Collaborative stories can be fun but, sometimes they can be a pain. There have to be ground rules and unless you want a grand mess on your hands, a consensus on setting, characters, and just how far you can go.
I was the trail boss for a collaborative story some years ago called Collision. It still out there somewhere. CRVBoy's I think. It was fun to do and it turned out to be a good read.
While I NEVER want to be trail boss again, it could be fun to collaborate. It all depends on the genre, what you like to write and how it's organized.
See if this gets you interested:
I got that call that you don't want today.
I've been dreading it. I hoped it would take longer.
My brothers battle with cancer is over. He's going home for hospice care.
We don't know how long he'll last but it's not expected to be long.
This is why I've been away a lot. Silly cat pictures is about all I can manage at the moment.
I'll be back.
15 years with no drugs or drinking.
I remember when missing out for a day or a few days was... really uncomfortable.
When I first started writing, I got some flak about including a lot of drugs. Well, they did say write what you know. When I first really started writing, that's what I knew.
It took a while but I move on. I still dream about the... never mind.
What I find is sad is that a lot of gay people have trouble in recovery. There are a few predators out there talking recovery that just want to hook up.
Well... who doesn't? Growing up means figuring out what's appropriate.
The winners learn and the losers lose.
It's Darwinian in a way- like tempering steel. If the blade if flawed, when heated, it will break. If the steel is good, it just gets harder.
Be the blade.
It's not just nostalgia. Despite the scores of made for TV series being made, the older ones were better. MUCH BETTER.
Chances are if you turn your TV on, you will watch one of several formulas: situation comedy (shit Comms), medical dramas or police procedurals. There are a few variations but not very many. It's what Hollywood knows how to do and they make them like an assembly line of Toyotas.
It doesn't take too long to notice that there are really only about fifty themes and they make them over and over again.
You can blame writers unions. There might be something to that.
You can blame the studios. There's definitely something to that.
Blame the viewer for not turning them off. Blame the advertisers for branding their mediocrity.
There is a REAL difference between golden age TV and the shit that is being excreted today. The difference is in the writing. The writers for golden age TV were not TV writers. They were writers of plays, short stories and novels. They had writing experience outside of the movie and television echo chamber.
If you want to see something really different, there are three old series that are really worth looking up: Perry Mason, The Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits.
Should you look these up and watch a few episodes here are a few things to look for. In Perry Mason, look at the way the episodes are structured. The writers used the traditional 5 act structure. It's not brilliant. It just the same thing that's been working since Aristotle's Poetics.
If you look at the Twilight Zone or the Outer Limits, notice that these are plays derived from short stories. Also notice that they were originally written by some pretty big name sci-fi authors.
What we're getting now is...
Modern telecommunications technology can deliver hundreds of independent channels. There's just no excuse for there being nothing worth watching on any of them.
Things are happening. Billion dollar productions are falling on their face. It will take a few of them going broke on their formulas.
It will be the innovators that survive and thrive. The innovation that can most easily and most likely turn things around is looking to the traditional elements of drama and apply good writing.
That will work and has worked every time it's been tried.
XXL does not equal 2XLT.
XXL means short and fat.
2XLT means large, tall and amazing.
XXL is big and wide. Sorta like a circus tent. It does not fit well. It fits like a tarp. It often exposes the innocent public to the dreaded plumber's crack.
2XLT is a large size but it's long for tall people. Not short for W I D E people.
Insist on 2XLT on all of your internet dating and orders for large, tall and amazing.
It shows off my six pack abs and pecs best.
A few years ago I was fat and out of shape. I got tired of it and decided to do something about it.
Over several years I went to the gym 3 or 4 times a week. I didn't do anybody's insanity workout. I studied and talked to some people and came up with plans that would work for me.
Sometimes I missed. Sometimes things came up and just didn't have time. I was sick on occasion but, more often than not, I went.
I went down from 300 to 240- over time. I haven't looked or felt this good in years.
Fast forward to February of this year- I discovered that my older brother has bone marrow cancer and needs a stem cell transplant to have any chance at remission or a cure.
The hospital he went to, SCCA(1), immediatly began screening me as a donor. They didn't like my age. People over 40 don't produce as many stem cells. They tested me and found me to be a 10 point match.
Earlier this month I flew out to Seattle and underwent the physical from hell where I discovered: 1) I'm healthy 2) I'm not just healthy but in the top 10% for men my age bracket healthy 3) My cardiovascular health was such that I could be a donor.
I know WHY I decided to get in shape. It was something I did for myself. It turned out to be about more than just me.
