Tuesday, January 30, 2007

dunderheads and the treed bear

In lue of some boring “I’ve been planning the chapters” update about my latest science fiction novelette/novella/novel, I’ll instead take you back to a time long ago when I was growing up - or rather acting the pre-pubescent dweeb that I and many others were.

And yeah, the title is a play on Goldilocks and the three bears, only in my tale it’s one bear and four dunderheads . . .

So, if you will, climb aboard the time machine. Next stop a small picturesque lake in Northwestern Ontario. The date is late spring 1977. Yeah, the same year Star Wars hit the big screen and created an entire cadre of geeks.

As I mentioned there was four of us; Mike, Greg, Jamie and me. This was to be our coming of age grand adventure. We had convinced our collective parents to let up go camping on our own in the wilds. I mean what could go wrong?

Oooh, what a thrill. We were so young and eager and stupid.

Now, this was not to be any ordinary camping trip. It was to last a whole three nights. Very cool when you are 13 years old. Very manly indeed.

It all began with Jamie’s dad driving us the thirty miles out of town to the campsite. Basically it was one of the many millions of lakes just off the side of the highway. Yes, middle of nowhere, but that was the point.

We stood on the side of the highway after unloading our vast store of goods and watched Jamie’s dad pull away and head back for town. This was it. We was camping!

Jamie and Greg carried the tents and sleeping bags while Mike and I each took one handle of the huge cooler we had packed with provisions. And I mean that cooler was packed. Inside was two dozen eggs, four t-bone steaks, cans of beans, two frozen quarts of walleye (a native fish), a huge brick of cheese, two containers of milk, two loaves of bread and the Canadian classic - a pound of uncut back bacon. Plus chips, chocolate and many other staples of the growing young man.

It didn’t take us long to set up our tents and go for a swim in the icy cold lake, which had a small river flowing into it as well. Funny, but I don’t recall getting bit to death by mosquitoes, but when you live up there in the Great White North, you learn to get bit hundreds of times and basically ignore it.

Next on the agenda was firewood. It would be getting dark soon and we wanted a bonfire. What tribal right of passage could pass without the aid of fire?

Once the fire was roaring and dusk was settling in it was time to decide on what to eat. I think by this time most of the snack food had been snacked, and somebody, maybe Greg, decided we should eat some of the real food. Good idea Greg.

Since the fish would only thaw out and get mushy we decided it was fish fry time. So, two quarts of fillets were dumped from the old milk cartons holding them and directly into the huge fry pan on the grill set on the side of the fire.

Oh what a glorious time. In the wilds, frying up pounds of fish and horsing around. I recall some fighting, more play than real, and Greg getting the worst of the beatings. Hey, tests of manhood in the wilds necessitate this kind of juvenile behaviour.

Now, I should mention at this point that there were others camping in the area as well. Being far enough from town and close to the highway this was a popular spot for such sport. The camping area was big enough that you could go wee without being seen by other campers, but you could hear them out there in other spots if you listened carefully.

So, there we were, four pals frying up fish to feed twenty and eating as much as we could stuff down, after having finished all the snacks that is.

We couldn’t eat all the fish of course, so what did we four highly inteligent men do with the leftovers? Why, dump them in the fire.

Burning fish smoke was billowing upward and drifting off into the woods. Can you foresee the future of this tale? Four 13 year olds couldn't.

Well it was getting dark and our huge fire had consumed most of the wood we collected earlier, so it was time to retire to our tents and get some sleep. Tomorrow would be a day for swimming, adventures in the woods and carving sticks with our pocket knives.

I think Jamie remembered to latch the cooler closed, you know, so the bugs couldn’t get into it.

Mike and I were in one tent while Jamie and Greg were in the other. It was about an hour after getting comfortable when the side of the tent began to bulge in and out. What the hell were Greg and Jamie doing? Mike and I were tired, we needed to sleep.

We yelled at them to cut it out and get to sleep. But, they persisted in banging our tent. I remember kicking at the side of the tent from inside to get rid of them. If it weren’t so dark out and I so tired, I would have gone out there and pounded them. Good thing I didn’t.

Flash forward to birdsong, mosquitoes buzzing and morning sunshine. Mike and I crawled out of our tent and found - the cooler on its side and a big mess. What the hell did Greg and Jamie do?

