Sunday, September 30, 2007

Zombies with Swords, Flag Duty and Hammers

Usually, I focus on my academic studies and my reading and my writing on this blog. Today is a different sort of day. On Friday night, I played in a HALO 3 LAN party at the dorm with all my friends. My head almost exploded it was so amazing.

There's a game type called Infection, which simulates a zombie invasion. One member of your party is a zombie and everyone is human. Every time the zombie kills a human, that human then becomes part of the zombie's team. So the numbers of the team - originally 5 vs. 1 - becomes 1 vs. 5. This goes on until there's only one human left. Poor guy. We realized we had to follow familiar anti-zombie strategies if we wanted to live (see Exhibits A-D).
  1. Don't get in a car (Exhibit A).
  2. Use heavy artillery (Exhibit B).
  3. Stay together (Exhibit C).
  4. Put backs to the wall on high ground with clear visibility, preferably near a large store of ammunition and supplies (Exhibit D).
Exhibit A
As you can see, my friends (referred to in their gamer names) Ezra, the guy in white, and Mike, the guy in green, took a vehicle and Mike is about to be cannibalized, courtesy of me, as a zombie.
Exhibit B and C
Staying together is a brilliant strategy for anyone who wants to survive an undead apocalypse as seen in this image of Ezra and myself, armed respectively with an Battle Rifle and a heavy machine gun turret.
Exhibit D
As you can see, Mr. Bear as Covenant in green, Ezra and myself stationed ourselves according to protocol. We gained high ground, put our backs to the wall and unloaded heavy artillery on the zombie hoards.



The other game we played on Friday night was Capture the Flag. The concept is for one team to steal the flag and get it back to their base before the other team can stop them.

Long Live the Blues
I can be seen below, guarding the Blue Flag (LONG LIVE THE BLUES!) with a grenade launcher. Isn't our flag pretty?

Running Like a Little Girl

When we were on Offense, I grabbed the Reds' flag and ran...I ran like a scared little girl. I ran like hell and got the hell out of there. I was Cloaked - invisible - and you can see the grenade behind me, rippling my shield and making me visible. Mr. Bear remained behind me, to the left and died giving me time to get out of the Red Base.

Making a Clean Get-Away
Outside, Ezra (now in Blue), was waiting with a Mongoose to take me down to the beach to deliver the flag and claim victory. Ezra and I had practiced this maneuver for a few hours before, him driving at full speed and me jumping on the back with a flag. He hit me a few times, but we got to the point where, under fire in battle, we could pull it off.

Viva la Bleu

Because of that...we claimed Victory for the Blues. Viva la Bleu!

The rest of these are funtimes we had in free-for-all Slayer matches, where the goal was to get as many kills as possible.

Mike with a Hammer

Here is Mike (the one I cannibalized) wielding a Gravity Hammer. He's white here because of the light from its explosion. Usually he's in green.

The Result of Mike with a Hammer
He got a kill. Isn't that sweet? And by "sweet," I mean "completely awesome."
Communism in HALO 3

Mr. Bear ran Ezra and me over with a Banshee - a giant airplane-esque thing. Here we are dying. We look like we're dancing like Russians...and singing, "Moscow! Moscow!"
Viva la HALO!
So say we all.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Friday Snippets: Take Me Out

The Friday Snippet this week continues to follow Dell after she escapes the ruin of Columbia, after she breaks the heart of the man who loves her more than anyone on earth. With a nuclear wasteland spreading all around her and an imminent mass migration south, Dell has turned her sights on the little town of Mexico, north of Columbia. Last week, she snuck past a military blockade of tanks on the interstate bridges only to be laid low by a rope strung across on the back country roads. We pick up with Dell, laying in the middle of the county road in the dark.

Copyrighted, do not reproduce, material liable to change. Etc.
Dell tilted the shotgun up and moonlight gleamed down the barrel bright and pure. The person above her stopped cold, the barrel of the gun pressed in hard under their jaw. Dell could feel agony flowering though her chest like a cold fire. The mask hid her face and she didn't care that her face twisted in pain as she moved her arm.

