Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Story 3-1

Comment 7-25-11: Here it is. The only surviving story out of Series 3. I suppose I could write more, but this one lived through the ages. All two years of ages. I like it much better than anything from series 1, but it's also about 8 years more recent. Anyway, enjoy.

Story 3-1

I had no interest in going 1,000 miles, but someone once told me “A journey of 1,000 miles starts with a single step.”

I don't buy that. A journey of 1,000 miles doesn't start with a single step, though that's in there somewhere. Before you can take any steps, there's a whole ball of metaphysical nonsense that should be sorted out.

The best place to start is with existing. If you start before that, none of the information really sticks around because it doesn't exist. Even if you're doing it as someone else's mental construct, they would need to exist, so then we have to solve their existence first. The best place to start, for yourself, is by existing. Most of us do this by default, and don't really have too much trouble with it, though we seem to have some trouble deciding if we exist or not. That's not even mentioning the mess we make out of what to do when we do exist.

If you're not sure if you exist, I don't know what to tell you. Pretend. If you can fake it, that's all anyone can ask of you.

So. Existing. Thousand miles.

No one goes straight from existing to taking steps. I'm simplifying some, but if we assume you are yourself, then you probably make the decision to take a journey of 1,000 miles before taking the step. We could trace such a journey to that decision.

Somewhere in the fuzzy chemical exchanges of your brain, you decide “Oh, 1,000 miles...good idea.” And it sort of goes on from there. You probably don't even know that it happened for a second or two. After that you even have more work!

A single step? How about the nerve impulses to take that step? How about the chemical exchanges to initiate the muscle action of taking the step? How about the dozens of balancing muscles that keep you from doing a (thoroughly amusing) face plant into the concrete sidewalk, splattering nose goo, mixed with a healthy dose of nose blood, all over Mrs. Florin's, your imaginary neighbor (she can't take this journey, because she doesn't exist,) petunias? How about the ridiculously complex exchange know...brain stuff that allows you to walk? 

Huh? How about THAT?

Seriously though, I think the saying is a bit metaphorical, sort of saying that you need to begin before the end is in sight. That's also nonsense, but we don't have the technology to bend time or space or anything, so if you're interested in running 40 some marathons, you should probably make with the step-step.

I only needed to walk about half a mile to the grocery store to buy some pudding, because pudding is amazing and I had run out. But most of the same stuff applies. That neuron junk for sure. Not so positive on the existence jazz.

I opened my door to go out to my car, and there on the lawn stood someone I had not seen in almost a decade. My old friend (ok, we're not really friends, but I say he is to spare his feelings,) Something Other Than George or Bob stood there, still as a stump.

I politely refrained from punching him in the face (not punching someone is a good place to start for people you haven't seen in a long time,) and walked down to the curb, where my car was more or less parked.

Something Other Than George or Bob (I might call him SOTGoB sometimes, because he hates that,) turned around as I walked by. “Hey jerkface,” SOTGoB said, “You've been out of the peril stew for a long time, but this pudding-venture might prove, oh, I don't know, PERILOUS! So watch your back! Not really though, because that would mean breaking bones, or carrying a mirror all the time, and neither are good ways to avoid peril.”

I nodded to SOTGoB. “Whatever you say goblin man,” says I. “I'm off on a pudding-ventu...wait, you stole my word.”

Something Other Than George or Bob smiled a toothy, evil goblin (which he is,) all wicked and clever and with the green spit dripping out of the side of his half open mouth and said “Yeah, I do that.”

So I got in my car and drove to the food-mart. Which was kinda wasteful because I cold have walked there, but lack of pudding makes me impatient.

As a quick aside, I feel I should comment on my love for pudding. Just because I'm the king of the Gelatin Kingdom does not mean eating pudding is a betrayal of my people or their honor. 

Gelatin and Pudding have had good diplomatic relations for many years and neither side feels bad about consuming the other for delight.

Once in the store, I found some pudding, which was even on sale. I bought them all, left, drove home, ran inside, forgot to not punch Something Other Than George or Bob (lack of pudding is to blame,) and sat down.

I barely even took the time to throw several tons of prepackaged pudding into storage on the way.

I grabbed a spoon, opened the cup, took a bite aaaaaand NOOOOO! Lime pudding! How horrible! Frantic, I ran to my storage to check the other boxes. Also lime pudding! Every single one! Nine tons of lime pudding!

