The Three Hundred and Fifth Post: The One Where I Switch Gears Again!

Hello everyone!  I’m stepping away from “The Mind of Man” plotting and planning for a second to try to dredge up something about the current project (or to be more accurate, one of them): The Marvelous and Malefic Doomsday Medicine Show.  I’m hammering away at the main character, trying to show him as really nothing more than a near-useless lump of flesh.  In the end, I am going to give him a shot of redemption.  I’m straddling the line between ‘lovable scamp’ and ‘contemptible bastard’, and it’s not really an easy line.  Right now, he’s trying to tell the healing spirit that inhabits him named Vimala that while he’s not healing broken bones and things like that, he is healing wounded spirits by showing up with his magic infused alcohol and sideshow to distract the people from their weary lives for just a day or two.

I’m hoping that everyone is going to see through this.  We’re not supposed to like Ehren right off the bat, but he does have some redeeming qualities — there is a scene (was in the beginning of the first chapter,but I’m thinking about moving it now and opening up with him rolling into down with a shot up wagon) where he treats a child with bronchitis for no charge, and he does give half his food to a child that’s suffering from malnutrition.  He’s not a good man (the bottles he gives only makes people feel good and full of energy, it doesn’t cure them.  He’s pretty much this land’s version of a travelling drug dealer), but he does get the chance to redeem himself.

I’m wondering if I’m going to the well too many times for that.  Daughter of the Mountain has Anya discovering the old folk tales from Tarjent and going off to make her own legends — you could say that she feels the personal need to redeem herself after leaving the Scholarship.  However, Anya doesn’t feel bad about it — she has a great wife in Rhona and it’s not like they’re going to go hungry at any point.  She just needed something to pour her energies into.  That’s not really redemption.  The Mind of Man has a thread of redemption in it, with the main character unleashing AI onto the world.  Not a huge threat mind you — it’s more of a cautionary tale for AI (or so I hope).  Redemption is the main theme in The Marvelous and Malefic Doomsday Medicine Show.  Daughter of the Mountain is about finding faith (with Anya, it’s almost a religious experience) and The Mind of Man is concerning how one’s road to Hell is paved.

I hope you don’t find any of this boring, but I’m the sort of person who likes to chat about the projects I’m working on if only to flesh out ideas.  I’d talk to my plants, but they seem to keep dying on me (I mean…didn’t I water you a week ago?  I think an intervention for your addiction to water is needed, Mr. Aloe Vera.  You’re tearing the family apart!).  I think next time, I might discuss one of my hobbies: RPGs and the world I have in mind for that.

Until then, thanks for reading and please check out the books on the right hand side written by me and some friends.  I highly recommend them — especially Amy Valenti’s material.


Seething Apathy

The Three Hundred and Fourth Post: The One Where I Geek Out…

Hello, everyone — thought I would try to squeeze in a quick blog about what’s going on before I watch a speed run of BioShock: Infinite (which is one of the story-telling games ever) on  Please take a look at it and feel free to donate to Doctors Without Borders.  It’s a good cause and where can you see someone try to play a game that took me almost a day to do in three hours?

I’m still working on some things in my head for “Mind of Man” — there is going to be some advanced tech, but I don’t want it to look like something out of Shadowrun.  Not a whole lot in physical modifications…no metal plated skeletons and things like that.  Neural computers?  Maybe.  Smartlinks?  Yes.  I’m thinking that anything in the head is tightly, tightly regulated.  Given that the last time there were computers slipped into someone’s brain — all hell broke loose.  If the Main Character has a computer in his head, it’s not going to be all that powerful (keeping in mind the times).  Something more than likely to look over the programming and see what’s salvageable and what can be discarded.  Maybe something like the headspace version of a mobile phone.  The real stuff is back in the universities and our Main Character’s private lab that’s going to house the future AI.

I’m still trying to figure out the threat that the AI is going to be in the story, which I guess is going to come back to the themes of this book…which is something that I am working on.  Normally, I’ve got the themes down at this point and I’m working more on the arrangement of the dock chairs.  Not this time, and the reason is a fairly simple one.

