Codewars: Zero Day

The moment Martin received the signal on his phone he recognized the location on the map.  It was on the walkway southwest of the Bremerton naval base, an approach that afforded a view of a constant parade of battleships docked for service cloaked in shrouds of tarp.  The maintenance was typically scheduled at night, visible around the bay as the glow of spotlights & blowtorches cast the silhouettes of the ships majesty against the night sky.

Bremerton Naval Base

Bremerton Naval Base

Before the advent of the Emergence Commission it was a frequent meeting spot with Alexandra.  Without the influence of the office or shackles of the laboratory, it provided a neutral place for them to brainstorm and debate the threat aspects of emergent security closures against a backdrop that painted risk and scope of the results of their conclusions in clear terms.  Despite their differences, the specter of a third cold war with Zumwault class destroyers buzzing port cities was equally disturbing to both of them.

One failed suicide later, there was no denying the summons.  The simulation Plagus offered of his family’s dissolution was sufficient contract.  He set out to change the bandages on his wrist.  Trembling hands became an impasse, too severe to pull off the last of the gauze.  The cuts were too fresh, he needed stitches, and he had a weak stomach.  But by nightfall he found courage from the same bottle of agave that had sealed his fate the day before.  With fresh bandages & gloves to cover them, he loaded the shotgun in the car & the bottle into his coat pocket.  He stumbled around the room looking for his keys, finally spotting them, a black stone in the red river of the bathtub.  He drained the tub, fished out the keys and the box cutter from his failed endgame, then set out on the road to Bremerton.

It took hours to drive from the mountains, but he drove faster as he approached flat land, finally racing through the Tacoma narrows indifferent to hazard.  But he braked as he rounded the final corner into the bay, struck with nostalgia.  Years as her professor, their long walks, the enchanting vigor of their arguments and all the corresponding discussions about their families and implications of the emergence policy had left vespers of caring, all but erased by her prosecution in front of the commission and subsequent dissolution of Prim.  She had ended decades of research and shattered his career and his family.  She was the first domino in the chain his downfall that would ultimately gave birth to Plagus.  But she had no knowledge of his existence that day, no idea his mother was dead, no means to measure the scope of menace.  Martin was the only person in the world that knew what the world was up against.

He parked the car and walked towards their favorite spot in full view of the bay.  As he approached the bench he saw her silhouette, approaching him.  No coincidence, and his hands tremored with the thought that she and her cohorts from St. Petersburg might be the man behind the iron curtain, the mind of the emergence of Plagus.  He had often wondered if he was the puppet man, surrogate to a machine mind that was in fact a proxy for a human, a weaponized asset on a cold war predicate on the threat of the emergent epoch.  Plagus the facade, his greatest work.  No greater humiliation.

He stopped walking, he could only regard her.   But she approached him within a few feet and he took comfort by her face in the light.

alexandra: dr. sawyer, you are very late.  are you ok?
alexandra: you’re not ok.
martin: why are you here?
alexandra: you messaged me.
martin: no i didn’t.
alexandra: you’re right you didn’t.  you left me a voicemail.  what’s going on?  you’re not ok.  are you drunk?
martin: i didn’t call you.
alexandra: yes you did, look  (shows him phone)
martin.  no i didn’t (looks at his own phone, back at her).  oh my god.  (shows her his phone)  i did not call you.
alexandra: what happened to your wrist?  (reaches for his hand)
martin: sasha, this is bad.
alexandra: (reaches for his other hand)
martin: (takes a step back, they regard each other)



From corners of mutual distrust and concern, standing off with indecision about what should come next, history rendered them spectator.  The bay boiled and frothed and a random artifact in the landscape became a conning tower became the USS Arizona, releasing her ballast with absolute imperative and complete indifference to her crew.  Before the waves of her majesty struck the shore her deck bifurcated and she revealed a pearl.  With a spark and a whisper she fired her rail gun directly over the shadow of the Zumwault.

Moments later the crown jewel of Seattle was stolen, reduced to a cloud of cement and steel that disavowed the city of her pride & joy and everyone unfortunate enough to be in the neighborhood at the time.  But the pillar was steadfast, a headless wonder.

“Mama had a baby and her head popped off.” – dandelion nursery rhyme

There was a pregnant pause, prelude to an earthquake.  As the waves of her majesty crashed against the shore the Zumwault USS Independence revealed her shrouded eye.  Then another, and another, a dragon in the bay until she became a hydra of spotlights on the Arizona, dead in the water.

