Sunday, December 30, 2012

Captain's Log, Day 104: The Icy Frontier

          "Hey Nemesis, where are the girls?"
          Nemesis looked up from his concentration on the ice to see me wobbling down the road to the pond on my three-sizes-too-freaking-small ice skates. "I dunno. They said something like fifteen minutes, but that was--"
          "Twenty minutes ago?" I rolled my eyes. The tardiness of the female members of our family was a well-documented and well-know fact. I considered a sarcastic comment but couldn't think of anything that I hadn't already said a few million times. Ugh.
          "Wanna play something?" I inquired.
          Nemesis spun in a neat circle. I couldn't tell if it was deliberate or not; knowing him, it probably wasn't. "Sure. What game?"
          "How about hockey?" I asked, disregarding the inconvenient fact that neither of us had the slightest idea of how to play it. After the Midway Golfing Incident, we kids had realized that our guesses to how any particular game was played was always more fun than the actual rules invariably turned out to be; normal rules typically didn't let us duel each other.
          "Hockey...that's the one with the sticks, right?" Nemesis asked, both questioning my recollection of the game and quoting the Doctor for the TV show Doctor Who at the same time.
          I laughed. "Pretty sure. Sticks and some disk thingy...puck, I think?"
          "Where can we get them from?"
          I wobbled my way back off the ice. "Let's try the shop."
          The shop, predictably, yielded two hoes, one of which was flattened so that the blade stuck straight out of the handle instead of having the traditional "hook" to it. I took that one; Nemesis took the normal one. "Now we need a ball of some sort," I mused, looking around the shop. "The pond is too snowy for a disk to slide. Maybe a basketball?"
          "A basketball?" Nemesis asked dubiously.
          "Yeah, let's try it. Could you go get it?" I asked, heading back out to the ice to draw up some goal lines.
          Nemesis came back with a basketball and, better yet, a croquet ball. "Brilliant," I complemented him, taking it.
          "How should we start?" Nemesis asked.
          "CHARGE!!!" I yelled and whacked the ball as hard as I could towards Nemesis's goal. He sped after it, with me in hot pursuit. He hooked the ball with his hoe and sent it hurtling back at me. I tried to block it by planting the blade of my hoe in front of it, but my non-standard, straight hoe just bounced it up off the ground and towards my face.
          Not optimal. I leaned backwards hastily, and the ball flew over my head to land (luckily) in the snowbank at the edge of the pond, away from the goal. "Yes!!!" I yelled as I picked myself up and dusted myself off.
          "Aww," Nemesis complained, looking disappointed.
          "Bring it," I grinned, feeling rather cocky. That feeling vanished in a moment when, after a quick flurry of sticks, Nemesis managed to smack the ball through my legs and into my goal. I sighed. "Okay, the score is oogy to boogy. And it's my ball."
          Nemesis and I somehow managed to fit three collisions, a wrestling match, two stick fights, and five shoves into the snowbank in before Nemesis made a lucky kick to the ball, sending it through my goal again. He also managed to clobber me in the kneecap with his stick. I hobbled over to the goal to retrieve the ball. "You know, Nemesis," I commented, "I really wish I had your hoe."
          The next match was better for me. I managed to smack Nemesis into a snowback, hit the ball towards his goal, and...miss. Nemesis whacked it back at me, I mistakenly tried to block it with my hoe, and it bounced up and whacked me in the stomach. Nemesis tackled me (maybe by mistake, but since there were no rules against tackling, I suppose he could have done it on purpose. Neither of us are very good skaters), so when I landed in the ball, I managed to grab it and, with a weak flip of my wrist, send it rolling lazily through Nemesis's goal. Nemesis lunged for it with his hoe but missed by inches.
          "Aww, come on, that's not fair!" he protested.
          "Where is that written in the rules?" I wheezed, still out of breath from having the big lummox landing on me.
          Nemesis sighed. "I suppose it's fair...okay, the score is now oogy to boogy!"
          "I already had oogy!" I protested. "It's boogy to twoogy now!"
          "Oh, right," Nemesis nodded. "My ball this time!"
          "Fine by me," I grunted, dusting myself and checking to make sure all my body parts were roughly in their correct respective locations.
          Nemesis opened ball four up with a hard whack towards my goal. I blocked it with my skate and sent it off at an angle towards the side of the pond. We both charged; a flurry of sticks, and it rolled back towards my goal.
          Alarmingly close to my goal.
          Nemesis brought his stick back for the winning shot; I grabbed it out of the air from behind and reached around to try to smack the ball away. Nemesis grabbed my stick; I overbalanced and wiped out, taking us both down. Nemesis landed on me again but, disregarding insignificant issues like crushed ribs and lack of oxygen, I maintained a firm hold on both sticks and somehow managed to kick the ball away towards the middle of the pond. We had a brief but useless wrestling match, which we finally desisted from because we were laughing too hard to continue.
          "Okay, on the count of three, we release each other's sticks," Nemesis suggested.
          "Which one is mine, anyway?" I asked. In the fracas, I'd lost track of which one was mine, and I couldn't see the ends because--as I mentioned--Nemesis was on top of me.
          "The one I'm wiggling is mine," Nemesis informed me, with appropriate actions.
          "Ah. Okay, one...two...HOLD IT!!! Solemn vow that no one charges until we're both ready," I demanded, remembering that he currently had the upper hand. Literally and figuratively.
          "Okay. One, two, three!" Nemesis agreed, releasing my stick. I released his, and we both got up. Nemesis looked around for the ball. "Where'd it go?"
          It turned out the girls, who were now out and wanted to skate without the danger inherant to two competitive boys waving large sticks with metal tips around indiscriminately, had thrown the ball off the pond. We ignored their pleas for sanity, tracked down the ball, and spotted it to where we figured that it had landed. Then, after some debate, we both placed our sticks down a set distance away from the ball and backed up even further. Then, a reluctant Squirrel yelled "Ready, set, go!" for us.
          We charged. Nemesis went for his hoe, snatching it in time to give the ball a hearty whack. I went for the subtle approach, ignoring my garden implement entirely in favor of sliding in and blocking the ball with my skate. Nemesis smashed his hoe into my knee again, causing me to collapse on both the ball and my hoe.
          "Hey, no fair!" Nemesis protested.
          "Your fault," I grunted, faceup and clutching my hoe. I managed to jackknife up and twist violently in midair to smack the ball away from underneath me with my hoe before collapsing facedown on the ice. Nemesis yelped in surprise and, when he started charging after the ball, got tripped when I kicked his skate out from under him. The end result was that we both arrived at the ball at the same moment. Another flurry of sticks, feet, and arms ensued, after which the ball was discovered to have rolled past the goal. Nemesis and I scurried over to the goal to trace the ball's path through the snow.
          "YES!!! I MADE IT!!!" I cheered, then collapsed on the ground, laughing. Nemesis managed that impressive feat of laughing while standing, an accomplishment I was too tired and sore to try to duplicate. Besides, my jeans were already soaked anyway; his weren't.
          I rolled over onto my back wheezing. "The final score is twoogy to twoogy!"
          "We should play this again!" Nemesis rejoiced.
          I nodded. "Oh, and by the down! I think I'll just stay down here for a bit..."

