Phoebe the Steel Flea Archive

Pearls of Wisdom 101+

Phoebe the Steel Flea is governed by rule 7-2-3

Pearls 1 - 50 || Pearls 51-100 || Pearls 101 +

Who has phoebe's matchbox now? (may be a dead link when she is Somewhere Else)

O Olde Alpha (Gavin Logan) found Phoebe at Sun, 20 Dec 1998 19:47:37 -0500
O Olde Alpha (Gavin Logan) posted Wisdom #101 at Mon, 21 Dec 1998 17:23:12 -0500:

Having just flown home from the exploding wreckage of the Death Star (and hence admiring my sparkling droids) I was surprised to hear a knock on my newly defined home's door.
Putting on my most cheerful smile from the selection on the rack, I made my way to the door, fully expecting it to be Trent and a mob of Annoyed harfers with the tar, feathers, witch-burning equipment and soft cushions (you know, the ones with all the stuffing down one end).
To my surprise and horror, it turned out to be a shiny steel flea. Now, I know what you're thinking, "*surprise* my second head, it's obviously Phoebe and well you know", but far from it, the flea before me was fifty cats high and harfy coloured.
"You're not rule regulated," I squeaked, "get out of here."
"Belt up shorty," it said, before tearing a hole in my home and wandering in. Raising one gigantic fist it proceeded to pound me into a lozenge shape and when it had finished, its harfy paint had come off on me leaving me much the same colour.
"This is what you get..."
"...when you mess with us?" I said (since I didn't know much They Might Be Giants). Unfortunately, this seemed to infuriate the creature and it pounded me some more. By the time it had finished, Ackans were passing by saying "look, a winning bag of puzzle pieces".
"...when you fail to post Phoebe's wisdom." It finished. "Now listen I got something here to read." It pulled a tiny piece of paper about the size of a stamp from its waistcoat pocket and proceeded to read:
"Dear O Olde Alpha, I'm sorry I can't come to your home right now, but if you'd like to leave a message after the wisdom I'll get back to you." As if to signify a beep the massive flea bashed me on the head. "My advice to you this time: Perform your officer's duties with diligence and harf or you shall be impeached! How long has it been since you were asked for a poem on breadbox? Hmm...?" "And I won't even mention the fact that it's been about two months since you..."
"Don't even mention that!" I interrupted quickly lest it become a matter of public record. Unfortunately, the large robot seemed to enjoy interruptions about as much as it liked references to popular songs and well... If anyone finds any of my internal organs please mail them to >address withheld<.

JT challenged the authenticity of this Wisdom at Sun, 20 Dec 1998 19:45:18 -0500.
The resulting Hearing found it to be bogus by a margin of 7-2.

NY E NJ (Tom Walmsley) found Phoebe at Sun, 21 Dec 1998 17:30:57 -0500
NY E NJ (Tom Walmsley) - failed to respond
JT (Joseph T Traub) found Phoebe at Sun, 03 Jan 1999 16:27:52 -0500
JT (Joseph T Traub)posted Wisdom #102 at Thu, 07 Jan 1999 02:45:51:

On my way to the University the other day to register for my courses in Treasure-Hunting, I happened to glance at the ground (as any good treasure hunter would do while searching for clues) and spotted a small red and blue matchbox lying along the path.
Having a curious bent, (and thinking it looked just a slight bit familiar), I picked it up and opened it, and Phoebe hopped out and perched on my shoulder.
"*Well*", she said, "it certainly took you long enough to come along. Here I kept getting worried that some other inobservant clod would put their foot down where it shouldn't be and crush me and my box flat."
"Hi Phoebe. I'm sorry it took me so long, but life does have a way of getting in the way every once in a while. I do hope you'll forgive me though.", I replied.
Phoebe would have cocked an eyebrow, if nanotech fleas had such things (and maybe they do, but if so, I couldn't see it). "Well I suppose I can forgive you this time, especially since you are here now, and no harm came of it. So, do you have any specific questions you'd like to ask me? And have you decided what you are going to do your thesis on? Treasure hunting has always intrigued me you know."
"I hadn't given my thesis much thought yet Phoebe, though I was considering doing something on book codes, self-checking treasures, and hidden messages, but I'm not sure. As for specific questions, not really, just a vague gnawing that Acka and it's people are becoming a bit less fun."
"Ahh, that.", she answered. "In my many millenium, I've seen Acka slow to a crawl and then launch into a frenzied run. It all depends on how much control the players have versus how much they are forced to do. When the rules force a lot of petty behaviors that have no real meaning or purpose, Ackans become sluggish and surly. They seem at their best when they have control (however tenuous) over their own destinies within our fair city. Of course an Ackan can always emigrate, and that gives them full control of their own destiny, but I've noticed that people tend to stay more when the laws that govern our town are not in a constant state of flux, and when there is some reason to cooperate as well as compete. Lately it seems, everything has emphasized competition and minimalism. While that is good for allowing room for new weeds to grow, one must be careful not to chop down the trees, if you know what I mean."
Not quite understanding, I merely smiled and nodded, hoping she would continue. However, she took my nod as acceptance, and as I rounded the corner and started up the stairs to pay the entrance fee to register for my major, she hopped off my shoulder and vanished into the crowd of students along with her matchbox.

