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Photo Phriday #34 – Stormtroopin'

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Published on: August 26, 2011

This one of three things:

  1. The spoils of victory from a very large Buick killing a normal sized stormtrooper.
  2. The spoils of victory from a normal sized Buick killing a very small stormtrooper.
  3. A revolutionary new device to keep your car from hitting anything.

Let's Talk

Categories: Whatever Wednesday
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Published on: August 24, 2011

We never talk anymore, Minions.

That’s maybe not true, but I thought it would be funny. Really, though, we’ve gone in to a bit of a comments drought. I know that my posts have had a bit of a spate of lateness, and that we’ve all been at this for more than half a year now, but I’d love to hear some feedback about the site. Tell me how you feel about Choose Your Tuesday, give me suggestions of things to write on Wednesday, suggest songs, whatever. (Honestly, if there were enough questions, I would just answer whatever crazy things you wanted to ask me all Wednesday, every Wednesday. The one post where I did that was a lot of fun.) I really like doing the blog, and its main value is as a tool for improving my writing, but I do enjoy the feedback.

See you in the comments.

Caravan #4

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Published on: August 23, 2011

Freddie didn’t look so good. Still, the guy was pretty ugly on a good day, and Walther wasn’t a half bad medic. Plus, these people needed his help. There might be some raiders left, and if they saw the caravan’s guard move off, the rest of the rigs would be easy prey.

So Walther did the best he could. The rest of the drivers where uncharacteristically generous with their medical supplies. Everybody liked Freddie. (It didn’t hurt that he’d taken a hit while saving their rears, either.) The 36 hours it took to get to Duluth were torture. Fred was unconscious the whole way, and Walther more than once nearly hit another rig because he was tending to the big man.

The caravan pulled in to Duluth. The old city, up where the coast had been many, many years ago was now pretty much a parking lot, dotted here and there with the big bulges of hydrogen reclaimers. A swarm of laborers came out from the warehouses. Normally Walther stayed to make sure everything got unloaded properly so he got paid correctly, but not today. He had radioed ahead as soon as they where within range, and his buddy Gerald was waiting with a stretcher. It took both of them to hoist an unconscious Freddie on to the stretcher. Luckily the hospital was pretty close to the loading zone, but all the same, Fred wasn’t looking too great by the time they got there.

They entered the hospital waiting room to find chaos. The place was over booked and under staffed. A bleary eyed receptionist told Walther that there would be at least a two hour wait to see a doctor. He looked down at his unconscious friend. Freddie could be much worse off in two hours.

Music Monday #34 – Tank!

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Published on: August 22, 2011

Do you ever wake up with a song in your head, and you haven’t heard that song in ages? This happens to me constantly. Today, it was this. Tank! is the theme song from Cowboy Bebop, the only anime I’ve ever watched all of. And the theme song is awesome. So, enjoy.

Photo Phriday #33 – Prehistory

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Published on: August 19, 2011

Riverside, Iowa: Where most men have never gone before.

Legos

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Published on: August 17, 2011

As a kid, Legos were one of my favorite toys. I would get a new set, and put it together according to the directions, and play with it for a bit, but that never lasted very long. No, the part I liked was when the set inevitably started to fall apart and then I got to make it in to whatever I wanted it to be. (This was usually a space ship, which is weird in hind sight, because I almost universally got castle sets.) I loved taking my limited, but very flexible toolset and making new things. Creation has always been a very entertaining thing for me.

I think this manifests in a couple ways for me as an adult (adult-ish, anyway). The first is all this stuff here and my art and everything I keep trying to do. I love to create. I’m working as hard as I can to make a career from creation. But where I get hurt is when I’ve got the initial creation done, I have difficulty maintaining the creation. I want bits to fall off so I can turn them in to something else. This isn’t really the best way to make something permanent and marketable, though. I keep wanting to start new projects, and I keep getting bored with old projects. It’s hard, because I think the old projects are good. I know the old projects are good, I liked them back when I made them. It’s just hard to keep that excitement that a new project brings.