That fat guy from 3 years ago- he wouldn't have made the cut.
1- Seattle Cancer Care Alliance
Stem cells are a critical part of the human immune system. The sit beneath white cells and T-cells and usually reside in the bone marrow.
In certain types of cancers like leukemia and bone marrow cancer, the damaged stem cells must be cleaned out by chemotherapy and radiation and re[laced by healthy stem cells. Those stem cells establish themselves and go to work.
This is very tricky as small genetic variations can cause disaster. An identical twin would be the best match. Then statistics and probability take over. Sometimes related donors but only 1 out of 4 times.
I'm donating for my older brother. He's pretty sick with an aggressive form of bone marrow cancer.
The way this works is that you are given an injection of a drug that makes the stem cells all frolic and gets them moving around. You take three injections over three days. Down side is that it makes you feel like you have the flu with sore joints and all over aches.
On the fourth and fifth days they connect you to a machine and collect the stem cells for transplantation.
It's not very exciting. All I want to do is sleep. And take Tylenol. I feel like crap but it'll pass quickly after we stop taking that drug.
I just hope it works.
Tomorrow I fly back to Seattle.
Jeez that town needs a Cajun Restaurant.
I wonder how I would do there selling Po-boys and gumbo. The seafood there is great but needs a touch of BAM.
Damn. Now I'm hungry and think about jambalaya with chicken, sausage and shrimp.
But I digress. I'll be there to donate stem cells for my brother.
This procedure will cure or kill him. As we're so genetically compatible, it's his best shot. Only an identical twin would be better.
It won't be a picnic for me. The drugs they'll give me to stimulate stem cell production won't be pleasant.
Maybe I can slip out for some fish & chips.
Tomorrow there will be a Cajun in Seattle and he'll be hungry.
I have had an extensive physical at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance and am in great shape.
I have been tested for all sorts of viruses and conditions and have none of them.
I am in great shape and will be an excellent stem cell donor for my brother- who has bone marrow cancer.
We expect to give him the transplant around the 1st week of September.
Since we are such a good match, that ups his chances for recovery considerably.
This is excellent news for our family and, we're going out for a steak tonight.
I will be flying home in the morning.
I had to publish 19 before it was really ready.
I'm flying out to Seattle in the morning to be with my brother for a few days as he's undergoing chemo at the Seattle Cancer Care Clinic.
If I'm healthy enough I will donate stem cells for him which will give him a shot at recovery or at least remission.
Real life is a pain sometimes.
It gets in the way of important stuffs like writing.
Next chapter will return to the Stonegarden system for fun and games with the toasters.
Hope to see ya there.
One of Scientific America's stories this month is: New Data: Hurricanes Will Get Worse
New data from hurricane Harvey last year gives the author the ideas that hurricanes will be bigger, more frequent and cause tooth decay.
OK. I added tooth decay. He might as well add tooth decay because that is as easily inferred from ONE SINGLE DATA SET.
If I had turned in this paper, my advisor would have ripped me a new one. HOW are you supposed to make general observations about a phenomenon like hurricanes from one data set???
The ONLY REASON you would do that is because the data set is saying what you want it to say.
Down South here we are very familiar with the big, honking hurricane that blow through occasionally and rewrite the map. We have learned something very interesting about them.
The killer storms come in years corresponding with the Solar Minimum. It's a cycle the sun goes through every eleven years.
Last year when the big storms hit: Harvey, Maria and Irma, do a little math. What was almost ~11 years before? Remember Katrina(? ~Eleven years before that? Hurricane John. 11 years before that? Alice in 1983. Agnes in 1972. Ester and Carla in 1961. In 1950 there were 6. 1939 there were 6. 1928 there were 4 including the Okeechobe Hurricane that killed 4,000. In 1917 there were 7 hurricanes including Nueva Gerona Hurricane- the strongest hurricane to hit Florida until Andrew in 1992 (a year off the tick).
What we are being told- climate change is driving bigger storms. Based on Harvey. ONE STORM.
What is the data REALLY saying??? Based on 100 years of storm data??? Solar minimums drive bigger storms and clusters of storms.
Solar minimum years and their cusps (the year ahead or behind the minimum) have had some of the most devastating storms in history.
Remember THAT when you read someone's work when they talk about data gathered from ONE storm.
A couple of years ago I was fat. Not pleasantly plump. Not healthy. Fat.
It happens when you get older and don't change diet and exercise more. I got into the work, home, work cycle. I let things go and HOLY CRAP, HOW DID I GET TO BE ALMOST 300 pounds!?