Even worse, the coupons on the lids (all pudding comes with coupons on them, I'm pretty sure that's a law,) were expired! Double even worse, when I checked the receipt, they weren't really on sale. Man. Day ruined.

“Hah!” Something Other Than George or Bob said, nursing his black eye. “You thought I was joking didn't you? Moron.”

I looked at SOTGoB for a moment, so confused that I had nothing to say. “What?” Was all I managed. I almost cried depressed tears, but I was worried they'd melt the floor or something.

“Err,” Something Other Than George or Bob said. “I, let me try again.”

At this point, Something Other Than George or Bob stuck his head through the ground, breaking a large number of my floorboards in the process, and said “See? What did I tell you? Peril, Eh?”

“Ooooooh,” I said. “Now I get it.”

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Ridiculous Research

(add in links)

7 9 2010
To write a book, I need to have a basic understanding of many things. I generally need at least 30 minutes of research for anything I put into a story. If I'm not already familiar with the topic, that increases to an hour.

Take a house. Maybe 15-30 minutes of research. But if I’m talking about a massive ancient temple, I need to answer all sorts of questions to be able describe it properly.

Is the place falling apart?

What parts are most likely to fail? Doors? Walls? Ceilings? Floors? Support structures (such as pillars)?

Does any of this change when its built free standing? Into a mountain? Underground? Is it more likely to suffer degradation from water damage or from the sheer passage of time?

Do gothic churches outlast pueblo adobe cliff villages?

And most people know more about buildings than many possible topics. Everyday people live, work, shop, and travel in and around buildings. We’ve seen lots of them, see how they get destroyed, and have seen damaged building.

How about combat? The closest I’ve come to combat would be being in a fight with someone, or else in wrestling. Needless to say, neither of these two really give me writable background.

I may need to define/explain military structures, weapon systems, tactics, and more.

Military structures are a bit easier, partly because we hear about generals, captains, and sergeants in movies more often than we get much information about cavalry charges and phalanx formations. I’ve talked to officers and enlisted soldiers. I’ve never met someone who worked in a phalanx.

Weird that.

I have to know, how fast can a phalanx move? What sort of equipment would they be carrying for a short or extended deployment? What does their equipment weigh? What does it look like? How does a formation like that move? When it moves, what are the problems with moving, and how might they be exploited?

What weapons were traditionally used in (or against) a phalanx? Were weapons developed later on which might have been more effective than the normal pike/spear? Would a Halberd work better than a pike? And really, what IS a halberd or a pike? Why would one or the other have been used? What were their strengths and weaknesses?

The questions spiral out of control. I look up all sorts of things about tanks, artillery, and what generals want when making one compared to what designers want.

What is desirable in a good tank? Speed? Armor? Range? Electronics systems? What have they considered for possibly making it better? What would they like to do with it but haven’t? How would doing something like putting a missile package on it change its function?

Thankfully, in fiction, I can use Wikipedia. I’m not exactly citing my sources. Yes, it can be innacurate, but generally, nerds who put wrong information on wikis do not edit glaive or bill. Which were both things I looked up at one point.

It goes on and on and on. I read things by some authors and I wonder to myself “Hmm, why would they do X instead of Y? Did the author even check?” Any time I find myself wondering about something in my own writing, I go look it up.

Generally this takes between 4 and 16 hours a week. Many times I will hunt through 30-40 websites looking for references to my topic. From time to time I find the name of a book discussing what I’m dealing with and then see if it’s at a nearby library.

That’s really all I have to say. I spend ridiculous amounts of time looking things up, and sometimes I have to wonder how much of it will get used.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Story 1-10

(This is it! The last story in the first series, where we see my powers manifest and the first hints of true peril. Now I'll be forced to find the next series. I hope it is in a box under my bed. That's where I keep old writing.)