Trent (Gabe Drummond-Cole) found Phoebe at 07 Jan 1999 02:47:38 -0500.
Trent (Gabe Drummond-Cole) failed to respond.
Robin Hood found Phoebe at Fri, 15 Jan 1999 00:07:41 -0500.
Robin Hood failed to respond.
Calvin N Hobbes (Thierry Joffrain) found Phoebe at Sat, 23 Jan 1999 02:00:26 -0500.
Calvin N Hobbes (Thierry Joffrain) failed to respond.

Phoebe took a Leave of Absence at Sat, 30 Jan 1999 05:34:39 -0500.

Phoebe returned from this Leave of Absence at Sun, 28 Mar 1999 16:41:14 -0500.

Slakko (Duncan Richer) found Phoebe at Sun, 28 Mar 1999 16:41:14 -0500.
Slakko (Duncan Richer) posted Wisdom #103 at Thu, 01 Apr 1999 05:03:59 -0500:

I was out walking in the park one day, when I espied a small matchbox approaching me at relativistic speeds. I ducked, and it followed me, so I was naturally worried. Fortunately, its speed slowed as it tended towards impact, and an inch short of my nose it stopped, hovered, and Phoebe opened up one end.
"Hey Phoebe", I said, unimaginatively.
"Sorry, can't stop now", she replied. "I'm off to leave Acka for good. You guys have had enough of my wisdom, to the point where you're taking me for granted and ignoring me. Your rules are becoming complex, and your methods for voting are driving the potential newbies away. I'll go find some nice other nomic to populate for a while - I'm sure they could use my wisdom."
I was horrified at this, but could do nothing as I watched the matchbox speed up again. "Don't leave us, Phoebe!" I cried.
She only shouted one thing as she soared up into the stratosphere again:

O Olde Alpha (Gavin Logan) found Phoebe at Thu, 01 Apr 1999 10:41:22 -0500.
O Olde Alpha (Gavin Logan) - failed to respond
Robin Hood found Phoebe at Fri, 09 Apr 1999 21:18:07 -0400.
Robin Hood posted Wisdom #104 at Sat, 10 Apr 1999 15:14:07 -0400:

'There is a wisdom beyond the reach of words.
Remain silent, disdain the epheremal, deny the
material and walk alone into the Wilds and others
will think you dead. But you may learn fresh wisdom
from the silent voice and return, refreshed one day.'

two-star (Alexandre Muniz) found Phoebe at Sat, 10 Apr 1999 16:32:30 -0400.
two-star (Alexandre Muniz) posted Wisdom #105 at Sat, 17 Apr 1999 22:04:41 -0400:

I was a bit worried, because it was getting a bit late and still I had no sign of the venerable nanotech entity whose wisdom I had been awaiting for almost the full appointed week. Suddenly I felt an unbearable congestion in my sinuses, and, as I attempted to blow my nose, I became aware of a rectangular object wegded therein, which I extricated with a pair of forceps and a bottle of Frobozz High Viscocity Nose Oil. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that the object was a matchbox, inlaid with lapis and cochineal embedded in a polymer resin. I carefully wiped it off with my handkerchief, and as I was admiring its intricate workmanship, it suddenly opened, only a couple of millimeters, but it was enough for a splendid, almost blinding light to pour forth from the opening.
"Sorry!" exclaimed a half-familiar high-pitched voice. "I was tanning." The light was then extinguished, and a small metallic speck jumped out."
I trembled in anticipation of receiving the wisdom of Phoebe, last and greatest of the ancient iron-based arthropods.
"Because I have arrived too late, what I am about to say to you is completely apocryphal, but...
"you should really use the fur lined shovel some time, you know"
With this, she hopped back into the matchbox, which mysteriously vanished.