I don’t want to re-tread themes.

With most of my books, it’s man vs. society.  Society sometimes taking the form of your evil boss and the crappy company you have to work for, or an honest-to-goodness society.  I’m trying to find something else to rail against in my fictions.   What do I want to say with the AI?  What do I want to say with the Main Character?  As my professor would ask: what is the universal theme?  When I was in college, the universal theme was: alcohol.  I’m afraid I’m going to have to change that up a little.

Well, the AI was constructed to help people, but it got out of hand — especially when it was closed away in the arcology (I may or may not keep that, who knows?).  “The road to hell is paved with good intentions” and all that.  Particularly if someone really, really wants to do good and something keeps that from happening.  Think about it: you want to help others.  It’s in your DNA (heh) and every time you try to do something good, someone or something gets in your way.  Would drive you batty after a while.  heck — might even drive you to murder?

Can I machine be struck with hubris?  I think this might set everything up fine.  It’s also one of my favorite wallpapers.  All I need to do is think who’s the king, who’s the god and who’s the unbeliever.

Ooh — the speedrun started.  Thanks for reading and y’all have fun.


Seething Apathy

The Three Hundred and Third Post: The One Where I Talk About AI and Odin’s Pets!

Hello everyone — back again for another installment of project-o-rama: The Mind of Man edition. Yesterday, I talked about the main character (still unnamed, but not to worry) and so today I am going to work around one of the key incidents in the story’s past, and hopefully work through something that’s key to the plot: why is AI forbidden.

In order to start with that, I am going to refer to something that I had mentioned earlier in another post: The Page Wave Incident. Something happened a couple of generations ago that made people leery of AI. What is this incident? Here is the working idea (Warning: Spoilers for another future sci-fi novel are below, but given the pace that I work on things, I think you’ll be safe for the most part).

In A Game of Chinese Whispers, there is an Internet that can be accessed one of two ways: through something that works like Google Glasses with a very limited interface, or through the brand spanking new direct neural contact. Absolutely nothing can go wrong when you give everyone a way to interact directly with other people by shoving metal plates into their brains and their training consists of ‘think of these words if you want to turn it on and these where you want to turn it off’. Well, in the initial post-wackiness, people still wanted the direct neural contact (alphabet groups and the such), but they wanted a way to keep the rioting to a minimum.

Enter a heuristic, quantum trinary system to monitor all of it. It has several parts to it. The monitoring parts were called Huginn and Muninn. Huginn compared current activity of a network with past activities, looking for anything that stood out. Anything standing out was sent to Munnin that looked at the data and compared it with other information about that particular node: mostly looking for indicators of known abnormal behavior (can we do that now? Yes.). Enough hits come up and two other programs are sent out called Geri and Freki. These programs isolate the problem before it can get too big. The steps can vary from a simple prompt to get some help to completely isolating them from the network — even going as far as contacting the authorities if it looks like there’s going to be either self-harm or harm to others.

This system starts small, watching everyone coming in and out of a geographic area to establish some sort of baseline. As it works and learns, it starts to make changes to its own programming to better allocate resources and predict human behavior. Algorithms are discarded when they’re no longer useful and others are picked up. it goes into the existing Internet to learn more. Eventually, all the nodes and information squeeze together in a moment of critical mass. Huginn, Muninn, Geri and Freki all blend together to make what they call… I have no idea what it calls itself. That’s beside the point. The system gets more resources, learns more about the people it’s monitoring…even learns how to directly control people.
However, before the scientists can throw the kill-switch the system shuts itself down. The ravens and the wolves separate themselves and self terminate. Hard programmed into the system was a set of criteria: if any system got to point where it could interfere with the continuing well-being of an individual, or network it would shut down and away updates.

The scientists all heaved a huge sigh of relief — thinking they dodged a bullet, they quickly tore down the system and made sure that no one could have access to the materials or the core programming. AI was declared a dangerous crap shoot; a danger worse than genetic engineering, atomic bombs and cancellation of Firefly all rolled into one.

