Archive for the ‘Stupid Ideas’ Category

From an Up to a Down

August 9, 2010

The other day, Fate decided that, having reached what it presumably saw as the pinnacle of my life’s achievements, the only path left to me was falling backwards fifteen feet off a ladder onto concrete paving.

Needless to say I rather disagree with Fate’s assessment, and we’ve since reached a consensus that such things should, in fact, be kept to a minimum wherever possible.

Convincing? No? Alright. By ‘Fate’, I of course mean ‘the laws of physics’. What happened, was that after starting some cleanup work on the outside walls of one of my aunt’s properties, I discovered that ivy had snaked its way around the walls and roof, in the way that ivy always does (presumably given the absence of more interesting things to do, like go to parties, or, say, take up parkour).

This, I was told, would not do, so it had to be pulled down. Being a person who is not a giant, I needed a ladder for this. Luckily there was one to hand, which was fine for the lower strands, however the ivy that was entangled around the roof remained out of reach despite my increasingly frenzied efforts, one of which involved a pair of shears, which were too short, and then a broom, which was, well, a broom and so not really all that much use.

After five minutes or so of waving garden implements around, a spark of “I’m going to sort this out if it’s the last thing I do” determination* hit me, and I decided to recruit the garden table into my mercenary band of ivykilling brothers. I placed the ladder on top of the table to gain the extra height I would need, and began to climb. It wasn’t the most stable of setups, I knew, but I had someone holding it steady for me. Nothing could possibly go wrong.

I’m not sure what it was that did cause the ladder to topple under me, be it overzealous grasping, poor positioning, or badly timed breeze, but topple it did!

They say that time slows down in that sort of situation. As it was, I only had time to wonder which bit of me was going to hit the ground first, before immediately finding out. Fortunately it was my side and hip so the impact was fairly spread out, resulting only in some bruising and a slight House M.D.-ish limp for yesterday and today.

I got most of the ivy down, too.

.

*idiocy
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An Aria of Alliteration

July 17, 2010

This week, amongst property adventures and employment explorations I’ve mostly been writing a new short piece of fiction, naturally in complete odds with the writing goals set out in my last entry. It’s a bit gimmicky really, but basically the story is made up of paragraphs using words beginning only with the same letter of the alphabet,  going from ‘A’ to ‘Z’ (which, oddly, hasn’t been the hardest part to nail down). Almost.

I say ‘almost’, because without ‘the’, ‘and’, ‘a’, and other incidental words, even Tolkien or Lovecraft in their wordiest of writing fevers would have had trouble pasting a coherent sentence together. Believe me I tried it, but after much humming and lip-chewing  decided to forgo my first idea for a piece of writing that’s actually – hopefully – interesting to read, rather than just a pile of words that start the same way. I’m not using any thesauruses (or thesauri? The debate rages within us all, I’m sure), so it’s a masochistically enjoyable process, as I’m having to scrape the very bottom of my vocabulary knowledge with each new section. It’s a test of how capable I am, and all said and done, this thing is probably a psychological response to the fact that, lacking employment, I have no other outlet in which to prove to myself that I’m not completely useless. So this is how I’m doing it.

As for the story; it started off as the fairly mundane tale of a man looking for his kidnapped friend, but – and don’t ask me how – quickly turned into a much more… theological, supernatural tale of power and misjudged malice. Basically, more of the fun stuff 😉

Deep Space Discs

July 11, 2010

As most of us know by now, being stranded on a desert island these days means becoming instantly embroiled in adventures involving mysterious hatches, smoke monsters and electromagnetic anomalies. You wouldn’t even have the time to listen to your favourite CD ever, or settle down with a good book.

The silent voids of deep space, however? Now there’s a desolace worthy of a castaway from the 21st century! And so, if you were left drifting through space, and could have one book, one album, one game (or film), and a luxury item, what would you choose?

I would take these:
.