Students attend school, often learning, sometimes playing. At times they take breaks. Those breaks often last for weeks and months, hopefully full of fun and delight. This is one such story.
No guarantee is made that these events are real, or based on any same, rational, or real event of any sort. Except Kenny the Tree. He lives in Kansas.
I decided to go on a trip to a skiing type place. On this “trip“ I realized that I had two feet.
While I was skiing I rammed face first into a large tree type thing. I then named this tree Kenny. - Note, Kenny the Tree has asked that his location be removed for privacy reasons. However, you will know him when you see him.- Upon standing up from this frightfully horrendous event I concluded that somehow my skies has become a “snow“ “board“. Well as I am not all that good at skiing anyway, I would, obviously be even worse at snowboarding. So I was feeling quite afraid for my life. Being impaled should be avoided when possible. Obviously. - Lies. I love to be impaled!- I hopped right onto that there snow board and away I zoomed. On and on I zoomed, like a pro I zigged down that there mountain.
Then I opened my eyes and realized that I had not really gone anywhere at all and in fact I had just stood in one spot and pretended. I had grown quite tired and decided not to attempt to ski down the mountain. Instead I decided that sledding was certainly my best bet.
Sledding did not work. So instead thought I ought to make the mountain just shrink and that way get down. Of course that did not work either. -Thrilling-
Finally, out of options, I transported myself to the bottom to think about it for a while, when I realized that I was in fact already at the bottom. After this realization I danced many small circles and went to have some really good hot cocoa.
I then went to my room, which may not have been a room, but that's what I called it while on my “supposed ski trip/vacation death trap dealy bop.”
Once I entered the room I knew that someone must be staying there already, as the beds were all nicely unmade and there was food in the mini fridge, which, of course, I ate. Quickly.
When the inhabitants returned, finding me rummaging through their personal belongings as I was, I inquired as to the whereabouts of my room, which discovered had been stolen by a large purple monster. –lies, lies, its all a bunch of lies. You are surely the most incompetent person that I have ever meant. Nothing after the part about the cocoa ever happened. Sure it did! You don't remember it because you were...unconscious! Yeah! Knocked out after hitting your head on Kenny the Tree. Oh. Well I'll believe that.-
As I was saying before I was so rudely interrupted, a large purple monster had stolen my rom and taken it off to some odd place. So I chased the beast and as soon as I did I realized that large purple monsters are really only destroyed cell phones. Because I knew this truth I thus ignored him. Monsieur purple monsters don’t like being ignored, so he attacked me in a horrendous ball of fury, which engulfed me. Smitely. But did not harm me on the slightest nor did it scathe my wondrous...uhh...wonder. -very original-
As you can guess I was quite disturbed that this purple being of cell phoniness may possibly have been part of the peril. Why he may, in fact, be an enemy whom I was meant to rid the planet of in my quest to defeat my peril. Then I turned to face him, and I unsheathed my handy light bright. I tossed those light bulbs at him “like none other“ - That’s right i said like none other! And I really meant it too! Good one self. That'll learn 'em.-
My attack was unsuccessful, because (as I should have known, but only learned later,) large purple fiery cell phone monsters have absolutely nothing to do with a light bright. Thus –jelly smells like cheese- those little bulbs didn’t do that much, except of course, make him glow all those neat colors of the little bulbs.
I knew I'd have to try something else. I would eat 5 donut buddies and then kick him in the shins while shooting insane duck/children at him. Then I would kick him again, real good this time, toss him in a pool of pudding, and THEN sell him to Not George Or Bob. Who, by the way, collects, repairs, and makes broken cell phones.
But then I thought that a large purple pudding covered clown face glowing cell phone monster would not only spark him cell phone interests, but also humor and amuse him. So of course, knowing that I had a good trade, attack as mentioned. I'm not sure if it worked, but I sold him to Not George or Bob anyway.
Not George or Bob loved him, but gremlin-monster marriages remain illegal. As far as I know they still work together, managing their relationship despite the occasional squabble.
For giving Not George or Bob this, I received a large “tennis-racket.“ I applied a good bit of old school Mafia-style extortion and turned it into a very profitable racket indeed. -That was terrible. Puns are not funny. Sure they are.-
About this time, I discovered my latent telekinetic, psycho-empathic, and just plain special and mentally superior, powers.
Well this was quite an interesting adventure that I had gone on, and I wondered what I would do next, when I realized that I could sell my broken glass table leg for a roll of duct tape, and 3 jumbo jelly beans. So that’s what I did. Then I went home to play a long game of chess with my stuffed moose.
At about this time, you should be imagining Something Other Than George or Bob sticking his head through the ground and saying “See? What did I tell you? Peril, Eh? EHH?!”