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Archive for the ‘Sea stories’ Category

I have been doing a lot of thinking lately.

Real thinking, beyond things like “what am I going to cook for dinner”.

I have more and more found myself thinking about what if.

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It all started innocently enough. I was working on ideas for my NaNoWriMo project, when the thought just occurred to me.

What if, one day, in one fell swoop, every oil well on the planet simply dried up.

No warning, no decades of preparation, just dry.

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In my story I was going to have science develop a bacteria that eats oil. You know, something to pour into the water the next time an oil rig blows up. Something that sounds like a good idea, right up until it turns out to be a bad idea.

In the case of my story, the bacteria had spread and multiplied beyond what it was designed to do and essentially ate the world’s oil supply.

The reasons that my mind was taking a walk down Apocalypse Lane are really not important though, at least not now.

More important by far is what I saw when I took that walk.

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I started with that first what if, and started thinking about what the effects would be. I opened up my mind’s eye and I could see things clicking together like the pieces of a puzzle. Actually it would be more accurate to call it a house of cards.

That was the day I realized just how much we depend on the energy we derive from fossil fuels.

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The first and most obvious thing that would happen is that within a week or two my cars would all become nothing but lawn ornaments, slowly rusting away as there would no longer be a way to get fuel for them. I would bet just about anything that within a week all remaining petroleum supplies would be federalized to keep the military and emergency services functioning as a more long term solution was found.

I suppose if I were driving a diesel I could try to use Bio-diesel, vegetable oils, or other alternative fuels, but likely those would be federalized pretty quickly as well to keep vital systems online.

Then I asked myself, what happens when the trucks and trains stop running?

What happens when no more supplies are reaching cities?

Thats where I think whatever bio-diesel we are able to produce would go. It would go to bringing food and other vital supplies to where it needed to be. There simply would not be enough left over for recreational use.

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As I continued with the world building for my tale I started thinking about what other ways the loss of oil would affect things. After all, I am a maintenance guy. I fix things both for a living and for fun.  Some people just see separate things, I see systems, interactions, everything is part of a puzzle, even you and I.

One of the primary things I do is look at interactions, cause and effect. I see the effects, and use that to tell me the cause. It’s what I have done my whole life, and I consider myself pretty damn good at it. 

This time I am looking at a cause and trying to predict the effects.

Let me tell you, it ain’t pretty.

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If the oil goes away what goes with it?

Gasoline.

Diesel fuel.

Natural gas.

Heating and lubricating oils.

Many plastics, and a lot of artificial rubber.

Add synthetic fibers like Nylon and Rayon into the mix.

Asphalt (though it won’t be needed near as much, since most cars will be obsolete)

It’s used in the pharmaceutical industry for some drugs, and in the crafting of damn near everything.

Whether it’s an actual part of the product or not, oil is used to make just about everything we touch. It’s so prevalent that attempting to live in such a way that you used none would be very difficult.

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Nearly impossible.

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What happens to the house of cards when someone comes along and pokes the base real hard with a big stick?

It all comes crashing down.

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Look at it from a local level, instead of globally. Focus on the small scale, you and your immediate family and friends.

How would you heat your house this winter?

Where would your food come from?

How would you get to work?

Would you even still have a job?

What would your community look like a year later? 

How about after five years?  

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The more I think about it the more I realise, 150 years ago the only oil we burned was to light lamps against the darkness. People survived, indeed they thrived, without oil.

People would go back to it, they would adapt and survive. As a race, we would go on.

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The world though, it would be a very very different place.

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What would you do if suddenly all the technology you use everyday without thinking about it suddenly just went away?

Yes, the world would be a different place. How would you fit into it?

Would you be able to adapt, or would you be one of the many that perished in the attempt?

Are you so addicted to technology that you would literally die of withdrawals if it you couldn’t get your fix?

Just something to think about.

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Happy Earth Day.

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I was sitting about today, as I often do, trying to come up with a number.

Specifically, I wanted a number that would tell me how much water needs to be underneath my wonderful new boat to keep it from dragging important boat parts, such as the engine, thru rocks, mud, and disgruntled bottom dwelling creatures.

Not to mention it might do bad things, like poke a hole in the boat and let the lake in.

