EFP post: "On various experiments"

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EFP post: "On various experiments"

Postby Sophira on Thu Apr 23, 2015 9:27 pm

At the request of Pixelmage, here's the content of the post "On various experiments" that appeared at http://efp.ezblog.co/?p=41 during the ARG. This was posted on 24th October 2012 at 12:24:25 GMT.

As I didn't want to recommend dishes without having tried them first, I made the soup that I had previously mentioned, inspired by Christine from Phantom Of The Opera.  Perhaps I should have done that before recommending it, but such is life.  Or, at the very least, I should have waited to try it when others were going to be over, because the soup was strong.  Perhaps too strong - while it was an incredible flavor, the various flavors didn't muddle at all, and it everything came through as bright as day. Having a whole bowl of this was probably not my best move; it overpowered a bit and I ended up wishing I only had a cup of it instead.

Even though I actually added extra stock and wine to the soup, it also came out with roughly the same consistency as mashed potatoes.  Now, it occurs to me that this is still a delightful side dish with that consistency, and I would whole-heartedly recommend it for that purpose.  I just was hoping that, when I recommended a soup, it actually had the consistency of a soup.  Anyhow, as I said at the beginning, not everything is going to work.

It kind of reminds me of when I tried to make cheesy oatcakes.  My idea was to make steel-cut oats, mix in some cheddar cheese, and then fry on a griddle (like pancakes) until they were firmed up.  I discovered that oatmeal doesn't really firm up when baked like that - gluten plays a much bigger role in the process than I had anticipated.  It resulted in a loose pile of buttery, cheesy oatmeal. I did consequently discover that it meant that you could produce a savory oatmeal that works much like polenta/grits for a side dish to an entree, but it wasn't exactly what I intended.  I think that's what I've managed to do with the squash "soup".
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Re: EFP post: "On various experiments"

Postby Endless Sea on Thu Apr 23, 2015 10:06 pm

...I'm gonna be honest, I have no idea what the context behind this is.
So, apparently I'm the sanest madman this side of the international date line. Seems legit.
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Re: EFP post: "On various experiments"

Postby Pixelmage on Thu Apr 23, 2015 10:15 pm

Back when the ARG was running full speed, Rick smuggled in a riddle for us... Which actually flew by unnoticed, for the most part. It wasn't until after the ending that we learned that there was an unsolved puzzle in EFP to begin with.

We still haven't solved it. At all. But after much pestering and poking and thinking and asking, we know it's on that text. And also one of the GMs solved it independently. But other than that, you know just about as much as I do. XD

My first instinct was to check tags and unseen codes, but there's none of that. Just plain text. No hidden html invisible characters or stuff of that sort. After that I thought it could be a skipping-words puzzle. But I don't have a clue what the pattern would be. I tried 2-7-11 based on the length of the words in the title, but that's not it. I can't seem to find anything that clicks as another possible skipping pattern so far, though it might still be one and I'm just not seeing it.
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Re: EFP post: "On various experiments"

Postby Rick Healey on Thu Apr 23, 2015 10:48 pm

Pixelmage wrote:Back when the ARG was running full speed, Rick smuggled in a riddle for us... Which actually flew by unnoticed, for the most part. It wasn't until after the ending that we learned that there was an unsolved puzzle in EFP to begin with.


To be more specific, not only did none of the players find the riddle, none of the other puppetmasters did. As things currently stand, only two other people know the answer, both puppetmasters. One solved it; the other was just told.
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Re: EFP post: "On various experiments"

Postby Blurred_9L on Fri Apr 24, 2015 1:00 am

Rick wrote:Anyhow, as I said at the beginning, not everything is going to work.


This sentence seems fishy to me, but I'm probably just imagining things.

The only thing that occurs to me now, is to use one of those patterns that block certain parts of a text to check for a hidden message, however, I wouldn't know what would be the pattern to use or if it required the specific formatting of the EFP blog.

Other than that, I'm still drawing a blank here.

EDIT:

According to the timeline, October 24th was the day somebody tried contacting Rick with a message on a tv tropes page. It also mentions a comment made by him, but since I can't access the blog right now (or haven't bothered to look for the changes Sophi made), I can't really know for sure.

