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25 + 110 points

No Jaywalking by Loki

July 16th, 2008 3:30 AM / Location: 34.088990,-118.3210

INSTRUCTIONS: Follow the traffic signals!

Choose a neighborhood with plenty of traffic signals. Walk a path according to their desires, determined using the following rules:

- If there is one walk signal, cross the street in that direction and continue walking straight ahead until the next corner.
- If there is no walk signal, turn the corner without crossing the street, and keep walking straight ahead until the next corner.
- If there is more than one walk signal, retrace your steps to previous corners until the signals take you in a new, clear direction.
- If there are no traffic signals, cross in the direction that you are already facing and keep walking.

Continue on in this way until you either hit a dead end (i.e. you are supposed to walk straight, but there is no more road) or you find yourself back at a corner that you have already visited.

If you asked a rhinoceros to design your city, it would look a lot like Los Angeles.

While in Los Angeles for Journey, I found myself in Hollywood on a Saturday afternoon with a few hours to kill. I located the event starting line and then began to search for coffee, food, and a nice shady spot to read a book and wait out the hottest part of the day. Coffee was easy to find, as was a ham and egg torta from a Thai restaurant filled with Pacific Island artwork. Shade, however, is a technology that the people of Los Angeles have yet to master. As you might expect for an imported luxury item, those lucky few who've managed to get their hands on some tend to keep it securely locked away behind fences and high walls.

After an hour or so of undirected meandering, I realized that I should be tasking. I considered a Reverse Polarity Derive, but I had a feeling that could get ugly. Besides, it's the sort of thing best attempted with the promise of a hot shower and some relaxing music at the end of the day. While slathering on a second coat of sunscreen, I tried to reconstruct the rules for this half-remembered task. I wasn't at all confident about the no-stoplight case, but it turns out I guessed correctly.

I was careful to play fair, suppressing my natural tendency to change speed and anticipate stop light changes when approaching intersections. None the less, I couldn't have scripted a more appropriate path: after passing the local parasutro and Hollywood and Vine (as seen on television), it lead to exactly the sort of place I had been looking for, at exactly the right time.

Oh, and this task also prompted a revelation of startling elegance: the rhinocity principle. When viewed through the eyes of a rhinoceros, everything that might seem irrational or troubling about Los Angeles makes perfect sense. (I won't be discussing this point any further in this praxis, but I'm convinced it is a powerful discovery.)

Here's the map.

+ larger

I've always liked this building.
Zap!  Pow!  Whiz! Bang!
Hotel row.
What's it mean?
No choice here.
Loki turns on Odin.
Traversing a freeway.
Dead end?
Business opportunity!
Yet another parking lot.
Credit cards accepted.
The end?
It's like a park, but with dead people.
My final resting place.

22 vote(s)


(none yet)

11 comment(s)

(no subject)
posted by zer0gee on July 16th, 2008 5:50 AM

I imagine a city hall in which wild-eyed madmen with noodles in their beards sit behind sober hardwood conference tables. "Jessie," the mayor hollers, "get me the DA's office on the phone. This man is the reborn Prince of Tyrus, and you can bet the CIA and their alien masters will be here soon."


(no subject)
posted by Jellybean of Thark on July 16th, 2008 7:50 AM

Yeah, how'd you know?

(no subject)
posted by Rachel's Reflection on July 16th, 2008 6:45 AM

Hooray! Someone completed my task! I especially like the random wander through the cemetary at the end.

(no subject)
posted by Jellybean of Thark on July 16th, 2008 7:47 AM

After you see more of the crazy mad libs, they don't make more sense. He seems fairly certain that he's the father of Christina Aguilera, and Corey Feldman.

Dead people have it OK there
posted by susy derkins on July 16th, 2008 7:58 AM

Imagining rhinos beats crying. Thanks for the cold knot in my chest, "their" desires allright. I feel this will stay on the back of my mind everytime I traverse my rhinocity, must be the true-Loki-stirring-power-TM.

(no subject) +1
posted by anna one on July 16th, 2008 9:19 AM


Would you write me a book, please? I so like to read what you write.

Thank you,

anna one

Zap! Pow! Whiz! Bang! +1
posted by Spidere on July 16th, 2008 1:16 PM

I know that during-and-after feeling.

Also, I agree with anna one. Wonderfully written.

(no subject) +2
posted by Lank on July 16th, 2008 9:22 AM

Loki meets Odin. I love it.

Oh LA, you're so silly...
posted by Minch on July 16th, 2008 12:48 PM

"If you find yourself high atop a barbed wire fence next to an empty lot and you don't have any cash handy, relax: they take plastic."

(no subject)
posted by lefthandedsnail on July 16th, 2008 4:30 PM

I thought crane fights would be awesome, too. Then I saw one. It's seriously just Ralph Machio fighting Ralph Machio. I mean, you know from the start who's going to win.

(no subject)
posted by Dela Dejavoo on July 18th, 2008 7:29 PM

rhino theory = vote