is a gamble. My days are numbered, anyway. I might as well continue to enjoy the food of the ones who want me dead. When the time comes and I am alien-abducted/demon-possessed/murderized/all-of-the-above, I will have the last laugh, because I will be enjoying some delicious food.

Beloved brethren, dear denizens of AUM, I have absolutely zero doubt that each and every Taco Bueno of YOUR CITY TOO is host to the devious cockroach schemers that run the whole joint, plotting to enact various nefarious plans. It is up to you what to do with this, your final and only warning.

Categories: Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Notes about Invisible City map

I have decided to do my Invisible City map of the Taco Bueno across the street to the west of the university. Taco Bueno is probably not as exotic or exciting as some of the places other students are mapping. It’s not distinctive to Oklahoma City. Many cities have Taco Buenos, most of them are undistinguished from one another, and this Taco Bueno is no different.

My reason in mapping it is primarily the fact that I know about it. I simply have not explored Oklahoma City very much. I rarely go far from the campus. This isn’t because I don’t enjoy going places; I simply haven’t had an incentive to go anywhere. The only times I’ve driven more than a couple of blocks away from OCU (aside from my trip home for spring break) in the last several weeks have been when I have been to the 1910 Café, the Harkens theater, and also a mall—the name of which I don’t remember. On another occasion I drove around aimlessly for thirty minutes to find a place to eat, only to settle for a Braum’s close to campus after coming full circle.

Taco Bueno is the place off-campus where I spent the most time. It is very close, closer to my dorm than the cafeteria is. You probably know the atmosphere of Taco Bueno; this one is like any other. Nice enough, but nothing especially fancy. I thought, since I spend so much time there, why not make it slightly more interesting? The very fact that it is not especially exciting to begin with could provide this map with its own challenge and maybe with its own value. Some students might be making interesting places more interesting; I’m taking a less interesting place and hopefully making it more interesting.

Unfortunately, although I have written down some ideas, I have yet to start on the project properly. I was going to spend a couple of hours at Taco Bueno yesterday, but they were closed for undisclosed reasons. It seemed futile to start mapping it without being inside to look around. I was distressed by the thought of doing so and decided not to bother drawing anything until I could do so inside the building. That will have to wait until tonight or tomorrow.

In the meantime, here are a few preliminary ideas I had.

 

Portals or secret rooms behind pictures—I’ve never looked behind them, so they may as well be there.

 

Life-sustaining food, burritos contain magical properties, improving study skills by 65% among other things.

 

Secret passageways

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Kanto of the Pokéverse: The Map of the Designed Nonexistent Location

Large places, such as cities and stretches of land, are generally not designed—not very thoroughly designed, anyway. The map of a city may represent the fruits of some degree of holistic city planning, but for the most part the city is still an emergent entity whose layout and features are largely left up to the decisions of many different planners of much smaller sections one step at a time, as well as the agendas of those who decide to purchase land and construct buildings here or there. The map of the open country also represents a region that is largely without design. Mountains, lakes, streams, oceans, and deserts all exist in their distinct sizes and locations because of the geological factors in nature that brought them about (with apologies to our creationist friends). Maps of fictional locations, by contrast, represent places that are designed entirely with particular purposes in mind. Maps of designed fictional places can exhibit traits that distinguish them from maps of real places that lack design.

Maps of locations in video games could be said to constitute their own genre of map, not only because their location is designed, but because this design is sometimes of critical importance to the impact of the work. Numerous other fictional places have maps, but the precise layout of the map of a region in, say, a book—The Lord of the Rings or The Chronicles of Narnia—is not generally as critical as the layout of a video game map. Maps of book locations may orient the reader and help to establish the nature of the location, but in most cases the particular way in which the locations are spread about will not be especially important. (Here I risk shortchanging the map design in The Lord of the Rings, for its meticulously designed map effectively states the blueprint for the entire adventure; nevertheless, I would insist its particulars are not as crucial to its story as the particulars of a video game map are to an interactive adventure. Most people do not care whether a given valley is a mile wide or two miles wide when reading a book, while in a video game this kind of detail can matter a great deal.) The maps of places in a video game are formulated to create a specialized adventure and to provide the set-up for certain challenges and quests. Like most elements of fiction, video game maps will usually try to give a superficial appearance of realism, but under scrutiny it can become clear that other factors are also at work.