EDIT AGAIN:

Read something Sophi posted, disregard anything I said except for the suspicious line at the beginning.
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Re: EFP post: "On various experiments"

Postby Endless Sea on Fri Apr 24, 2015 3:07 am

Geez, you sure it's actually code? Not just subtext or something?
So, apparently I'm the sanest madman this side of the international date line. Seems legit.
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Re: EFP post: "On various experiments"

Postby Qara-Xuan Zenith on Fri Apr 24, 2015 7:56 am

Blurred_9L wrote:
Rick wrote:Anyhow, as I said at the beginning, not everything is going to work.


This sentence seems fishy to me, but I'm probably just imagining things.


It should seem fishy--the beginning of the post never says that. Unless he's referring to the first post on the blog (I'd hate to bug Sophie to check the archive for that, though), it's an absurd statement. It also draws our attention to the fact that almost every sentence in the post has words relating to beginnings or ends.
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Re: EFP post: "On various experiments"

Postby Pixelmage on Fri Apr 24, 2015 10:12 am

Also of note is that Rick confirmed what we have here is solvable, which means the rest of the blog isn't going to help. I think we should focus at what we have. I could help as a way of juxtaposition, but considering how confused we already are, more information right now is a bad idea, I think. As for how to solve it...

Endless Sea wrote:Geez, you sure it's actually code? Not just subtext or something?

You might be right, End. However, interpretations are flimsy things. If it IS subtext, it must have at least some rule as to how it can be seen so that anyone can arrive at the same view or at least have that one intended reading under their pack of possible interpretations. If there's no rule, it's not a puzzle. I might not be a mathematical puzzle, but it must follow at least one rule.

Bare minimum, what of that text indicates that there IS a hidden meaning to it - What is it, how does it indicates the existence of the riddle? We know it's the riddle post because at the end of several months we basically asked Rick "Is it in this one?" nearly post by post so we have his word that it's there, but unless we can identify something, we're running in loops.
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Re: EFP post: "On various experiments"

Postby Dryunya on Wed Sep 30, 2015 6:57 am

Guys... I can't believe it was that simple.

First letter of every sentence gives us APOPHENIA IMIIIII. The second part comes from the last paragraph, and it's hardly a stretch to dismiss it as noise - at least it's not a valid Roman numeral. I checked.

Madame Wikipedia wrote:Apophenia /æpɵˈfiːniə/ is the human tendency to perceive meaningful patterns within random data.

The way I see it, we got trolled for looking for patterns everywhere. But we didn't see that pattern, so I guess the joke's on Rick. :D
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Re: EFP post: "On various experiments"

Postby JRPictures on Wed Sep 30, 2015 10:35 am

Dryunya wrote:Guys... I can't believe it was that simple.

First letter of every sentence gives us APOPHENIA IMIIIII. The second part comes from the last paragraph, and it's hardly a stretch to dismiss it as noise - at least it's not a valid Roman numeral. I checked.

Madame Wikipedia wrote:Apophenia /æpɵˈfiːniə/ is the human tendency to perceive meaningful patterns within random data.

The way I see it, we got trolled for looking for patterns everywhere. But we didn't see that pattern, so I guess the joke's on Rick. :D

Wow, who would've thought? Still that's pretty awesome :gurt:
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Re: EFP post: "On various experiments"

Postby Pixelmage on Wed Sep 30, 2015 12:13 pm

We were trying too hard. @_@ Also sudden Dryu from nowhere. Long time no see. ^_^
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Re: EFP post: "On various experiments"

Postby Rick Healey on Wed Sep 30, 2015 3:13 pm

Okay, first, I must indulge.

:twisted: MWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! :lol:

Second, yes, congratulations. You have solved my puzzle.

So, a bit of background.

To rewind things a bit, at the time this all happened, you guys were starting to pay serious attention to Experiments in Food Preparation, and you guys were intent on trying to find something, anything hidden in there. Except that there wasn't anything hidden in there at that point; you guys were chasing smoke and thinking it was some grand secret. So I decided to have a little fun. I was about to write up a post talking about the results of the squash soup that I had attempted to make, and I decided that the first two paragraphs could, with a little creative rewording (which was picked up on at the time, I think by Sicon), make an acrostic that spelled out "apophenia," basically saying "Guys, you're making up patterns that aren't there." And yes, I realized the irony of hiding a message that says that there aren't any hidden messages; I thought this was sufficiently silly and snuck it in. I didn't even tell the other PMs; there was enough going on that it was of little consequence.

