Saturday, July 28, 2012

Cheri the Brave for Caturday

So Cheri is our scaredy cat. She jumps at everything!

Cheri the "brave" being not so brave

Cheri the "brave" hiding in her Kendall's Krab Shak box
(Keep Frozen) 1-900-GT-KRABS

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Writing thoughts: Laser Guns

Guns! A hot topic lately, and a few posts have been going around about guns in stories. Through the various posts, I asked the question:

In a science fiction world where guns can be made of deadly lasers, pew pew pew, that you'd have to move at the speed of light to avoid, would there be a need for guns? I mean, if you got mad at someone and whipped out your laser gun, they could be dead before they heard the gun go off, sonic boom style. So... why guns?

So here I go!

It doesn't make much sense to me. I've watched so many sci-fi shows and movies where guns are supposed to be made out of light. Star Wars, Star Trek, they all have phasers. The problem is that in all the shows I've seen, the laser light moves at about the speed of a bullet, not the speed of light. In sci-fi, it's constantly used that the good guy can somehow avoid the slow laser light as modern super heroes can somehow avoid bullets. 

But is this feasible in a sci-fi world?

Let's say that you're in a laser light gun battle. The idea with normal guns is you can avoid being hit because you can dodge the bullet, but when the bullet is going at the speed of light, that just isn't going to happen. You would see the laser gun fire at the same time you were struck, and depending on how far away you were, you'd hear the shot seconds later.

It would be too easy to set up a laser cannon on your high mountain, and shoot people down below. They wouldn't even know they were being shot at until they were dead! Like lightening, they wouldn't hear the shot until after they were hit.

With this kind of fire power, this kind of technology, would guns become obsolete? Eventually everyone would be killed or someone would come up with a way to block light itself. You would have to make armor that always blocks you, it'd be too easy for a bad guy to put your armor's one weak spot into the scope and fire. You wouldn't be able to move away in time. It's not like you could outrun light itself, to do that you would need infinite mass, which means you wouldn't be able to move anyway.

Maybe guns could be used at incredibly large distances. A gun atop a ship stationed around Earth shooting a gun at the sun would take 8 minutes to get there. Enough time to get away! But still, you'd have to see the light as it came towards you, but once you saw the light, you'd be already dead...

That scene in Star Wars, where everyone is shooting down a corridor... The movie would have ended very quickly with real laser guns. All they'd have to do was shoot a wide burst of shots across the entire corridor for several seconds and Han Solo and the rest would be dead. Of course, the storm troopers would've had to make their ship out of some material that didn't get punctured with laser lights, otherwise the shots would just go straight through the ship and punch a hole in it's side. If that was the case, than ships would be made of some super dense material, or everyone would have the material woven into their clothing to absorb the deadly light, in which case only head shots would count, so wouldn't everyone wear masks? So really, would they even use guns on a ship? If they did, they'd have to be bullet guns that don't break ship's hulls.

Of course, they could always make the laser light of a lower intensity, so instead of puncturing through both skin and ship hull, it would just burn. But someone would eventually make a lethal version. Perhaps that would be the illegal guns? The ones that kill instead of just burn? Either way, no one is getting out of the way of that shot. Burn wards would suddenly become very popular places.

It's an interesting though, but makes me think that deadly laser guns in a sci-fi setting would necessitate a story with more characters, because most of them would die. War would probably become less popular, so perhaps it would be a universe where wars were fought only through political means, rather than with guns. Maybe society would revert back to simple hand to hand combat because guns would just be too lethal? I can imagine a gladiator ring with laser guns set up around the edge, to stop any of the combatants from leaving the arena.

It's bears some thinking. The stories I write tend to be more about magic, set in a medieval setting, but I may have to think of a short story about laser guns and how incredibly deadly they could be.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Resumes

Resumes. I've been updating mine, as I do now and then, and have realized I have a love/hate relationship with them.

I love how they can put my stats down. A baseball card for Kathlyn's great statistics. Simple, easy. Statistics.

Yet... I hate how resume's don't show the rest of me. I'm more than just a bunch of work statistics. Isn't everyone? I struggle to put into a resume my soul. Who am I? What do I want in a job? Why would I to apply to a job that I don't meet all the qualifications for?

That's what happens every time I do a resume and job search. I find plenty of jobs I would love to do, but I'm missing some of the qualifications. I can learn. I can be a good manager/supervisor if given the chance to be one. I can learn whatever's put in front of me. I'm adaptable, I like change. I enjoy a good challenge. I'm motivated. I may not have direct experience being management or knowing a specific program, but I know I can do it. Time and training is all I would need!