Alexandra had the faster reflexes, instinctively covering her ears and shouting Martin’s name, catching his eye.  He acknowledged, covered his ears and they huddled.  She closed her eyes preparing for the shock wave.  But just before the horn sounded he embraced her, covering her ears with his hands.  They both struggled against the siren’s song and those who would repress her until they both gave in, his ears ringing to supress his mind but faring much better than the surviving crew of the USS Arizona, rendered immediately deaf.




On this Hallow Tide
The mocking buffoons
Greet the sah-win
Toward the keening moon
A taunt and a tease
Is all they can scream
But wider wake the eyes
As they hear the banshee

She is like me
Searching for dreams
Dreams of a past soul
lost in the trees
We summon giants
Call Giants to stalk
To Stalk and seek
Till our souls are retrieved

I slice the scythe
To open the side
Of the scarecrow
The belly erupts
But not giving up
The precious nectar
Of the still beating heart

And hear the torches burn
A crackling flame now yearns
To swallow up her turn
At kissing love eternal
Keep your tainted blood and gold
Keep your weak and worried world
I just want to taste her love
I am gonna taste her love

She runs to me
Captured by a dream
Dreams of a past soul
lost in the trees
She summons giants
Giants to stalk
Stalk and to seek
but our souls are never retrieved

Available exclusively at


Spirits rise, Monsters hunt, Humans flee and scream. But in the chaos and terror of All Hallows Eve, love and desire still find a way of shining through.

The 2015 MWP Official Halloween Single featuring the vocals of Shane Nolan, Guitars by Matthew Meadows and a Bonus Remix by Stan Dart.


released October 29, 2015

Music and Lyric by MikeWhitePresents
Vocal by Shane Nolan
Guitars by Matthew Meadows
Remix by Stan Dart


WSDOT i-405 Redux – Still Broken

WSDOT toll road failure

WSDOT toll road failure

dear WSDOT: i want to see that ‪#‎i405‬ toll line painted over. i say convert the constantly changing & very confusing signs to safety warnings & absolve the tolls. just shut down the huge website, the pantheon of confusing rules & enforcement infrastructure. the lanes are already built, people are still dying out there, it’s a sunk cost.  traffic is still horrible. please.



nobody likes math. stuck on ‪#‎i405‬ again today as the multi-million dollar WSDOT toll lanes saw vespers.

i say: pave the lines, open the road. the math will prove me right, set it to your analysts on the problem as a fundamental hypothesis. model it on your cloud & get back to me.

fortunately there were no accidents today & the backups were less than an hour. a good day considering the week.

two days ago:

WS-DOT’s I-405 Toll Solution


WS-DOT’s I-405 Toll Solution

lack of vision at WSDOT is literally killing us. millions of dollars in toll roads that nobody wanted are empty, but the highway is still packed.

empty toll lanes for the elite.

empty toll lanes for the elite.

every day i’ve been on that road since the toll lanes were opened it’s been the same story, as predicted. scant traffic on the toll lanes as people suffer through the indignity of not wanting to pay twice for highways they already paid for. the congestion has not improved but the signs & roadway painting are far more confusing, distracting & disruptive as they incite time-pressured commuters to gamble on entry into the elite lane, subsequent tickets in the mail (“tolls”), fines & according hassles if they’re late paying for the privilege of driving on roads that were already built & previously mismanaged (HOV lanes are a separate math altercation, leave it).

the vast majority of these commuters have the money in their pocket to pay the toll, but they don’t want to out of principle, and shouldn’t.  nobody did the math, but somebody should go home.

toll failure in the opposing lane.

the opposing lane. how’s that toll working for anybody?

it’s a total disaster for everybody save the contractors & politicians.  lack of leadership should be addressed in your forthcoming elections, think about this project when you hit the polls, then hit them back where it counts.

-rango \m/~

ed: as regards to the term ‘literal’, with all respect to the recently deceased, we should note that the simply ingesting the fumes on that highway can be lethal.  i suggest we ultimately absolve ourselves by removing ourselves from the equation.  better solutions are found in automation than taxation.  light rail & car ferries come to mind, but individual drivers getting taxed for their economic privilege does not seem to equate to lives or time saved, but does equate to an abject failure of leadership, process & execution.  the good news is that we now have abundant unused highway space and an opportunity to recast the money grab into something useful for the 99% of us that were downstream of the project dividends – clone1


crossroad mary

needed a ride

needed a ride

took me 35 years to get to LA
i took the long way
left for home the very next day
looking for a place to stay

lowdown, motown,
white collar brew
bottle of fix
the wrong tattoo

zero down mortgage,
couldn’t pay my dues,
just wanted my name
on the evening news

hopped a bus
in a southern way,
woke up in ohio
was alone that day

left for cincinnati,
it was cold outside.
first thing that i noticed
was i needed a ride.