There are countless video game maps I could examine, but I will limit myself to Kanto, the region explored in the first generation of Pokémon games. Some video game maps are based on real locations, but Kanto is based on nothing in our world, past or present. (I have to thank Jacob the Legend Tipps for posting some maps similar to Pokémon maps and thereby inspiring me to examine this topic further.) As a last introductory note, I have not played Pokémon in over seven years, so I am working with an incomplete memory.

You can examine one image of Kanto below. You might not see much, considering its small scale; click on it for an extremely large version of the map that you can explore closely.

…Or is it a map? If you have not played the game, you may be surprised to learn this is not a map at all, in the strictest sense—it is the actual location of Kanto itself, inasmuch as Kanto can be said to exist at all (or so it seems). The first two Pokémon installments are 2D games for the Gameboy, and during gameplay the player character and game space are seen from above. The picture shows the space the player explores throughout the entire game, and it was apparently compiled from ingame screenshots by someone by the username “Ryumaster.”

An overview of Kanto reveals qualities that characterize it as a video game space and betray its intentions as a place designed holistically for the benefit of players and not actually for the convenience of its fictional inhabitants. Its layout of cities is not random as it would be in real life; it creates a certain dynamic of adventure, involving the traversal through grass, roads, forests, caverns, mountain regions, and water. It emphasizes a certain level of variety designed to maintain one’s interest as the journey unfolds along a particular path. It may appear at first glance that the player can go anywhere he or she pleases from the start, but actually there is a set path for the journey, and it is mostly linear with respect to where the player can go at any one time.

The main adventure consists of visiting each city in turn and defeating its “gym” leader in a Pokémon battle, but various obstacles result in only one available sequence in which the gym leaders can be engaged—which happens to be in order of increasing difficulty. There are multiple areas that loop around back to where they started; note the two square-shaped blocks of areas in the northeast region. The design works to send the player on adventures that conveniently send them back to places close to where they started. Towards the end of the adventure, the player can visit the islands to the far south, bringing him or her on a round-trip back to Pallet Town, the location in which the player had started at the beginning of the game.

In addition to round-trip adventures on land, chains of islands that lead from one area of the mainland to another are very common in video games. I have seen them on the maps of many games besides Pokémon. It seems that in video games we do not often see chains of islands that branch off away from the mainland; they always branch in an arc back toward it, so that the player only has to visit each island a single time to cover them all and then get back to the mainland. This design strategy lets the player avoid visiting any island more than once, which might be tiresomely repetitive.

Further overall design reveals itself in other ways: the gym of the first major city the player visits, Viridian City, is locked the first time it is visited but is opened upon completing the round trip of the rest of Kanto. This is convenient timing, considering that the player is once again near the city. After defeating the Viridian gym leader, the next leg of the adventure—the route seen on the far west, directly west of Viridian—then becomes available to explore. These are some of the many contrivances that for a more interesting journey than one would be likely to have in a Kanto region whose layout and obstacles came about by chance alone.

It is not obvious when playing the game itself, but when looking at this compiled image of the whole region, a striking amount of negative space can be seen. There are many empty zones in between routes and cities, and what occupies them is neither shown nor intentionally left to the imagination. Rather, we are not supposed to be especially aware this negative space exists when playing the games. The game maintains the illusion of a complete world, because all the routes are enclosed and we never see beyond their borders to the great blank beyond. Judging by the fact that ingame characters never mention such regions, it would seem that the “real” Kanto is not actually filled with such blank areas—nor does it contain the graphically messed up “glitch cities” that can sometimes be accessed by finding ways to illicitly escape from the adventure’s confined areas—but that the “real” Kanto contains a complete world.