"I'd advise that you step back," she rasped. The figure's eyes shone in the dark, wide and glassy, like dark coins. "I'd advise you to step back before I blow your face off," she said, pressing the barrel up against his pulsing jugular. His eyes slid away and Dell heard footsteps at her head. "One step closer, and he this shotgun will have more brains than he does," she snapped. The footsteps stopped.

"Look," the sneaking man said. His voice was graveled, but still young. The brother, she guess. "Look, we just needed some gas. Don't hurt him. Don't worry Jim, it's alright," he said. "Just don't hurt him. We just needed some gas. We weren't gonna hurt you."

"Like hell," she said. "You sneaking around - get my bike over here. Now." She turned her head, watching the man as he moved in a wide arc around her. She sat slowly, groaning as the pressure forced the breath from her lungs. As she forced the sobbing man back, she saw his face in the dark. He was young. Painfully young. He couldn't have been much older than Matheson on that morning.

Dell managed her feet, trying not to listen as the boy wiped at his snot and tried not to sob any more as she stepped back. As the older wheeled her bike forward, she tilted her head. "Step back," she said. "You said you needed gas - so where's your car?"

"What are you going to do?" he asked.

"What needs to be done," Dell replied. The blood on her knuckles was black in the moonlight. Something in her chest rattled as she breathed.

"Over the ridge, west of here," the older said, stepping between her and the boy. "Why?"

"You and your brother are going to live," she said. "That should be enough."

"What are you going to do?" he asked.

"What needs to be done," Dell replied. The blood on her knuckles was black in the moonlight. Something in her chest rattled as she breathed. But they didn't know that. They didn't even know what she looked like beneath the insect-eyed gasmask.

She lunged, the butt of her shotgun catching the older one in the jaw and spilling him backward into unconsciousness, heavy as a wet sack of sand. The boy fell under his weight. He reached inside his brother's coat. She swung her shotgun to bear and found herself staring down the barrel of an old revolver.

So say we all.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

I Believe in Aardvarks, Spartans and Vampires

I know I haven't been around much lately and you all have my deepest apologies on this. Life has suddenly become insane - more so than I would have thought possible. To address Joely's comment from a week or so back, I want to participate more in the 1,000 Words a Day Club, because I absolutely love the community and I have material I am working through everyday.

I'm starting to look into publication for the Post-Apocalyptic Story and I've revising a short story for a submission to a science fiction mag in two weeks. I still have my work from classes piling up in drifts...and these are the things that are killing my time:

Speaking in the Third Person: Cerebus the Aardvark
A friend loaned me Cerebus, a comic written and drawn entirely by a man named Dave Sim. The story follows a barbarian aardvark named Cerebus on his adventures across Estarcion and the city-state of Iest. With a weird mix of philosophy, feminism and a brief but touching romance, it's a graphic novel I count up there with Jeff Smith's Bone.

I Believe in Master Chief
I've also been swallowed up by the release of HALO 3, Bungie and Microsoft's Official-Slayer-of-All-Useful-Brain-Cells-and-Time. So far the graphics, the tricks you can pull as a 7-ft-tall Spartan and the game play are simply and amazingly lovely. Master Chief, John 117, is of course the hero and the range of weaponry, shields, vehicles and environments is enough to rock your socks right off. Chief has always been one of my favorite characters in a game. This is probably for the simple face that I've never seen his face. He's an Everyman. A rather tall and heavy Everyman, but sympathetic and easy to relate to because of his anonymity.

This Doesn't Bite: Twilight
On the recommendation of a close friend's little sister, I took the book she loaned to me and ate it up in almost two nights. I'm still a little ways from the end and can't get enough. The story focuses on human Bella and vampire Edward and the strange relationship they begin in the depressing gray land of the Northwest coast. Give it a read - it's part one of a trilogy - and it is SO worth it.

I have school work and a social life in here somewhere. I'm sure. But between these three (and a number of other cool things I'm not elaborating on here), I'm desperately trying not to lose touch with all of you! But I find that I sort of like wading through all the cool and discovering new ways to waste time.

