Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Invincible Man Goes to Venus (pt. 1)

(Carrying on where Issue 1 left off.)

Daniel Fitsworks plunged into the atmosphere of Venus, a corona of fire surrounding him, immolating his clothing. His hands were held over his eyes, covering them tightly, shielding thick lenses from the heat and stresses of entering the atmosphere. Metal oxygen tanks on his back pumped compressed oxygen into his mouth, which he breathed rhythmically, as he had been taught to, as he watched green numbers scroll quickly downwards in the corner of his vision.

"Damn," Daniel thought, pummeled by turbulence as he fell through the increasingly-thick chemical vapours of Venus's atmosphere. "What would Milton say?" He grinned at the thought, his expression distorted by the oxygen tube sealing his mouth. "NASA sure gives a hell of a ride."

No machine built by man, equipped with the sensitive recording and transmitting equipment necessary for space exploration, could withstand the terrible heat and pressure of Venus's atmosphere for long. In a few generations, that might no longer be true - great advances in composite materials and miniaturized sensors seemed certain in the near future - but now, NASA could send a probe to Venus, but it would either have to orbit - unable to see through the cloaking gasses that fill Venus's atmosphere - or descend suicidally, collapsing into a ball of twisted metal in moments. But NASA wanted to know more - they wanted to know what lurked within the alien, hostile environment of Venus. And Daniel Fitsworks was, after all, invincible.

Daniel agreed to the two-year round trip, after considering it for a few days, because he really couldn't think of anything better he could do for the next four years than go to Venus for Science. Then NASA told him the details.

To conserve mass, Daniel would be deprived of oxygen in the journey, which would send him into a comatose, hibernating state. (They'd tested this in the lab.) He would be sent on a half-hour arc through the outer atmosphere of Venus, at the beginning of which he would be revived by the oxygen tanks on his back. He would observe for twenty-five minutes, aided by the lenses over his eyes (the best in wearable computing, featuring multispectral receptors to allow Daniel to see through the murky atmosphere, along with a grab bag of other computational functions. Once the half-hour was up, he would rendezvous with the spacecraft (which would take a longer arc to avoid atmospheric damage), be caught by a net, and run out of oxygen, allowing him to hibernate for the rest of the trip back to Earth. The plan wasn't flawless, but NASA thought there was a better than seventy percent chance of mission success, and an eighty percent chance of Daniel's survival if the mission failed. He figured that was sufficient.

Now, plunging meteorically downwards, he might reasonably be more nervous. But the turbulence all but stopped, the flames died away, and Daniel, seeing the timer click down to zero, lifted his hands from his eyes.

"Ah," he subvocalized, looking at the endless, beautiful mix of colours surrounding him. He stared directly at the Sun, barely visible as a vague orange glow shrouded by mists. A prompt from the HUD appeared in the corner of his eye; he shifted spectra, seeing the atmosphere in infrared, ultraviolet, microwave. "How beautiful."

He turned slowly, feeling the pressure surrounding him. Daniel felt almost as though he were in water, so dense was the air around him. He twisted his body, completing a rotation. Then something hit him.

Daniel raised his hand, curious. Some sort of chemical had adhered to it; blue and gummy, it began to fall off even as he looked. He peered at it; and more of it hit him, covering most of his side. "There's something odd about this," he thought, and more hit him. "I'm passing through layers of this substance, this chemical," he realized, turning himself and seeing loose, floating sheets of the stuff in the distance. "The sheets of it are getting thicker and more numerous as I descend. But what is it?"

He looked up, at the orange sun. He looked down at the blue slime covering him.

"You know," Daniel thought, "I think this is photosynthetic, like algae - blue for an orange sun, not green for a yellow sun!" He grinned. "I just found life on Venus. This is mission success."

Then another glob of blue goo hit him in the face.