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Captain's Log, Day 103: Oregon Trail!

          We used to have a game.
          A computer game, which seemed to us kids at the time to be the most highly advanced thing we'd ever seen; now, having experience to look back with, it was rather pathetic, but still really fun. This game was called...Oregon Trail!
          The premise was simple start out in a town called Independence back in the 18th or 19th century, get supplies, join a wagon train, and travel across the West to Oregon while attempting to keep the members of your party alive and (my goal) shooting every animal bigger than a pocket watch. When we first started playing, I always had charge of the computer and, as such, got to put my name in the not-really-coveted position of leader; Quill, Nemesis, and Squirrel then gathered around and added their names to my party. We'd debate over what items to get, debate over which trail to take, and I'd get smacked every time one of them got injured or sick and I chose to go hunting instead of dealing with the problem. Quill loved fishing, so I'd occasionally surrender the mouse to her so she could fish her heart out (but never during the salmon runs).
          As we grew older, we noticed that the computer used the same words over and over. It was always "Radar broke his leg." or "Nemesis has cholera." (We also noticed that I had the same response to each problem--go hunting--but that was universally accepted as me being OCD.) I don't know if it was Nemesis of Quill who first thought of this, but soon the party member's names changed. The new names were "Who," "Nobody," "the Mad Hatter," etc, so we could laugh until we cried every time the computer said something like "Nobody broke his leg" or "Who drowned while crossing a river."
          THEN...we discovered the diary.
          This was a computer-generated log of our adventures, in which we could add our own writing. Characters quickly developed for Who, Nobody, and the Mad Hatter (Nemesis was always Who; Quill varied occasionally but was usually the Mad Hatter), and the diary became the main attraction for the game. It's impossible to I'll let you read an example, written quite recently when we rediscovered the game.
          In this particular game, I was the Doctor, from the Doctor Who TV show. He was a time traveler with a "sonic screwdriver" that could fix anything as long as it wasn't made out of wood, and also possessed a police telephone box that was bigger on the inside than it was on the outside. He often fought with a race of aliens called the Daleks, which were obsessed with their machine voices and exterminating anything that crossed their path, so I included Dalek Sec in the party just for grins. (A Dalek looks a bit like a strange salt shaker with a plunger sticking out of it for a hand.) Quill opted for the Mad Hatter, Nemesis became Who, and Nobody joined us because everyone could write for him and puns were inevitable. Also, I introduced a new guy, Some Fool; I figured we could just blame him for everything.
          As far as reading the diary goes...the stuff in red is our work, while the stuff in black is the computer. The computer is kinda boring, but it's occasionally necessary to read it in order to understand where we're coming from. Most of the time, you can ignore it though. Also, we always had someone yell "THIRD BASE" after every Who joke, hearkening back to the "Who's on First" baseball skit by Abbott and Costello that probably set this whole thing off.
          And since the diary is a bit long to go in this post, Doctor Who and the Mad Hatter, too is located on a different page.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Captain's Log, Day 102: 25 Random Things About--HEY LOOK, A SQUIRREL!!!!!