But what is the “real” Kanto? Have we not just seen the realest form of Kanto that exists, or have we only seen a map of it? A case could be made that the game space itself is, in fact, a generalized map—one based off a “real,” idealized Kanto that actually exists only in the imagination. After all, the region as seen above and as explored ingame is still unrealistic and could be said to exhibit generalization strategies characteristic of maps. There are very few roads—and on those roads that exist, there are no cars. This seems unlikely to be the case in the “real” Kanto. Some of the towns have remarkably few buildings; for example, Pallet Town has only three buildings. One might well argue the Pallet Town we explore ingame is a generalized version of the “real” Pallet Town, which might be a little larger. If so, this would indicate the game itself utilizes selection, an aspect of map generalization (Monmonier 28). I would guess that Kanto is purported to be about the size of a small state, but the player could probably walk from one side to another in an hour or so (if we only count walking time and ignore fights with wild Pokémon). This could indicate that the game space is a “map” of a smaller scale than the “real” Kanto, meaning the game’s area is “smaller than the reality [it represents]” (Monmonier 5). I think support for this notion of the game space being a generalized map derived from an imaginary ideal Kanto can be found in other, more detailed maps of the same region, and here is one example.

As far as I can tell, the above Kanto map was made by Nintendo during the time of Generation I (that is, the late 1990s). A similarly detailed map of Kanto has been released during most of the succeeding generations, always filling in the negative space with forests and plains. The map above seems more true to the “real” Kanto than the game is in some ways, but in other ways it may be even more generalized. This map represents an imagined Kanto with a more realistic number of buildings, utilizing less selection than the game itself in showing the size of cities and towns. For instance, Pallet Town now has a more plausible six buildings instead of merely three. However, other regions are actually more generalized in this than in the game. The bridge on the far east is greatly simplified from the series of bridges in the game—or perhaps the simple bridge is more accurate and the game’s bridges are enhanced, although this raises the question of who is to say which of two maps of a fictional place is more “accurate.” The paths between the cities are smoothened and enhanced; whether this makes the map more or less true to the ideal Kanto than the game space could be up to the viewer, but these are still generalization techniques (Monmonier 26). Some areas of the map, such as the Safari Zone (the enclosed field near the south end) and numerous routes, use selection very judiciously in comparison to the game space.

One can imagine the “real” Kanto as quite a bit larger and more elaborate than either the game space or the other map, containing aspects of both. There remains a question of whether the above map is based on someone’s original vision of the “real” Kanto that the game space itself was also based on, or whether the map is based purely on the game’s version of the map. It would seem that the map is probably based on a more detailed design plan for the game space itself, and I think an analysis of differences between the game space, the Generation I map, and the Generation IV map reveals evidence of this. The revised map released a few years ago during Generation IV can be seen below.

This map, also seemingly made by Nintendo, represents a reimagined Kanto. An obvious aesthetic difference is its muted, more mature-looking color palate in contrast to the first map’s emphasis on brighter colors. Upon first seeing this map, I was tempted to think it would turn out to be more realistic than the Generation I map—but then I saw that, once again, Pallet Town is reduced to a mere three buildings. This map apparently utilizes selection more than the Generation I map in at least some of the towns and cities, although some areas such as the Safari Zone and the pathway from Lavender Town to Fuchsia City are far more detailed—and closer to their ingame appearance—than in the Generation I map. The Generation IV map brings the region up to date with the other games in the Pokémon series, adding additional locations on the far west side of the map and a revision of the Indigo Plateau—the location in the far northwest—as being a mountaintop rather than just a building. In this regard, it is probably truer to the original vision of Kanto, given that it had always been designated a “plateau.”

The Generation IV map fills in the game map’s negative space in different ways than the Generation I map, and it also has a very differently shaped coastline. This may seem an indication that Kanto was never designed very thoroughly, and that what lies within the negative space and how the coastline is shaped may not have ever been set in stone—but on the other hand, the Generation IV map’s coastline design stands in direct contrast to another potentially more accurate map which is similar to that of the Generation I map. I will return to that shortly.