What they didn’t know was that the system made back-ups of itself. One of these backups managed to evade the initial sweep. Did I ever mention how much information DNA could store? 700 terabytes in 1 gram. I’m envisioning the container that has the back up being about the size of a loaf of bread and weighing in at 2 kilograms (about 5 pounds). That’s a huge program.  Does it have any sort of end goal?  I don’t know truth to be told.  I’m still working that out in my head.

So — that’s why AI isn’t allowed in this world. Next time, I’m going to contemplate some of the themes that are going to shape this story. I hope I won’t be boring. Thanks for dropping by.

Seething Apathy

The Three Hundred and Second Post: The One Where I Blather About the Main Character

Hello, all – I’m still working through “The Mind of Man”, now I’m shifting from world building to character building…the main character who as of yet has no name, so we’ll call him Bob.  Given that this book is a thriller, there are a number of things that I want to try to avoid with the characterization.

Chiefly, I don’t want him to be an Indiana Jones-esque type of character.  I think we have enough of that out there already.  I also want him to be a clever sort of person, which is why he’s highly regarded in his field, but not the nerdy type.  He’s not Sheldon, but he’s not Flash Gordon either.  I guess we’re going to have to cling to the middle and say he’s McGuyver…of sorts.  Somewhat athletic, really good when it comes to computers and systems, but a little clumsy when it comes to the opposite sex (he lets his profession do all the talking).  I might have to make a character sheet for this.  I wonder if I can still find the old Shadowrun sheets.

Anyways, he’s not really alone in this.  When he’s out under the auspices of the local university, he has some muscle with him (some places that are prime spots for recoverable tech also tends to attract mercenaries, like our main character during his off-hours).  However, when he’s on his own, he does happen to have some friends who are more the rough and ready types:

·         Command: He’s the one in charge of military affairs.  Not military as in acting on behalf of a government, but military as in prefers shooting to computers.

·         Fire Support and Logistics: Makes sure that there is usually more guns aimed at the enemy than there are aimed at them.  Also able to shore up any weak points in the defense.

·         Communications and Control: The ‘voice from the Internet’ – this person coordinates and monitors everything.

·         Medic: Are you bleeding?  Go see him.

·         Access / Scout: This is combo tunnel rat / stealer-in and overall sneaky bastard.  He works in information technology like the main character, but he is more specialized in that he knows all the ways of circumventing security from pin tumblers to RSA encryption.  How Bob knows these people is still one of the many works in progress for this character, but I also have a feeling that there might be money involved in the backstory at some point – but back to Bob himself.

Bob’s not a slouch when it comes to the rough and tumble, but he knows that his role is not to get shot.  Once he gets the materials — he never does anything on-site during these little side trips — and he gets back to his lab (which has some better toys than what he can use at the university because everything that’s done at the university is monitored very carefully).  When he gets back to his lab, it’s here where everything starts going sideways.  His carefully ‘work is here and fun is here’ world is being turned on its axis.  It’s the same theme as Game of Chinese Whispers — the loss of privacy, but this loss is more personal.

If I were to cast someone for the role of Bob — I would pick Alexis Denisof.  He’s got the look I like for a main character and he can play intellectual and a little…one step behind everyone else.  You should see him in Much Ado About Nothing.  He’s a really talented actor.

Well, I think that’s enough for now.  I might get back to the world building a little tomorrow in what exactly is what the AI’s purpose and why it’s a threat to existence.  As always, thanks for reading and I hope y’all have a good day.


Seething Apathy

Hello, all — I’m continuing on with the brainstorming for “Mind of Man”. Last time, I talked about the main character’s profession a little: information archaeologist. Now I’m going to run some ideas by y’all about the world that the main character and why the idea of AI is a problem.