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Now contrary to popular belief I do have the ability to think logically when I have to. I decide I can solve this with a simple math problem.

A – B = C

Where A is the measure of how far off the ground the waterline of the boat is in the driveway

And B is how far off the ground the bottom most part of the engine is from the ground.

In that case C should be how much water I need before bad things happen right?

See you can see the flaw in my master plan.

Nothing? Take a closer look…

According to this the waterline is higher than the bottom of the transom at the back of the boat. Somehow I think it’s a bit out of place.

Dang it, I don’t get my number and now I need to fix my waterline too…

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Sometimes all the stars just line up.

This past weekend I was gifted with something most excellent on my birthday.

Funny thing is, the person that did the giving did not know it was my birthday until after the fact.

As many of you know (and the rest will now as well) I served in the Navy for a number of years. Back in the old days when we had dinosaurs powered ships.

Well, that’s what my kids think at least.

It was an interesting if somewhat stressful time of my life, but while I was there I fell in love with the open water.

Now, I am just about as far away as one can get from the ocean while still being on this planet.

Anyhow, this wonderful person had bought himself a boat many moons ago. Back in 1974 to be exact.

It just occurred to me I was starting kindergarten that year…

After all these years he decided to move on to another boat, but did not care to sell one that he had been with longer than a fair few people have been alive. He chose to give her to me instead, to enjoy with my family like he had with his own.

She needs a little bit of TLC, but I do believe that my family will make a lot of great memories aboard her.

Thanks much Randy, I appreciate it more than you know.

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The lower cabin windows may have some tinting in thier future...

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Look honey, the colors match the house!

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Looks like a big bass boat, until you see the minivan for scale >.<

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I love the simplicity of the design, though there will likely be electronics in her future. (go figure, I am a tech-geek)

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They hid the sink under one of the chairs, how cool is that?

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While they were at it they hid the john under the bed up front. (no, you don't have to dance with the anchor to use it)

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Beautiful, isn’t she. 🙂

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I can’t really say I have been quiet of late. I have actually been writing quite a bit. It’s just that I have been doing all of it on my Warcraft blog instead of this one.

I like writing, though I have been going through a bit of a slump recently.

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What does this have to do with world building you ask?

Patience grasshopper, we’ll get there.

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Lately most of my work has been going on the gaming blog because quite frankly it’s easier to write. I have been playing the game for nearly four years now, the words just flow. I don’t have to make up the stories, I just rattle on about what I see happening.

It’s actually more like the diary of a character in a story than a story in and of itself.

With that in mind I still don’t intend to neglect this place, far from it. This is the place where Dechion the gamer lets Brad the real life avatar come out to play from time to time.

Dechion can take those years of playtime and slap together a moderately interesting post in just a few minutes. Here Brad actually takes time to think about what he will write.

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Holy crap.

I just reread that and I sound like a psycho.

I don’t have a split personality, honest.

I know my head is a bit on the empty side but there is only room for one personality in there.

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Moving on…

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Following Tami’s example I have started making preparations for this years NaNoWriMo already. Last year I did not complete my work, and in fact I tossed it all after rereading it. While the individual words were good the way I strung them together was a failure of epic proportions.

This year though, this year will be different.

This year I will have a plan.

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With that goal in mind I have narrowed it down to three major things my story will need.

  • A plot. The action of the story, the conflict.
  • A World. The place the plot occurs.
  • Characters. The witnesses to the plot, we see it through their eyes.

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That might be simplifying it a bit too much, but it is really early on. The basic premise of any plot is conflict.

  1. Introduce characters.
  2. Make their lives miserable. (face it, if their lives were nice there would be no story)
  3. Allow them a way to grow because of (or despite) the misery.
  4. Say good-bye as they live happily (or crappily) ever after.

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The world where the story takes place is a huge influence on everything. Essentially the setting IS one of your main characters, if not THE main character.

In fact,  the setting is likely the only character that you will see in every scene in the story.

It needs to be well thought out, internally consistent, and it needs to fit the plot.

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I once thought the story took place separately from the world.

Like the actors in a play are separate from the painted scenes behind them, I thought of the setting as almost an afterthought. Something that existed parallel to but separate from the story being told.

I could not have been more wrong.

Just as the characters must fit their roles within the tale so must the setting.

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Over the last few days I have been working on imagining a world.