So say we all.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Friday Snippets: Once Upon a Trip to Mexico

Here's the Friday Snippet. So sorry, most humble apologies and all that jazz about it being late. Leave you link! I'll come and see you!

Copyrighted, do not reproduce, material liable to change. Etc.
Under the cover of dark, Dell rode for almost four hours. The fires from the inner city threw her shadow out long on the pavement and to the east and west the sky burned like burnished copper with the the death of St. Louis and Kansas city. She'd slipped past the barricades at midnight, killing the engine and walking the bike, her shotgun within easy reach.

Now, she laid low off the interstate far north of ground zero. As she approached a lower overpass, she slid the bike down into the ditch and flattened herself against the sloping hill near the exit ramp. Two tanks hunched on either side of the bridge like hulking monsters and Dell could hear the low rumble of engines and generators. It was difficult to see through the tinted lenses of the gas mask, but she snaked her way up the incline until she lay within an a few yards of the tank treads. She strained her ears to listen.

"With the power grid down from here to Detroit, they're right to move us south. No lights, no heat - and the radiation's gonna fall out soon. We can't stay here. Jones said he already heard radio chatter. The Guard's tellin' most people to stay put - but the smart ones, they'll come south ahead of the cold."

"The Guard's tellin' most people to stay put - but the smart ones, they'll come south ahead of the cold."

At that moment, Dell heard the wail of high speed aircraft overhead and saw the black silhouette of slender stealth bombers eating the stars as they raged against the sky. Sonic booms bludgeoned the air just a few seconds later and crushed her beneath the roar of sound. When her ears stopped ringing, she lifted her face from the grass and heard the men above her cheering raggedly. They fired their mortars and their guns into the night sky.

Dell slid back down the hill under the flickering barrage and cranked the bike. Keeping the lights dark, she hunkered over the handlebars, rumbling under the deepest shadows of the bridge. She was completely hidden in the open beneath the light and the thunder as the soldiers on the bridge cheered on the Stealths and the bombs sleeping deadly quiet in their metal bellies.

Dell turned off on the side roads, following her memory of the terrain. She would go north, to the little town of Mexico and she would find someone who could tell her what had happened, someone without tanks that crouched on bridges or bombers who brought death on the wind. She never saw the thick rope slung across the road.

It caught her in the chest, bruising her sternum and blasting the air from her lungs. Her grip on the handlebars went nerveless and the bike careened onto its side, screaming in the gravel as it sputtered to a halt. Dell saw sky and earth and sky again and slammed onto her back in the dust. Everything hurt at once and she thought maybe she was dying. Then she felt her fingers twitch and the cold length of Math's shot gun barrel under her left leg. She thumbed back the hammer, when a shadow leaned over her, blotting out the moon.

So say we all.

On What I Know and When the Snippet is Coming Down

I know I promised a Friday Snippet. I know. I promised. But I was obscenely exhausted and this morning I found myself asleep in full clothing. I plan to post the Snippet Sunday afternoon/night, with any luck.

This is what I know for sure.

My thesis adviser met with me on Friday and took up the seven or eight chapters I completely revised over the summer and a synopsis. We made plans to meet late in October after my GRE, when I'll hand in the next 100 pages. My thesis is a novel under the working title XIII. This summer, I worked down my entire draft from last year and cut the cast from fifteen to eight.

Work at the Writing Center grew exponentially stressful. I agreed to help teach a series of creative writing workshops as well as a crash course on speculative fiction as a genre. The crash courses will last two hours a piece and span three nights early in November.

I was also asked to create a logo for the writing center and a series of flyers promoting the workshops. While I am proficient at graphic design, I am not formally trained and have not taken any graphics classes in college. I do most of my design work for myself, but I agreed to try and help.

My readings for various theory classes have tripled in the past week and I sort of want to chuck the books out of my third story window. I will probably make a post on rhetoric this week, because I've discovered a few very fascinating things in various cross-disciplinary classes.

I need to write up a resume and cover letter for a Tech Writing Class and design a CSS website for a New Tech class. These are both blehch but necessary for the coursework requirement. I understand the need for these classes - truly - but I think the classes should be optional, instead of a required part of a writing degree. Mainly because I've been fairly tech savvy since I was four or five - courtesy of my dad's technical line of work. I'm repeating code and concepts in these classes I learned as a middle-schooler. Oh well.