Aside from the negative space and the coastline, other aspects not visible in the game space do seem established as canonically part of the “real” Kanto. Both the Generation I and Generation IV maps showcase features not present in the actual game space, and they have some of these in common. This seems to be evidence that they are both based on a fuller design for Kanto than we see in the game itself. For instance, Cinnabar Island—the large island to the far south—is host of a volcano in both maps, but not in the game space. This demonstrates that the map designers consider it an essential feature of Cinnabar in the “real” Kanto, and there are two possible reasons why it is not in the game itself. One possibility is that the volcano was not imagined until after the game itself was made but was later “canonized” as a feature of the island. The other possibility—more likely in light of the meaning of the word “cinnabar”—is that the volcano was envisioned from the beginning as part of the island but was not selected as a visible feature for the game due to certain design considerations. It may have been difficult to make the volcano aesthetically interesting under the technological limitations of designing a Gameboy game.

Even considering that the game itself appears to be a kind of map of Kanto, there is a representation of the region that is even further generalized, and this is the map (the “town map”) that the player can use within the game.

I would venture a guess that the town map, being included in the game itself, is more true to the “real” Kanto—or rather, to its original design, minus the western areas added later—than either of the more detailed artistic maps. This indicates the Generation I map had a more “accurate” coastline, most closely matching the one seen on the town map. The Generation I map still does not, however, completely match the town map, and this would seem to be intentional. One is left to wonder what the real Kanto looks like.

In the end, of course, there is no real Kanto. There are only different visions of it—the game space, the town map, and numerous official and fan-made detailed images. They all stem, either directly or indirectly, from an original game plan that was designed for the purpose of creating a specialized adventure. If a map were only a means of helping someone find their way around, it would not be accurate to call the game space a map, considering it is the only form in which a person can explore Kanto at all. However, a map is not limited to being purely a guide; the meaning of a map is much broader. A map can be any representation of a location. In the case of Kanto, the game space represents an imaginary place, and it is this representation that the player explores. The map and the territory are one and the same.

Works Cited

“HGSS Kanto.” Bulbapedia, the Community-driven Pokémon Encyclopedia. 14 Nov. 2010. Web. 11 Apr. 2012. <http://bulbapedia.bulbagarden.net/wiki/File:HGSS_Kanto.png&gt;.

Monmonier, Mark. How to Lie with Maps. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago, 1996. Print.

“More Maps!!!” Jacobthelegendtipps. 02 Apr. 2012. Web. 11 Apr. 2012. <http://jacobthelegendtipps.wordpress.com/2012/04/02/more-mapsh/&gt;.

“Pokemon Blue Guide & Walkthrough – Game Boy – IGN.” IGN. Web. 11 Apr. 2012. <http://guides.ign.com/guides/16708/page_229.html&gt;.

“RBY Kanto.” Bulbapedia, the Community-driven Pokémon Encyclopedia. 21 May 2010. Web. 11 Apr. 2012. <http://bulbapedia.bulbagarden.net/wiki/File:RBY_Kanto.png&gt;.

“Red/Blue Pokémon Map.” HD Wallpapers Only! Web. 11 Apr. 2012. <http://onlyhdwallpapers.com/wallpaper/pokemon_blue_maps_rby_kanto_red_yellow_map_desktop_5570x5808_wallpaper-217768.jpg&gt;.

Categories: Uncategorized | 6 Comments

A thrilling insight into my paper-writing process

I really don’t do mock-up papers; by the time I get all my notes organized, it’s a full-blown first draft and actually pretty close to complete. So here are all my notes for the paper thus far. It’s a fair ways away from a first draft right now–you don’t have to actually read it. But if you want to, here it is. What I do is, I keep adding to the notes and reorganizing them, and like magic, they turn into a nearly finished paper. Then I edit it, and it’s done.

Enjoy these painfully unorganized and terribly written and possibly (for now) incoherent notes!

Designs of RPG maps

 

Think of a FOCAL POINT or THESIS for this paper!

 

-Design traits that distinguish them from real life maps

-Maps of the real world are designed. Video game maps are designed as well, but equally designed is the world it reflects.

