Review – The Trousers of Time

It’s the simplistic way of explaining the multiverse theory. Whenever we make a decision we simultaneously travel down each and every path, and the universe divides like a pair of trousers with versions of us travelling down on leg each. I don’t like it… it has several huge issues. I prefer universal spaghetti. Here’s why:

We are living components in the most complex Rube Goldberg machine ever, but replace marbles for particles and elaborate conjoining mechanics with fundamental forces. The trajectory of every fragment from the very instant of expansion sets into motion a pattern that would be predictable if you can observe every part. A mass gathers in one location rather than another, a planet forms around a sun that’s astonishingly similar to ours, life begins, crawls onto land, and after several false starts forms a creature that raises a civilisation with a calendar, a complex social structure, and a biology that relies use of tools to survive the environmental phenomena.

The biggest difference between that universe and ours? A meteor strike that would have gone into Jupiter’s outer orbit instead collides with Earth, causing a temperature shift that alters the weather patterns for a few hours just enough to change cloud density, and I decide to wear a coat. In one world I’m too cold and feel like an idiot for leaving it behind, in the other I’m too warm and feel like an idiot for not grabbing a hoodie instead.

Did I still make a decision? Did I still divide universes in two? No, I don’t have that kind of agency. If the meteorological circumstances had been identical and yet I’d made two different choices, then there is an inherent difference between each version of me caused by genetic or environmental differences. Maybe that me has a thinner coat, it looks the same but somewhere in the design process in the manufacture of the coat made a thinner fabric, that affects my decision to wear a coat or not. Or circumstances involving a surprising number of complicated changes of local behaviour meant that I couldn’t buy the coat I currently own and ended up with a different one.

We simply do not have the agency to divide universes, that kind of power in theory only comes about when we manage to observe or navigate between universes, and personally I think that’s when things get more interesting, even time travel starts to make sense and a little extradimensional.

So, at the moment we have a sphere of infinite size that comprises the universe of which we know anything. We have an infinite sphere of universes that comprise all possible outcomes that could have arisen from the initial expansion, every possible permutation of probability. Now imagine that an individual manages to travel through time. The universe in which he arrives is functionally identical except that he has appeared and altered the course of all events, and if he can return to his own time he can never return to his own universe* because he just goes to a future which is changed.

The theoretical existence of time travelling anything be it people, particles, or arthropods with weird defensive measures, creates another layer of infinite possibility, spheres within spheres, and then if you start layering up that’s when things start looking like a Tool video. Tool videos rarely resemble trousers, and vice versa.

So here’s the world we live in. Things happen. You can’t change them. You couldn’t have chosen otherwise, your genetics, circumstances, and passing meteors all change the way you behave, and no matter how powerful you think you are you are a slave to the sloshy chemicals in your head. If you regret anything in your life, then… well stop it. The universe is the way it is, nothing could be anything other than the way it is, and right now these words are either making you feel better about your lot in life, or worse, or neither, and you can’t control that, or how that will affect your behaviour in the future.

In short, this is what there is, go and attend to it. Or learn how to travel between universes, that would also be awesome, actually that would be amazing, an escalation to four-dimensional existence, possible biological changes allowing for… this is a tangent that I’m not going on. Read The Long Earth, watch Sliders, something. Go have fun.

Joel Out.


*Unless he already occupies the universe in which he arrives, that’s “perfect” time travel, and is highly unlikely to have happened in our universe. That sucks but we might still have a few universe-hoppers.

Top 10 – GeekOut UK Moments

So it has come, the final Top 10 of our existence as a geek social group. To those who aren’t aware, we’ll still have our Discord channel, where I hope to be able to share some geek positivity, but we’ll be no doubt more focused on video games on there. However, if you’re a geek of any description, come join us. Nevertheless, Joel and Timlah have been at work, sussing out what have been some of our Top 10 GeekOut UK Moments. We think we’ve come up with a fair list.

So it has come, the final Top 10 of our existence as a geek social group. To those who aren’t aware, we’ll still have our Discord channel, where I hope to be able to share some geek positivity, but we’ll be no doubt more focused on video games on there. However, if you’re a geek of any description, come join us. Nevertheless, Joel and Timlah have been at work, sussing out what have been some of our Top 10 GeekOut UK Moments. We think we’ve come up with a fair list.

Continue reading “Top 10 – GeekOut UK Moments”

Merry Christmas from GeekOut UK

Yeah it’s past 8am which means it’s probably time to wake up! Or not, you know. You could have a lie in if you want. Whatever you’re doing this year, I just wanted to say a very merry Christmas from us here at GeekOut UK. I hope you have a fantastic holiday, even if you don’t celebrate Christmas. The most important thing is to have some time off, perhaps you’ll spend it with your loved ones, or maybe you’ll spend some time catching up with your favourite TV series. What ever you do this holiday season, have fun, be safe and enjoy some good food and drink.