As I was doing this I had several ideas for story lines come through the old worn out brillo pad I use when my brain is in the shop for repairs. I found a couple I really like, and think I might just be able to weave them together into one story.

Hopefully one that sucks far less than my last attempt. *Shudder*

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Anywho I ran into a problem.

The world in my vision would simply not fit as a character in this new blended story. It would not have been quite as out of place as a sparkly unicorn in a horror movie about aliens, but it would have been close.

If I am treating the setting as a character in the story then I did what any writer would do. If the character just isn’t working, cut it and find another one that will.

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So I guess thats where I am now. Back to a vague plot and a few ghosts of future characters.

Time to regroup and make another world for them to play in.

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I may be starting over, but I just got to do something most people never will.

I just balled up a whole world and threw it in the trash.

Then again, had my world been a reality we would have found that the human race had done the same thing to the setting our story is unfolding in.

Post-modern distopias are depressing.

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I guess I’ll get back to world building now, have a good weekend.

Todays post was brought to you be the the letters W, T, and F and the number 50,000.

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As much as I would love to claim I wrote this for my poor neglected blog I did not.

I actually wrote it for the one on Warcraft. I did figure that there might be a few that do not follow my WoW blog that may want to see it, so I am double posting.

If you got both, sorry about that.

I was sitting this morning thinking about who I would consider my “main” warcraft character when this all occurred to me, so it will make more sense to someone who has played WoW or something similar. Anyhoo, here is my little ode to the much maligned banker alt. 

Hope you like it.

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The Banker

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One by one I stand and watch,

The favored characters leave.

They go to fight in far off lands,

That I’ll likely never see.

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I might be sportin’ spiffy clothes,

I might be dressed in rags,

The only thing that counts to them,

Is what is in my bags.

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I’d love to go there with them,

But they say they need me here.

To keep the home fires burning,

And help repair their gear.

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With freshly purchased flasks and such,

I send them on their way.

To go and throw themselves against,

The raid boss of the day.

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I may not get achievements,

They claim I never fight,

What about the cut-throat posts,

In the Auction House last night?

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So here I sit in Ironforge,

Running to and fro,

I wonder what it’s like outside,

Man I’d like to go.

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Then again my lot in life,

Is not to leave the town.

But to be the one who stays behind,

And never lets them down.

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Fully geared and level capped,

They look down on me to much.

They think a real main character,

Should go save the world and such.

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Well raiding characters come and go.

The same with “mains” for PvP.

The only constant in this gang,

Is the Banker, a’la ME.

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~Dechion.

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Frogs

It just so happens I am a bit too swamped to write a coherent post right now. 

Now, not wanting to leave my readers hanging for a whole month (what with me liking my readers and such) I figured I would drop by and talk about frogs.

Why frogs you ask? You shall see.

Many moons ago my family would get together every year for a Memorial day weekend camping trip. It may not have been every year, but gimme a break this was like 30 years or more ago.

Anyhow, I have no idea why we decided on that weekend. I must have missed the meeting when we discussed it, or I was doing big important things like watching loony tunes or possibly cleaning my room, something.

Even at that age I would have pointed out that in Indiana (where we lived at the time) Memorial Day falls into one of two distinct seasons depending on the year. By those I mean the “winter does not feel like being over yet” season or the “winter is over, time for thunderstorms” season.

Had I made the meeting I would have suggested either January or July, at least I would have known what to expect each year. Yes I know, what does this have to do with frogs? Patience grasshopper, I’ll get there.

Well the last year that I remember us going, in fact the single trip I remember the most, it decided that it wanted both seasons. In the finest traditions of bad camping weather nature took the best of both worlds,  deciding to be cold and wet at the same time.

Now this made for a really fun camping experience, really it was great. Nothing like having a nice chilly rain falling all weekend long to make your folks want to throw you in a the lake. I got to talk and play with Lego’s, and talk, and read, oh, and did I mention talking? Being a kid I really didn’t mind it much at all.

Now, after a good long day of being cooped up with me my folks actually let me set up my own little tent a little away from theirs. In an effort to keep the ten year old me entertained we set my small tent down by the lake, perhaps fifteen feet or so from it on a little rise. I propped up my little awning and fished right out the door.