We asked them as they came out of there tent, but they had no idea. It took us a few moments to use our collective deductive skills to realize that Smokey the Big Black Bear had paid us a visit in the night.

The cooler’s lid had one neat hole punched in the side. Picture if you will, Smokey the Big Black Bear, using his pointer claw to pop open this huge cooler like it was made of paper. The original flip top Bear snack pack. Yikes!

What I found beside our tent was the hunk of back bacon, chewed up, but obviously too big for the bear to swallow. Also, the four t-bone steaks were chewed clean - nothing but scraped clean bone. The two dozen eggs were a smashed and a licked up mess - the cheese was chewed but not eaten - everything was covered in bear drool.

That bear must have waddled out of the campsite last night stuffed beyond his wildest dreams.

Well, what to do now? We had no food and two more nights to put in.

We packed up and headed back to the highway to flag down a ride to town. Actually I recall sitting on the rock cut above the highway waiting for somebody to come along. Jamie was throwing rocks onto the highway and Greg was yelling at him to stop while running out there knocking them off the road.

Greg was convinced that if a highway vehicle hit one it would propel it at deadly speed and likely take one of our heads off. I remember laughing so hard about it I had tears in my eyes.

We eventually flagged somebody down, who was nice enough to go into town and tell our parents what had happened.

Jamie’s dad came back to collect us later, and was shaking his head and smiling. Yeah, we were four dunderheads.

And the saddest part of the tale - the bear kept coming back to the campsite. That poor bear was eventually treed and killed by the MNR because of the danger it posed to campers.

We most certainly failed that right of passage, but there would be others.

Friday, January 26, 2007

I am woman, hear me meme

I got suckered by PBW on this one.

Yeah, first Myspace and now getting in touch with my feminine side . . .

Geeks, Freaks or Meeks - Who would you want to inherit the earth?

Anyway, here goes.

Womens Fiction Book Meme

Contemporary, Historical, or Paranormal? Do you mean my life or what I read? Oh, answer to both – Paranormal.

Hardback or Trade Paperback or Mass Market Paperback? I don’t like the masses, but in this case I make an exception.

Heyer or Austen? Who the hell is Heyer? I’ll take Austen.

Amazon or Brick and Mortar? Bricks and Mortars please.

Barnes & Noble or Borders? Borders for me.

Woodiwiss or Lindsay? That would be a “HUH?”

First romance novel you ever remember reading? Funny. I don’t ever remember reading one.

Alphabetize by author Alphabetize by title or random? Author.

Keep, Throw Away or Sell? Keep. You really do start to resemble your pets after a time. I have two rats . . .

Read with dustjacket or remove it? Lose the jacket.

Sookie Stackhouse or Anita Blake? Neither thank you. I prefer Lovecraft.

Stop reading when tired or at chapter breaks? Depends on the book. Some I stop after the first paragraph if it really sucks.

It was a dark and stormy night or Once upon a time? I prefer “Once upon a midnight dreary” . . .

Crusie or SEP? Again with the “HUH?”

Buy or Borrow? Steal and beg first, then buy.

Buying choice: Book Reviews, Recommendation or Browse? Browse then read reviews.

Tidy ending or Cliffhanger? Leave me hanging – but write the next book or else.

Morning reading, Afternoon reading or Nighttime reading? Nighttime. Morning is for writing. Afternoon is for sleeping, er, working.

Series or standalone? Series – that ENDS! Do you hear me!

Favorite book of which nobody else has heard? “The Memoirs of Alcheringa” by Wayland Drew.

There - I got that off my breas . . . um, chest.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

there goes that theory

Well, I thought I would be on Myspace, sucking wind, friendless and shunned by my real world associates.

But, it was not to be.

I have two friends now – actually doubling my quota for this life.

I’m not even going to tell you who they are.

You will have to kill me first . . .

Oh, right, some of you were going to kill me anyway.

So I’m reading Robert Sawyer’s website about writing, and I happen upon the section where he talks about “real” writers (misquote, sorry Rob) having a daily number of words to achieve.

Good sound advice for the aspiring writer.

I’m not even close to the bare minimum of 500 a day. Most pros crank around 1000 to 2000 a day.

You would think, with my distinct lack of friends, I would have all kinds of time for cranking.