I may be considering going out of country for my postgraduate work and this thought alone is fairly terrifying and at the same time incredibly wonderful.

And that concludes what I know. I'll post the snippet after dinner. Wonderful Sunday to you all!

So say we all.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Sorry - No Snippet Until Late Friday

Friday Snippet may be posted later on Friday.
Once I'm done with class, I'll post and read.

Long week.
Changes at work.
Crushing schedule.
A few disasters.
I'll fill you in later.
Going to bed.

So say we all.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Monday Musts: Some Lovely Things to See

One of the best things about dorm life is that, while you have to deal with early morning fire alarms and frat rushes, laundry thieves and loaded schedules, you do get exposed to an incredible amount of amazing literature, music, art, foreign films and rare pop-culture. I've decided for the next few Mondays to post about these "Musts." So here we go - two items of note to start us off!


House of Leaves
by Mark Danielewski is maybe the most frightening and incredibly intricate books I've ever read. Danielewski sets up three narrative strands through breaking the "fourth wall" at various levels. The story is narrated through editorial footnotes by Johnny Truant. He is compiling the work and notes of his neighbor, an old man who has recently passed away. The notes, ranging from medical reports, scientific research papers, film strips and personal journal entries, detail the chronicles of Navidson, the man who lived with his family in the House of Leaves. All three characters are haunted by this thing that haunts the darkness, though "the creature" is never named or revealed in definite terms.

The thing about the story is that while it goes crazy near the end and you actually have to turn the book upside down to read some of the notes, it all works together to form this amazing reading experience. The premise is that there is a House, and in this House, there is a door. The problem is, this door is on a perimeter wall - a wall that has nothing but the outside world behind it. If you look out of a window on this wall, you would look into the backyard. But when you open that door - you don't step into the backyard. You step into a hallway as black as death where no echo returns. If you want great character driven story and something that might just scare the sock off of you, definitely give it a look. It's one of the best books in my stash.


Written by Jeff Smith, Bone is a gigantic graphic novel that tells the epic story of the Bone cousins, Fone, Phoney, and Smiley as they travel through a strange valley far from home. Besides the fact that, so far, I've had my socks blown off, Bone won ten Eisners and eleven Harveys (the highest awards for comics) and is one of the longest running comics from a single self-published writer/artist.

It's sort of an Everyman story, but I love the "save the world" theme that crop up subtly throughout the book. Generally that trope annoys me, but Smith pulls it off. His characters and story are never cliche and better, they never suffer from the "guys in tights" syndrome that overwhelms most traditional comics. While the story is sometimes dark or heavy as the load of the hero becomes almost too much to bear, Smith never fails to give you a line or two so that you can crack a smile and ease the tension.

Hope you enjoy these. Next week I'll probably be talking about some music, movies or anything else I run across in my stash later this week. Have a wonderful Monday!

So say we all.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Our Day in the Rock and a Papa-san

Today, a few of my friends and I drove down into the Rock, our capitol, and visited an exhibit of Jim Henson's work as well as a few of the more famous galleries. I saw various works from Rivera, Degas, Monet, Seurat and a few others. When it was all over, we sat for a while in the museum garden and rested our feet. When we realized we were horridly bored with sitting, we walked down to the memorial park and I took some pictures. Hope you enjoy! Also - there's a picture of the papa-san so you can see what I'm talking about. Again, enjoy!

Rain-wet flowers outside of our dorm.

Home, sweet home. This is a shot from our wonky downtown. To be very honest, I'm not sure there exists a downtown that is *not* a little eccentric. But I love it.

This is my favorite picture from the day. We visited the Korean War Memorial after walking around the Art Museum for most of the day. I thought this was the strangest stance for a heroic soldier. His feet are turned in - he's afraid. It's something so simple, but it changed the entire emotional feel of the statue.