How do I get that across on a resume? "Look, I know nothing here on this sheet of paper really says I know how to do <insert job qualification>, but I know I can! I'm smart enough to do this, just give me a chance!" It's the catch 22 of job searching. You need experience to get the job you want, but you can't have that experience without being lucky at your old job or getting the new one. It's sigh inducing. I want to prove I can do the jobs I apply to on the resume, but it's too informal.

It all just tastes wrong in my mouth to sound like I'm begging or being too hopeful. I know I can do any job I've applied to in my life, but how to show that on a resume? One small sheet of paper carrying so much weight.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Dreamtime Dreamscape: Brothers and Sisters

I had another story idea in my dream last night. It dealt a lot with time travel. In this dream I was more a narrator than a specific person in the dream.

It started out in current time. A girl my age with long brown hair was given a will from her late grandfather. He left a mansion to her upon his death and said that his passing would unfold events she could not even dream about. She would have to find her siblings to fight a great evil.

She knew she was the only child, though her mother and father were not known to her. She went to the mansion and found a secret room. I never really saw inside the secret room, she kept it even from me in my own dream.

The dream shifted and I was in a huge forest. The girl was there. A boy her same age stepped from the shadows of the giant trees and welcomed her as his sister. He was dressed in druid robes and had long hair, red I think. He wore a golden torque around neck and said he was a powerful druid and was willing to do whatever he could to help his beloved sister from another age.

The dream shifted again. The two of them were in the mansion again and the druid said how he would go to Mongolia to get their brother, one of the many children of Gengis Khan and their mutual mother. He left via the secret room, leaving the girl to find her sister.

She went into the library and searched through some old books and found some hint in some Egyptian texts. She was positive that was where her sister was. Something was going on outside the mansion that leant haste to her actions, but I didn't know what it was. Mentally I add in some kind of end of the world scenario, but I don't think it was something so doomsday-ish.

She went back into the secret room and was transported to the Egyptian times. She found a girl their age who was a priestess. The priestess did not immediately understand that they were siblings, she was hesitant to go with the modern times sister, but when some palace guards came into the dusty temple to take the Egyptian priestess into captivity because of whatever it was that was attacking the modern times mansion. They ran into the time portal and were transported back to modern times.

At this point I had to take a second in my dreams to explain to myself what was going on and how this was all possible. I did this by having the Egyptian girl as the druid boy and modern times girl what was going on.

The four were all from the same mother, but different fathers, yet they had all been born at the same time as quadruplets. Their mother, being on the side of the good guys, knew they'd need four siblings of her birth to save the world, but they all had to be from different time periods for some reason. She traveled through time and got the required, ah, DNA, from men in four time periods. She was then artificially inseminated with four fertile eggs, one for each sibling. I remember wondering if there would be any possibility for romance between any of the siblings if I were to write this into a novel (yes, I even wondered this in my dream) and realized it really wouldn't work because they all have the same DNA strain from their mother.

Once the children were born, they were transported to their own time periods and raised by surrogate mothers that were tied to the good guys. The druid brother had been told before he took his druid training that he had siblings out there, he knew the most of what was going on and acted as the knowledgable brother. The Gengis Khan brother was the fighter of the group. The modern sister was the best at dealing with technology and the sister from the Egyptian times was the most logical one.

There was a last scene I remember where the Egyptian sister was trying to read an English book and had to translate everything into Egyptian until the druid brother did something to her to allow her to read English.

I woke up while thinking of the logistics of the dream. How would they work together? What is their foe? Why did they have to save the world and what could be such a strong force that it required time travel? I saw some of the foes in the Egyptian times, so could their foe travel through time too? It left a lot of questions, but was a fascinating dream.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Flash Fiction: Scowling at Mirrors

Based on a writing prompt from G+. This is based off the current work in progress, kind of a prologue. Mostly this is just an experiment to get into the main character's head. The prompt was 750 words starting with the first line of "I scowl with frustration at myself in the mirror."

Enjoy!



I scowl with frustration at myself in the mirror.

When had I gotten so old?

My joints pop as I sit down on the old leather chair, ignoring the view the mirror gave me of my sagging cheeks and liver spotted head.

Behind me, the ghost of my long dead father lets out a snort of laughter. “You know,” he said, “if I was your age...”