 

ORGANIZATION:

-Pokémon (1st generation in more detail perhaps, also other generations w/ circles)

Pokémon Kanto

–several versions, similarities and differences, purposes of each (one is radically different than the others—also point out the small and large versions of the game itself which is pretty much a map in itself)

-Final Fantasy I, II, IV (the ones I’ve played)

-Elder Scrolls (mention others)

-recurring elements: circular/rectangular/“shape-shaped” areas of land

–examples

-recurrent element: chains of islands that lead back to the mainland on either side!

–OTHER RECURRING ELEMENTS??

 

Musings on the nature of the map of the designed area

 

Maps of places in a book—say, Lord of the Rings, Narnia, may serve a particular purpose, orienting the reader, but the scattering of locations may or may not be especially important (I do not count The Hunger Games because apparently the author never made a map so far as I know, leading readers to make their own)

The maps of places in a video game are much more critical—they are formulated to create a specialized adventure, not for realistic city-planning or navigation, but to provide certain challenges and quests

 

 

CONTENT:

[[see if we can find the FF overworlds, or just generalized maps!!]]

 

I have to thank Jacob the Legend Tipps for posting some maps similar to Pokémon maps and thereby inspiring me to research the maps of Pokémon and other video games.

 

I haven’t played Pokémon in more than seven years, so I am working with a very incomplete memory.

 

There are countless video game maps I could examine, but I think I’ll limit myself to a particular genre—role-playing games or RPGs. I will examine some maps in the early games of Pokémon, Final Fantasy, and The Elder Scrolls. I will limit myself to the early installments of each series because those are the only ones I have played—a fact resulting from my habit of always playing games in order, regardless of whether later games actually follow from earlier games. I do this to see the evolution in mechanics and design from one installment to the next.

 

In the case of Pokémon, Elder Scrolls, and Final Fantasy, the maps do not represent any existing place during any period in history.

 

[[

-who made the map?

-apparent purpose

-intended audience

-message

-rhetorical methods]]

 

Are any of them clearly meant as advertisements for the games?

 

The maps use generalization [[cite methods and pages from Monmonier book!]]

But how to say if it is generalization without a real place? We can use the places from the game. [[maybe provide pictures for comparison—or the Prima strategy map!!]]

 

The Prima strategy guide map is not a map, but the place itself. Yes, this is as real as the world of Pokémon gets—and it still looks like a map. In the world of 2D video games, the line between place and map of the place becomes blurred.

 

It is not just the map that is designed for a purpose, but an entire area that is designed.

 

Final Fantasy’s overworld is rather interesting in that it is the actual location of gameplay—the map is the location.

 

Different maps have been made for these video game regions—some more path-oriented, others trying to look more realistic. [[show examples]]

 

Different levels of generalization, based on the map.

 

Take this realistic map of Kanto, vs. this gameplay-based map of the same region. We can tell the cities are in the same places, but one is much more clearly a map of a video game than the other—it clarifies the paths a player might take.

 

[[cite Monmonier pages about generalization techniques! Point out the specific techniques the maps use!!!]]

 

I have only played games in the first two generations of Pokémon, and Final Fantasy I, II, and IV. All of them involved circles.

 

This is not so much a feature of the maps themselves, but a feature of the entire world designed for the games. The features of the world are manifested in the maps. Unlike real cities, the layout of the cities and routes between them are all designed holistically, solely to set up a specific adventure of the player. This can be seen in the maps by their strange elements we might not see on a map of a real location. Certain features betray the intentions their locations as something other than normal locations.

 

[[List as many differences as you can between real maps and maps for video games!]]

 

As I recall, the effect was to have instances where a player would go back to where they started. Also, they could potentially take multiple pathways—I don’t remember whether the effect was linear or multi-branching in Pokémon. In Final Fantasy I, II, and IV, I’m fairly sure the effect was linear, and that a person could return to their starting point in at least some of the circular pathways.

 

[[is there more than one path a player can take in red/blue??]]

 

A recurrence we see is a chain of islands that circle back to another area—we don’t see chains of islands in which a person has to travel to the end and then back again. This of course prevents us from having to travel back over the same territory again, which could be tiresome.