1. Book – The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

As a young’un I was a rather voracious reader – a bit like Mathilda, but without the domestic abuse and psychic powers. However, for all my word-munching,  I didn’t know what comedy writing truly was until I stumbled across The Guide. Obvious thematic practicalities aside, I chose this book as my papery space companion for a few reasons. Firstly, it is emminently re-readable; there are a wealth of clever little details to pick up on, and the humour hits home on so many levels that it demands just a little bit more effort from the reader than they might be used to. And that was what attracted me so much as a child, and has kept me coming back. Secondly, this particular version of the book is comprised of all five parts to the story, so once I’d read the first three books, I would go about trying to rewrite the last two so that they were better, keeping me well occupied between bouts of space-snoozing. This leads on to the third point, which is that on reflection, the appreciation of Mr. Adams’ writing style served me well as a diving board into my own scribblings.

2. Album – Appetite for Destruction (Guns N’ Roses)

There are more complex compositions out there, sure. And those which perhaps invoke a fuller spectrum of emotions across their tracklist, but to me, if I was lost in the universe with no sign of rescue, nothing beats Guns N’ Roses’ Appetite for Destruction for sheer energy and bravado. The guitar licks in this raw monstrosity could melt suns, and there’s not a single duff* track in there. Welcome to the Jungle, Paradise City and Sweet Child of Mine are the well-knowns, but it’s the dynamic riffs of tracks like Nightrain and You’re Crazy that would keep my spirits burning long into the endless night.

3. Game – Planescape: Torment

This is a rare beauty of the gaming world. The experience offered by Planescape: Torment transcends  simply being something to ‘play’.  You take on the role of The Nameless One, a man who, for one reason or another, cannot truly die. He has lived thousands of lives, but each time he dies, he loses part of his memory. By the time we pick up his story he is waking up on a mortuary slab, covered in tattoos, with absolutely no knowledge of where, when, why, or who he is.

‘What can change the nature of a man?’

Along The Nameless One’s journey, it is you, as the player, who addresses that question, exploring his past and present, and forging his future. It’s a role playing game, with a script of 800,000 words. Yep. And the number of different decisions and choices you can make are astonishing, as you explore Sigil, a city of doorways to every other plane of existence. And those doors could be anything – a word, a feeling, an object…

Aside from its thoughtful reflections of the decisions we make, and what makes people tick, PS:T is also highly replayable due to the number of different paths it is possible to take through the game. So off it goes with me into space!

4. Luxury Item

Pens and paper for writing. Technically multiple items, I suppose, but it’s my catastrophe – I’ll let myself off. And who knows, with all  that time I might actually get something finished. And, er, be the only person to read it…

*(Hoho!)

Blogging on the Razor’s Edge

June 23, 2010

Internetless (adjective; describing a lack of access to internet) ~ A state of being which first manifested in the late 20th Century, regular web users suffering from this condition may experience restlessness, erratic twitching of the index finger, fresh air, human contact, and other similarly confusing and unfamiliar symptoms .

I am, for the next couple of weeks, a victim of this unspeakable curse. The last entry was posted with two security guards looming over me, because I was stealing internet from the University library after it had closed. My life gets more extreme with each passing day, truly.

Now, with it being the end of the academic year, I have to hand my university card back in which means no library access at all (excuse me while I fetch a damp towel) so… for the next few days, I hope to get my internet fix by masquerading as a Modern Foreign Languages student, sneaking into my old Uni department building, and hoping that locks haven’t been put on the computer room doors during the last two years. These are dark times indeed 😉

Something to think on while I go about tracking down a reliable internet source – do geese see god?

Signing off,

Your friendly neighbourhood internet thief

The Big Balls-Up

October 6, 2009

What if the origin of our universe was actually just an experiment gone wrong? Thinking from an omniversal perspective for a second (because as we all know, a little omniversal perspective every now and then is never a bad thing 😉 ), and the insignificance that one mere universe would represent on that scale, it doesn’t seem all that unlikely to me that our universe could have been kicked off in an explosion caused by, say, a Universal Causality lesson in some pan-dimensional university… right?