“You’d be king,” I finished for him with a long suffering sigh. I’d only heard him say that every day for the last 30 years. “Father, you are dead. I am talking to myself. Would they let someone who talks to himself be king?”

“I raised you to be king!” he retorted, angrily.

I look at the mirror and see my father’s face where mine should be. His face was all strong lines. His hair was thick. Women had swooned over him in his youth. He’d told me that more than once. No girl had ever looked at me twice.

“My brother is king,” I reminded my father. My brother was the one with the strong face.

“He does not deserve the throne,” was his retort.

“He deserves it more than I do,” I tell the ghost. “You raised me to take the throne, but you weren’t there to help me take it.” I waved a hand to brush off the argument. In the mirror, the ghost of my father slammed his fist on the chair’s armrest.

“You should have taken it anyway!” he yelled. “I didn’t raise you to become an old man, broke and laughed at! I didn’t raise you to be mocked by your own brother!”

I let out a bitter laugh. The mirror sneered at me. “My brother is the King. He can mock me all he likes,” I reminded my father.

“You should take the throne away from him. You could prove to everyone what a fake he is. You should do a lot of things, things you could have done as King. You should have started this years ago, but now you’re just an old man. What will you do, son?” my father’s voice turned dark, almost sinister. His dark, questioning gaze warred with my old and tired one.

I could imagine it. My brother was a fake, the magic he used to keep his throne was weakening. No one believed me, of course. The power of the King was undeniable, magic was everlasting. It was one of the strongest beliefs everyone held, except myself of course. It helped that I could see more than anyone else could. I don’t know how or why, I wish I did so I could prove to everyone else that I told the truth. Other mages, my brother included, couldn’t see the lines of magic below us were smaller than they had been. I had traveled as far as my old bones could, to the old woods where my father had raised me to live without magic. I knew the lode lines there were gone, leaving a dead forest as proof of their passing. I could see the death in the lines was as real as the ghost of my father was. The problem was, no one else could.

And here I was, a bitter old man. I looked in the mirror and saw only myself. My father had gone. He knew his point was made. I had to do something, I couldn’t just die knowing that the world would soon die after my passing.

I had to find a way. I grimaced and forced my tired old bones to get up and move. I had to finish the last piece of the puzzle and find the room only hinted about in the old books I’d found. The room filled with the last magic from the great Lord Otinan, the ones that could restore magic and send the ghost of my father on his way.

I scowled at my reflection in the ornate mirror in my study, wishing I was years younger. My shriveled body looked absurd in my big warm robes. My hair stuck out at all angles, well, what little hair I had left. My body stooped with age and I shuffled badly when I walked. Was I really to be the savior for this world? I snorted a laugh. Poor world. Relying on old men!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Dreamtime Dreamscape: Walks and Thumbs

I haven't been dreaming as much lately, or rather, I haven't remembered much about my dreams until this morning.

I was older than I am now and had a little girl with me. I realized she was my child. We were at some kind of floating mall. The mall was very long, but on a boat, so it swayed every now and then. We got onto the mall boat from a huge endless parking lot and started walking our way down.

The entire mall was one long endless white corridor with stores leading off one side of the corridor. We never went into any of the stores, they were all clothing stores. It was depressing despite the brightness of the white walls and the perkiness of the employees we saw. Everyone had fake smiles plastered to their faces.

My child, a young girl in an outfit I wore as a kid, looked up to me and asked why everyone was so depressed. I said I didn't know. We sat on a bench and she started sucking her thumb while she watched everyone.

This crazy woman in work out pants and a bright pink hoodie fast walked over to me and started yelling that my child was sucking her thumb and that it would end in her becoming a worthless adult, because thumb sucking is the worst thing a young child could do.

Aghast, I yelled at her, and we left to go walk outdoors. The mall was next to a large national park. I told my child that it was fine to suck her thumb, that it wouldn't end in her becoming a terrible person.

We started walking along a narrow forrest trail, it was very beautiful, reminded me of my childhood camping trips. Somehow the woman in the work out pants followed us. She started yelling at me for having a child that sucked her thumb. Screaming at me as we went over boulders as big as a schoolbus.

"Thumb suckers can't become doctors!" she yelled at me. "They can't become lawyers, they can't do anything because their thumbs become useless and filled with blisters!"

My child and I kept walking and climbing moss covered rocks, going up a switch back trail between giant trees.

"Your child needs to join my therapy program where I beat her thumb sucking habits out of her!" she yelled at our backs.