"Ech," he elaborated.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Invincible Man

His name was Daniel Fitsworks, but his friends called him Danny. He was of middle-class, American upbringing. Both parents were managers for a large corporation, and he had two siblings, one male, one female, both younger than him. He was remarkably healthy throughout his younger years, but not shockingly so, and managed to get through them without any terrible trouble. After graduating from high school, he considered his options carefully, and decided to go to an East Coast school, his major undecided.

Then, in his freshman year, while walking across a road on campus, he was hit by a car.

It is not that he was injured, or crippled, or killed. These things would have changed his life, or in the last case, ended it.

It is not that it had some great effect on the poor, slightly-too-inattentive driver that hit him. It did - the guilt required therapy - but that was not the crucial result.

The result was that, after putting a great dent in the car, being hurled down the road upon which he walked and through two walls and a fence, Daniel learned that he was invincible - for he, through all this, recieved no injury at all.

Daniel was a conscientious young man, and had grown up in a culture that knew very well the tales of Superman and Batman and all the rest. He thought of becoming a superhero - but what would he do? He had no heat vision, no flight, no genius for devices. He was just... invincible.

The first thing he did, upon getting back to his dorm, was to test - to attempt, with scissors and then a knife, to injure himself. He could not - the skin could not be pierced.

The second thing Daniel did was to call his parents - then, after speaking for a long while with them, he hired a lawyer.

This turned out to be a very good move, because local media began calling very soon, and the word spread quickly - such that in a few days, when a staffer for a Pentagon general called Daniel, asking him to agree to be studied by DARPA, Daniel had a plan drawn up by his lawyer to keep him from becoming a lab guinea pig. (That wording being perhaps a little too strong - but something approximating Daniel's fears on the matter.)

A compromise was struck.

So Daniel continued college - his invincibility, he reasoned, would last a while (it having persisted through all of his childhood, and showing no sign of disappearing), but education would be much harder to acquire if he went off to have adventures now. On weekends, he agreed to be studied - under limited conditions, with the right to abort proceedings at any time - by select DARPA personnel. They gave Daniel money to compensate him for his time, which he found quite nice.

Ten different governments attempted to persuade Daniel to enter their custody. (He declined, not so much out of gung-ho patriotism as fears for his treatment elsewhere.) Three attempts were made to kidnap him - none of which succeeded, invincibility being a useful trait in so many ways.

Despite all this, Daniel managed to get through college, graduating with a Bachelor's in Contemporary Philosophy. Most college graduates, equipped with a shiny new degree in philosophy, might have some worries about job prospects. Many would end up in a McDonalds, on the wrong side of the counter.

Daniel went to Venus.

Monday, July 28, 2008



ON THE DAY BEFORE MEAT DAY, we, the CLAN of the FLYINGBURGHER, went INTO THE WILDERNESS, to find the MEAT which we might USE. So did we purchase meat, MORE than FOOLS advised; we found also FRUIT, and DISTILLED DRINKS, and RICE, more than the FOOLISH FEARED. So much RICE! On our return, our LARDER was STUFFED to BURSTING. Such were the PREPARATIONS FOR MEAT DAY.

ON MEAT DAY, we ROSE AT THE STRIKE OF DAWN, and MADE THE MEAT INTO A FINE MIX, with SPICES, and EGG, and OTHER THINGS. Then was the meat CHILLED, and PRESERVED, for the use when the time came.

The ZHANG came many hours later; with him the others, the PHUNG, the KELSEY. (kelsey!) They ARRIVED IN OUR PARLOUR, and made ENTERTAINMENT, with CANNONS. But the ZHANG was not content; he said, "We should not dally so, wasting our lives away with these meaningless electronic actions. Let us live! Live, to the fullest, as we ever should!"

And WE ASKED HIM, "What else should we do? We can think of no alternative to this life! It is the only one we know!"

And the ZHANG replied, "Let us live! Let us take a road trip! - travel to far San Francisco! - visit the mall!"

And so we DID.