“Hey, what happens if we throw all this stuff together, Garglar?”

“Nothin’, space-buddy. It’ll just fizzle out like usua-”

*BOOM*

“Great comet-gargling nebulae, Garglar! If Professor Ziltoid sees that mess he’ll go zarquats – hide it out in that pocket of the omniverse, quick!”

And so begins our universe…

——–

Hmm, and seeing as my mind’s on idiotic overload tonight, how’s about this: I was just thinking about whether over the centuries, as humanity’s minds develop and our brainwave activity increases, the more active a ‘ghost’ – or ‘imprint’ of that brain activity – might be left upon the earth when they die. People often say that ghosts appear in places where people have died under traumatic circumstances – is it possible that this is because their brain was more active as they passed away than those who slip away in their sleep, or under a hospital/drug induced soporific state?

What if, in the future, mankind’s brain activity increases to a point where, when we die, the imprint left is so potent that an ephereal replication of our conscious brain patterns is left? Essentially a non-corporeal representation of everything that our mind was, without the physical influences of hormones and impulses, and without any actual conscious thought? That’s a scary, but nonetheless curious concept…

Doesn’t He Remember What Happened to Samson?

August 7, 2009

Photo 392

As any writer worth their salt knows, an author’s literary chops are directly proportional to the amount of facial hair he or she has. (Ain’t that right, Fifthwinders?!) The only reason I even managed to write a completed first draft of a novel is because I was unemployed for most of that time and so had had the freedom to maintain a decent level of beardliness!

As this period is rapidly coming to a close however, I’m sadly forced to start doing things like -gasp- getting haircuts and, as of tomorrow, shaving regularly to get into the swing of things for when I actually have to present myself as a professional individual and all that. Plus, the other day I was ordering a pint in a bar and as the barmaid was handing me the glass, it cracked and the top half of it exploded! Maybe the concentrated aura of writing power around the beard is building to critical mass… (In all seriousness, it was quite odd!)

So fair warning – if the quality of my writing begins to slide quicker than oiled-up jelly on an ice rink, you know why 😉

Metaphoric Digitalisation

July 21, 2009

Al's Avatar

It’s me as a little computer dude! As part of Microsoft’s ‘New Xbox Experience’, similar to the Nintendo Wii and upcoming Playstation ‘Home’, you create a 3D avatar that you use in all your interactions and games etc as a representation of yourself.

So, we live in a time when not only do we create abstract digital ‘presences’ through blogging, posts on forums etc, but actually can create visual manifestations of ourselves that act as a ‘physical’ entity in cyberspace. Amazing really…What does it actually mean to exist in this day and age? (Oo-er, here we go) As a species we have extended ourselves beyond the physical state, and are creating an ever-expanding universe for these alternate representations of ourselves to live in. Where does it end? Brainwave patterns digitalised into electronic consciousness? Transcending biology altogether?

Eventually, I reckon so.

This is such a fantastic time to be alive 😀 If a genie were to turn up and give me the choice of either living in a land of magic, or staying in the here and now, I think I would prefer to stay here. How about you? Friends and loved ones notwithstanding – say you could take them with you – what would you choose?

The Infamous (Time-Travelling) Capnscar

July 9, 2009

Freelancer.

One afternoon last year, my mate Ben and I decided to play a spaceship game called Freelancer and go online, where there are other players zipping about in their ships doing the kinds of things spaceship owners do. It was the first time either of us had played it, but for our part we’d decided we were going to be space highwaymen. It was one of those kinds of afternoons.

Ben chose the moniker ‘capnscar’ (because ‘Captain Scarlet’ wouldn’t fit) and with myself as the somewhat less enigmatic  ‘Talyn’, we picked a server at random and headed into the universe to make our fortune.

So, we start the game and float up into space, and before we know it another player flies over and hails us.

“Woah…” he types.

“Your money or your life,” I say.

He ignores this, and turns his ship towards Ben. “OMG, it’s the infamous capnscar :O”

In real life, we poke our heads round our doorframes to exchange looks.