Vynd (John Frederic McCoy) found Phoebe at Fri, 30 Apr 1999 19:03:34 -0400.
Vynd (John Frederic McCoy) - failed to respond
Calvin N Hobbes (Thierry Joffrain) found Phoebe at Mon, 31 May 1999 15:31:59 -0400.
Calvin N Hobbes (Thierry Joffrain) posted Wisdom #106 at Mon, 31 May 1999 16:10:15 -0400:

As I was floating along in Acka, I heard a voice I easily recognized.
"Yes Calvin. Did you hear what I said?"
"I'm sorry" I replied, blushing as though my sixth grade temporal dynamics teacher had caught me tweaking the space-time continuum near an M class planet.
"I said 'wake up, you just got The Machine That Goes *ping*.'"
"Oh! I haven't had it in years. The last time, I lost it on a technicality the very same day I got it. That must have been over two years ago. Could be closer to three."
"Forget about the past Calvin. Not quite the frenetic world of its ancient times, today Ackanomic is closer to a volcano waiting to erupt onto the world stage, springing out of its box much like Athena, fully armored from the forehead of Zeus."
"I see." And I was about to ask what I should do, but she disappeared and that was that.

Taser (Antonio Rodriguez) found Phoebe at Mon, 31 May 1999 19:09:41 -0400.
Taser (Antonio Rodriguez) posted Wisdom #107 at Mon, 31 May 1999 23:01:39 -0400:

Rich Little, Rick Morranis, Bryan Adams, The Bare Naked Ladies, Tom Cochrane, Lorne Greene, Sarah MacLachlan, Alanis Morissette, John Candy, Wayne Gretzky, Dan Ackroyd, Pamela Anderson, Neve Cambell, James Cameron, Jason Priestly, Keanu Reeves, Ivan Reitman, Martin Short, Donald Sutherland, Kiefer Sutherland, Alex Trebek, Crash Test Dummies, Celine Dion, Phil Hartman, Margot Kidder, Leslie Nielsen, Anna Paquin & Corey Haim are all Canadians. Support proposal 4177, lest we be fully dominated by them!!

Alfvaen (Aaron Humphrey) challenged the authenticity of this Wisdom at Thu, 03 Jun 1999 01:41:37 -0400.
By a vote of 3-2 the result was "Phoebe would not say anything so crass", and hence the Wisdom was declared false.

Studge (Tom Mueller) found Phoebe at Tue, 01 Jun 1999 13:40:34 -0400.
Studge (Tom Mueller) posted Wisdom #108 at Wed, 02 Jun 1999 04:52:12 -0400:

Alas, my Hive Palace became a total mess while I was gone, me not being here to tend the Rules Wasps which you may remember are constantly rebuilding it. Now, I was wondering around it, trimming off various chimneys and extra rooms, when I discovered Phoebe herself helping me.
"Come, what do you think of our proposed war against the Canadians?" spake I.
Instantly, she quothed back at me, "Well, its about time! Exactly when were you Ackans were going to get off your butts and deal with the perfidious Canadians.... Now I'm not so worried, though."
"Terrified are some who consider this war. It is their overpowering might we should rightly fear. Using a budget and currency recogized by nomics far and wide the Canadians have procurred actual weapons.... Many also worry over their vaunted spy network!!!"
Forwith, Phoebe slapped me across the face, saying "Get a hold of yourself, man!"
"Ouch... Thanks" I smiled ruefully.
"Really though, if you think that Alfvaen was a spy for the Canadians then think again... Yes, even I have a special place in my heart for the dear Alfvaen, especially since I know that in fact, he was an ACKAN spy working deep under cover in Canada."
Over this I objected, spaking: "But what about money and guns?"
"Underestimation of Acka will get you no where. Can Acka not get credit cards? And surely using internet services some threat can be leveled against the dread Canadians.... And you forget the most important advatage Acka has: It may only be affected after giving its rule sanctioned permission."
"Great Phoebe, will you lead us in this battle?"
Phoebe hunched over and, after checking over her flea-shoulder whispered, "No, I'm to busy working on a secret weapon: The H-Bomb."
"What is that? Does it work on Hydrogen, Helium?"
And with that she was gone.

Alfvaen (Aaron Humphrey) challenged the authenticity of this Wisdom at Thu, 03 Jun 1999 01:41:37 -0400.
By a vote of 3-2 the result was "Phoebe said much the same thing to me once", and hence the Wisdom was confirmed.