Then was time for FOOD PREPARATION; the ZHANG having left us after our GREAT JOURNEY. (The Prophets teach us about the Great Journey. It's in the Creed of Ali-Baba.) RICE was put in a POT and BOILED and SIMMERED; MEAT was MOLDED, FROZEN, MOLDED AGAIN, and GRILLED. The ZHANG arrived again, left again; the CHU, our most honorable and essential guest, came early, the ZHANG following, stalking like a mantis across the snow-swept tundra; we invited both inside, and FEASTED.

The kebabs were quite tasty. Rice was pretty okay, though the flavouring didn't really show through. Poison sumac was good, though difficult to distribute; we may have to find a better container for next time.

Also, apparently, the ice cream sandwiches tasted good with kebab-bits affixed? I really wouldn't know.

For a time, we partook of ENTERTAINMENTS of a SMASHING sort; the ZHANG did, and the PHUNG, and the KELSEY, and the CHU, and the BROTHERS FLYINGBURGH; for these were those who did FEAST that night. And the hour grew late, worn away with DOWN-B SPAMMING from the FOUL LIGHTNING RAT; we adjourned to film, though there were TROUBLES with SOUND (the KELSEY to blame, for all our troubles must be put on HIS SHOULDERS), and then at last guests receded from our house. The ZHANG and the KELSEY, INSEPARABLE, were the last to leave; each's labour the subject of another post to COME, the ZHANG for a WOMONCARD, the KELSEY for a KELSEYBLOG, the NOVELIZATION of WHICH will be an EPIC to be REMEMBERED.

And now that I've broken the shift key on my keyboard, it's time to bring this post to an end.

Hope everyone had fun! (Sorry about the initial bit, Mr. Zhang - though I'm still not sure if you were serious in your suggestions.)

the end

Sunday, July 27, 2008


the idea of the nikolas

1: Almost certainly hates me, very distant and cold last conversed. Quite unfavourable outlook. Hit on first, one and some odd years ago. Some desire to hit on.

2: Probably doesn't hate me, maybe. Talked to the other day, but will not start conversation unless spoken to. Hit on first at least one year ago (executed quite poorly). Probably no desire to continue hitting on, out of shame.

3: Might not hate me, probably. Seemed friendly enough last time spoken to, but have not kept in touch. Did not actually hit on, but originates to early this year. Little to some desire to hit on.

4: Probably hates me, but might not. Do not know very well, seemed reserved. Pseudo-hit-on near beginning this year, culminated in April/May. Little to some desire to continue.

5: Unlikely to hate me, perhaps. Still maintains somewhat relations, quite friendly. Did not actually hit on, after finding out she was married. Some desire to hit on.

6: Probably does not hate me. Relations good since last spoke, seems best shot at time being, but distance soon to follow not favourable. Have not actually hit on. Some to quite strong desire to hit on, if not only to foil the pimp-man.

7: Probably hates me. Last message received somewhat unfavourable, not very well acquainted. Have not hit on actually. Some desire to start.

8: Might not hate me. Not well acquainted, but thought she was hot years ago. She seemed agreeable with notion. Some desire to hit on.

Friday, July 25, 2008


I mentioned it previously here - that being a narration of one of the more difficult battles. (And annoying.) The full name is FINAL FANTASY TACTICS 2 ADVANCE*: GRIMOIRE OF THE RIFT (or FFTA2 for short), for the Nintendo DS. It's a wonderful game - one controls a number of characters in a similar manner to games such as 'Fire Emblem', turn-based, small-scale, but with very few GAME OVERs (though the few that exist are annoying - you can die before you get the chance to save!) and a nonlinear progression.

That was not the best of explanations, but it's not too important for the moment - suffice it to say that 1) it's fun and 2) there's a lot of content in the game, such that 20 hours of play probably got my brother and I around 20 or 25% completion.

Until his cartridge died suddenly and without warning.