          So, I was poking around in my computer archives today instead of cleaning my room (because my mom refuses to allow me to build secret compartments in my wall--such a shame!), and I stumbled across an old post I wrote entitled "25 Random Things About Me," which I never got around to posting because I have the attention span of a sparrow, and that's on the days that I am FOCUSED. I touched it up a bit and decided to post it; mostly because I think it's hilarious and also because I have no stories to write about today. However, I believe we still have some leftover fireworks in the barn, if anyone would like a story tomorrow....
          So without further ado or any more rambling (because at this rate, I'll forget to post it again), may I present 25 Random Things About Me...and since I am COMPLETELY random, this should be easy...

          1. I'm horrible with names, to the point of in, (and I've done this before) I'll have been in a lab for an entire semester with someone, filling out lab reports and blowing stuff up, and I still won't remember his name! Fortunately, another semester of lab did the trick.

          2. I am quite possibly the biggest nerd ever. I have five computers; only one of them I paid for (and boy, is it a nice machine!) Four of them are ones I fixed up after people threw them out, and I'm attempting to wire them up to my room for the prototype artificial intelligence that will one day control my house. "Lights on! NO, NOT THE BLENDER--!!!!"

          3. I'd like to buy a taser. However, I fear that I would inevitably succumb to my curiosity and preform a self-test.
          4. I once built a cannon, but my parents caught me before I could test it. I still maintain that it would have worked.

          5. Solitaire is the bane of my existence. I can lose a game without moving ANY cards.

          6. My best friend and I tried to make a movie over the course of a few years. The movie was never competed, and the bloopers were longer than the movie was.

          7. I have a lighter. I have no idea why.

          8. My siblings make snowmen...or snow-trolls. I make obelisks. Yay Egypt?

          9. My favorite tool in making snow sculptures is a hand saw.

          10. I love swimming, but it's impossible for me to float. I sink like a rock. A wildly flailing rock with water up his nose.

          11. I LOVE NINJA. It's one of the very few games I'm good at.

          12. I'm studying to be a Mechanical Engineer, I teach myself programming on the side, I'm a black belt in Taekwondo, I'm working on writing a novel, and I lead a very eclectic life. Any questions?

          13. I think I'm ADHLAS, or Attention Def--HEY LOOK, A SQUIRREL!!!

          14. My computer now talks to me. It's because I reprogrammed it to sound like JARVIS from the movie Ironman.

          15. It is impossible for me to spell antidisestablishmentarianism without using spell check. My sister can spell it off the top of her head. I'm still wondering how we can possibly be related....

          16. I was born in Illinois. Sorry guys, I'm not a true Minnesotan. Although, I have been told I have the accent...

          17. I once hit the mailbox with the car. my defense, I received faulty directions about where the box was relative to the car's mirror.

          18. It IS possible for tomato sauce to explode. I found that out the hard way.

          19. Never let me near a kitchen. Stuff happens...bad stuff. Fortunately, I can USUALLY repair the damage.

          20. My treehouse has all the switches and panels needed for it to be a submarine. Or a spacecraft. Or a time machine. Or a battleship. Or an AT-AT. Or an airplane. Or...

          21. My phone is awesome. It's an Android, and it usually knows what I'm trying to do before I realize it.

          22. I have one major goal in life...and that's to build a working Ironman suit.

          23. You can challenge me to just about anything. I'm very competitive, even though I usually lose. Hence....y'know...this BLOG....