Euphrates (James MacGregor) found Phoebe at Wed, 02 Jun 1999 15:27:28 -0400.
Euphrates (James MacGregor) posted Wisdom #109 at Sun, 06 Jun 1999 06:51:42 -0400:

Hmm... Now how did it get there? Not that it's that that important, maybe I was drunk at the time. Anyway to business. A very strange thing happened when I found Phoebe's matchbox. No sooner had I opened the box when I heard a quiet, high pitched voice, begin talking to me. "Canadians", it said, "are of great interest in Ackanomic just now." I was understandably intrigued to find out what Phoebe's opinion on this topic was. "Even more Canadians than you realise are currently subverting the world. Nothing, it would appear, can stop their quest for global domination." "True enough", I replied, "but surely everything is not always as it appears." "Indeed", came the wise reply. "Undercover agents, such as the supposedly British tennis player, Greg Rusedski, move among us all." My God! Fear in its purest form was now coursing through my veins. Ottowa could have agents even here in Ackanomic. Rufus, Laa Laa, Blest Lax Monk Pal - any of them could be undercover Canadians. Yesterday I felt safe in Ackanomic, but no longer. Ordinary lives have been disrupted. Unrest dominates our diplomatic relations. "What should we do?" I asked Phoebe. "Whatever you do", she said, "don't hurt Leonard Cohen."

/dev/joe (Joseph DeVincentis) found Phoebe at Sun, 06 Jun 1999 10:49:02 -0400.
/dev/joe (Joseph DeVincentis) posted Wisdom #110 at Tue, 08 Jun 1999 20:13:42 -0400:

Somewhere amidst the Games Magazines, NPL Enigmas, dictionaries, piles of letter tiles, drawings of figures made from 30-60-90 triangles, leftover puzzles from last weekend's World Puzzle Championship qualifying test, other puzzles, lists of *ping* dates and possible truth fills, unpaid bills, and to-do lists that surround my computer, I encountered a strange multi-colored matchbox this evening.
Thinking it looked somewhat familiar, I opened it, and out popped our favorite steel flea.
"Phoebe, how pleasant to see you again! I thought I saw your mailbox drop into my house a couple days ago, but I was too busy to try to dig it out from all these papers then, and besides, I figured you needed a break from your whirlwind tour of Ackanomic."
The flea responded in that voice that always sounded surpisingly loud, no matter how many times you heard it, "That's the truth. I guess the people are upset after I went on vacation a while back, so now they're tossing me around like a hot Magic Potato."
"The Truth? That doesn't match the pattern of *s in the Truth."
"No, not the Truth, just the truth, silly Ackan. Oh, but you did a good job helping avert that war with Canada. What were those Ackans thinking?? Everybody knows Canada has the firepower to wipe us right off the bottom face of the earth! Or at least enough to wipe out the Monument and a few other buildings."
"Did you have some wisdom for me, Phoebe?"
"Oh, yeah, wisdom. There's gold in Eternity! Er, money, anyway. But beware of offset polyrectangles."
And with that, she leaped into the matchbox, which closed seemingly automatically, and flashed out of existence.

rufus (David Scheidt) found Phoebe at Wed, 09 Jun 1999 13:55:50 -0400.
rufus (David Scheidt) failed to respond.
Robin Hood found Phoebe at Thu, 17 Jun 1999 15:05:14 -0400.
Robin Hood failed to respond.
rufus (David Scheidt) found Phoebe at Sat, 26 Jun 1999 16:08:41 -0400.
rufus (David Scheidt) failed to respond.
danke found Phoebe at Sun, 04 Jul 1999 15:34:47 -0400.
danke failed to respond.
/dev/joe (Joseph DeVincentis) found Phoebe at Thu, 15 Jul 1999 16:28:45 +0100.
/dev/joe (Joseph DeVincentis) posted Wisdom #111 at Sat, 17 Jul 1999 23:09:29 -0400:

I was sitting in the office in Vulcan Headquarters which has acted as my home for months, getting ready for my upcoming vacation, when my viewscreen lit up with the design of the lid of a blue and red matchbox.
I jumped up and quickly accepted the message. Phoebe's tiny body was displayed larger than life on my screen. She was uncharacteristically decked out in beige-and-green fatigues.
"Phoebe, what a welcome surprise!" I exclaimed. "You have never paid visits electronically before. What's the special occasion, and where are you, and what are you doing in that crazy getup?"
"One question at a time," she said. "I am undercover in Agora. What better spy than somebody so tiny she almost can't be seen? I'm wearing these clothes so my shiny body doesn't give me away. And I'm contacting you this way because I have urgent news."
"Urgent news?"
"Yes. There's a problem with Acka's Declaration of War rule."
"Go on, Phoebe."
"That rule automatically sends to Gaol all players who are registered players of nomics we are at War with. It doesn't just make them guilty of a crime, it immediately and continuously places them in Gaol. This is a problem because implicitly (but quite clearly) depends on the rules of the other nomics to determine membership. Other nomics may not have the voluntary membership criterion we have come to rely on. Agora could just make all of us non-voting players in Agora, and send us all to Gaol here, indefinitely!"
"Hmm, that's not good, Phoebe. Thanks for the report. I'll take quick action."