It was a strange death - it played fine, it loaded save-games fine, but it could not save - complaining of "Data not accessible." We searched for solutions - 20 hours of gameplay is a lot to lose, to be forced to repeat for one to progress further! My brother, whose cartridge it was, found reports of the error on ROMs, and solutions for that purpose (but not for his!) - I examined the cartridge itself, and found that it rattled almost - something loose inside! But neither of us could find any solution.

Today, we returned it, and got a replacement. Twenty hours gone.

It sort of bites.

Moral: I guess killing doesn't solve all problems!

*"Advance" in the manner of "Advance Wars" or others, in that it was the version of the series as brought to the amazing GAMEBOY ADVANCE**; oddly, also like Advance Wars, FFTA hasn't lost the prefix in its move to the DS.

**FFT preceded FFTA; there weren't any "Wars" games in the US before Advance Wars 1, but in Japan, the older ones were named after the system; Famicom Wars, Super Famicon Wars, and sequels thereof.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

the state of the modern nikolas

In the beginning, there was nothing, and then, there was something. And he was called the Nikolas, and it was good. And in (ca. 1 month) he will be off to the "university", to study the universe, and many other things, that are important to a modern gentleman. And nought but (ca. 1 week) ago, in his domicile, was a young lady, who was pleasant, and well-educated, and of good breeding, and who was less than twenty-and-one years of age, and whom he entertained, with light-hearted discourse, and with reputable amusements, such that a family would find at the world's fair, in 1800, and it was very upstanding. At least, this is what the official records state, in the office of the sovereign. However, it is, as said by a gentleman, of learning, and of discourse, that it was indeed a "dangerous situation, for a single man, and a married woman, to have an intercourse as such, and to be unattended forthwith for several hours, that the intercourse should be manifested in less innocuous forms." And thus what did actually happen?

Let us examine the evidence.

It was, as the records state, not the first occurrence of the lady at the domicile, nor the second time the lady had met in secret with the gentleman, as in discourse, and in the manner of secretive persons. 

So the first meeting occurred at the digression of the husband, and there were indeed two chaperons, such that any such lewd behaviour would not go unnoticed.

However the second meeting, in which he was strangely absent, sought the two alone, in a faraway caravan, at a land of oriental cuisines. And she swooned, and fainted, and went pale, such that she was a ghost, and he carried her to the great-house, and laid her in the bed.

And on the third day, when the young lady entered the house, the man took a bottle, and he sprayed the chambre, such that the lady fell into a deep sleep, and he ravaged her, and he was seen by the priest, who was looking inside the window, and he was hanged in the town square.

Later that night she said to him: "كما تشير بعض الدراسات المتعلقة باللسانيات وعلوم اللغة إلى باعتبار العربية أحد اللغات القديمة و التي نطقت 

And to her said he: "أن أصل الكثير من الكلمات الانجليزية وبالأخص القديمة منها ، ذات أصل عربي "

And the rest goes without saying.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Diaries of Sir Arthur McKinsey, pt. III

Diary Entry on the evening of September the First, the year Eighteen Seventy-Four Anno Domini.

Dear Diary,

I apologize for leaving you untouched for so long. I have meant to write of my latest meeting with the lady of whom I wrote earlier - surely you recall! - yet I have been distracted by minor, piddling things, and left you with but the scantest note to satisfy you - and such a strange and pointless thing it was! Still, that is enough bemoaning what has been - I now write of what occurred on the day of my last meeting, nearly one week ago today.

It had been arranged that we should meet as we had the time before - on a Wednesday, on the third strike past the hour. Another friend of mine, the gentleman D. Z., had arranged to meet her at the same time, at my town-house, and so arrived early. We spoke briefly, but I am afraid I was somewhat preoccupied at the time, and offended him somewhat - a thing always to be regretted when it comes to friends! - and he dismissed myself when the lady arrived at the appointed hour. It was an ill omen for the beginning of our meeting - thankfully, it did not last.

