Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Five Million People You Meet in Limbo

Imagine this for a moment.

You’ve just been killed.  Maybe you were hit by a drunk driver, or stabbed by a mugger, or sick from food poisoning.  It’s up to you what the cause was, the point is that you’re in Limbo waiting to find out if you’ll end up in Heaven or Hell.

Someone appears out of the mists and approaches you asking for forgiveness. It’s your killer.  Maybe he’s the man who shot you for drug money.  Maybe she’s the chef who didn’t wash her hands properly before preparing your meal.  Maybe it’s a group of terrorists who poisoned the aspirin you bought.

The point is, your killer can’t enter Heaven without your forgiveness.  After all, how fair would it be for the two of you to spend eternity together?  Whatever choice you make, it’s final and eternal.  When you decide to pardon or condemn, your killer or killers disappear.

The mists clear and someone else is standing in front of you, someone you killed.  Maybe it’s someone you killed on purpose, but more likely it was an accident you weren’t even aware of.  It could be a man who died in the street after you evicted him from his home, or a child who got sick from a toy your company manufactured.  Whoever it is, you have to ask that person for forgiveness if you don’t want to spend eternity in Hell.

Maybe it goes well, and they accept it was an accident.  Maybe they forgive you, even though you killed them on purpose, tortured them, spat in their faces.  That person smiles and turns away from you, and you realize there’s someone else waiting for a turn with you.

It’s another victim.  There’s a line of victims.  There’s a long line of people stretching farther than you can imagine.  Everyone who died as a result of something you did or something that was done for you is waiting to judge you.

Halfway through that impossibly long line, it’s not people any more.  Every deer you shot while hunting, every snail you stepped on in the night, every weed you sprayed with pesticide, every microbe that passed through your lungs: they’re all waiting for you.  Each one has the same question: “Why couldn’t you let me live?  Why was my life so odious to you that you couldn’t have spared me?”

Sometimes you can say it was an accident, or that you needed to kill them to survive.  Sometimes you had a good reason.  Most of the time, you don’t.

Think about it when you are about to scrape a shrimp off your plate and into the garbage.  Think about it when you are about to yank a flower out of the ground because it was starting to wilt.  Think about it when you squish a spider.

Just think about it.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Anti-OWS Campaign

Recently, I read an article about how a Wall Street lobbying group plans on spending $850,000 to undermine the influence of Occupy Wall Street.  Some reporter managed to get a leaked memo from this lobbying group that talks about strategy and the fact that they might need to pay for advertising to help their efforts.

Now, I'm a staunch Democrat/progressive and support OWS, but I like money even more.  In hopes that I might get some of that advertising cash, I put together a potential ad campaign.  Any lobbyists want to buy it?  Anyone? 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Dragonriders of Pern: The Screenplay

Dragonflight Screenplay
Anne McCaffrey died one week ago today.  Her death passed most major media outlets because she was a science fiction novelist whose works hadn't even been turned into movies yet.
And because she wasn't a teenybopper.
More on that in a moment.

McCaffrey is best known for her twenty-two Dragonriders of Pern novels, which I started reading back in 2004.  My father had been a fan of the books, and I had heard a few of them on tape, so I had been curious.  I went to the library and found the first book: Dragonflight.

I got hooked on the prologue, which described how the native fauna of one world found a way to attack the people on the other, and how dragons had been developed.  Having recently completed a screenwriting class, I immediately saw how the book could be made into a movie.

Of course, I had to make some changes.  Many of the characters needed to be fleshed out.  Some of the plot threads had to be dropped and others elaborated.  Anne had changed how a few things worked over the course of the books, and I had to pick which versions I liked best.  When I didn't have all the information I needed to finish the screenplay, I read the other books and scoured the web.
Someone even made MAPS!
It was the most fun I had ever had as a writer, perhaps because I knew what I was working on was good.  When I was done, I called up the publisher and asked for the rights.  Someone had not only taken the rights to Dragonflight, but to the whole series (which they offered to sell me when the rights expired).

Crushed, I stuck the screenplay in a corner of my hard drive and tried to forget about it.  Every time I heard rumors they were working on a television show or a movie, I sighed and hoped I'd find an excuse to bring out my screenplay to show the world.

Heck with it all.  Anne is dead.  Here it is.