No one was more surprised than me. I didn't see myself as fat. Other people saw me as fat and it shows in a lot of ways. People aren't as welcoming. They size you up in a few milliseconds and, what they decide isn't good for you.
If its dealing with a bureaucracy, you'll get every possible form and sit in every possible line. At the doctors office, you'll get called last. In line at fast food, they won't really listen to your order. All of these consequences come from that millisecond evaluation.
It's different when you aren't fat. In a bureaucracy like the DMV, they'll tell you how to get done quicker. At the doctors office, you get seen quicker. In a fast food joint, they are more attentive.
You can really tell the difference when other peoples millisecond evaluation process doesn't pop up, FAT ASS.
Oh sure, you can still be an ass but, if you have a nice ass, people don't care nearly as much.
Given a choice, it's much preferable to walk around and interact with a world with a nice ass than a fat ass.
IT REALLY DOES MAKE A DIFFERENCE.
People are more polite. Some people are even differential. People that you saw everyday FAT, treat you differently NOT FAT.
It's odd. It shouldn't really matter but, apparently it does.
Someone should do a scientific study. The results are really eye opening.
I'm not fat shaming anyone.
I am just glad I'm not fat anymore because it makes a world of difference.
A number of years ago, I was in a bad place. After a number of set backs, I was beginning to feel like a loser. Note the word FEEL.
I was overweight, getting older and feeling like the sun had set on me.
I began to look and see what could make me feel like a winner again. To get back to where I wanted to be, FEELING like a winner, I had to get back in the habit of winning.
Not just a few wins. Important wins. Life goal wins.
So I set some goals. A few rather lofty ones.
There are were two fairly big ones that I wanted to accomplish. The first because it was important to me because it was about how I saw myself and the other is about how others see me.
First- the one about me was to put anther notch in my education resume. CHECK! I get a second degree in May.
Second- the other one is about how others see me. That one is also going well. I'm down to 245 and will eventually go a little lower. 220 is my eventual target but, coming down from nearly 300 pounds, you can forgive me for saying mission accomplished.
There have been other goals but these are key: I did what most people can not do or are just not motivated to do.
I proved myself to myself after doubting myself for a very long time.
I've won something back that I lost a long time ago- self confidence.
Now that I'm facing new adversity, that's damn good to have in the bank.
I can find a way to win.
Is a truly terrible place.
The last Friday in February my 90 year old mother fell and broke her hip. Luckily she broke the femur and not close into the joint so the repair surgery was not complicated and didn't need a replacement. Unluckily, she is 90 and opiate sensitive. Anything they give her for pain is a nightmare of nausea and delirium. She spent a week in the hospital for the surgery, a week in a rehab hospital and six weeks in a rehab care facility and came home Friday the 13th. They sent her home too soon and I must take care of her 24-7. I've got some help but it seems far away during a 4am crisis.
The very day that my mother fell, my older brother went into a hospital across country with what has been diagnosed as bone marrow cancer.
I am alone with the care of my mother and, I can't get away to see my brother.
I'm alone. I am afraid. I must hold the line.
Every man is tested and this is my hour.
I will stand come what may because to cower and shy away from this is simply not who I am.
My worst hour will be my finest hour.
As literate, creative people we should be able to say **** in all sorts of interesting ways.
Romance and drama would be pretty boring if there was only one word for ****.
Granted, **** is a multi-function, multipurpose Swiss Army Knife of words. It can, depending on usage, be a noun, verb, adjective and even an adverb. The problem with **** is that it gets overused and loses its potency. There is definitely a time and a place for ****. We shouldn't dilute it or wear it out with overuse.
Words like **** are supposed to have sharp edges. It's supposed to make you blink, raise and eyebrow or wrinkle your nose. The reason it doesn't anymore is that it has been overused to the point where it's shape edges are dulled. It is a word that is actually improved by its rarity. Seeing **** in a sentence should elicit a reaction other than -meh- or you are using it wrong.
If you are really good at it, you can say **** and no one will even notice at all.
The craft of writing isn't about the power of ****, it's about the power of the other words and ideas in that sentence.
Let's face it: humans are petty, vindictive and just plain mean.
As we trundle towards extinction with enormous problems that we don't have the economy, science, technology or will to face, the best thing for us would be a beneficent alien takeover.
No- not the nuke your planet to radioactive slag and drive on alien encounter. Cool aliens that show up, take over, get the trains running on time and then teach us some of that alien voodoo.
Fat chance of course but we can wish for it.