I figured that an acrostic would be one of the first things you'd try (they're pretty basic, and it doesn't take long to try it). Turns out I was quite wrong. And then, the plan to "lure me out" (the one that nearly got me in trouble) happened very soon after, so I was actually nervous to mention to anyone else for some time that I had, in fact, hidden something in the blog. The endgame was when I finally felt comfortable doing so, and it was entertaining to see even the other puppetmasters taken by surprise by what I did.

I also enjoyed periodically dropping clues as to what I did. One of the biggest was around the one-year anniversary of the blog post; I tweeted about acrostics and how interesting they are (fun fact: Scarab responded to it). My favorite was saying that I hid nothing in something and something in nothing - apophenia literally is trying to find something in nothing, and it was kind of a meaningless thing that I hid in the blog itself. By the way, for those that kept being frustrated that I wouldn't detail the variety of puzzle that I hid... if I had said that it was an acrostic, you would have had it in minutes, maybe even seconds. Well, maybe not - as I pointed out on Twitter, Scarab actually point blank suggested that it might be an acrostic multiple times, but I don't think anyone bothered to check that specific type of acrostic (Pix said he checked the "first word" version, and I think Robynne did too). EDIT: Oh, yeah, and every so often, I would even talk about apophenia when you guys started asking me a lot about the puzzle. You don't know how fun it is to tell people the answer without them realizing it.

Oh, Qara may have accidentally stumbled a bit when compiling clues, because I was a bit devious in terms of exact words. At one point, she asked if "not everything is going to work" was pertinent to the solution. I said "Almost," because she left off the word "Anyhow," which was pertinent to the solution. However, when compiling the clues, she did remember the word then. I wondered if that threw people off.

Finally, as to who knew before this - I believe I said it before, but it was Dana and Sophie (maybe Dana told Tom; I never asked). I told Dana at ARGfest when we both went, and Connor tried his best to dupe me into telling him. So if it makes folks feel any better, he tried his best to troll the information out of me. Sophie figured it out herself about a half hour after I confirmed that the message was hidden in "On various experiments." I have to dig up the specific message that she sent me; I forget if she called me evil, terrible, or just awful. But she also thought the whole thing was hilarious.

Now, there's a few lessons to be learned from this. First, of course, is that what seems like the obvious solution to the puzzle maker isn't always obvious to the puzzle solver. Second, if you manage to build up enough of a mystique or a reputation, you can sometimes slide an easy one past people simply because they expect something more grandiose from you. Third, exact words matter in puzzle solving, because the devil is always in the details. Fourth, I had *way* too much fun with this. Finally, I think you see now why there isn't more to it beyond this - the whole point was that there wasn't anything to it at all.

As a coda - I considered making the IMIIIII some variety of code as well, but I abandoned that when any part that EFP would have played was shut down after the wiki edit issue. Though I promise that it wouldn't have been game-important, either. It probably would have just been a message saying "Seriously, guys, nothing here."
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Re: EFP post: "On various experiments"

Postby Dryunya on Wed Sep 30, 2015 4:17 pm

The other shoe has been dropped.
My spirit can finally rest now...
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Re: EFP post: "On various experiments"

Postby eli_gone_crazy on Wed Sep 30, 2015 4:23 pm

g'bye dryu see you in 3 months
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Re: EFP post: "On various experiments"

Postby Victin on Wed Sep 30, 2015 4:26 pm

Oh wow! Finally, it is done.
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Re: EFP post: "On various experiments"

Postby Dryunya on Wed Sep 30, 2015 4:28 pm

Just kidding, I'll be around. ;)
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Re: EFP post: "On various experiments"

Postby narrativedilettante on Wed Sep 30, 2015 5:49 pm

I did try the first word thing, and I swear I tried a first letter thing as well, but I probably tried the first letter of each word, rather than each sentence.

Now I'm shocked that none of us tried the first letter of each sentence before now.
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Re: EFP post: "On various experiments"

Postby Endless Sea on Wed Sep 30, 2015 6:16 pm

So what I'm hearing is everyone knew how to get the answer, and actually tried it out, and somehow nobody but Dryu got it right.

Seems legit.