The lady first greeted the family hound, in whose company she found as much delight as she had before. (Myself, I find no great affection for the beast - nor hatred, mind - but she seemed, as much as the dog's owner, to be greatly fond of him.) We let him loose to hunt for apples, which he finds curious delight in devouring, and spoke of possible diversions with which to spend our time. I suggested a number of things, including the 'Yoghurtland' at which we had met previously, but when I mentioned the game of blocks which we had played before, the choice was clear - her eyes seemed almost to light up! (Truth in fiction, perhaps?) We at once retired to the drawing-room to play together.

For several hours we amused ourself in this fashion - time seemed to fly by, such that, upon my glancing at my pocket-watch (for the first time since we had begun) and inquiring of her if she could guess the time, the lady was quite surprised to learn that no less than one hour and a quarter had passed since we had begun to play - indeed, it seemed to us like no time at all. Fully, we played for twice that time, enjoying many of the scenarios devised for the game. The lady grew more competent as we progressed - at no time was she incompetent, mind, but I swear that at the end she was more skilled in the defensive arts then am I myself! (My brother ventured in on a few occasions for his own inscrutiable instances; upon hearing this last remark, he suggested derisively that surpassing my skill at defense is no great task - there being too much truth there to outright deny.)

At last, we somewhat reluctantly adjourned from our play. It was half past five, I recall, and the lady informed me that she must leave before six so that she might arrive at her scheduled train before it departed, thus prompting the aforementioned cessation. We talked somewhat more - most especially regarding the literature which I had lent her previously, she being pleased with some of it, though not all. I lent her another book, the following volume to another which she had fully enjoyed, she spent a moment more with the hound, then it was time for her to leave.

Before she left, we agreed that we must surely meet again - when she has finished everything I have lent her, if not sooner. If our next meeting is like the last (save for Mr. Z.'s departure, of course), then it is an event which I fervently wish will come soon.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Fishcamel Adventures!

One day, there was a fish who turned into a camel. He was very confused! He had never had legs before - or fur, or lungs, or any of those strange properties of quadripedal land-walking mammals! He was just a fish. He went to other people, asking them, "What do legs do?", "Why was I transformed from a fish into a camel?" But the people were cruel to him! They did not believe that a camel could talk, and said, "Get out of your camel-suit, strange man!" The camelfish tried to explain that he had been transformed, but they would not listen to him! This happened several times. Eventually, disgusted, the camelfish left its body behind. "Now they will be satisfied," it mumbled under his breath, cackling between every other word. "Now they will SEE the TRUTH! Ahahaha."

But they just called him a ghost! The bodiless camelfish was very sad.

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Lair of the Flowstone King

The party of five huddled in a green-lit tunnel, a dark outline feet away indicating the entrance to a larger cavern. A yellow, flickering light passed through it, a torch in the hand of the party's scout, the Bangaa Dragoon named Luft. "It's there," he said. "The mark is at the bottom of a pit. It has at least two guards loitering nearby - some kind of giant insects."

"Probably its vile spawn or something like that," Ris, clad in iron chainmail, grumbled. "Bet you it's got more waiting in the eaves."

"No bet," another man replied. "We'll have to do this quickly." He considered for a moment, then decided on a plan. "Harlyn, you go along the side of the pit, take shots at the mark from a distance. I'll do the same. Luft, Alys, and Ris, charge the target, hit it as hard as you can. No time to worry about precision; besides, with a creature that large, how can you miss?"

"What am I doing, Tarthis?" asked Ethis, Elementalist.

"The usual," Tarthis told her, not unkindly. "Provide healing and protection. Don't attack them with your earth spells; they're bugs in the depths of the earth, they'll almost certainly be immune to earth magic, and they might well be healed by it."

"How can anything be healed by a boulder to the face?" Ethis asked, unbelieving.

Tarthis shook his head. "Magic?"