Well, I do actually; I just don’t use it wisely. I play games, surf the net, set up Myspace accounts, or watch Farscape or Firefly . . .

Why do I do these things instead of writing 500 words a day?

I’m like electricity I suppose – I tend to take the path of least resistance.

Oh, and I use lame metaphors too.

So, I’m going to go over to Myspace (sticks out tongue) and send messages to my two new friends . . .

Have I got your gander up yet?

Hee hee.

One day, oh one day, I am going to get a life.

Which is not to say I don’t already have a great one - like married for 18 years this weekend and a fantastically gifted child.

Yeah, for real.

How cool is that!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Un Denied


An update is it?

Well, okay.

“The project” is actually getting off the ground. Like, around Pluto actually, where the action begins. In reviewing what I have so far – I really like it. So, passion for the project seems to be intact.

With time spent on it I should even get the first chapter completed by March 1st or so.

And looks like the blockade is over?

Strange.

Spies – spies everywhere . . .

So I decided to get on the band wagon and get a MySpace account.

I have the pleasure now of logging in and seeing, in writing, that I have no friends . . .

Not a real ego booster. Not that I mind really. From what I can see of MySpace there is a lot of dren. And yes, now that would include me too.

If you feel charitable you could hunt me down (Paul Darcy) and befriend me – or not.

I also uploaded a short music video there, under videos. Basically it's River fighting clips from the movie Serenity put to a Cyndi Lauper song . . .

You can see why I have no friends - can't you?

Maybe I could be the one person on MySpace with zero friends. Kind of a novelty.

Maybe I should have gone to Youtube instead . . .

I picked up the first two seasons of Farscape. The new Starburst editions which are single sided discs with some new commentaries and extras from the original Starbursts or the full season sets . . .

It is a good show (despite the puppets . . . er, animatronic wonders). I will make sure I collect all the seasons plus Peacekeeper Wars.

I am a completest. Is that a word? If not, just use Anal.

Well, that’s about all from me.

Must channel my energies into the big project. I really do hope it is as cool as I think it will be.

The hopes of all writers I suppose.

Until next time.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Denied!

Well, you may be wondering why I’ve not posted in a while.

Simple.

Access - Denied!

You see, for a good long time I have been doing what most any good employee has been doing - posting from work.

Well, no more.

I can view my blog, but can’t log in to do anything with it.

Blocked, I think it’s called.

So - I need to rethink my posting schedule. Or whether I’m going to eat up writing time (like right now) posting here . . .

A quandary for sure.

I don’t’ want to just give up on this little bit of intellectual real-estate, but I also don’t what to spend quality writing time blithering on about things when I should be writing . . .

I’ll post again once I have this sordid business sorted.

For a quick writing update though - I have been planning my big project and should begin the “actual writing” process in February.

And one other quick item. I was over at gametrailers.com and happened to notice a few user videos by some Japanese guy. Premise is non-animated dolls (very well done) and the name of the doll’s family is The Fuccons - I think it is pronounced just like it looks. Um, not exactly family viewing but not outright rude either . . .

Yeah, go there and watch a couple. You will laugh . . . If you have the same sense of humour as me.

And, when I get time in this life, I feel like dragging out my old collection of G.I. Joes and coming up with something similar . . .

Hey, a guy can multitask - as long as he does it one task at a time.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Is the sky really falling

Well, if you read the local papers and watch the local news you sure would believe it to be true.

CO2 levels rising, ice sheets snapping off and floating out to sea. Bird flu, aids, wars, etc . . .

Doomsayers have always been with us.

Doomsayers love to spout their doom in your face.

This post is not meant to rebuff all the great scientific work which has been conducted over the past hundred or more years on global warming, deforestation, and pesticide abuse, but rather take a step away from the immediate and examine the psych of the human race and our place in the universe.

Sounds rather grand doesn’t it. And by even attempting such a thing you must find me a pompous know-it-all.

But I’m not.

I do know one thing with absolute certainty though. I know that I don’t have all the facts – but neither do the so called experts.

So, we are screwing up the Earth and everything on it then. Are we, really? Well, how about this for a thought . . . We are indigenous. We belong here. So?

So, whatever we do to ourselves or this planet or our immediate solar system neighbours – is completely natural. Think about it. Nuclear bombs, DDT, Mars rovers, wars, etc - all a natural process of the indigenous life on Earth.