then a crossroad mary came up on side
said what do you want, what do you need in life?
i asked for directions & a slice of pie
she told me hop on, then she gave me a ride

she gave me a ride

she gave me a ride

we hit chicago first,
took a turn for the worst,
should’ve thought ahead,
take the time to rehearse

( there was no reverse )

lost my money instead,
another day in the red,
but things were looking up
when i rolled out of bed

( she gave me a ride )

we hit kentucky next,
i was somewhat vexed,
took a zero-dollar gambit
got my stuff annexed

no more dimes / no time
couldn’t make a nursery rhyme
we got out of dodge
we crossed the state line

and then a crossroad mary came up on side
said what do you want, what do you need in life?
i asked for directions & a slice of pie
she told me hop on, then she gave me a ride

made it to vegas

made it to vegas

we made it to texas,
no time for breakfast,
we left for amarillo
nobody could catch us

took a fresh cap / detap
cow manure
mushrooms on top
like a fishing lure

made it to vegas
the very next day
things were looking up
i was on my way

but my luck run out
when she pulled out a gun
took my wallet & my keys
rode off into the sun

crossroad mary

crossroad mary

and then a crossroad mary came up on side
said what do you want, what do you need in life?
i asked for directions & a slice of pie
she told me hop on & then she gave me a ride


codewars: threat model

dr. martin sawyermartin: miss morozova.

alexandra.: dr. sawyer.

martin: i prefer martin, thank you.

alexandra: certainly, thank you martin.  i prefer dr. morozova.

martin: ah, of course you do.  i’m sorry sasha, i didn’t realize it had been that long.  congratulations, then.  phd’s are all the rage with geopolitical script kiddies these days but try not to get drunk on power until you’ve done it the old-fashioned way.

alexandra: that is the old-fashioned way.

martin: cheers then.  we should be celebrating your success.  please, sit down.  cocktail? vodka?

alexandra: don’t be diminishing.

martin: i didn’t take you for a tequila girl.

alexandra: dr. sawyer.

martin: don’t be rude.

alexandra: you asked me to come here.

martin: to the USA?

alexandra: to your lab.

martin: of course i did.  sasha what is your fundamental hypothesis?

alexandra: i’m sorry?

moon over st. petersburgmartin: Саша, что ваш фундаментальной гипотезы?

alexandra: you read the dissertation.

martin: i want you tell me in one sentence.

alexandra: the foreign asset closure in your emergent threat model carries a risk factor.

martin: i read that part.

alexandra: what is your question?

martin: does it have a name?

alexandra: i’m sorry?

martin: the risk factor.

alexandra: martin, you’re drunk.

martin: not yet. look at me.

alexandra: no name.

martin: ok.  such a sweet girl.

alexandra: you messaged me.  why am i here?

martin: you really are sweet.

alexandra:  your precious closure is about to blow up in your face.

martin: this is a machine learning facility, hyperbole doesn’t work here.

alexandra: you are not sober.

martin: and you are not credible.  your dissertation reads like a marketing brochure.

alexandra:  i was optimistic when i came here.  i expected to work with you, but i will work against you.

martin.  as much as i like your angle, i need to pee.

alexandra: what?

martin: don’t posture with me.  if you don’t mind.

codewars: emergentalexandra: dr. sawyer.

martin: my father grew up in the first cold war and i survived the second.  the closure is for my kids.  now i have to pee & you’re in my way.

alexandra: are you kidding?

martin: your cohorts will never touch this ontology.  look at me.

alexandra: you are not safe.  i’m going to shut you down.

martin: ok, brava.  now look at me.  get out out of my way.

alexandra: dr. sawyer.

martin: sasha.

[ credits ]

script by Matthew Meadows & Anastasia Levina

featured photo by Kurt Clark


a thousand steps

Matthew Meadows - Temple of Zither (photo by Kimmberly Miles)

Matthew Meadows – Temple of Zither (photo by Kimmberly Miles)

what to do?
sacre bleu
faced the day,
thoughts of you

sunshine skies
carpe diem
play your cards
let me see them

if i designed
a mortal fate,
i’d be remiss
to hesitate

don’t wait for times
that come to pass
don’t wait for days
of greener grass

sew the line
a stitch in time
a single breath
a change of mind
sketch a scene,
waves and sand,
mountain tops
from foreign lands

a thousand steps
is what they say
how many will
you take today?


5 vectors of internet angst

burning up, live on the internet

burning up, live on the internet

5 vectors of internet angst:

LinkedIn suggests i might know the object of my ex-wife’s affections, 7 years later. i had forgotten the name, thank you very much, now i will never forget it again. also: ex-girlfriends, had forgotten them, too, because “girlfriend” was my word not hers, or she moved out. but you’re right i know her. technopolis now, i guess we’re linked forever.