He looked about to see if there were any more questions about the plan; then he took a breath and began a prayer. "The Judges give us the Law; the Law binds us and protects us." The others joined him. "Within the Law we have Life Eternal, without end; outside the law we are doomed to inevitable damnation. The Law is our Shield, it is our Sword." Voices raised, they concluded: "Praise to the Judges; amen, amen, amen!!"

Then came a deep rumbling. Tarthis and the rest of the party whirled, seeing nothing but darkness. "They've noticed us!" Tarthis cried. "Ethis - light 'em up! Everyone else, charge!"

The group dashed through the opening to the pit as Ethis hurriedly incanted. Her first spell sent a flaring ball of light to the ceiling of the pit; the second set a golden glow around the bodies of her companions, augmenting their armour. The others raced ahead of her, Luft the fastest of all, leaping down the steep and uneven incline where others were forced to a walk. His spear came down on one of the ant-lion guards, cruelly injuring it, then he leapt again and struck at the creature he and his companions were being paid to eradicate.

On the way down, he had time to examine the creature he was attacking. "Wow," he noted. "That thing is bigger then my house - and I don't really like the way its five, hideous mandibles are clacking and dribbling-"

Then he hit.

The others did not idle while Luft flew towards the Flowstone King. Alys and Ris ran and stumbled down the rock-strewn, green-lit slope, fending off the antlion guards as best they could with sword and shield as they moved. Tathis followed them, dodging the antlions as best he could until he could let loose with his bow at the King. Harlyn, ignored by all, moved to a good firing position along the rim of the pit, pulled out his boltgun, and fired shot after lightning-crackling shot into the hideous beast far below. Each blew a crater the size of a wagon wheel into its chitinous flesh; Harlyn saw it as a bad sign that the monster did not even react to the wounds.

"Perhaps it's already dead," he speculated unhopefully.

The Flowstone King wailed hideously, and gravity itself seemed to twist within the confines of the pit, warping the light momentarily to a shade of teal, and making each of the party members feel hideous pain as their insides underwent the same process.

"Augh!" Harlyn gasped, recovering as the distortion ended. "I knew it was too much to hope for."

Now the Flowstone King was fighting in earnest. With unthinking, terrible strength, it slammed its claws down like hammers, nearly crushing the Alys and Ris; its vast maw gaped, hungering for flesh. Ethis did what she could, repairing the gold-glowing shields on those whose coatings wore thin, healing the wounded; but her skill was too little and the Flowstone King's strength too vast. She fell to her knees as he twisted gravity into a knot again; then a breeze blew, a wind, a hurricane, and into his mouth she fell. The monster chewed, and its wounds began to heal; from Ethis's death it drew life.

The others paused, briefly, to mourn her; "To the Judges we entrust her soul," they mumbled, then resumed the fight. Only Tathis did otherwise; he plucked from his belt a red-gleaming feather and lay it carefully to the pit floor. One word only he whispered, too quiet to hear; and the feather burned, and from its fire and smoke arose Ethis, born anew like the phoenix. Her wounds were visible on her flesh; but still she rose from her knees, already preparing another spell of healing. This fight was too important to lose.

The battle raged for interminable minutes longer; the Flowstone King used its terrible natural weapons, its antlion minions harrying the party's flank, and four times more Tathis cast down the phoenix feather. Ris fell, and Luft, and Alys; and there was no time to revive them.

Then Harlyn fired his third-to-last shell, the air around him thick with the foul scent of powder, and something in the Flowstone King broke; coloured gases rushed upwards, and a pulsing, brown organ was left exposed. Tathis leapt to one side, dodging the falling claw of an antlion. "Now!" he cried, his face coloured only by the green light of Ethis's dying flare, and fired one arrow into the brown organ. The Flowstone King shivered and shook, and raised its claws high above Ethis for a retaliatory, lethal, blow. Tathis closed his eyes, consigning himself to the Law of the Judges; so he only realized that he was alive by the sound of the claws falling to the ground to each side of him, limp in death.