Back in the game, the player is continuing: “The infamous capnscar that led the assault on Sector X317!”

Of course, there’s only one possible way for Ben to respond to this.

“Yeah I am.”

And that just sets the little guy in his spaceship off. “That was so cool! Wow! You’re a legend!” etc. while we laugh our arses off. ‘The infamous capnscar‘, indeed… Needless to say, Ben had never flown his spaceship out of orbit before, never mind organised raids on Sector wozzname.

The reign of terror that followed this encounter need not be discussed – suffice it to say that even though we never played the game again, the infamous capnscar disappearing once more into the shadows of the universe,  the incident became an oft-repeated source of hilarity.

The reason I bring this story up, is that yesterday, we were talking about it, and he said something about having never played the game before, and I said, “well, what if you actually have? What if, at some point in the future, you end up travelling back in time and it transpires that your time-travelling self is, in fact, the capnscar of such infamy?”

And then it dawned on me.

“Or…  what if you were in the future, but playing the game in the past?”

And this led on to all sorts of thoughts… surely it would be, although ‘easier’ might not be the right term, more likely that it be possible to send computer data back in time than, say, people? The internet, and data transferral in general hasn’t been around long, so it might be that the window for such an event hasn’t been open long enough yet – we could wake up tomorrow to find we’ve been contacted by people from the future by data packages sent back through time! Or perhaps it’s just a matter of unwittingly developing a network / computer setup that future humans can use to send computer data back?

.

As usual, complete conjectural bollocks from me, but hey… why break the habit of a lifetime? 😉

Dream Virus

June 30, 2009

Would it be possible to create an illness in a dream that becomes part of your subconscious, then manifests itself as symptoms when you’re awake? Probably not, no, but I was thinking about this idea for a story about a dream virus. Imagine if you woke up having brought a dream-created virus with you; no-one would have any immunities to it, so it would spread and spread, and the only time one might be safe is when the mind is in a dream state. So then, there’s a desperate rush as people are put into comas to keep them safe from this virus, maybe to wait until everyone who has the virus has died off.

You could build a whole fictional technology around it; scientists researching how the virus made the transition from concept to reality, then developing other stuff like using the method the virus uses to spread itself through consciousnesses and adapting it into a way to pass thoughts from one mind to another…

… Argh, it’s way too hot today. Calls for an emergency beer + freezer combo!

Oh, on topic, my dream diary on the path to lucid dreaming is going pretty well. I can accurately remember at least one dream per night now, so the obvious next step is ratcheting it up to at least two!

Celebrity Powered…

June 26, 2009

Oof, Michael Jackson and Farah Fawcett in one day. Sad stuff indeed. Is it me or do celebrities seem to be dropping like flies at the moment?

Hmm, flies…

*strokes chin in exaggerated fashion*

That makes me think back to my previous post…

(Okay, you can see I’ve been lining this up)

So, I wonder how much energy one of those microbial fuel cell thingumies would produce if you stuck a celebrity in one. Especially legends like MJ and Charlie’s Angel… hell, chuck those two in and you could probably power Africa for centuries.

We are the world’, after all.

But seriously; what about it? Celebrity batteries… we live in a pop culture; think of the sense of local pride it would instill to be able to say “Our town’s powered by Jimi Hendrix’s little finger, yessir!” (Or you know, Chis ‘Drearybones’ Martin or whoever passes as a contemporary maestro these days)

The technology and the fuel is there, they’re both just waiting to be used for the good of humanity…

Ahhh it’s been a long day.

[As an aside regarding MJ –  I only hope his primary thoughts towards the end were of the staggering amount of happiness his music has inspired in people, on a scale rarely matched, if ever. A true legend, whatever the personal slide may have been. As for Ms Fawcett… well, I honestly don’t know much about her. Insert your own angel joke here.]

Edit: Michael Jackson’s ‘Primary thoughts’ perhaps a poor choice of words, though.

Goodnight 😉