Birds on top of a towering interstate street lamp. I was standing on a bridge over the interstate, and had to use my full 10X zoom to get this shot - and I think that maybe the birds are really using this as a covert meeting place to plot the destruction of the human race. *Beware*

The Bridge we crossed when I took the picture of the birds and their secret spaceship. This bridge arcs over about eight lanes of traffic in the center of the Rock.

This was the site of an ruined fountain, but I saw it as the perfect model for a fortress where I could survive, with the help of friends and a ton of ammo and high-level explosives, the worst zombie invasion you can imagine. Now, on to more serious material.

The dying light of our most lovely day. Hope you enjoyed.

Oh! Behold! Papa-san - Most Comfy Chair in the World

So say we all.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Friday Snippets: I Hate to Say Adieu

Thank you guys so much for you input last week! We've reached the section of this story that originally started the whole idea: the bike. That's right. An image I found online of a refurbed bike started this whole story rolling, and now, my friends, we have arrived. Last week, Dell was reunited with Roy, her estranged lover and in the same snippet, she made the decision to leave his side and broke his heart. This week, she begins her cross-country journey...

Let me know what you think and definitely leave a link to your own snippets! I will be able to get to them fairly quickly this week because I've got most of my work out of the way.

Copyrighted, do not reproduce, material liable to change. Etc.

Dell waited until Roy had moved further into the dark to bow her head into her hands. She was cold now that he was gone, now that his weight did not pull her toward him as he leaned on her bedside. She wiped her at face, furious at the hot tears streaking her face and the dead weight dragging her heart down into her feet. She heard Roy moving somewhere in the dark of the basement, searching for something. She straightened, exhaling any regret or fear in a rush.

She was cold now that he was gone, now that his weight did not pull her toward him as he leaned on her bedside.

"You're going to leave now for real aren't you?" Caleb whispered. She started at the sound of his voice, but could not stop the slow nod of her head. He closed his eyes. His fingers twirled in Corleone's fur. "You love that man. A lot." She nodded again, her throat thick with left over guilt. She stood, brushed back his bangs. "Get some rest, boy," she said. She held her hand over his eyes until she felt his lashes brush her palm, warm with tears. She pulled her hand away and he did not open his eyes. It would be better if he didn't watch her leave.

She felt her way through the dark until she found Roy's hand. Silent, they stood there in the inky black and she could feel the beat of his heart through his fingers. So long they stood and she swore she would never let herself forget that moment. He guided her hand to the cold stock of her brother's shotgun. He pulled away and did not touch her again. "I'll strike a match for you, but I don't have any more fuel to spare," he said. "The doors at the top of the incline are open, but you may have to force your way through. I've loaded some ammo and supplies in the saddlebags."


"No," he said. The murk deepened around them, Dell was sure and she bowed her head. She heard the rattle of matches. A small star bloomed at the tip of Roy's fingers. She saw her brother's refurbished WWII motorcycle, loaded with saddlebags and a scabbard strapped beside the front wheel.

She shouldered on the coat he'd laid across the seat with mask and goggles. Each moment the light burned down was agony. She did not cover her face just yet, letting the mask hang around her neck and pushing the goggles back on her head. As she kicked back the stand, she swung her leg over and slid the gun into the scabbard. The bike rumbled to life. She found Roy's eyes, smoky green and shadowed beneath his long black bangs. Only a moment of light was left between them.

The match blazed down, down to his fingers. Dark. Only dark. Dell pulled on the gasmask and goggles, roaring up the incline and out into the dull red glow of the end of the world.

So say we all.

p.s. I'll post a picture of a papa-san later this weekend. Promise :) It's the most comfy chair on earth.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Making Time to Sit in a Papa-san

My apologies for my lack of posting and commenting of late. For about the past week, I've not been able to find the time to visit the blogs as I would like. Lately, I've barely been able to find the time to breathe.

Yesterday I heard back from my professor who is acting as my thesis adviser. After getting the email to schedule a meeting with him, I decided I needed to get a synopsis together and clean up the draft beforehand. So, I went to the study room to plan out further scenes. Realization: the study room is the most horridly uncomfortable room on the face of the earth. The chairs are rickety, the couch ungodly lumpy and the room is hot.