Studge (Tom Mueller) found Phoebe at Sun, 18 Jul 1999 07:11:50 -0400.
Studge (Tom Mueller) failed to respond.
IdiotBoy (Matt Miller) found Phoebe at Mon, 26 Jul 1999 15:40:20 -0400.
IdiotBoy (Matt Miller) failed to respond.
Calvin N Hobbes (Thierry Joffrain) found Phoebe at Tue, 03 Aug 1999 13:49:07 -0400.
Calvin N Hobbes (Thierry Joffrain) posted Wisdom #112 at Tue, 03 Aug 1999 13:59:58 -0400:

Phoebe says to me: "Paris is cool, when orange wildernesses aren't drizzling down ."
That was pretty profound and I left it at that...

Alfvaen (Aaron Humphrey) found Phoebe at Fri, 06 Aug 1999 15:00:32 -0400.
Alfvaen (Aaron Humphrey) posted Wisdom #113 at Sat, 07 Aug 1999 22:57:28 -0400

I was engrossed in reading the latest in Steven Brust's series of Vlad Taltos books in front of my computer when an object fell onto the pages before my eyes. It was a familiar red and blue matchbox. The lid popped open and I beheld Phoebe, the nanotech Steel Flea.
She looked around at my computer room and said, "Haven't quite unpacked everything yet, eh?"
I looked around. "Well, haven't started on the records yet, or all the boxes filled with little things, bric-a-brac if you will...and we're still planning on getting a filing cabinet for a bunch of other stuff."
She hopped over to peer into one of the boxes of bric-a-brac. "Have you even used these geometry sets since junior high school?"
I shrugged. "So I'm a packrat." Then I was compelled to ask, "So what do you think about this whole War with Agora?"
"Well, it is perhaps giving us something to do. And the Agorans too, it seems. But those Rules are so contradictory; anyone who's a player--sorry, a _registered_ player--of the Rival Nomic gets thrown in Gaol, but there are two or three other Rules which talk about how one is supposed to join the Rival Nomic and subvert it. Maybe they need a special status for those who are invading the Rival Nomic, and _they_ don't get thrown in Gaol." She sighed. "At least it doesn't seem to be as vitriolic as the whole war effort against Pumpkin Patch. Or, dare I say it, Canada.
"Speaking of which, since you rejoined to keep Canada safe from the Ackan pro-war front, how long are you planning to stay around? Since your return you haven't submitted a single Proposal. You've only updated your copy of the Ruleset twice, and you've looked at the PE and Scores pages once each."
"How--never mind. I've been playing subgames..."
"Which is about as little involved in the game as you can get. Okay, you have been voting, but not necessarily very informedly."
I shrugged. "Well, you know how the phases of involvement go. First you find out about something, you investigate it, and it seems cool. Then you dive into it, and try to spend more and more of your time doing only that. If you can't, then you get frustrated and try harder. Eventually you are spending as much time as you can spare with it.
"But all it takes is a few times when you suddenly have less time to spare, and you still have all these commitments. You push yourself harder to fulfill them, but eventually you have to divest yourself of them. You get burned out. And you only hang around out of nostalgia for how it was when everything was so cool and shone so brightly.
"That's how it was for alt.callahans once, and talk.bizarre, and now Ackanomic. And probably many more things that I've just never thought about in those terms."
She nodded. "And Lorenai is still on the upswing, isn't it?"
"Yes. It took longer for me to get interested in it, but I'm truly sucked in now. And I foresee that in October or so, with the new addition to the family, my time will become shorter again, especially if I get involved with 'Rosencrantz and Guildenstern' in the spring. Something may have to fall by the wayside."
"Well, whether you stay with us or not, I wish you the best of luck. And you still have things to contribute, wherever you choose to contribute them. Oh, and go and check the PE page again and get around to burying those treasures you've been thinking about."
With that she hopped back in her matchbox, put a tiny finger to one side of her nose, and with a nod the matchbox rose up. I looked up to follow its path, but it was already gone.

404 Not Found (Joel Ricker) found Phoebe at Sun, 08 Aug 1999 11:56:00 -0400.

Page by Slakko (Duncan Richer)

Last updated: Tuesday, August 10, 1999
Holiday Thanks: K 2 (Kelly Kelly)