Johanna Wilder, Alternative Newspaper Mogul, Shuffles Off Mortal Coil

As waves of humans download themselves into robot bodies and lay their flesh-and-blood bodies to rest, memorials of human remains and their achievements remain in fashion

As the light on the USB-4 hub that was attached to her brain-computer interface dimmed, it was clear to family members and hospi-lab staff that Johanna Wilder had gone on to a better place. She was 78. The Agility-700 robot that housed her formerly-human consciousness and remaining memories hummed and beeped as fans came to life and servos whirred softly in power-on self-test mode.

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from The Onion: Tuesday, April 11, 1989

One of my stories from The Onion’s second year, 1989, with super-cool James Sturm artwork to accompany it. I drew the little Viper spaceship in MacPaint years earlier, and was thrilled to use it as a dingbat. The details were a slice of my personal life.

“Mike Evans” because we made up fake names to make it seem like we had more writers than we actually did.

P.S. Battlestar Galactica 2003 was brilliant, in my humble opinion.

Supermoon Over Alaska

Nearing the completion of my first journey around the world. I started back in 2021 and have been working my way eastward from Seattle, across the US and Canada, skipping across to Iceland, through the UK, down through Europe, over the Alps, across the Balkans, through the Holy Land to Mesopotamia, through Iran and Afghanistan, through Pakistan and India, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Myanmar; over Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam, visiting Hong Kong and Taipei, Shanghai and Qingdao, over to North and South Korea, across the sea and slingshotting up Japan and across the Ring of Fire.

My last two flights have been in the evening with the Supermoon rising from pink sunset clouds as stars landing in Unalaska and Sand Point, Alaska. Here are some photos from those trips, taken with OpenXR Toolkit from a Reverb G2 VR Headset displaying Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020.

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Flamingo Boy

This is the issue I worked on, my first week as a volunteer at The Onion. I am not pictured here.

The cover of The Onion from late 1988. The masthead from previous issues has not changed but . Below that, the design is spare but clean.
Cover of “Flamingo Boy issue” of The Onion from 1988.

We received a very earnestly-worded letter to the editor and I think it was the first time many of us (not entirely me, as I had gotten a crash course in what was being jokingly referred to — by the activist left, where the phrase originated; before it got coopted by the centrists and the right — as “political correctness”) had been asked to think about these issues. I have to give credit to the activists who make stirs about stuff like this, you got to us early and made a difference all the way 35 years in the future. We still made fun of you — that’s just who we were — but we were always on the same side.

A very blurry scan of the staff box of The Onion from late 1988. My name and title are there, which is described in the caption below.
Staff box of The Onion Volume 14 Number 5.

“Layout Guru and Hi-tech Wiz” was someone else’s idea. When I was given the opportunity (the very next issue) they allowed me to change my job title to “Layout Technology Thaumaturgist” which remained my title throughout my tenure. There was a long conversation about it in the office that week which included multiple attempts to get a laugh out of the joke (stolen shamelessly from Dragon Magazine), “You thau my ’turgist, I’ll thau yours.”

Oh, and that “Jonathan Hart Eddy” character was me.

I Want To Fucking Go Golfing

[Originally published on May 24, 2005 at]

I don’t know why, I just do. I was never a good golfer. I was more of a “duffer” who swore a lot after she hooked or sliced yet another shot. But there was something beautiful about walking around in what is basically an immaculately manicured park swinging at a little ball with a stick. It is attractive to two parts of my psyche: the part that enjoys artificially enhanced nature and the bottomless well of anger and resentment.

Summertime. It’s almost here. I can sometimes feel it outside, the windows have been open for the last couple weeks and fresh air is circulating and I can hear the kitties and the squirrels and the birdies outside in the courtyard. And the sunshine makes this unbearable glare on the computer monitor so there are parts of the day where I just have to give up on the computer thing and nap in the warm glow.