Also, Dryu's still reasonably active on Steam, so that's a thing. :P
So, apparently I'm the sanest madman this side of the international date line. Seems legit.
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Re: EFP post: "On various experiments"

Postby Sicon112 on Wed Sep 30, 2015 8:09 pm

For some reason, I'm not at all surprised by this point that it was something so obvious. I guess I figured if it went on for this long and we had no idea after all the ridiculous things we came up with, it had to be something that would be blatant in hindsight and we just somehow managed to skip right over it.

Congratulations for answering the final puzzle of TWWF Dryu. Now we need to drag you into playing video games or doing something silly with us sometime to celebrate. XD

As for Rick bringing me up, I unfortunately can't remember the comment he is thinking of - it's been a really long time since then after all - but I at least recall getting involved in some conversation on how suspicious and jerky the sentence flow was. Not sure if it was me who brought it up, or someone else drew my attention, but I'm pretty sure it sent me off looking for all sorts of code or hidden messages in the phrasing for a week or two before I gave up and left it alone. Heh.

I wasn't the most active in this puzzle really, but that was mostly because it had me completely fooled it seems.
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Re: EFP post: "On various experiments"

Postby Rick Healey on Wed Sep 30, 2015 9:04 pm

Sicon112 wrote:Congratulations for answering the final puzzle of TWWF Dryu. Now we need to drag you into playing video games or doing something silly with us sometime to celebrate. XD


Well... if you want to be technical, there is one other piece of information at large - where Cheshire was at when he was in our world. However, it'd be unfair to ask folks to figure that out, as they would have had to have tracked the weather that Cheshire discussed over his entire time in the ARG, plus I'll admit that we didn't double-check to make sure that no other place had the sequence of rainy/cloudy/clear that Cheshire's location had. Thus, it's quite likely from the limited information you had that you would only have been able to narrow it down to one of several locations.

With that in mind, I'll be fair - Cheshire was in New Orleans, Louisiana. I considered having him make a reference to chicory at one point, but I thought that'd be too obvious... also, it wasn't ever important.

As for Rick bringing me up, I unfortunately can't remember the comment he is thinking of - it's been a really long time since then after all - but I at least recall getting involved in some conversation on how suspicious and jerky the sentence flow was. Not sure if it was me who brought it up, or someone else drew my attention, but I'm pretty sure it sent me off looking for all sorts of code or hidden messages in the phrasing for a week or two before I gave up and left it alone. Heh.

I wasn't the most active in this puzzle really, but that was mostly because it had me completely fooled it seems.


Yeah, it can be tricky to make a proper acrostic and have solid sentence flow. The "P" sentences were the hardest, because I had a hard time keeping a conversational tone while starting sentences with them - I had to rewrite the previous sentences' endings to get even a wooden flow. "A" was easiest, because there are tons of ways to hem and haw with "A" words.
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Re: EFP post: "On various experiments"

Postby eli_gone_crazy on Thu Oct 01, 2015 1:11 am

Rick Healey wrote:
Sicon112 wrote:\

With that in mind, I'll be fair - Cheshire was in New Orleans, Louisiana. I considered having him make a reference to chicory at one point, but I thought that'd be too obvious... also, it wasn't ever important.



I might be hallucinating but I'm pretty sure we knew that, and not from the weather.
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Re: EFP post: "On various experiments"

Postby Rick Healey on Thu Oct 01, 2015 7:18 am

We might have said Cheshire's location before, but I couldn't find where we said it.
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Re: EFP post: "On various experiments"

Postby Qara-Xuan Zenith on Thu Oct 01, 2015 7:48 am

I am pretty sure the Cat's Echo was there.
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Re: EFP post: "On various experiments"

Postby narrativedilettante on Thu Oct 01, 2015 10:04 am

Never put off until tomorrow what you can put off until the day after.
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Re: EFP post: "On various experiments"

Postby Sophira on Wed Oct 07, 2015 9:02 pm

Ricktroll'd!

Seriously, though, nice work. :D

[edit: As for what I said to Rick when I worked it out, I just looked up my logs. Here's how it went down:

<Sophie> I'm not going to post it in the forums, but I wanted to tell you that you are such a bastard. In only the most wonderful ways, of course. <3
<Sophie> You and your "apophenia".

]
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