But that doesn’t solve anything you scream . . . I’m not hear to solve, only to philosophize today. But if you want to feel better about your place on the globe, do two things for me. Use compact fluorescent bulbs in your home, and drive a new fuel efficient car.

And yes, we may – or may not necessarily – be killing off all kinds of life on Earth. But so did a honking big asteroid some 35 million years ago. That puppy appears to have killed about 80% of all life on Earth. 80%. To date, our best poisons and biggest wars didn’t even come close to scratching that kind of number.

And global warming? Please . . . From where I am sitting (literally) only ten thousand years ago there would have been about two miles of ice above my head.

Two-miles-of-ice.

And you thought shoveling the driveway yesterday sucked. So, what happened to it? I guess it must have been all those SUV’s driven by our ancient ancestors that made it all melt – right?

And so where is all this leading you ask? Well, ultimately when our sun turns into a red dwarf star the Earth will likely not be able to sustain one scrap of life, except perhaps some extremely hardy bacteria. Sorry cockroaches – you will be toast as well.

Dead as dead can be. And not just you and I, but most everything. No 80% part-of-the-way-there wipeout. We are talking the grand snuff. The oceans will boil away, the atmosphere will bleed into space and all our crying about rain forests and CO2 levels and stock market performances will be moot.

Ashes to ashes and dust to dust. Pretty accurate description of what Earth will be like then at the end of our sun’s lifetime.

And then, millions and millions of years after that, with the universe expanding, we will enter a time of utter heat death anyhow. The universe will be as close to absolute zero as it can get. Even those hardy bacteria will not survive.

Was it Marley (the singer not the one in chains) who wrote, “Be happy, don’t worry”. I can’t recall. Still, the message is a good one.

I apologize for today’s post getting all deep and such. I am just a bit sick of listening to and hearing how the sky is falling, how we are screwing up the world, how we are all going to die horribly either through disease or war or global catastrophe.

And don’t believe everything you read – please. Do your own research, and just because Dr. Soinso says something – does not mean he or she is right.

And the answer was really 41.9997399875939903893. Deep Thought just rounded it off for our convenience.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

nebulus newbius


Well then,

The new year is here (well unless you are Chinese that is) and I have spent a few days working on what it is I will be working on – writing wise - this year.

I’m going to try to produce a short story or chapter per month, every month for the whole year.

It’s going to be a stretch, a big one, since I have only three hours per week when I have actual scheduled writing time. This will change to five hours per week starting in mid-February, but if you write you know how few hours they really are.

We, or I, shall see what happens then as the months progress. And I may, or may not, be posting the results. I haven’t decided that far ahead yet. I am leaning towards yes though.

My big project is getting the once over right now with actual writing starting in February. It will consist of 12 parts. I struggled a lot over what those parts should be.

Maybe connected short stories?

Maybe a screenplay?

Maybe a pilot then 11 TV show episodes?

But, ultimately, I decided on chapters of a (novelette) or (novel) depending on how long it actually ends up being.

So, the plan will be to have part one (or chapter one actually) completed by April of this year.

Another stretch – I should be a grand Yogi by year’s end for sure.

Now a small note about my holidays.

They were extremely sweet. This was the first time in 18 years where I took a full three weeks away from the workplace during Christmas. I even had more time off than my daughter (at school) and my wife (at school too, but a much more advanced kind of school) and so had plenty of time to formulate my plans for future. See above.

And four of those days were spent gaming. And I mean days, like complete days.

Those four days consisted of a game of Arkham Horror (We won), Twilight Imperium 3 (I almost won), and two separate sessions of the devil’s own handiwork – D&D. Both of those sessions were fun, but for the second session (it was the third day of gaming in a row) I was a tad “not there” in the sense that I was sleep deprived. Still, despite my mental fatigue I managed to single handedly kill three large spiders by myself – before being poisoned and falling unconscious that is.

Well, this has gone on long enough as after vacation I need to ease on back into blogging.

Oh, the perogies did work out perfectly though at Christmas. I am almost to the point of saying I have them mastered, but will save that comment for the time when I am really old.

And New Year’s resolutions?

Only one.

Twenty minutes on the trampoline a day, every day, unless I am sick . . .

Hey, I heard that!