Yeah it’s past 8am which means it’s probably time to wake up! Or not, you know. You could have a lie in if you want. Whatever you’re doing this year, I just wanted to say a very merry Christmas from us here at GeekOut UK. I hope you have a fantastic holiday, even if you don’t celebrate Christmas. The most important thing is to have some time off, perhaps you’ll spend it with your loved ones, or maybe you’ll spend some time catching up with your favourite TV series. What ever you do this holiday season, have fun, be safe and enjoy some good food and drink.

– Timlah & Joel

Dungeon Situational – The Arcadia Spell List

Some time last year I made this, the Pandemonium spell list. Well, it sparked something, and for a while now I’ve been picking away at a project that creates sixteen new wizard subclasses, one for each of the outer planes. Today I present the polar opposite of Pandemonium, Arcadia, a plane of law in the name of the greater good, the pursuit of perfection and harmony by rigid obedience and tireless work.

This will be the fifth complete wizard school, with Pandemonium, the Nine Hells, Mechanus, and Ysgard, with Hades and Limbo close behind. The completed product will be published somewhere as a downloadable pdf from The Shropshire Dungeon Master.

Continue reading “Dungeon Situational – The Arcadia Spell List”

How To Top 10 (Like What We Do)

One of the greater pleasures of working for GeekOut has been the weekly Top 10s. They’re shamelessly pandering, entirely subjective, and we did them for the consistently high views they brought in, at least to start with. It turned into one of our greatest collaborative projects, not a difficult thing in terms of a writing challenge, but as a matter of cooperation, deliberation and debate it has been something that Tim and I have loved and hated, not quite in equal measure, but enough to motivate us week by week to produce something that many of you came back to us to read regularly.

So how do we do it?

GeekOut Top 10s

Thursday – Discuss

I’m frequently out on a Thursday night gaming at a local pub, and I frequently stand up to leave saying “Right, I’m going home to have an argument” which is only slightly hyperbolic. When we began the list it was purely via chat, constant recapping of our content and order, and it would take hours. When we made the move to a google doc it dramatically reduced the time this section took, dependent on how well we’d agree on definitions as they pertain to the heading of the list, or how well certain entries qualify. Some weeks, astonishingly simple and smooth, others infuriatingly long and filled with torturously long and granular deliberation.

It’s a simple process of positing a candidate. Many are self explanatory, some may require explanation if one or other of us are unfamiliar, or if the link to the title is not wholly obvious. Last week’s Suspiciously Cheerful Tunes as a prime example, my first suggestion for the list was Candy Man in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Little needed to be said, and despite it being my suggestion, Tim took the reigns of writing the entry, only missing the deific qualities of Willy Wonka ascribed to him by the song, otherwise capturing its essence, promise, a lure to damnation. Conversely, Tim had to give a quick summary of Porky Means Business, as I’ve never played Earthbound, and we had something of a debate between Drs. Horrible and Steel.

After we have sufficient entries, and maybe a few too many if it’s been a particularly fruitful topic. We’ll argue the merits of one entry over another, often earmarking certain outstanding entrants as going straight to the top three, or pushing them to the bottom for little consideration, with only a few changes made until we’re done. Finally we divide up the list between us to write, and call it an evening.

Friday – Write

The writing process often drives us to research more deeply than we initially intend. While some subjects we’re more than knowledgeable to spit out a couple of paragraphs, or perhaps having to kerb our enthusiasm and restrict how deep our explanation goes.

Sometimes we’ll add something that we know only as “common knowledge”, those things that you absorb as part of being part of the culture. Occasionally we are driven to extensive googling on the matter, sometimes cribbing off the compiled lists of others or simply delving into a topic until we uncover something. It makes the process of writing a matter of learning, and hugely beneficial. Courtesy of recent lists I now know a surprising amount about Pikmin for someone who has never played a single title in the series, the same with the Pink Panther, various mythologies, and Robin Williams.

Usually Tim takes command of the framing work, the introduction, and those intermediary paragraphs between sections, what we refer to as “the spiel”, although I take up the duty from time to time, especially if I’m light on entries I can viably write adequately, or if I have a particularly quiet Friday to look forward to.

Saturday – Publish

Once the blue button has been pressed on a Friday night there’s little left to do. The final product is complete with relevant screen captures, images, or videos for each entry, and finally the vote for the following week.