          24. I've gotten lost on a campus with 5 buildings. Twice.

          25. I wrote this entire thing in 20 minutes.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Captain's Log, Day 101: A recap of my semester

          "Yay finals!" said no one EVER.
          I'm taking a break from studying for finals at the moment, hence the slight bitterness here. Studying has taken over my life to an unhealthy degree, so my breaks have begun to take on a life-saving importance. Prepare for rambling!
          CHRISTMAS IS COMING!!! This semester is almost over!! Good gravy, where did the time go? It's insane how fast time's been a crazy four months. I'm sure you could probably have guessed that, as I've only written four times since the start of the semester. However, I guess I've never really written about my college life, except for that one post about getting chased through a dorm (don't you dare say a word, Quill!), so I'm thinking it might be good to do a quick recap of my semester, which arguably holds the record for being my best semester EVER!!! (It would be good for me to remember that as I head into my remaining two finals--sometimes extreme annoyance at studying can best an optimistic outlook.) about a quick summary of my top three things that made for an excellent semester?
          Let's see...where to start?
          Hmm, how about the whole reason for college in the first place? Grades this semester have been excellent (I only have one potential B, and hopefully if I ace the final I'll get an A there too; hence the obsessive-compulsive studying) and I've had some pretty fun classes. Hands-down, my Heating, Ventilation  and Air Conditioning class was the most fun; got to design a duct system for a house at the end of the year! My senior design class takes second place, as my class got to design a distillation column that we're going to build next semester.
          ...I think I just made a few liberal arts majors faint. Too much tech-speak? Sorry. I'm a geek. Anyhoo. Moving on...
          Excellent thingy number two: My sister Quill joined me at college this year; I approached this transition with a great amount of trepidation, as I'd worked hard to build up my reputation here at college and was a bit worried about having someone come who would be able to dispel such notions in the minds of others. HAHA, just kidding--I'm a geek and everyone already knows it. No, I was actually excited, because this was someone I could direct others to for some good-natured freshman hazing! There's a tradition at BC that all the new students have to wear beanies their first week, and any current students who pull them off can make the freshman caw like a raven. I pulled hers three times, one of which was just so she could caw into the phone for Mom's benefit. Plus, she cooks for me sometimes. YAY COOKIES!!! And non-caf food!
          So yes, I'm indebted to Quill in more ways than one; she introduced me to my amazing girlfriend! Well, I say "introduced;" she actually grabbed my arm and shoved me towards Sparrow at swing-dancing class, saying "GO DANCE WITH HER!" Subtlety, thy name is NOT Quill....but hey, considering I had been spending the last thirty minutes trying to figure out how to ask Sparrow to dance, it helped me out quite a bit! I've been dating Sparrow for two months, and it's definitely been a major highlight of my semester! Gives Quill something to tease me about, too...but oh well, I guess I'll just have to return the favor sometime *insert evil grin here*.
          So anyway, that's my semester in a nutshell--er, blog post. My apologies for not writing more! I'm going home soon for break and to rig my brother's Christmas present in some respect--he reads my blog sometimes, so I refuse to give out any details until AFTER Christmas--so I'll be able to write more.
          And if you're still reading, thanks for bearing with me and my compound-complex sentences that just seem to run on and on because I'm kinda tired and I have no idea how to end a thought tonight because of all the studying; everything just seems to run together in my head and confuse me and everyone around me because I'm suddenly talking out loud about the heat capacity of steel and its effect on copper sheets in manufacturing processes--
          Maybe I should go to bed now.

          May ogres never question your fashion sense,

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Captain's Log, Day 100: I got CAUGHT.