Okay, that was the useful, actually adult one. The other way I love Lego-like things is games. I love games with a creative element. My wife will no doubt roll her eyes to learn that I’ve somehow managed to talk about Minecraft again, but I love this game. If anyone is unfamiliar with Minecraft, imagine a vast, randomly generated world make entirely of Lego, and you get to build in it, and you’re not too far off. It’s a game where a huge part of the gameplay is pretty much just digging holes, and I still love it. Making things is fun, especially when one plays multiplayer and can build those things with friends.

Minecraft isn’t the only game that I love for its creative portions, though. I think one of the big reasons I love Roleplaying Games (computer and pen and paper) is the creative element. All those stats and numbers are my Lego bricks, and the worlds I make and adventures I have are my creations.

So, as usual, I don’t really have a point. But hey, if anyone wants to play Minecraft, let me know, I’ll send you the server info. In the meantime, I’m going to keep creating things.

Caravan #3

Categories: Choose Your Tuesday
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Published on: August 16, 2011

Walther knew it wouldn’t do Freddie any good if he got shot up trying to help him out, but it still pained him to plow back in to the fray when he knew his friend might be hurt.

It didn’t take long for the raiders to realize that the big gun had gone silent, and now they were all after Walther. What they didn’t know was that the gun was a recent addition to Walther’s arsenal. He’d been fighting raiders with this rig for nigh unto twenty years now, and he had more than a couple tricks up his sleeve. He drove full speed toward a small chevron of raider vehicles. Just before a head on collision, Walther turned hard left and slammed on the brake. The trailer skidded out across the raiders, meeting them with the reinforced steel edge of the trailer bed. Sure, that didn’t put them down quite as hard as rapid-fire artillery, but it still put them down.

Walther leaned out the window to pick a raider off a motorcycle before gunning back towards the last two raider cars. He swerved to the left before hitting again, but these two were smart, and turned with him. No problem. A deft twist of the steering wheel let Walther put the edge of his brush guard (also reinforced steel) into the left-hand car. Another twist and he put the left-hand car in to the right-hand car. The two tumbled away from Walther’s rig, bursting in to a bright blue ball of hydrogen-fueled flame.

Walther didn’t stay to watch the fireworks. He unbuckled his belt before the rig even came to a stop and ran back to check on Freddie.

He found Freddie slumped over the big gun, a too-big pool of blood forming under him. Walther eased him to the ground, relieved to hear rasping breaths. It looked like Fred had taken a shotgun blast to the shoulder. Raiders liked to load shells with jagged metal bits, and a half dozen of them had lodged themselves in Freddie’s right arm and shoulder. Walther had a bit of field medic training, but this might be above his expertise.

Music Monday #33 – Angry Birds

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Published on: August 15, 2011

I’ve been at my parent’s house playing a lot of Angry Birds this weekend, so I’ll just leave this here.

Photo Phriday #32 – Storm

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Published on: August 12, 2011

You probably want to click this one to see it bigger, because it is a cool storm picture, and you will like it. I love storms. See you Monday.

Playing God

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Published on: August 10, 2011

So you know what part of writing I like the most? World building. I love creating an internally consistent, interesting setting for my story to take place in. I like it a heck of a lot more than writing the actual characters or plot or dialogue, in actual point of fact. So, you can be assured that once I knew I would be writing Caravan, a world that was somewhat less fleshed out than some of the other ones, I was super excited to get down and write an awesome setting bible.

And it is awesome. And way more complex than will almost certainly ever be necessary for the actual story. I’ve figured out the economics of hydrogen production and sales in a water-scarce world. I’ve figured out the details of the catastrophe that left the world in exactly the state of ruin it’s currently in. I’ve figured out how little of that is actually known to the general populace at the time the story takes place. It’s all fleshed out, and it’s all consistent with setting and theme. And all of this took quite a bit of time.

And then, when I finished and realized I wouldn’t actually need to know any of this, I felt something that I’d never felt about world building before. I felt like I’d wasted my time. I’m now writing four blog posts a week, and I felt like taking all that time for stuff I didn’t really need was unnecessary and could have been better spent.

I was wrong.

I sat down Monday to write Caravan #2, and it just flowed out of me. That’s what a good setting does, I think. The world I had written felt vibrant and alive, and writing a story within it is so much easier, at least for me, when I know that world’s boundaries and possibilities. So, yes, the next time I’m writing a story, I’m going to write a big, dense, detailed setting bible, even if it doesn’t technically need it.

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