I beat it back to my room before too long and plopped down in my comfy papa-san chair to write. I need the white erase board in there to plan out scenes so I might haul a beanbag and desk fan down there tonight.

I will have a Friday Snippet up tomorrow and since I've done almost all my work for this weekend, I should be able to get back to your snippets much faster than this past week.

So say we all.

Monday, September 10, 2007

When You've Got a Train to Catch

This weekend was full of multiple opportunities and a wide array of choices. While I enjoyed various revelations about my writing priorities, the experience was also exhausting. The best part of the whole weekend though, was seeing 3:10 to Yuma.

Sorry, But I've Got a Train to Catch
First, let me say that I am not a huge fan of westerns. I generally think they are contrived and forced, reinforcing a set of values that seem out of date. The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, Unforgiven and Tombstone are classics in that they broke that mold. But none of them succeeded on such an emotional level as 3:10 to Yuma. Eastwood's film, no doubt, rescued the American Western from obscurity, and Unforgiven took the genre seriously, while Tombstone made it cool. 3:10 to Yuma made it human and personal.

3:10 to Yuma soared completely above and beyond my expectations. With a blurred vision of good and bad, the incredible storytelling and believable characters made this movie probably one of the most amazing I've see in a very long time. I've probably only seen a few films that were so violent and brutal, but beautiful and moving at the same time. 3:10 to Yuma was one of the best.

The One That Got Away
I turned down an opportunity for a possible grant and chance to present a paper at an academic conference. I'm still going to be supportive and to help. I will still push the programs I believe should be implemented in the department; I may write up a paper for that in the spring semester. But I thought it a waste to invest time and energy in research that didn't focus on something I'm passionate about. Also, I would have to delay leaving the Undergrad program for a year, thus delaying my MFA. I'm ready to get on with life, to get a house and a job so I can have a few of the things I want. I don't want to give that up.

The Opportunity Taken
I accepted the opportunity to work closely with one of my very best friends on an epic space opera, which we have steadily built up over the last 8 months. We kept it under wraps for such a long time because we weren't sure if we were serious or if we were just enjoying the world and the story. This past week, after an extremely long late night/early morning discussion at the Waffle House, we decided we were, in fact, dedicated. So we bought a dot-com and hope to have something up within the next month or so.

We're keeping it hush-hush until then, but I warn you: it is unbelievably full of awesome. With his vast views of overarching galaxy-wide plots and scientific interests and my focus on personal characters and crafted prose, we make a dashing team.

Pulling Away From the Station
If I haven't gotten to your Friday Snippets, I promise I will. This weekend was full (as you can see), and I've got a test or two this week. But I promise I will come and read. Just so you know, reading up on all the stories for the week is one of the most relaxing times of my blog-rounds.

Before I go, did anyone else see 3:10 to Yuma? If so, let me know what you think. Also, if you do like westerns, leave some suggestions if you want. I'll need to unwind this weekend and could check them out. Thanks!

So say we all.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Friday Snippets: Love in the Time of Apocalypse

Please, leave your link to a Friday Snippet! I won't be able to read them until later today when I get done, but I definitely want to see where all the stories are going this week. Please let me know what you think - We're almost to the section of this story that I absolutely adore. I'd like a general opinion of what you guys think. Thanks!

We're returning to Dell and her masked man this week. If this is your first time to read any of this Friday Snippet story, here's the basic run down. After Columbia, MO is nuked, our heroine, Dell O'Sullivan barely survived and rescued her cat Corleone and her neighbor's son, Caleb. After searching through the burned-out city for hours for an unknown person named Roy, Dell collapsed. Exhausted, she was overcome by memories of her dead brother, Matheson and her long-lost friend, Iris Garrick. All of this as a strange masked-man walks toward them out of the smoke...
Copyrighted, do not reproduce, material liable to change. Etc.
Dell dreamed of that long ago summer when she saw her brother's face on the morning before he died, before they laid down in the cold earth with no thought to the winter frost. She dreamed of the last time she saw him in the doorway, dark haired and smiling. She knew Iris was there, somewhere in the sunlight.