I had a dream inside my dream of my girl being at an old fashioned school for young ladies in the Victorian era. I know that school. I had dreamed of it before. She was wearing a frilly black dress and being told how to be a proper lady in order to marry a suitable man. Pink hoodie woman was there in a frilly pink dress. She was pricking my girl's thumb with tacks so when she sucked her thumb, it would hurt. The woman threatened to break my girl's thumbs unless she stopped.

Enraged, I flew back into my original dream and started yelling back at the woman. "You are not going to break my child's fingers or stick tacks in her thumbs to prevent her from doing something that means so little! Thumb sucking isn't a crime! It won't ruin a child for the rest of their life!"

The woman started showing me pictures to prove her point. They flew into my field of vision as photos do in video games, obscuring my vision of anything but the photos and a small description of them.

They were photos of hands that the woman said proved her point. They were all pictures of old man's hands. Arthritic hands with knobby knuckles and liver spots. "See? These prove my point, none of these hands could do open heart surgery! They were ruined by thumb sucking!" the woman yelled. She pointed to their thumbs, which had callous's along the knuckles.

"These hands couldn't do open heart surgery with or without the callous's!" I pointed out angrily, "They're all the hands of old men, who lived their life with firm and stable hands that slowly became like this due to old age! It had nothing to do with thumb sucking!"

She showed me a photograph of misaligned teeth, also of old men. "See? Sucking thumbs means your teeth go bad! They couldn't chew an apple because of their thumb sucking!"

"Those teeth are bad because of old age!" I retorted. "When I'm their age, I'm sure my teeth won't be beautiful either! Sucking on your thumb doesn't make your teeth go bad! Life does that!"

The woman paused and started rifling through her photos for proof that such a simple thing, thumb sucking, could end the life of a young girl. I watched her with some amount of pity. She was trying to blow the habit out of proportion so she could convince parents to send their children to her school for large amounts of money. She enjoyed disciplining kids to the point of cruelty. She had never expected me to confront her and point out her own stupidity and false claims.

My child and I ignored her and kept walking up the path. My dream settled. I think I dreamed of walking through those woods for a while without anyone around me. Somehow, in the manner of dreams, my child disappeared.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Dreamtime Dreamscape: Vampires

Last night I had a dream I was a vampire.

I was a stranded vampire, created but left to myself and I was still around a group of my non-vampire friends. They wanted to help, but they refused to let me drink their blood. They fed me animals instead, ones that were going to a slaughterhouse.

I couldn't stand this, and I hated being a vampire around them, so I took a raft and floated to the center of this huge lake. I've had dreams about this lake before. It's enormous, so far that when I'm in the center, I can't swim to the edge easily. The southern edge had a barrier around it. It's a video game barrier, so I can swim almost to the edge of the lake, but the invisible barrier will always turn me around and to the center of the lake again, where I'll have to swim back to the raft, but it's so far away by then I know I might not make it back to the raft. The lake is filled with attempts to swim. I've had this dream before.

I've never dreamed of this lake while I'm a vampire before.

I get tired of trying to live off fish and a storm is coming over the lake. I can see the huge storm clouds on the other side of the lake, coming in fast. Somehow I have a butler with me. He's not going to leave me behind. I haven't turned him into a vampire yet, but he's offered. I don't want to kill him. I need fresh meat. I need to get to the woods on the southern edge of the lake.

I strike out, swimming strong. The butler keeps telling me to turn back to the raft like he's my conscience. I don't want to turn back. I want fresh meat, I want to live wild in the woods.

I hit the barrier as the wind picks up. I'm exhausted. The raft is too far, I can't swim back. I turn back to the barrier and hit it as hard as I can and it shatters. I wash up on shore. My butler is not there.

I become a feral vampire, hunting animals in the woods. I refuse to kill humans. I live like this for a while in my dreams, becoming an efficient hunter. This ends when an old truck comes rumbling through my woods. I follow it from the shadows, curious. Out comes a group of vampires, a kind of vampire family. Suddenly I want to learn what it's like to be a real vampire. I want to shrug aside what I remember about being human and be a vampire through and through. There's a queen in the group, the leader of them. She takes me in. I join her coven as the youngest vampire.

She sets up her base in an old abandoned school. I've dreamed of this school before. (Memories Dream)
My butler is there again, somehow I am convinced to turn him into a vampire. I have to start leaving parts of my kills to him, otherwise he won't drink the blood he needs. The queen vampire teaches me the way of a real vampire. I hate the debauchery, but go along with it because I feel I must.