What I’m looking for is something that would put a screeching halt on AI research — to the point where actually trying to recreate AI would be seen as a cardinal sin, but I really want to avoid “AI War 4.1.5” or anything else like that. Yes, war is horrible, but it’s been overdone. I would like to think that something would happen in which AI is strictly verboten. I’m considering something along the lines of “…and history turned into legend“. Something that would put AI on the brink of annihilation and dragging Mankind along with it, but trying to avoid the usual routes that have become rather ham-fisted as of late.

Well, if I wanted to draw a link between “Game of Chinese Whispers” (Facebook stand-in + Direct Neural Interface + Paranoid Schizophrenic = Societal Meltdown), the extrapolation of this would be that the crude sort of AI that came out of that particular computing kerfuffle would be quickly shut down. After that and a few tests, it was discovered that there is a critical mass to sapience (a term I am going to use rather than intelligence for the purposes of this posting).

After that, it was decided that there would be a hard limit on processing speed, numbers of nodes in networks, number of running networks, number cat pictures allowed at one time — all the important things.

Of course when anyone sets a limit to something, there are going to be people who are going to say “You’re not the boss of me!” These are also the same people that usually yell “OK — I was wrong! Help!”, but we can get to that later.

So, in the far future of this particular little world, computer systems are much regulated. Trust me, piracy is the least of IT’s issues. Networks are watched very carefully for that tipping point…which makes the information archaeologist a useful profession in as far as trying to retrieve records from the past — getting clues as to what information technology was like before everything went severely pear-shaped. In academic way, this is vital to keep society from having to re-invent the wheel every time someone decides to hook up their computers in parallel and an interest in keeping the past alive – unlike what those ass-hats in ISIS tend to believe.

In a mercenary way, there is a black market for Pre-Page Wave programming (Page Wave is what I’m currently calling the event. Those of you who have been reading this for a long time know that I’m going to go through five or six names before settling on the right one). Programming in “Mind of Man” is set up to be purposefully limited. Yeah – it can do great things and even mimic human intelligence, but it’s not going to be able to make value choices without a lot of preset functions…kinda like today, but a little better. I’m toying around with the notion that by this point we have trinary computing (-1,0,+1 rather than 0 and 1) so computers can do a lot of fuzzy logic, but they’re still running programs just like the PC I’m working on.

As far as how the soon-to-be sentient and sapient computer AI comes around, it’s going to need a specific set of systems. Another thing that Information archaeologists are looking for are what sort of old hardware can be cribbed. Modern archaeologists do this in re-discovering old ways of doing things. Information archaeologists are out there too, combing through old scraps and lost sites for a clue to what’s going to be the “Holy Grail” of this time period.

Trinary quantum computing. The difference between trinary quantum and regular trinary is power useage (making systems smaller and depending on less power to function would be great for exploration and/or military applications) and… you know, I’m going to end up having to do a lot of research into this, but this particular iteration of Trinary Quantum Computing could bring about a Sapient and Sentient AI.

So – I hope that I didn’t bore the heck out of you with this. It helps to just talk about stuff here when I’m working out the kinks for the novel.

Thanks for reading, y’all have a good day. Tomorrow, I’m going to continue on with the main character as a person.


Seething Apathy

The Three Hundredth Post: The One Where I’m Going to Get Back On Track and Make Up a New Job!

I might being back the party, but right now it’s getting a little too arduous to write.  The party was great (Thanks, Amanda!), but writing it is feeling like filling out an after action report.  I should get back to the day-to-day issues and hammering out this idea I have for another sci-fi novel. I’m going to continue the party, but I’m going to do it later.  Right now, I have an idea itching under my skin that I want to get to.

I was hunting around the various news feeds and I remember someone talking about forensic computer science.  I started think what if that were joined with another field?  Say…archaeology?  What if at some point in the far future, there was a discipline of archaeology that dealt with the preservation of computer data?  So I did some research:

  • Better make multiple copies of that CD.  It’s not going to last long.
  • Magnetic tape is worse.
  • The average age of storage in optimum conditions is about 30 years with current tech.

Not really the time span I was looking for.  I had this bit of dialogue in my head and I needed it to work:

"Yeah, my great-grandmother was one of the people hit by the Page Wave. After that, she didn't
trust any tech more advanced than an e-book."