Dell flinched. She woke and dark was all around. She was cold, her hair clinging in slick curls against her brow. She felt herself leaning to the left and reached out her hand in the shadows. She felt the slow rise and fall of Caleb's chest, the warm purr of Corleone tucked in the curve of his arm. The man in the mask sat across from her. She couldn't see his face, but the outline of his profile was unmistakable. Roman nose and Asian jawline, the gleam of his eyes dark dusted green and tilted exquisitely, courtesy of his father the GI and his mother the lady he loved and brought across the sea after the war.

"Roy," Dell croaked. He smiled, standing over her. Dell brought her hands to her eyes, wanting suddenly to weep. She felt him sit on the edge of the bed and she wrapped her arms around him, pulling herself to sit. Every bone in her body ached, but feeling him laugh against her shoulder was worth it. Caleb stirred in his sleep. Dell pulled back, comforted by the rough hands framing her face. Roy leaned his brow against hers and she could see the faint sheen of his green almond-shaped eyes.

"Where are we?" she whispered.

"We're underground. My house is gone, but we're in my basement."

"When happened?"


"Was it just Columbia?"

"From what I can tell from the chatter, whoever got us, got most of the east coast."

Dell's hand went to her heart, her chest clutching tight. Roy watched her, judging his next words carefully. "I've heard that we may launch back, and you know what that means."

"Then there is no safe place," Dell said. "I want to be here with you if that's how it will happen."

"Then there is no safe place," Dell said. "I want to be here with you if that's how it will happen."

"I know," he said. He lowered his head, laughing quietly. "And I want you to stay."

"But we both want to know what's going on outside," she said. Those were the most awful words she could imagine saying, but she knew she would not stay with him. She had not stayed with Math died or when Iris left and she would not stay now that the world was ending. "You still have his bike?"

"Of course."

"And...the gun?"

"Yes," Roy said. He leaned forward suddenly, kissing her for the first time since the day of Math's funeral.

"I could give you anything, Dell," he said. "And you ask for those two things."

She could feel a sob deep down in her chest, but as she pulled away from him, his hand tangled in hers and she opened dry eyes.

She could hear the anger thick in his voice, tinged with grief and frustration. "I knew you would ask for those two things, Dell," he said. She rested a hand on each of his shoulders for balance and stood. He looked up at her and she saw his face, streaked with grime.

"I'll give you both," he said. He bowed his head against her, and his words were muffled against her heart. "I could give you anything, Dell," he said. "And you ask for those two things."

So say we all.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

If I Were the Last Poet, I'd Write a Song for Robots

Drafts and Sidebar Dreams
Over the past few days, I've been considering a few things when it comes to my writing life. I'm thinking about putting up a sidebar of music I've heard and enjoyed recently, and maybe a sidebar with a few definite goals. I've already set most of these up courtesy of the 1,000 Words a Day Club. Here's a few of them:
Short Story Extravaganza - I want to write at least five short story drafts by the end of the year. That's five rough drafts in five weeks, if they're all 7,000 words a piece. They won't be spectacular, but they won't be terrible either. I've got the ideas, but I need to make time to write them down before they slip away.

First Draft of XIII Book One - I want the first descent, solid draft finished by New Year. I have to have an acceptable draft by Spring for my thesis, and I need to get started on revisions.

The Plot Thickens - I want to fully outline XIII as a series, so that I have some idea of where the series story arcs, as a whole, are going. So far, I've been sort of discovering as I go, but I want a much more definite road map.

Over the Threshold - I need to decide what to do after I'm finished with this series. Let's face it, I've worked on this story for so long, moving past it will be a labor in itself. I'll probably come closer to actual grief before we're finished, but I do need to have another large project planned after XIII is finished.
When the Last Poet Finds Himself Surrounded by Robots
The other thing I've been considering is a science fiction story I read for class. The story is called The Last Poet and the Robots, by Abraham Merritt and it seems to claim that in order to be human, one must be a creator, an artists, a writer, a scientist. I've been thinking this over today. And I wonder if creation is actually what "lifts" us above everything else. Or are we lifted by our ultimate powers of destruction? Is it our innovations toward beauty, or our innovations toward horrifically powerful science that makes us the dominant species on this planet? Just a thought or two that I think I might develop into a short story or novella.