I’m truly lucky to be living in Seattle where we don’t have weather, really. It’s either raining (and it’s seldom raining much, though we did have a thunderstorm last week that consisted of one rumbling, rolling thunder thing that probably wouldn’t even turn a Midwesterner’s head) or it’s “pleasant”. Never hot, except for maybe a week or two at the most in August. We’ll get maybe one snowfall a year with sometimes up to an inch or two (which will shut everything down, but it always happens at night and by the next day it’s all melted, but for that magical night, everyone pulls out their snowboards, cafeteria trays, cardboard boxes and goes for a slide down the Denny Way bridge over I-5 which you’d think is probably an extremely dangerous thing to do, and it probably is), but we barely got that this year and even less rain than usual so we get to enjoy a drought this Summer.

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Benzo Buddies Coda

Posted today on where there is a tradition of posting a Success Story when one has reached a point where they feel recovered from post-acute withdrawal syndrome due to long-term benzodiazepine use.

Hey everyone, it’s been a while.

This is the short version of my success story.

It’s a little bit embarrassing, because it’s been eight years, right? Well, turns out, it wasn’t eight years.

To be quite honest, I have no idea now when I got better from long-term, high-dose clonazepam use as directed by my doctor. I tapered over three months with the help of BenzoBuddies and you made a really painful process much easier for me. I owe you all a debt of gratitude.

The horrible rotten feeling lingered, months turned into years.

I was seeing doctor after doctor who assured me there was nothing wrong with my brain or my nervous system other than a little bit of neuralgia and some generalized anxiety. I recently had a pristine brain MRI after decades of chronic pain. I felt like I was going mad, that it must all be in my mind, all the standard stuff we all go through.

Then I found blood in my urine. Lots of it. That was not a benzo withdrawal symptom.

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Math is Hard

(From my blog “Android Sisters”, May 1998)

When I start to think myself too much of a smartypants, I read about math. The problem is, that I get so dingdanged excited about it, it just makes me want to become a theoretical mathematician, or a theoretical physicist. Somedays, I think that would be ten times easier than trying to convince Janice Raymond that we should share the same bathroom.

My total favorite television show is “The Proof” which is this PBS special about the insanely complicated proof of Fermat’s Last Theorem. Though, there’s also this guy who says that he figured out the simple-dimple way of proving the theorem, and he also has 10 new articles about the Clinton Sex Scandal. But as a rule, I try not to automatically assume that someone is a wacko, since I get accused of being all sorts of things that I’m not. But that’s just the way it is for me.

There is also this interesting side story about Sophie Germain who was part of the long long line of mathemeticians who pounded their heads against the wall trying to come up with a proof (which Fermat failed to include with his theorem, saying that it wouldn’t fit in the margins of his notebook). It also makes me a little bit edgy, because it’s one of those stories that is about how she had to hide her identity by taking on the role of a man in order to learn mathematics and then to correspond with some of the guys who were working on the problem. It’s a pretty sad story, mostly because she is described as being so totally brilliant that she attracted too much attention and had to out herself to her instructor. To me, this story doesn’t have a huge amount of trans-ness in it, but more reflects the difficulties that women had and continue to have breaking into mathematics. Of course, the headlines play it up as some kind of Billie Tipton or Pope Joan kinda thing, but I guess that sells nowadays.

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Morality, Star Wars, and Obi-Wan Kenobi

>> Warning: Spoilers for Obi-Wan Kenobi, Episode I and II <<

Obi-Wan Kenobi’s first two episodes — of six total that have been filmed for season one — are out, with a third coming the day after Memorial Day. I watched them last night with friends, one of whom is a clever thinker with an artist’s eye and an out-loud muser while she watches shows with friends.

“I’m not sure yet, if she is a good guy or a bad guy” she says of (former Jedi) Inquisitor Reva Sevander (played by Moses Ingram), the “third sister” of the Grand Inquisitor that hunts the remaining Jedi into extinction for Darth Vader. I’d watched the shows earlier that day so I knew what was coming, and answered, “I guess we’ll find out in this next scene here,” where she betrays one of her allies.

It used to (and may still) be that folks divided themselves into two camps: those who preferred the future-Earth, utopian science fiction of Star Trek and those who preferred the more fantastical, dueling space wizards in Star Wars. I have always had a difficulty choosing between the two as they each have their own pleasing personality traits, each with but a few blemishes that only serve to make their beauty more authentic.

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