Tathis took six deep breaths as the Flowstone King faded away, its minions following it into the Beyond. Ethis's light brightened as she regained her strength, turning a cleaner hue. "We won," Tethis said at last. "We won."

Now, to collect their pay; which might be harder than earning it had been.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The David Mythos: An Introduction

We all know of the man known as David A. Zhang: a kind and generous fellow, free with his time, pleasant and respectful to all and sundry; in short, a gentleman of the classical sort. Yet there are many things that Mr. Zhang says; and some of them do not, strictly speaking, correlate to events in the real world. That is, they are false.

We know that Mr. Zhang is a gentleman; he would never lie to us, nor attempt to decieve us; he would never give us up, etc, etc. So why would he say things that, in relation to real life, are false? The answer is simple, and easily deduced: they are true in another world. The world known as: The David Mythos.

The David Mythos are a world very different from our own. Their characters are simpler then ours, more plain-cut: love or hate, friend or foe - and more often the latter then the former. There are no girls or women, only womons; and they may only be targets for lust or regret. Teachers are nemeses, plotting against the noble David. Worst of all is the dreaded Ryan Tseng, millionare playboy, who thieves all the womons away.

This is the world of which Mr. Zhang speaks of, when he seems to lie. I have only scratched the surface of its terrifying depths. Dare to plunge in. Dare to explore...

the David Mythos.

Of Travels Dark and Bleary

Two men set out, clothed in fine wool and brass, to the land of the north. They set out by carriage-caravan, and set out, accompanied by their trusty guide. The guide had long accompanied them, on many journeys; his knowledge of the land was excellent, and his directions peerless. But recently he had left the men, seeking new maps and techniques; with them he returned for this journey. The two men whom he guided expected great things.

Even in the first moments of the journey, their expectations were dashed. Their guide, seemingly drunken, directed them in strange directions, away from the high road they sought to take. Ignoring him, the two men continued on, and along the road all seemed well, for a time; the guide gave good, if obvious, directions, and kept them on the proper path.

Then they saw the gates of the city of the north; and all turned for the ill. For the guide's maps were ill-drawn; the lines too thick, one road difficult to tell from another. Reacting all-too-slowly, the guide was unable to steer them right, and diversion after diversion needed to be made. In his greatest betrayal - just before the end - the guide steered the intrepid pair onto another high road, filled with traffic, just to cover a third of a mile's distance before returning to the road from whence they came - forcing them to cover four lanes of dense-packed traffic to reach the only exit before the great Bridge over the Bay!

The pair were somewhat late to their engagement. The guide was nowhere to be seen; but afterwards, his belongings, left behind, were found to be reeking of opium. Vile scad - 'new techinques' indeed.

Friday, July 11, 2008

WALL*E: Digestion

The movie WALL*E (not sure if that's its proper name) is pretty good. That is good! But sometimes - just sometimes! - it veers from the realms of science. Sometimes - in certain parts of the movie - it becomes 'soft' science fiction!

I may mention and dissect these problems at some point - there are some number, including supporting a civilized ecosystem in the interstellar void, long-term mechanical maintenance, large-scale heterogenous-composition tower construction, and rapid terraforming of toxin-filled planetoids. There are others, but they're too minor for me to mention.

But I'm afraid of ruining the movie for those who haven't watched it, and also it's rather late for this author, and he's not certain that he can be fully coherent. So I'll wrap it up with this: the movie's pretty good!

(This is longer than my Iron Man review, it should be noted.)

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Narwhals and Computers: A Nikolas Dreamtimes Production

I had a rather vivid dream this morning, roughly twenty minutes ago, as of the time of writing; having been awoken by my cat (at 5:44 in the morning), I retain the memory of that dream, and it is so bizarre that I must share it with you. It begins!