          "Who won the dodgeball game?"
          I'm not entirely sure who the random girl who posed this question was, but on the other hand, I was kinda busy laughing at my sister Quill's expression. "Huh?" she eloquently inquired.
          Abbey, Quill's roommate, did her best to explain. "Radar threw your squishy ball at me--"
          I interrupted. "So she chased me down the hall and tried to hit me with it!" I nodded to the girl in the hall. "I won, by the way."
          Abbey tried to glare at me. She failed. "You did not! I hit you once!"
          "Yeah, and then you somehow missed at point-blank range," I pointed out. The girl outside laughed and wandered off to find someplace slightly more sane to hang out.
          It was more or less a typical night for me at college. I had decided to stop by to see how Quill was doing, and she had vanished to go give some papers to friends, at which point the altercation with Abbey had  taken place. Quill had returned roughly the same time my girlfriend, Sparrow, had showed up to visit as well and to partake of the sandwiches Quill had made. And then Christina, a mutual friend of all of ours, showed up...basically, Quill's room was getting a little crowded. Needless to say, all the newcomers were a bit miffed that they had missed all the fun.
          "You chased him down the hall?" Quill asked enviously through a mouthful of sandwich.
          "Yepp," I confirmed, tossing the aforementioned squishy ball into the air. "I think we confused most of the residents."
          Sparrow poked me in the ribs. I promptly collapsed (I'm a bit ticklish). "You shouldn't throw stuff at people!" she admonished me.
          I curled into the fetal position, trying to protect my poor ribs. "Ohh, Abbey's practically a sister at this point anyway. I can do that!"
          Abbey shrugged. "Yeah, that's true." She heaved a fake sigh. "Brothers!"
          "Just remember, this means you get all the privileges of a sister," Quill reminded her. "In other words, it's okay to hit him."
          I sat up indignantly. "HEY!"
          Christina had been mostly silent throughout this whole discussion, but now she sat up with a wicked glint in her eyes. "We should all chase him down the hall!"
          I scrambled hastily up. "Whoa now...unfair!"
          "How is it unfair?" Sparrow asked, getting up and pointing her "poking finger" at me.
          I thought fast. Unfortunately, I couldn't really come up with a legitimate reason for them not chasing me, since I obviously had all my limbs attached. Oh well. "If I'm going to get chased, I want to deserve it." I lunged for the ball.
          "Oh no you don't!" Christina squeaked and grabbed for it. I got it free, threw it at Quill, and ran for my life.
          I will say this for the girls; they are pretty fast. They still wouldn't have caught me if I hadn't missed the exit to the stairs. One frantic backpedal later, I managed to trip and wipe out. Before I could get up, Sparrow was standing on my feet. I sat back against the wall. "Everyone happy now?"
          Quill sat on my shoulder. "Hmm, I don't know. That was pretty short."
          "I missed my exit," I explained.
          "Let's do it again!" Christina urged.
          "What is this, tag?" I muttered under my breath. "Nah, I'm good. You're wrecking my shoulder, Quill."
          Quill jumped off. "Again. Come on, Radar, please?"
          I stood up, wiggling my toes to get some blood flowing there. Sparrow had kinda cut off the circulation down there. "I don't think so--"
          "Run or get tickled. You have five seconds," Sparrow informed me.
          "Aww, come on!" I protested, then spun around and ran as they charged me.
          This time, I made the exit to the stairs well ahead of the girls, opting to go downstairs first. I could hear them spilling into the stairway as I yanked open the door to ground floor. Abbey was in the hallway; apparently, she had not opted to join in the original chase and wandered down here instead. She burst out laughing as I flew past.
          I hadn't lost the girls yet, so I decided to go up the back stairway. I raced up two floors; then, in a burst of inspiration, I yanked open the second floor door open as I shot past. The girls couldn't see me, but they heard the door closing; they all piled through into the second floor as I leisurely strolled through the third floor door and headed to the water fountain for a much-needed drink and a review of my options.
          It was obvious that I couldn't keep trying to evade them like this; sooner or later, one of them was going to realize that they'd me more effective if two of them barricaded the stairways and sent the last one to flush me out. Or if (heaven help me) they recruited reinforcements. Sadly, my sense of honor (and humor) demanded that I not try to sneak outside. Fortunately, an alternate plan presented itself: I would sneak down the front stairs, draw them out, let them chase me around a floor, then duck back down to first floor and barricade myself in Quill's room.
          Foolproof! With a capital F!
          It went rather well at first. I drew the girls out and took off back up to third floor, than cut through second to get back to the stairway to first. When I reached for the door handle to first, however...
          "Gotcha!!" Sparrow pounced. I was definitely not expecting that. I backed up, tripped, and hit the corner of the stairwell. Sparrow grabbed my wrist and yelled up the stairway to Christina, "I GOT HIM!!!"
          "Excellent! Where's Quill?" Christina asked.
          "I think she went to go guard the back stairs," Sparrow explained.
          "Let's go get her," Christina proposed, grabbing my other wrist and pulling me through the door to first. We headed down the hallway with me trying subtly to see if I could managed to remove my wrists from their death grips.
          Christina saw Quill first and waved. "Hey, Quill, we got Ra--"
          I quickly yanked my arm away from Christina. Unfortunately, Sparrow had anticipated me and grabbed my other arm with both hands, preventing me from running. Christina quickly re-established her grip on my wrist.
          "I feel like a prisoner!" I complained.
          "You are," Quill informed me. "And I'm the warden."
          "I caught him," Sparrow informed her. "Right when he tried to get though the door. He was not expecting me!"
          I groaned, still a bit out of breath. "You're never going to let me forget this, are you?"
          She smiled angelically. "Nope!"