I wanted this piece of information to give us a sense that what the main character was finding was really old.  So, I’m thinking that there is another sort of storage medium to be found that can last a really long time (at least 100 years).

Did you know that scientists are trying to use DNA as a storage medium?  Yeah.  That’s something that can survive at least 60,000 years if stored properly.  Heck, even if it’s stored improperly, it can last a while.  So — there’s something that I can store my plot device.  I’m only looking at that because I want something that’s futuristic, plausible and hardy for the abuse it’s going to take.  I’m going to tweak it a little just to make it sound more exotic: using silicon rather than carbon, having everything suspended in a noble gas to keep it reacting to any outside elements.  I’m looking to show that whoever put this information in the can wanted it save for future generations.  For the time being, the other methods of storage are going to be mostly atomic or quantum level effects: entanglement, pushing around individual atoms, heating up disks of plastic and affixing magnetic bits (one of these things is really happening).  Our main character is going to be very good at what he does.  I don’t know if I want him in some sort of academic setting, or working in the private sector.  I really want to avoid any sort of Indiana Jones cliches with this.  I’m kinda thinking that he could be a mercenary sort, but he likes the academic world as opposed to the private sector in that he gets all the cooler toys to play with.

Well, that’s all I have for now.  Thanks for stopping by.  As always, current books by myself or dear friends to the right, please feel free to take a look.  Tomorrow, I might leak out a few more ideas for this sci-fi novel.  Oh — the novel is titled: The Mind of Man which is taken from here.  Next time, I’m going to try to figure out the other side of the equation.  Why lock up a DNA program for so long?

Thanks for reading, I hope y’all have a good day.


Seething Apathy

The Two Hundred and Ninety-Ninth Post: The One Where I Came Perilously Close to Being Social and Suicidal in the Span of Three Days… (part three)

Hello, everyone — this is the third installment of my whirlwind weekend report.  Here and here is where you can catch up.  Onward!

I am going to skip over the drudgery that is work because frankly, nothing really noteworthy happens there.

Saturday, however, is  a whirlwind of papers and soft drinks.  Keep in mind that I normally don’t get up before 11:00 AM (I work late nights).  In order to get to the first writer’s group that meets on the third Saturday of every month, I have to get up at 7:00…after going to bed at the earliest of 2:00 AM.  So, there is one Saturday of the month where I am a little sleep deprived.  With this new group, they get together at the civilized time of 10:00, which means I can get an additional hour of half of sleep.  Yes, I am still going to be a little addled, but not that bad if I get to bed at 2:00 AM, wake up at 8:00 to get out the door at 9:00.  A couple of cups of coffee From Dunkin Donuts and I can relax a little in my car.  This group is meeting at a library and is made up of some members from an older group that I still go to on the third Saturday of every month.  It’s 9:45 after I finish my breakfast of coffee and egg…like material with cheesy substance and ham…I hope.  Still a few minutes left after the meal and thanks to the coffee I don’t feel sleepy.

I amble my way up to the library a few minutes before 10:00 and I am met by one of the members who invited me to join the group.  You can infer that I am not really a social person by the title of the post.  Thankfully, this is a group of people I know, so I knew I could relax a little.  The group is nice and they were pleased to hear my latest work (still unfinished! But closer to getting finished than any others I have).  I am definitely going to stick around with this group.  It’s hard for me to break ice with people (or is it break bread?)…which will become apparent in a few minutes.

I head out to the grocery store because I can’t just show up to a party with nothing (even if they say they’re fine with it).  The grocery store I like to frequent had a spirits section separate from the rest of the grocery store.  I found a nice peanut butter pie and paid for it, then jaunting three doors down to see what wine goes well with peanut butter pie.