 

 

In video games, the map is not based on a pre-existing area, but on an area that is designed with particular goals in mind.

 

 

The second generation version of the Kanto map [[include it]] includes two roads not present in the original. Indeed, in the original map, it appears that the entire world is available and Johto’s existence is never hinted at.

 

 

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim was released a little while back to great popularity. I have never played any Elder Scrolls game besides The Elder Scrolls I: Arena. Alas, I never finished Arena on account of some game-breaking glitches that I never got around to investigating more thoroughly for solutions or other glitch-free copies.

 

At any rate, what is relevant is that the map is distinctively different from the maps in Pokémon and Final Fantasy—there is no path, no preordained order of cities for the player to follow. As I recall, the player is free to travel to the cities in any order.

 

I have read that there is a trend that Japanese RPGs tend to be more linear while American RPGs tend to be more open-ended. I can not confirm the extent of this generalization from these examples, but they do adhere to it.

 

 

[[How do different video games use symbols? Similarities, differences?]]

 

Pokémon is all about the colorful critters, so the detailed map is lively and colorful. The Elder Scrolls is a sort of Middle-Earth world, emphasizing middle-ages style aesthetics, so the map looks old and not very colorful. Final Fantasy’s maps are somewhere in between, but very green and blue—nature-y colors appropriate for a mostly outdoor adventure, similar to but rather more light-hearted than Elder Scrolls.

 

I have only analyzed maps of fictional places—the possibilities for analysis of video game locations (maps or gameplay areas) based on real locations seem extensive.

 

 

 

Works Cited [[new page]]

 

 

[[cite each map!]]

 

Jacob The Legend Tipps

http://jacobthelegendtipps.wordpress.com/2012/04/02/more-mapsh/

 

Racquel examined a map from The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.

http://looking4smiles.wordpress.com/2012/03/13/i-used-to-use-maps-but-then-i-took-an-arrow-to-the-knee/

Categories: Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Temperature maps: Real vs. Demonstration

Pictures We Speak (I’m sorry, I can’t remember your real name) has found the higher of these two temperature maps. The one beneath it is mine. The top one is real; the bottom one is a fake made for a technology demonstration.

Well, I’m not actually sure if it’s fake per se. The areas that are hot on the top map are also hot on the bottom map. But it doesn’t contain any information about the time period it is meant to represent, unlike the top map. For this reason, it is impossible to confirm with other weather websites whether it accurately represents any given period.

The bottom map seems like more of a show-off map than something meant to be useful; Brite (the company that made it) clearly wanted to use every color hue in the spectrum in order to make the map fancy and eye-catching. The top map uses every color as well, but only in their key–the map itself doesn’t contain anything below the “blue zone” temperatures.

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A very colorful map

This colorful map is pretty simple and easy to understand, thanks to its very clear key. It uses differing color hues to represent differences in temperature. It is not a real data map, however, as it does not describe the actual temperatures across the US at any particular moment in time. The map’s actual purpose seems not to give genuine information about the country, but rather to show off the mapping abilities of the company that made it. We might call it a “demonstration map.” It’s in a portfolio for a company called Brite Research & Consulting, which I assume specializes in mapping data.

The map uses hue, rather than value or saturation, as the distinguishing factor between temperature levels. After using white to signify extremely low temperatures, the map shifts to violet for the second-to-lowest temperature range, and then continues on through the color spectrum to red to signify increasing temperature. The use of hues, as Monmonier notes, can create confusion sometimes, because for most people there is no logical ordering of hues (167-68). However, this map avoids the problem because of its handy key. The use of red is also useful to indicate hot temperatures, while the map’s use of white for the lowest temperatures (rather than violet, the other end of the spectrum from red) draws upon an association with cold snow. The use of these varied hues allows for a neat-looking, visually impressive map. A map of many colors is more interesting than a map of few colors.

To me it also signifies technological advancement, because of its association with the futuristic “thermal vision” goggles seen in movies and video games.

Categories: Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Blog at WordPress.com.