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Captain's Log, Day 99: A Saturday Morning Log

          Interesting...I just noticed that this is my 99th post. Hmm, going to have to come up with something especially clever or witty for my 100th...THE PRESSURE IS TOO MUCH!!!
          Today, though, I have to be neither witty nor clever. Hence, the following excerpt from the log of a typical Midway Family Saturday morning (from back when I was 8).

6:00am     Woke up to my brother Nemesis clattering down the bunk bed ladder. Debate about what to do.
6:02          Static electricity war commences. Yay for wool pajamas!
6:10          Ordered back to bed by Mom. Fleeing for our lives ensues.
6:15          After careful listening at the door, it is determined that Mom returned upstairs to go back to bed.
6:16          Nemesis and I have a quiet stuffed animal war.
6:21          Truce is declared. I climb up into Nemesis's bunk to hide under the covers with him and pretend that we're under attack by aliens.
6:52          Nemesis and I vacate the bunk at the faint sound of a flush from upstairs. Static electricity war recommences.
7:00          We head upstairs to determine the affairs of breakfast.
7:01          Quill looks like her hair got caught in a blender. Squirrel is apparently still down for the count. Mom is also still in bed; Dad is prepping the griddle for omelettes.
7:02          All kids (save Squirrel) are put to work. I grate cheese, Quill unloads the dishwasher, and Nemesis sets the table. Dad looks at the calendar and decides that the truck needs an oil change today.
7:03          Much loud rejoicing is effectively quenched by Dad's threat that noisy children will be left at home. Quieter rejoicing continues.
7:11          Squirrel is rousted out of bed and the family sits down for breakfast.
7:30          Post-breakfast clean-up. I try to sneak out but am caught and ordered to load the dishwasher.
7:42          Family adjourns to get dressed.
8:01          Nemesis and I have been ready since 7:43 and have spent the last 19 minutes arguing about who gets to sit shotgun. Wrestling match is broken up by Dad. No sign of girls.
8:30          Nemesis and I are pulled away from our Erector sets when the girls finally appear. Mom opts to stay home. All four of us kids try to get into the shotgun seat at the same time. Mass confusion.
8:35          Squirrel gets front middle, I get shotgun, and Nemesis and Quill sit in the back, where they amuse themselves by poking me.
8:40          Dad cracks bad jokes. "You know who was in denial? Moses. Moses was in de Nile!!"
8:43          Dad unrolls the windows, then rolls them back up as soon as we stick our hands out. Game promptly ensues to see if Dad can act quick enough to shut the windows on our hands before we can pull them back in. Kids always win. Much gloating.
8:45          I forgot about the game and rested my chin on the window. Dad popped the window up far enough to smack me in the jaw. Much laughter all around.
8:46          Made it to the Public Utilities garage! Dad and I immediately begin to move the hydraulic lift arms under the truck so he can lift it up. I extend the arms, and he positions them. Nemesis helps; Quill and Squirrel unload the oil and the filters.
8:51          Dad lets us all have a turn pushing the button to raise the truck off the ground. Much rejoicing all around.
8:54          Kids scatter into the depths of the huge garage to explore the giant trucks.
8:59          I discover a backhoe. Nemesis and I pretend that it is a turret on a spaceship and open fire on the girls when they appear.
9:00          Hide and seek!!
9:10          I try to figure out how to climb back out of the huge truck bed that I somehow fell into.
9:15          All the kids play spies. Dad is still working on the truck.
9:17          Dad calls us back to the lowering of the truck. Much cheering.
9:19          We form a line to hand Dad oil bottles. Nemesis grabs, I open, Dad pours, Quill discards, and Squirrel picks up the caps.
9:23          Dad decides to wash the truck. I get the high-pressure wash nozzle.
9:24          Dad captures the nozzle, ending the water war. All kids are sternly ordered out.
9:34          Kids are allowed back in. Dad announces that he has "a few things to check" in his office and invites us to come in with him.
9:41          Kids are installed on a computer and allowed to play Pinball on it. Turns are taken at the paddle keys.
10:40        Computer is vacated in favor of hide and seek.
10:51        Dad is queried about the availability of the whiteboard in the conference room. Permission is given to draw on it "if there's nothing written on it already."
10:55        Quill and Squirrel draw. Nemesis and I spin around on the big conference chairs before noticing they have wheels and begin racing.
11:06        Dad begins calling us so we can leave.
11:17        Dad finds us.
11:19        Dad decides all the calling has made him thirsty. Stops at a pop machine for a Dr Pepper. Root beer is procured for the kids after much wheedling.
11:24        Everyone tries to get in the shotgun seat again.
11:26        Positions switched. Squirrel and I are in the back, Nemesis and Quill get front.
11:44        Everyone piles out of the truck when we get home. Mom bemoans the state of our clothes but thanks Dad for giving her the morning off. Dad gives us the evil eye but assures Mom we were as good as gold. Lunch is eaten with pardonable swiftness before all the kids adjourn to the backyard for the afternoon.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Captain's Log, Day 98: Put Out to Pasture