We are a remarkably stupid race. We know that fossil fuels are bad for the planet yet we drill baby drill. We're scared shitless of nuclear energy, the only technology that has a zero carbon footprint and actually has the wattage to power our grids.
Our political processes are so mired in incompetence and blatant corruption that many people don't vote simply because it's often just a choice between a criminal and a religious nut.
It would sure be nice if some benevolent aliens showed up to lend us a hand. Maybe show us how to make fusion work and not blow up a few countries. Help us transition from the arms race which everyone but the billionaires lose to a science and technology race that the species wins.
Instead of politically appointed bureaucrats running important things like the Dept of Energy or the Bureau of Land Management we have artificial intelligence oversight that won't put up with corruption.
Can you imagine getting a galactic level education? Could you imagine what we could do with it?
I can and it would never be allowed. No sane alien would ever trust a bunch of dumb ass primates like us with any technology more sophisticated with a zippo.
I think that we as a species have reached a point to where we simply must grow the fuck up or go extinct.
It's really that simple folks.
We face our problems and handle them or they will end us.
There is coming a point when we will kick the can down the road one more time and it will explode.
Lot's of people go to the gym and... fail hard.
It's complicated. There's all sorts of machines, techniques, theories, philosophies, and just plain wrong. Even if you spend the bucks on a personal trainer, does he have the smarts to craft a program that's right for you?
It took me a while to figure out what I wanted to do. At my age, it would be pretty stupid to try to make myself into Conan the Barbarian.
We've all seen this guy at the gym. I wonder what he does for fun. I mean, besides steroids.
I have discovered something that's working pretty good for me.
While I absolutely detest classical aerobics, it's one of the best methods to strengthen your heart, burn fat and improve your endurance. With my knees, it would be a short dance to reconstructive surgery which is probably in my future but, I'm not looking to rush it.
I started thinking how can I get the best out of a blend of aerobic and resistance training?
This is what I've come up with.
I start with twenty minutes on the exercise bike. Not a leisurely 20 minutes, a hard twenty minutes. This serves to get my heart rate up and warm me up.
Every session I decide where I'm going to focus and its: core, legs, arms, chest. Sometimes I do specific stuff for my back but usually I focus on one of the four.
Next I decide which machines or routines I'm going to do. Crunches, leg presses, bench, curls, pull ups, rowing- pick a few of them and do three sets.
When you do your sets, go with lower resistance and many, many reps. This combines the action of the aerobic and resistance training.
When you finish your three sets, do 20 more minutes on the bike and repeat. Go as long as you can stand it or for as much times as you have.
This has worked for me. I lost forty pounds and I'm shaping up nicely. I also like what it has done for my stamina. My doc was shocked at the change the last time he saw me. I feel and look much younger than my calendar age.
There are a LOT of people thinking about how to do this. This is just how I've implemented it.
Yes- I do work out with heavier weights at times. This is what I've been focused on for some months and I can see fast progress.
Some people might think that the 1st memes invented were Keyboard cat, Philosoraptor and the numa-numa guy.
That would be very, very wrong.
Imagine you lived in a Kingdom that was one of the most powerful and influential in the world but, it had fallen on hard times. The king was, by all accounts, a corrupt incompetent dolt. The people were hungry and the spoiled, foolish Queen, when told there was no bread for the peasants said let them eat cake.
While this might sound uncomfortably familiar to modern Americans, this was the climate that gave rise to the French Revolution. It was also the fertile ground for the French satirists who I submit were early generation memers. What people fail to understand about memes is they are much more about ideas than humor but the combination of the two makes them that much more powerful.
What we call memes is an evolution of a very old idea called satire more succinctly defined as the illustration of the absurd with absurdity.
Every middle schooler naturally knows about satire because that is when they inevitable meet an incompetent and bungling bureaucracy. One must take care with satire as to be a proper smart ass, you must first be smart. Otherwise you are just an ass.
There were many French satirists. I would like to focus on a gentleman named Voltaire.
Voltaire and the French satirists used their wit to point out the myriad hypocrisies and inequities of their political and social situations. Like Charlie Hebdo, many of the French Revolutionary era satirists faced rather deadly blow-back from those that failed to see the humor in their work.
This was an amazing era and one that the modern democracies owe much to because many of the things we see as foundations of democracy were first discussed by the thinkers during this era. They were seeing the end of the monarchy as a practical form of government and looked forward to imagine what the next step would look like.
See if you recognize any of Voltaire's ideas:
I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.
Judge a person by their questions, rather than their answers.
To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize.
It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong.
Common sense is not so common.
It is hard to free fools from the chains they revere.