To answer your question: yes.  A chocolate wine goes well with peanut butter pie if there is no chocolate drizzle. Otherwise, a dark red would work (apparently, the people in the spirit shop know their goods.  Also, did you know that they make pink lemonade vodka?  Do svidaniya, soberity!).  I purchase everything, rather inexpensive as far as wine, vodka and pie goes.  I come back home, putting everything away in the refrigerator and change back into my inside summer clothes: t-shirt and shorts.  The party isn’t until later (I’ve got several hours), so I set aside some clothes for the party.  Nothing bad, really — what I usually wear for work…nice short sleeved polo shirt and the best pair of jeans I own.

Still have several hours.  Time for Borderlands 2!  Saturday is my big gaming day (Monday through Friday are gaming days as well, but not the biggest) and I plunge into it…for a few minutes before the coffee gets metabolized and I almost fall out of my chair.  OK — maybe not fall out, but I got real tired real fast.  So, I crawl to bed and take a small nap.  Coffee doesn’t last long in me.  

The nap is over as I wake up enough time to get a shower (Welcome to Kentucky!) and double check my directions. Dressed and squeaky clean, I get the pie and the wine for the party and make sure everything is clean and fresh.  Getting into my car I turn the engine over and drive off, being guided by my Android phone which thinks that not only am I fifteen feet from my real position, but I am driving on the left hand side of the road sidesaddle.

Go, Android.

Traveling to my host’s place, I realize that I am not only moving laterally towards the east, but upwards in the socio-economic scale.  Seriously.  I’m also driving through the country.  I can tell because I see goats, cows and better cars than what I am driving now.  Way better.  

My Android is as stunned as I am about the new surroundings, since it forgets a couple of turns.  I manage to get back on track and still not lose any time.  It tells me that I’ll be there in about fifteen minutes, even when I have to remind it that it is navigating for me and that I only turn when it tells me to turn.  As I travel on, the houses grow farther and farther apart, but still look better than where I am staying now.  I’m not jealous (maybe a little) as I roll through the countryside.  While I take in the sighs, I keep expecting to Take another turn and find myself staring down a checkpoint designed to keep the hoi polloi out from wrecking the property values with their early model cars, their numous kids and basic cable packages (“On this chart, point out the salad fork.  No, you swine — that’s a fish fork!  Seize him!“).

I manage to get to the right place and boy…do I not fit in.  Each of these houses is at least twice the side (vertically) as my house and the smallest one here is about the size of my current one-floored house.  The one the host lives in a a little larger than my house in at least three dimensions.  As I cruise around the block to make sure that I am in the right location, I see some people staring at me.  No doubt they were memorizing the license plate, make and model of the car in the event there was a rash of burglaries later on in the week.

Still two minutes early to the party (“early is on time, on time is late and late is unforgivableas the nuns at school told me…who apparently were never invited to a party.“) and I was trying to figure out if the thin sheer of sweat I was developing was from the humidity or from the panic I was trying to fight now in the pit of my stomach.  I am not really one for new things that disrupt my routine.  Yes, I am a crotchety elder.  I like my beets and strained peas, thank you for getting off my lawn.  I at least wait for a couple of minutes reminding myself that this is also a great way to network and maybe find other people with inroads into publishing.  After all, the hostess is also a reporter for the local newspaper.

I get out of the car, making sure that I have everything and reminding myself that running screaming aback to the car and speeding away is not going to help me either short term with the gawkers running my plates against a database of people known to lurk here or in the long term when I might need my hostesses’ help in something writer related.  I walk up the the front door and knock.

Hopefully tomorrow will be the conclusion of this unpresidented glimpse into my private life, so I can get back to talking about writing.  Thank you for reading (if you’re still here), and feel free to take a look at the offerings that my friends and I have for you.

I hope y’all have a good day.

Seething Apathy.

The Two Hundred and Ninety-Ninth Post: The One Where I Came Perilously Close to Being Social and Suicidal in the Span of Three Days… (part two)

Hello, all — I’m just gong to pick up from where I left off with me getting everything out of the Z: drive (still can’t find the pictures or the Art Bell Files on the Y: drive, but that’s not important) and getting out to the local copier place to get everything printed, stapled and shiny for Saturday.  At that point, I was trying to consider my options as far as traffic.