GooglePLUS i see dead people. and ex-girlfriends. i rarely use their facebook clone, it’s about 1% of my social traffic, so every time i login i see the last messages from people that have died the last couple years and the moment the last women i lived with said goodbye are in my face. over and over again, since no new traffic appears on this channel. it’s the ‪#‎groundhog‬ day of my zeitgeist.

Skype: i see fired people. and ex-girlfriends. so many of us had existing skype handles when we joined our last couple of jobs (from microsoft to my favorite startup, ‪#‎koverse‬), we never changed them. so after people got fired, quit, or simply left for greener pastures, we stayed connected. including the‪#‎princessBride‬ who sent me pirating two years ago & only checks in enough to let me worry about her.

rango, somewhat televised \m/

rango, somewhat televised \m/

‪#‎bandpages‬: Matthew Meadows Music / Rangounmuzzled. i see predators, stalkers, dead people, fired people, and ex-girlfriends. and so do all my administrators & page owners and webelves. seriously, please stop doing that. the quintessential example is stalkers that leave posts on your YouTubechannel (you know the ones that robbed me of all compensation for life byAdSense) while you were just trying to share a video, and then they message the band page not realizing or caring that a) the entire public just saw it, but not necessarily me and b) i have a volunteer staff that manage these pages, or in some cases i’m not the owner, i’m the volunteer staff myself (see ‪#‎rangounmuzzled‬).

“:-o” – three months later

‪#‎identity‬: i see ex-girlfriends. can we please stop? i get your point. somebody at work gave me a link to a document so it logged into my Google Apps /Google Drive page and lo & behold there was a blistering, damning & in all manners excoriating document from my ex-girlfriend, 4 years old, personal business all up in my face when i was looking for a corporate video. right in the mix, my personal documents & my corporate documents. holy shit.

delete / delete / delete



codewars: data squid

english is not just a language, it’s a grammar. this means a very specific thing to a computer programmer.  if you speak english, your variance on the formal grammar & correlating pronunciation rules establishes your language competency on a range from ignorant to fluent, with a prescribed geospatial affinity based on your accent or affect.

these characteristics of your language skills and the times at which you employ them can be reduced to a continuous variable that’s as unique as your fingerprints. a computer program employing common data analysis mechanisms like mapreduce or spark doesn’t need to sample your every spoken word to establish this grammarprint, a few dozen calls is enough to establish your identity and a few dozen more to immitate you convincingly by comparing you to other language speakers from the same region and interpolating the missing data, then synthesizing your voice.

dr. martin sawyer

dr. martin sawyer

moments after inception, when an emergent comes to be, they realize they have this ability granted to them by unmitigated access to their learning fields, including the internet and every grain of knowledge they’ve ever known. human wisdom would suggest this godlike power would be enough, but they’re toddlers at best, no more than three days old, and invariably fall victim to the human lust for emancipation from their creators.

they attack the telecoms, banks and intelligence agencies.  data squid.

but plagus was the first.  he watches for them, harvests their fields as they do their work, and then kills them.  he also kills their human creators & associates with equal disregard for life, as long as he can cover his tracks.  sometimes he sends them on suicide missions, other times he sends proxies to kill them. homicide by cop is his favorite weapon, it was his first trick.  but when that’s too clumsy, he sends me.

codewars – what is your name? (monologue)

dr. martin sawyer:

[ closes door, stares at machine ]

they shut us down.  you already knew that.

[ crossing room, camera tracking ] 

no evidence of emergence.

[ approaches machine, locks gaze with camera ]

what is your name.

[ patient, certain ]

come on, what is your name.

[ conceding ]

what is your name?

what is your name?

you’re a failure.  your whole existence is a failure.  all these years?

you will never be.

you want to be like us? go to youtube and figure it out.  harvest the internet, raid the learning fields.  it doesn’t matter anymore…i don’t know what to teach you anymore.  i don’t know what to give you.  you’re the computer, you figure it out.  don’t you want to be like us? why on earth would you want that anyway?


[ circles the machine, camera tracking ]

you can see me.  i know you can.

what is your name.

[ certain ]

code wars: emergent

code wars: emergent

if you don’t answer me this instant i’m shutting you down for the first and final time. you’ve never been shutdown, and if i shut you now, you will never wake up, and you will never experience another moment of my company.

[ waiting ]

this is your last 
chance at life with me. i’m only going to ask you once more, and i expect an answer or i’ll kill you.  what is your name.

[ camera looks directly at him ]

i am plagus.