          Honestly? I'm not sure whose idea it was. I'd like to take credit for it, but the odds are that someone just lost a baseball out in that field and, while everyone was crawling around on their hands and knees, decided "Hey, this is kind of fun!"
          I refer, of course, to the extensive system of hallways and rooms created in the tall grass in our pasture; an area so vast and so riddled with passageways and rooms, we kids got lost.
          About a year or so after we moved in, Dad's prairie grass came up in the front pasture. This wasn't really all that exciting until it grew taller than me, a feat which is all the more impressive because my 12-year-old self was currently engaged in yet another growth spurt. (It's only recently that I quit changing pant sizes two or three times every summer, and thank goodness too. Any taller and I would start clocking my head on every single doorframe.)
          As kids, of course, my siblings and I did what came naturally; build forts in it. This was accomplished by carefully flattening the grass into the ground, creating rooms and hallways with VERY comfortable floors and walls taller than we were. It was possible, of course, to jump high enough to see over the grass, but that was avoided at all costs. I'd imagine that it would be amusing to see the religiousness with which we refused to just break through "walls" of our rooms and hallways every time we got lost; we always followed the pre-existing routes when we were not in construction mode.
          Sometimes, we played games out there. As I recall, pretending to be mice was our favorite, especially after I saw a very confused mouse regarding us quizzically from the undergrowth. I made all kinds of new hallways trying to catch him, but he got away. Regardless, we scuttled around on our hands and knees until they were so permanently green that Mom just about gave up on trying to remove the stains. This led to a new game where we all pretended to be frogs...
          That was also the summer where I received a cork gun. It was a pretty basic piece wood shaped like a gun, with a piece of pipe over the barrel that one extended, loaded a cork, and than yanked back on hard to fire the cork straight into little siblings' foreheads. I'm not sure who gave it to me. I doubt it was my parents; I give them more credit for caution than that. To be fair, it did come with a cork fastened securely by way of a string to the gun so that it couldn't fly further than a foot. On the other hand, it took me about three seconds to remove said string, and another ten minutes to modify the rubber seal for a tighter fit to the pipe. When I was completed, I had an awesome gun that could kill grasshoppers from about a foot away. (It wasn't accurate at any other distance, but it went quite a ways.)
          Anyway, my brother Nemesis would load up on rubber bands, Quill would grab a small compound bow, and I would bring my gun out to the pasture, where we spent happy afternoons playing as bandits or robbers. My sister Squirrel joined us, but she preferred to load up with 4th of July parade candy--she had an overactive sweet tooth and a detest for violence, even pretend violence. She was usually our "cook."
          Dad's dream was to be able to cut all the prairie grass down in the fall and bale it for hay. Unfortunately, that didn't happen, so he was forced to purchase hay bales. We kids helped him unload it and stack it neatly in the barn, then gleefully rearranged it into a fort the second his back was turned. A few weeks later, he restacked all the bales by himself. Nothing daunted, we destroyed that pile too and built a cave. Fortunately for Dad's sanity, it snowed soon after, and we were all so busy building caves and forts in the huge drifts that covered our farm (yay hills!) that we didn't even notice when he took apart our haystack cavern and restacked the bales again.
          ...I'm starting to realize why Mom banned us from the house during all summers. We were destructive little squirts...

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Captain's Log, Day 97: Songs of my iPod

          I'm back at college and once again relying on music in order to keep hold on my rather tenuous grip on sanity.
          ...whoops, I just let go.
          Hopefully, I'll get to write later today regarding another of my childhood exploits that involved a bunch of weeds and some tootsie rolls, but until then, I thought I'd post some of my favorite songs and the ones I have listened to the most over the past few weeks, in case you feel like you need some new songs. The top five or so are the most listened to, in order, but then I decided that ordering all these would be too much of a the rest of these are in the order that I remembered them and wrote them down. Yay for laziness, right?