I am in a large room. Mr. Zhang is there, as well as two girls; we are talking. (I know, this is unrealistic; it's a dream!) I think this may be a workplace of some sort? One of the girls speaks of a computer that is being built by her family, for which a list of users is being built*. I suggest that Mr. Zhang and myself should be added to the list, embarassing myself in the process. The girl is reluctant, showing us the present list, mainly filled with Chinese names (or Japanese?), though there are a relatively few Roman-alphabet names at the bottom. She suspects that we (especially me, I guess, since Mr. Zhang has a Chinese name?) would stick out a little. We add ourselves anyway.

This is one of the stranger bits about the dream; the bit where we look at the list and add our names to it occured twice, in three different places. The first time occured as I have already related, in the large workplace-room (a sort of laboratory, perhaps?). Then there was a short drive, on which nothing of note occured, and the same scene occured in a large, brightly-lit plaza filled with people. There were two divergences from the original computer-usernames-list scene; the girl was Emily Chu this time, a person known to Mr. Zhang and I in real life, and there was also a scene inexplicably inserted into the middle wherein Mr. Zhang, noting the rude nicknames of some of the Roman-alphabet named people on the list, suggested that they fit me well. (I do not know why nicknames were on the list of usernames; it made sense at the time.) This sub-scene took place in a dark apartment room. I don't know why.

Anyway. After the list was dealt with, something occured causing me to note the madness of the Japanese people to Mr. Zhang. (I think it had to do with Ms. Chu, which makes little sense; she's Chinese, as I should have remembered!) Then we proceeded into Ms. Chu's family residence (presumably to deal with the list). The residence was some manner of entertainment-house, half-filled with water. There was a rock in the center. Ms. Chu's father and brother were narwhals.

It made more sense at the time.

Ms. Chu explained that they were trapped in narwhal form, becoming increasingly animalistic as time passed (it was taken as a given that they could turn into narwhals, as well as turn paying visitors to their business; perhaps by means of some serum**?). They seemed fine with this, though Ms. Chu, Mr. Zhang, and I were somewhat concerned. Mr. Zhang was separated from us; Ms. Chu and I discussed the matter of the narwhals, during which time strange fish began to appear, spiky and brightly coloured. The narwhals chased them; oddly, their hide too was brightly coloured, though only underwater, like a water-slicked pebble. (The comparison was one I made at the time.)

Ms. Chu and I continued to discuss matters; Mr. Zhang, having become a narwhal (naturally), was pushed onto the rock by Ms. Chu's relatives, thus becoming trapped in narwhal form by the same means they were. He was rather upset about this, and noted that he would be forced to leave by the rear. I commiserated with him.

At this time the water level was slowly rising; this seemed to be by design. I'd been communicating with Ms. Chu in part by laptop, as we both had some rather marvelous waterproof ones with us; she suggested that I attempt photography (of the fish and narwhals), but I logically refuted the notion, and left by the front door, which was, apparently, an airlock. (Ms. Chu remained inside; she may have left later.) Considering the worry of Ms. Chu's relatives following Mr. Zhang upon his own departure, and my reluctance to wait for him in the rear of the establishment, as there were many smelly dumpsters about (filled with rotten fish, of course), I set about putting arrows on the ground, to guide him to me. I made them out of available paper and other materials; thus, logically, they were filled with cameras, but Ms. Chu's elder sister (?), also a narwhal (?), managed to evade them, even years later.

This is around the point that the dream ended. It probably would have made more sense had I not been abruptly awakened; I was half-consciously editing the dream as it went on, skipping back and forth in time, which is why the scene with the list occured twice, I think. If the dream had progressed further, I would likely have pressed things further, into making some manner of sense; but then again, if I had not been abruptly awakened, I would likely have not recalled it. So it's all for the best. Hooray!

*Likely inspired by my father and brother, who are presently assembling a new gaming computer, to replace my father's aging one. There will only be one user, however.

**Likely inspired by the MAN-BAT, who I was reading about late last night on Wiki.