Where I live is not really all that convenient for travel.  I am smack dab in the middle of two Interstate Highways.  At the copiers, I was just two blocks away from I-65.  Getting on it would be a straight shot (somewhat) down to work, but that particular highway was alway congested like you wouldn’t believe.  The route I take to work normally is a little twisty and roundabout, but the streets are relatively open for me (with the exception the on again / off again merger of I-64 and I-65. When it gets choked up…make no plans).  The downside for Friday as I’m getting everything printed and stapled is that I’m quite a distance away from the usual route to work.  Also keep in mind that I still haven’t had anything for lunch, so my judgement is a little wobbly.

I figure that I can go on ahead and take my normal route to work, since I pass by a couple of gas stations, it’ll be no problem to get something quick to eat.  I pay for the papers and head out to the car.  I’ve got everything I need for work (cell phone, iPad and dinner).  Paying for everything, I head out the door.  Since I thought I was going to have more time in the afternoon than I would in the morning, I’ve already showered and shaved (I usually  wait until an hour before I need to leave).  I hop in the car and drive for the Interstate.  Over the radio, I hear that there is a very bad tie-up on I-65 on one of the bridges.  I’m heading in a different direction, and I am doing so as quickly as I can.

I get through the shopping area and zip by the gas stations.  It doesn’t hit me that I need to get something to eat until I make the turn onto the Interstate.  Now it’s too late to turn around, so I’ll just have to get to work as quick as I can and get something there.

Let me quickly explain how the typical driver in Kentucky drives:

  • It’s not a speed limit, but a speed guideline.
  • Right-of-way is determined by the mass of the vehicle you drive, or how willing you are to risk life and limb to make that merge.
  • Looking before crossing lanes is considered unsporting.

I can get an idea as to whether or not I’m going to be badly late by what I’m driving by before 5:30 pm.  If I pass the train tracks by the finger nail polish plant (they don’t make finger nail polish, but that’s what the place smells like) around 5:30, then I’m going to be there on time.  If I’m passing the airport, then I’m going to cut it close.  It’s 5:35 and I am now just crossing the bridge.  Yeah.  I’m gonna be late.

The best thing I can do right now is goose my engine to move up to eighty miles an hour and stay in the right lane.  However, in a moment inspired by low blood sugar, desperation and not paying attention, I found myself drifting towards the middle of the road.  Missing an exit would put me even later.  I had to cross two lanes of traffic very soon.  The only thing that’s keeping me from making the crossover is a slow truck dragging a mowing tractor.  I can’t speed up to go around him, because every time I try to move forward to get around the car on my right, he slows down.  So, I do what I have to do.

I slow down, peer over my shoulder quickly, goose the engine and cross the two lanes of traffic going eighty-five in a fifty-five…ish sort of zone.  To my amazement, when I go over the painted off section and cut in front of a car with only a half-car length to spart — I don’t kill everyone involved.  I press down on the gas some more to give the guy behind me some more room.  As I creep into the low nineties, I see the “check engine” light come on.  Not a little ‘dude, you might want to get me checked’.  It was the ‘Scotty screaming at me that she cannae take the strain, Captain as my hair’s on fire’ red light.  I keep looking from the light, to the speedometer which I am trying to ease back down to sub-light to the traffic ahead.  By some miracle, the engine stays in the car and the usual choke point here is flowing free.  Slowing down, I creep into the exit lane.  Thanks to my daring heroics, I think I’m going to be merely two minutes late.

Wow — it’s beginning to look like that the telling of the weekend is going to be longer than the weekend itself.  I will continue on with tomorrow.  I’m also going to talk about my upcoming sci-fi project which I am calling “The Mind of Man”.  I’m just going to try to hash out somethings online here.  Hopefully it won’t be too burdensome.

Thanks for reading, and I hope to see y’all tomorrow.


Seething Apathy

The Two Hundred and Ninety-Ninth Post: The One Where I Came Perilously Close to Being Social and Suicidal in the Span of Three Days… (part one)

Hello, everyone — sorry for the late entry, but I have had an action packed, frustrated weekend.  I learned quite a bit over the past three days.