Friday, November 25, 2011

What I Am Thankful For

Like many families, one of our Thanksgiving traditions is naming something we are thankful for at the dinner table.  My wife always used to say “I’m thankful that farts aren’t blue,” which I think more people ought to think about.  In addition to invisible farts, I am also thankful for:

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Wink's Big Island

I’m back!

Who Discovered Hawaii?

I’m afraid Wink De Bivouac won’t be available to help me with today’s blog post, as he’s tied up.  He’s also gagged.  Then, I pinned him down with a small boulder.

Still, the show must go on and today I’m going to cover a discovery I made yesterday.  It’s pretty mind blowing.  No, really.  You know how the Book of Mormon proves that Jesus Christ came to North America after his crucifixion and preached to the Native Americans?  This is even more mind blowing than that.

Ready?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Bikinis


Today, we’re going to talk about the bikini!  Everyone in Hawaii wears a bikini! Bikinis are awesome!  Everyone should wear bikinis.  Everyone!

The bikini was invented by the French during World War I when they decided to make people LOOK FABULOUS!  The Nazis surrendered right away so the French would sell them bikinis of their own.

Did you know they make bikinis for toddlers?  And old people!  And men!  And-

Dear God, what are you wearing?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Luau


For a few days, I’m going to be writing about my vacation to the Hawaiian islands.  I always hate reading about people having a great time on vacation, so I’m only going to talk about the bad parts.  My wife said that would be too depressing, so I got a guest writer (Wink De Bivouac) to “punch things up.”

I’m going to write it all on my manual typewriter, because old things are always better!

Er, right.  Anyway, today I’m going to cover the luau.  Luaus always seemed like something people made up to appease the tourism gods.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Vacation Report 1

I'm going to be away on vacation next week.  I was thinking about how I was going to write about my vacation and then I realized how miserable it would make you if I did.  Nobody likes hearing about how great other people's vacations are.  We just like hearing about how miserable they turned out, because it makes us feel better about not going ourselves.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

I Am Smarter Than Heinlein 2

Yesterday's post was satisfyingly controversial, so I've decided to continue on with part two.

The problem is, the list ("What a human being should know") from yesterday was meant to be short and, mostly, silly.  After some thought I realized there needed to be a few more items.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

I Am Smarter Than Heinlein


A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.

-Robert Heinlein, Time Enough For Love

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Loyalty


I am a living being.

I am a human being.

I am an American.

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Buttocks Alert System


You’re probably wondering why, after years of posting pictures of hot women, that I put up a picture of my own behind.  I recently found out that my behind has a useful purpose, other than as a backup bottle opener.

Friday, November 11, 2011

RIP Bill Keane

"Mom!  Some reporter just called and said we don't have to be cutsey and annoying anymore!"

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Tailchaser’s Song


I can’t let things go.  Some event happens to me and, decades later, I’m still hung up on it.  I’m also obsessed with my inactions.  My Netflix queue is almost four hundred movies long because it’s filled with all the movies I never saw.  It would be longer, but I must have forgotten about some of them.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

My Tattoos


I’ve always looked down on tattoos with a degree of contempt.  Tattoos never looked good to me.  In most cases, I thought they made people look worse, like breast implants.
Lady, I'm not imagining you naked.  I'm imagining putting a tarp over you.
I can’t tell you why I started wanting them.  Maybe it’s my mid-life crisis; if I can’t have a young blonde and a convertible, I’ll get a tattoo.  Maybe I banged my head; I get whacked by my kids often enough.  Maybe I saw pictures of glow in the dark tattoos.
It's a fish caught near Fukushima.
Whatever the case, I started having an odd desire to get a tattoo.  There were only two big questions:

Question One: Where do I put it?
Most people don’t have too much problem with location.  They have their whole bodies.  Me, I look like this naked.
Waiting for my turn in the shower.  I made a bandolier to hold soap.
The only places on my body that aren’t completely covered with hair are my wrists and the back of my neck (and, I assume, my anus, but I can’t get a good look back there to check).  It really limits my choices.

Question Two: What should I get?
If you can’t think of how to permanently alter your body, you shouldn’t do it.  Think back to what you were into twenty years ago.  If you got that as a tattoo, would you be happy with it now?
This is what I would have gotten twenty years ago.  Seriously.
I went through a bunch of ideas in my head.