Rain May Make My Snippets Run
Tomorrow is Friday, and that means Friday Snippet time. I hope Joce will send me her sketch of Dell (so amazing) so I can use it as an illustration. For the past few days, the rains have come down in torrent over the Rock. I've waded to class with water well over my ankles and while my feet do squish for the rest of the day, the storms make for great pictures. I'll post some later this weekend. I hope you are all safe and well!

So say we all.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

I Used the Phrase "manipulative pedagogy" Successfully in this Post

I have to unwind. I'm coiled up like a spring and am ready to blow - and the semester just started. I need HALO 3 and I need some time to write. Those are my demands. Some of my professors think they should be a hard ass on the first day of class, then be the students' best friend the next. As a senior (here would follow a list of whiny and stressful things seniors deal with), I am weary of emotional mind games and manipulative pedagogy.

My classes, while sometimes annoyingly full of homework and readings, are very entertaining and generally lively with discussion and ideas. Here follows a nice list for you!

  • Evolution of Rhetorical Theory - My most enjoyable theory class, thus far. I adore studying ancient and modern rhetorics as well as understanding various ways of seeing the same event or view of the world.
  • Composition Theory and Rhetoric - Fantastic discussions. But - the readings are chock full of academics so lost in their own self-importance it's difficult to translate their writings into readable and understandable layman's terms.
  • Writing for New Technologies - This is pretty much a class focused on teaching basic html. Nice, easy. The best part is that I get to think on why a webpage works, and not only how it works.
  • Technical Writing - Please, someone run me over with a truck. This class deals with resumes and how to find a new job after ticking off your coworkers because you stole a donut.
  • Science Fiction Lit Class - Squee!
  • Science Fiction Writing Class - The Best Class I Have. 'Nuff said.
I'll have a more coherent post for you either later today or tomorrow, but it's late, and I have to get to bed. Tomorrow, I work at the Writing Center and, because I misread a syllabus, I am ahead of homework for a small stretch. We all know what that means! Happy Fun Writing Time for Bri!

So say we all.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Speaking for the Moments Now Dead

Here follows a story in which Bri:
1. Goes to the Rock to Write
2. Takes Pictures
3. Tries to Buy a Sandwich
4. Stays up to Speak for the Dead
5. Gives You Something Lovely


Yesterday, I drove into the Rock and, after a splendid time at the local comicbook shop, I wandered over to the bookstore and hand wrote a few dozen pages. When I got home, I took a long walk to the fountain with my notebook and camera to sketch and write a little more. The weather has cooled tremendously here, so I didn't mind being out. Here are some of the pictures I took while roaming about.

When I went to Subway for dinner, the girl at the register told me I owed $12 for a turkey-and-pepperjack-cheese sandwich (they were out of bell pepper and tomatoes...and everything else I put on a sandwich). I couldn't believe her. The three girls in line behind me just gawked. Somehow, I got the sandwich for half price, but walking back, I couldn't figure how a stale sandwich could cost as much as a meal at a sit-down restaurant.

Back at the dorm, I set to eating my sandwich and typing up what I wrote through the day. That done, I stayed up until 6 AM finishing Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game. I've read various science fiction series and books, and I love to write it. The Dune saga left me in awe, and any of Bradbury's stories are, of course, powerful. But nothing struck me on the same level as Ender's Game. I found myself completely moved and actually cried over the last few pages.

The reach of Ender's compassion and the strange emphasis on his humanity - all of it just worked beautifully. My favorite concept was that the dead need someone to speak for them, because they can no longer speak for themselves. I won't spoil it for you, but honestly - even if you are not a science fiction fan, this book is wonderful for its characters, its story, and the incredible insights on human values.

This is a little animation from a The Black Heart Group. They are a trio of artists: an illustrator, a composer and a 3D animator. The Tale of How was in production for three years, and is a small part of a trilogy, which is also part of a larger work. I think it is fantastically beautiful and very picaresque and charming in the way it tells its story. Be warned, once scene of violence. I hope you enjoy!


So say we all.