I was doing well enough fishing down there that I talked my folks into letting me keep my tent there so I would not have to move it to fish again the next day. Well that night it rained, and rained, a long pounding soaking rain that was just everywhere. That kind where everything is damp no matter how hard you try to stay dry.

It rained so hard the seals failed on my parents tent, turning it from a damp shelter into a retention pond. In an effort to stay dry mom and dad split up to find a dry places to sleep. My uncle had enough room for one in his tent and dad went there, Mom came over to my little two person tent to wait out the rain.

This is where it gets interesting. You see, apparently mom forgot to zip up the bottom of the door when she came in. We both curled up in our sleeping bags and went back to sleep for the rest of the night.

Well apparently frogs, in this case big bullfrogs, don’t like being cold and wet and pounded with rain. Somehow I would have thought they would be fine in the rain, but I guess they had other ideas. Fortunately there was a relatively warm, dry place right by the lake.

So that is how I woke up to mom simply losing her mind, screaming so loud her dentures launched across the tent.

Laughing my fool head off in a tent full of frogs.

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An old soldier once told me of a shoelace that saved his life. His boot lace had snagged on a twig as he was on patrol causing him to stumble. As he lurched forward he heard a loud noise and felt a hard thwack on his helmet. He described it like getting hit with a hammer.

The bullet grazed off the top of his helmet where a second before his forehead had been.

Do you think when he woke up that morning he realised not tucking in his boot laces would save his life that day?

 

Have you ever sat for a moment and thought about the tenuous web of minor decisions and random chances that make up our lives?

Look back for just a moment.

I bet you can think of a hundred times when the most seemingly insignificant decision can come back and loom over your future like the bow of an oil tanker bearing down upon a rowboat. Sometimes the decisions are not even yours, but random events influenced by others. Things are just like that at times.

You could drive yourself crazy thinking about all the “what if’s” of life.

 

What if Bre’s mom had not put a picture up at work? How would her tale have been different?

 

For instance, what if I had been in the mood for chicken twenty years ago?

 

What’s that look?

I never told you how Kelly and I met?

Ah, this is a great example. Grab your drink and pull up a spot at the fire, I have a tale to tell.

 

Once upon a time, well actually in the spring of ’89 but I can call it what I want, a young sailor was going to school to learn how to fix broken things. He was good with things this young man, things made sense.

People now, people not so much. They would do the darndest things at the darndest times, as any parent can tell you. So this young man understood machines, and felt comfortable around them. For the most part the same did not hold true for people.

This was especially true with attractive young ladies. 

 

This young man was living in a flop house of an apartment with several other sailors as well as the fiance of one of them. They all got along well, and all chipped in on things that were needed. Kim, the one lady living there, also had herself a job. She worked a shift here and there at a McDonald’s down the street from the flop house.

Every so often the young man would stop in on his way home from school to give his friends fiance a ride home. It was, after all, on his way. Often times he would sit and wait a few minutes for her to wrap up her shift, enjoying a chocolate milkshake and watching the people go by.

One of those people, a lovely young lady who worked there, really caught his eye.

I was that young man nearly half a lifetime ago now, and she still catches my eye.

 

That day, as we were driving back to the flop house, the I asked Kim about her. We talked a bit as we drove home, but it was quickly forgotten. Well, by everyone else anyway. I remembered.

Weeks passed with the same routine. Several times the I would go through the line and get my chocolate shake just to say hello. The young lady never noticed, and I never had the nerve to try and stand out from the crowd.

It was something to do with being face to face….

Then there came a day when I had stayed late to study for an upcoming exam. Actually stayed so late at the school studying that I missed dinner. Thats the day I made one of the most important decisions of my life.

What do I want for dinner.

 

As the golden arches pulled into sight I made up my mind. I even still remember what I had that day, over twenty years gone by now.

I pulled up to the drive through speaker and say that beautiful young lady working the window.

Not really sure of myself until after it had actually come from my mouth  I placed my order.

“A quarter pounder, a chocolate shake, and your phone number please …”

 

No, she did not give it to a random guy coming through the drive through.

The ice was broken however. From then on I had the nerve to talk to her. We did get together for good shortly thereafter, but that is a tale for another day.

For right now my fire is burning low, and my beer is running dry.

Time to call it a day.

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