First, I thought I might get a microchip tattoo.  I saw someone who had a cool one, once, that went around his bicep.  I couldn’t think of a good place to put mine.
Although it would be useful if I owned a Buick.
Second, I thought about a bar code on the back of my neck.  That would be really cool if I could scan myself at a store.  But what if the store tried to charge me for myself?  What if I couldn’t afford me?  What if I GOT MARKED DOWN?!

Then I saw the Chinese character for “human being.”  Because, you know, if someone in China ever doubted I was a human being, I could just swing around and point at my neck and yell “Oh, yeah, buddy?  What about this!”
"Sir, that's a picture of a wishbone."
Problem is, I don’t speak Mandarin.  I tried to learn Mandarin, but stopped when I learned the words for mouth.  That’s right, I said “words.”  There’s three words for mouth in Chinese: ko, zwei ba, and ba.  MAKE UP YOUR MIND!

Then, out of the blue, I thought about getting a mystic symbol like a wizard might have.  If I was going to get a mystic symbol, I’d get one for “irresistible to women.”  Turns out they don’t have one for that.  Then I looked for “power.”  Turns out they don’t have one for that either, but I came across the modern one.
Or, it could be a hot dog seen from one end.
And then I remembered how much I always liked the symbol for ground.  In physics, you learn that the earth has a practically infinite neutral charge.  Any charge that touches ground, no matter how powerful or what polarity, goes away.
Not exactly as I remembered it.
And, if you’re going to have mystic powers, you want them to go out your hands.
I held the pen just for contrast.
It's for contrast!  I really got tattoos!
 Well, I'm not sure what I thought that would accomplish.
Oh, now I remember.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Curses! Foiled AGAIN.

The government has foiled my nefarious plans.  Just at my moment of triumph, I was foiled by a cleverly written, not absurd, government regulation.  Somehow, the government saw through my ploy.  Here was my plan.

Monday, November 7, 2011

A Good Day


Eight years ago, before I had children, I had a very different definition of a good day.  A good day would mean I had done at least one of these:
  • Seen a movie
  • Eaten a great meal
  • Had sex
  • Slept in or taken a nap
  • Made progress in a video game
  • Received praise for my work
  • Made somebody laugh
Now that I have children, my definition of a good day has narrowed quite a bit.  A good day for me means:
  • Not getting kicked in the face or testicles.
It’s surprising how few good days I have.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Not Safe For Work?


There's something I don't get about Americans: boobs.
I think I'll stop the t-shirt theme now.
No, not that kind of boob.  This kind of boob:
Yeah, I can see my blog getting more popular now.
Why are Americans so nervous about boobs?  More specifically, why do we ban seeing them?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

How Cool I Am


I am cooler than you.  No, seriously.  Ignore the bad posture, inexpensive haircut, and love of science fiction and fantasy for a moment.

Oh, and ignore my collection of comic books.

Yeah, and forget the video game addiction.

Ignore all of that and I am cooler than you.  Don’t believe me?  Let’s put it to a test.  No, seriously, let’s test it.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Shameless Pandering AGAIN

As you can see from the graphic above, my numbers are way up over my usual... Well, two.  On the down side, the number of people who visit my blog regularly never seems to get above 100.  100 is good, but I need to get to fifty thousand before I can start doing product deals and cameos on major movies with Angelina Jolie.

Still, my blog doesn't do any better.  Why?  Because of youYou aren't reposting my blog to all of your friends on Facebook.  You aren't emailing it in bulk to everyone on your company's mailing list.  You aren't hacking into elementary school computers and making this blog the default home page.  Whoever Boldface you is, is a jackass.  Italics you and Underline you are nice guys.

Anyway, since I can't count on reposting to bump my numbers, I have to pander to search terms.  By far, the largest number of hits I get are from people looking for Hot Coffee and Mass Effect pictures.  So, I whipped up some more.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Write a Novel Month


Sitting on my end table at this very minute are:
  • Two years of Game Developers Magazine
  • One year of Game Informer
  • Fundamentals of Game Design by Ernest Adams
  • Three years of free songs for iTunes from Starbucks
  • Twenty codes for My Coke Rewards
  • A black desk lamp from Pottery Barn
  • My notebook, which contains notes on:
    • Maid Max Cleans Up Haunted House Hill, the game I’m trying to get out this upcoming year.
    • Arrival, a game I developed for another company and am trying to help finish.
    • Flux Warden, a text adventure I coded myself but never managed to finish.
What do all of these items have in common?  They’re all reasons I’m not writing a novel for National Write a Novel Month.