Once it was the case that Saturdays would see a discernible spike in viewership, these days we’ve attracted a high enough number of regular readers that Saturdays aren’t much more than a wiggle in our day-to-day viewership, and while it’s not so noticeable a thing as to ascribe entirely to the work we put into each and every Top 10, I for one consider the work we’ve put in over the years of collaboration on our lists a key factor in our own improvements as writers… or at least my own.

Honourable Mentions

It’s been a strange transformation over the years, but the honourables list began in our first list because we had too many bears that we couldn’t bear to omit. Over time we made adding a couple of extras to the ten mandatory, and over time that part of the list became a place for entries that were not quite right for the list but had some quality that expanded the definitions, thinking outside the box, but thinking about the box as it were.

You might say that we began riffing off WatchMojo, I’d like to think that these days we produce a more compelling list than they do, but now that we’re only a couple of days from our penultimate list, it feels right to reflect for a moment on the strangest highlight of our time on the internet.

Looking To 2020

Let’s be honest with ourselves everyone; this year was kind of a mess. Not only are we coming to a close in the new year, but the political landscape of the UK was a mess. Regardless of your politics, regardless of your views, it was not an easy time for anyone. I’m not here to educate you about the state of the UK. Instead, I’m here to talk about what I’m looking forward to in 2020. From video games, through to what the next chapter is for me, this is a couple of points that I’m really looking forward to sinking my teeth into.

Continue reading “Looking To 2020”

GeekOut Bristol Meet – December 7th: The Secretest Santa Roundup

Our final monthly GeekOut Bristol Meet has now come and gone; It was a fun night, filled with plenty of games and a spike in attendance to say farewell. I didn’t get many pictures of the day, but I think I got a rather good picture anyway. A nice one to leave these events all behind from. Sure, we have our New Years Eve event still to come, but all in all, this was a good send off for what has been a fun, enjoyable part of my life. Thanks to everyone who came along; it was amazing to see so many people come from so far to join us.

Our final monthly GeekOut Bristol Meet has now come and gone; It was a fun night, filled with plenty of games and a spike in attendance to say farewell. I didn’t get many pictures of the day, but I think I got a rather good picture anyway. A nice one to leave these events all behind from. Sure, we have our New Years Eve event still to come, but all in all, this was a good send off for what has been a fun, enjoyable part of my life. Thanks to everyone who came along; it was amazing to see so many people come from so far to join us.

Continue reading “GeekOut Bristol Meet – December 7th: The Secretest Santa Roundup”

The GeekOut UK Story

Yo, this is the story all about how my geek group got flip turned into a meetup, I want to take a minute just sit right there, I’ll tell you all about how we became the coolest geek group in the UK:

I think it’s worth reflecting, especially when you’ve had a history like we have. Today I’d like to just tell you a tale on this cold winter’s day, to let you know that just because we’re not going to be around in the new year, nothing can stop you. Want to run your own events, similar to the GeekOut way? Want to make an impact on your local community? Perhaps you just want to make some great friends? Well then, read on for what we did and how we did it all. I’ll be discussing the setup prior to GeekOut UK, a quick summary of our history and how we got going.

Continue reading “The GeekOut UK Story”

GeekOut Bristol Meet December 31st: The Final Countdown

18+ Event

It’s the final countdown! *Insert trumpet noises here.*

Our last ever event will take place on December 31st, in case you’re crazy enough to spend New Years Eve in a pub with some geeks.

18+ Event

It’s the final countdown! *Insert trumpet noises here.*

Our last ever event will take place on December 31st, in case you’re crazy enough to spend New Years Eve in a pub with some geeks.

Continue reading “GeekOut Bristol Meet December 31st: The Final Countdown”

NaNoWriMo 2019 Update – I’m Over Halfway

You know, a lot of the content that you’re reading this month was prepared last month… No, really, I spent a few weeks ramming through as many words and as many interesting articles as I could. Hopefully you’ve been kept entertained, but we’re not out of the woods yet, as we’ve still got another half of NaNoWriMo to commit to. Today’s post is a quick update on how the event’s going, how my novel’s going, how many words I’m at and more.

You know, a lot of the content that you’re reading this month was prepared last month… No, really, I spent a few weeks ramming through as many words and as many interesting articles as I could. Hopefully you’ve been kept entertained, but we’re not out of the woods yet, as we’ve still got another half of NaNoWriMo to commit to. Today’s post is a quick update on how the event’s going, how my novel’s going, how many words I’m at and more.

Continue reading “NaNoWriMo 2019 Update – I’m Over Halfway”