Prejudices are what fools use for reason.
As long as people believe in absurdities they will continue to commit atrocities.
When it is a question of money, everybody is of the same religion.
Superstition sets the whole world in flames; reason quenches them.
Voltaire would have been hell on wheels if he had internet access.
Be suspicious when you hear people in power discount the ideas of others. Those silly memers that poke them right in the hypocrisies have quite the history. So when you see memers banned from facebook or twitter, what you are really seeing is da man swatting the Socratic gad-fly that stung him in a sore spot.
Only a fearful tyrant censors speech. He is afraid that you will tell the people just what a putz he really is.
Friday night I picked up my 14 year clean & sober medallion.
The official date is Oct. 1 but that was the first Friday after.
Shit happens. I feel like disappearing with a bottle sometimes but once you get in the habit of choosing something different, it gets a little easier with time.
That doesn't make it easy. Just easier.
Like that shit in Las Vegas this week. That seriously pissed me off. OK- I'm angry but, fuck it. Getting hammered won't help. So I focus my white hot anger elsewhere.
What I would do to anyone I caught shooting at kids (at my age that's anybody under 30) doesn't bear close consideration but it would hurt real bad, last a long time and a chainsaw would figure prominently in it.
In other matters there is something I've been asked- why didn't you join the new Pit club?
No mas. Talking politics is just too toxic.
Proclamation of Extreme Wretchedness
When in the course of human events, you come across a day like Monday Oct. 2nd, 2017, drinking heavily is authorized and encouraged by this office.
Las Vegas Violence
Death of Tom Petty
The only thing that could make it better would be a root canal.
All that adds up to holy shit, nuke me now!
Shutup Little Kim. Quit playing with your tiny missile or you'll go blind.
Hurricane Harvey, a cat 4 storm, makes a direct hit on the sixth largest city in the country.
In addition to storm surge and wind damage, there is historic levels of flooding damage that add to the misery.
It is expected that Harvey might be the most expensive natural disaster in American history.
Here we go again. We've been here before with Katrina and New Orleans. Almost right on the tick of the solar cycle(1,2).
Only this time we've got another hurricane from the Cape Verde Islands bearing down on Florida.
Here's my worry. The US Insurance industry is structured to deal with one of these huge mega-disasters. How is it going to handle two within weeks of each other?
Right now Irma is poised to strike some of the most expensive real estate in the country and she's loaded to pack a wallop.
Irma has the potential to be even more destructive and costly when it strikes Florida-man's abode.
What happens when the huge institutional funds that the insurance industry uses to back their policies have to dump billions of dollars in securities to raise the cash for these disasters?
If you are sitting on stock, you might want to ditch it before the institutionals flood the markets with the blue chips.
I'm worried that we are about to see a market correction that will make Black Friday look like a Sunday picnic.
If we get hit again for another multi-billion dollar disaster, it'll be a giant shit sandwich and everyone will get more than their share.
1) Nature: Sunspot-hurricane Link Proposed
2) International Journal of Climatology: Evidence Linking Solar Variability and US Hurricanes
This little problem didn't just crop up. It's been going on for a long time.
Trump got famous for a book he wrote years ago called The Art of The Deal.
The game the Kim dynasty has been playing is quite different. If they wrote a book it would best be titled The Art of The Shakedown.
Now after decades of work on their part its a thousand times worse because they have nukes.
The warnings about this go back as far as George Bush, the elder.
Clinton told us he had made a deal, read that paid them off, to stop it. Only it didn't and the North Koreans popped their first test nuke in 2006.
North Korea wants a pallet of cash and goods and the pressure will be to give them what they want.
Like I said, it's a very old game.
It is always a temptation to an armed and agile nation
To call upon a neighbour and to say: --
"We invaded you last night--we are quite prepared to fight,
Unless you pay us cash to go away."
And that is called asking for Dane-geld,
And the people who ask it explain
That you've only to pay 'em the Dane-geld
And then you'll get rid of the Dane!
It is always a temptation for a rich and lazy nation,
To puff and look important and to say: --
"Though we know we should defeat you, we have not the time to meet you.
We will therefore pay you cash to go away."
And that is called paying the Dane-geld;
But we've proved it again and again,
That if once you have paid him the Dane-geld
You never get rid of the Dane.
It is wrong to put temptation in the path of any nation,
For fear they should succumb and go astray;
So when you are requested to pay up or be molested,
You will find it better policy to say: --
"We never pay any-one Dane-geld,
No matter how trifling the cost;
For the end of that game is oppression and shame,
And the nation that pays it is lost!"