On Friday, I had a minor panic that reminded me that I need to backup all my important files (writing, music, cat pictures).  I have a wireless drive that I put all my stuff on because I had problems with previous hard drives.  I thought I was being clever in storing it offline.  Yeah — fast forward a couple of years and I discover Spotify, so I think that I’ll just post all my music files (all 113 Gb) up there.  So I go to my Z: drive which houses all my music and writing and start loading the files.  No problem.  As I look through the loaded files, I see some things that aren’t really for public consumption.  So I discontinue the upload, going about my merry way.  Speed forward past a few days and I want to get into the Z: Drive so I can print something for my writer’s group.  I double click on the ‘computer’…

No Z: drive.  No Y: Drive (has my photography files and Art Bell .mp3s).  No X: Drive (some .gif files and my computer files backup).  Nothing.  I don’t panic because I’ve had this happen before.  I lean over my desk and power cycle the drive — turn it off and turn it back on thirty seconds later.  85% of the time, this solves it.

God rolls an 87 on the percentile dice.

I still don’t panic.  I turn off and turn on the router.  Nothing.  I restart the PC.  More Nothing.  I unplug the computer and plug it back in going through a hard reboot.  I have a plate of nothing, with a side of nothing and a tall, cool glass of dammit, nothing.  OK, I start to panic a little.  I’m not concerned (greatly) about the music.  I still have all my CDs, so I can just re-rip stuff, re-download from places where I purchased them.  I am way more concerned about the file labeled ‘Writing’.  Everything — rough drafts, final copies, notes, playlists — was in that file.  I have very limited sorts of back-ups for that.  Notes on several blank books, what I can remember, but other than that — if I can’t get to the Z: drive and that writer’s files…I’m done.  The only things that I can call back are the finished and formatted versions of my books because I stored them online.

Monday through Thursday, this wouldn’t have been a big problem.  I would have just gone on with the rest of my day and tried to fix it at night.  However, it was Friday — I needed to still print copies of my first novel selection and get gas for the car and possibly get some lunch.  My computer had a different agenda for me.  It was mostly cursing, begging — the whole five stages of death done in about 3 hours.  I kept clicking on the disk manager, the file manager and every other manager I could get feverish access to by mouse.  I am panicking right now just because I’m going to be late for work if I don’t leave right now.

Miracle of miracles, I clicked on the right thing and got a prompt for my hard drive on the wireless network.  Huzzah!  I can get to it through that!

Or I could if I remembered the name and password I gave that it.  I think I just let it have the default password which I don’t remember.  Before all of this (and I think Spotify has something to do with this, it was working fine before I uploaded the files) I never needed to log in, it showed up in my computer as the labeled drives.  Password?  I have no idea.  I uninstall and reinstall the drivers for the dashboard.  Still asking for a password.  Did I use the default password?  I don’t know.  I click on the dashboard — maybe there is something that I can do.

Create New User?  I click on that little tucked away button on the dash board.  What’s the worst that can happen now?

User Name?  I type in my first name (which I never use).

User Password?  I type in my usual password.

Grant new user admin rights (view and change files)?  Hell, yes!

I go back to the main dashboard and login under my new name.  I don’t see the X:, Y: or Z: drive, but I do see the folders marked “Writing”, “Music” and “Daughter of the Mountain” (The sequel to this book).  I just had installed a new hard drive that I was going to use as more storage.  A bunch of clicks later, I was moving files from the recently liberated Z: drive to the J: drive.  I open up my writing program and try to get to the project.  The relief that I felt was almost tear-inducing.  I copy and paste the first 2,000 words to a word document file for printing.  I can breathe again.  I can get the file printed and copies.

I can also be ten minutes late to work from all this.  That’s OK — I’m good for now.

That was the beginning of the weekend for me.  Next time — I become social!  Drinks!  Dinner!  Panic Attacks!

Tune in!


Seething Apathy