My old friends come to the woods and I don't want to kill them, but the queen orders me to. I start to wake up, I don't want to make this decision. I don't want to kill. I want to go back to my raft in the middle of the lake where I don't have to make such decisions. I wake up before I have to make the decision, so I don't know what I would have decided.

It was strange being a vampire. I haven't read anything about vampires in a long time, so I'm not sure what made me dream of being one.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Origami: Full-bloom Kawasaki Rose

I've been getting back into my origami (see my Etsy store) and I decided to once again attempt one of the more difficult roses, the Kawasaki Rose.

I followed the directions from Origami-Make.com, one of the better origami diagram sites I've found.

The first few folds. At this point I was like,
hmmm, that's a lot of folds to start out with.

Secondary batch of prelim folds.
Wow, that's a lot of folding before you get to the actual folding!
I made a fancy tent! Ok, now we're starting to get somewhere...

Squashed it! That center square is the
end result of all the prelim folding.

Forgot to take pictures to get to this stage because it took
a lot of patience and I didn't want to lose my place.
This is the top view.

Bottom view.

Umm.. WTF did I just do? It doesn't look anything like a rose!

Kay, now it's starting to look a little better.
But still, doesn't look much like a rose. Top view.

Bottom view

Did some box folding to the bottom. Woah, now it's starting
to look better! That does look like the bottom, at least!

After some really complicated unfolding of the previous
folds on the top... here's the finished product!

It's a rose! It really looks like a rose!
Clearly I need some more practice to make it look really sharp. Still. I did it! Pretty impressive for me! I tried this same rose back in high school and ended up without a clue what I was doing. This time I tried a few more simple roses first, so a lot of the folding to get the general shape I had already done. If you want to try an easier rose, I started out with the Spiral Rosebud, which is mostly just the first few steps of this rose.

Binx loves Belly Rubs on Caturday

Binxybear!

Also, that colorful quilt is from my Great Grandma, the one featured in my blog. She made a few quilts like it, made from scraps of wool. It's super warm in the winter!

SO MANY PETTINGS!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Dreamtime Dreamscape: Bison Bacon

I got to sleep in a little this morning (Thanks holiday!) which means dreamtime!

Hubby and I were living in this cabin in the north. Like, really far north. It was winter, and we were having to go out and clear paths through feet of snow. I was narating to myself, explaining how our neighbors worked hard to help clear the snow, and how you had to keep yourself in these tunnels of snow and how we built in areas where you could scoop snow from the side of these paths and eat it to keep yourself hydrated. I was very detailed in how we had to go out every hour to shovel the new snow away to keep the paths clear. I am often a little overly detailed in my narrated dreams.

We were really hungry when we came back inside, so I decided to make eggs and bacon, only we didn't have any bacon, all we had was buffalo. I kept arguing with myself if it was buffalo steaks or buffalo liver, because for some reason this was very important to me.

I cooked up the eggs in a soup pot, adding milk to make them really fluffy, and fried up the slices of buffalo bacon. I wondered how buffalo could be made into bacon, so I mentally revised the slices to be more like little chunks. I was clearly very hungry because after I duped the eggs out for hubby's plate, I started using the buffalo meat to scrape up the little bits of egg left on the pan. You know, the paper thin egg bits left over? I love those bits.

Somehow I knew I had to go to work, but in Canada my work was different that it really is. I do insurance stuff. I had to switch all my knowledge to Canada insurance stuff, and for some reason I kept thinking "In Canada, they have people with little wings!" so I had to figure out how to quote stuff for people with wings and the various problems they'd have with them.

I think this whole wings thing came from a picture I saw before I went to bed of Penguin's hands (from the Batman movies) and how gross real hands would look like with the fingers mashed together. I kept imagining hands without fingers as if they were wings sticking out of people's backs. Oh, and the people had purple skin. I kept seeing X-rays of the hand-wings with really big joints, somehow wings were easily deformed by oversized joints, and the treatment for this was being pushed through legislation so it would be covered.

I also started wondering how wings would work in the dead of winter, so I started imagining huge puffy coats with little puffy wing sleeves poking out of the back. In my inner monologue I was telling myself how incredibly stupid this was, and how there's no way hands that look like wings would sprout randomly from people's back, it didn't make any evolutionary sense!

So I went back to cooking bison and eggs in my head and woke up feeling really, really hungry.

Yet another strange dream for the books!