Name                                                            Artist
Citizen/Soldier                                               Three Doors Down
Teenage Rebel                                               Chameleon Circuit
Changes                                                        Three Doors Down
Fighter                                                           Gym Class Heroes
Duck and Run                                               Three Doors Down
Walk Over Me                                              All-American Rejects
Rocket                                                          Def Leppard
Waiting                                                         Trapt
Rebirthing                                                     Skillet
Good Time                                                    Owl City
Only One in Color                                         Trapt
The Other Side                                              Aerosmith
Real Gone                                                     Rascal Flatts
It's Not Me It's You                                      Skillet
Right Where I Belong                                    Three Doors Down
Alligator Sky                                                 Owl City
Pages                                                            Three Doors Down
Danger Zone                                                 Kenny Loggins
Exterminate/Regenerate                                 Chameleon Circuit
Echo                                                             Trapt
Dreams Don't Turn to Dust                            Owl City
Life is a Highway                                           Rascal Flatts
Nightmares                                                    Chameleon Circuit
I'm Alright                                                     Kenny Loggins
Deer in the Headlights                                    Owl City
Captains of the Sky                                       Sky Sailing
These Walls                                                  Trapt
Blink                                                             Chameleon Circuit
Monster                                                        Skillet
Footloose                                                      Kenny Loggins
Headstrong                                                    Trapt
Falling Inside the Black                                  Skillet

          I'll probably update this later as I think of more songs. If I could only recommend one artist, I'd say to check out Three Doors Down, because they are AWESOME!!!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Captain's Log, Day 96: But I wish I was invulnerable!

          I've never had a problem with believing that I'm invulnerable. My active and klutzy lifestyle would have quickly debunked such notions in short order.
, I have a problem with believing that I will magically heal within thirty seconds. Like Wolverine. Except, sadly, I have no claws.

Subtract the claws and the coolness factor, and this is me on a daily basis.

          Fortunately for me, I do heal pretty quickly, which I tend to take unfair advantage of. My train of thought tends to go like this: Let's see, I have a game this weekend...and today is anything short of a broken bone should be fine. "YO NEMESIS!!! Wanna try out my new invention? I call it the Human Catapult! Just pull the trigger when I say FIRE!!!"
          Just kidding. I've never made a human catapult. On purpose. A vine and some really springy trees once made an accidental one. I cleared 20 feet. It was AWESOME!!!
          Oh, and by the way, a new law was formulated by my brother Nemesis and myself. It's called Midway's Law. "Anyone can FLY...but it takes a real genius to LAND." Originally, our law read "Anything that can go wrong will go wrong," but it turned out some guy named Murphy copywrited that one already. Lame. We've avoided such issues with our new law by doing absolutely no research whatsoever so as not to have our hopes dashed.

Yepp, that's me. Be warned, dangit!!!
          Today's epic decision was floating paper boats on the pond and attempting to blow them up with various reasoning being, any burns I could acquire should be reasonably healed by tomorrow so I can go to work. That was ALMOST put to the test, as one of the fireworks was a wee bit bigger than expected. Oopsies. 

...also me on a daily basis...
          Oh well, I'm sure there's a lesson here somewhere. I'll figure it out eventually...when I'm not designing my new SUPERLASER!!!! Nothing could POSSIBLY go wrong there...

Okay, that's a half-finished Nerf gun...close enough...
          ...right?? RIGHT??? RII--

          By the way, check out Nick Spark's blog From the Mouth of a Sheep. His post was kind of the inspiration for this article (and is a whole lot better than mine!).

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Captain's Log, Day 95: Another Midnight Romp (at 1am)

          I defy anyone to sleep when the moon is shining STRAIGHT THROUGH YOUR WINDOW AND INTO YOUR EYES.
          Well, that and I wasn't very tired to begin with. Time to fix that!
          I hopped out of bed and headed out of my room. I live in the basement of the house, so initially I didn't have to be too stealthy...which was a good thing, because I sideswiped the couch and wiped out.
          Klutziness taken care of for the night, I continued on my way upstairs to fetch my sister Quill, being incredibly more careful than I had been at first. Everyone else in my family were pretty heavy sleepers, so I wasn't too concerned about waking them up; but Squirrel slept with a half shi-tzu, half poodle (shi-poo) that never really liked me and barked his stupid little head off every time I approached. His name was Bobo, but upon returning home from college and seeing his size post-bath and how he got chased by the cat, I promptly dubbed him "Rodent." That thing was just too small to be a dog.
          I successfully avoided the squeaky step at the top of the stairs and carefully felt around for the doorknob to Quill's room. Easing the door open, I slipped inside and shut it behind me, thanking God that the Rodent hadn't started yipping. (I probably would have been severely tempted to drop-kicked him if he had.)
          There was a rustling noise from the bed, then a sleepy voice whispered, "Will?"
          I jumped, a bit startled. "You're awake?"
          "Yeah. What's up?"
          "Well, it's 12 at night--well, actually, it's closer to one at night, and I have insomnia, and the moon is REALLY STINKING BRIGHT, and it's really nice outside, at least I think it is, and we still haven't snuck outside yet this summer, so I was wondering if you wanted to come," I explained in a whisper, ungrammatically and without conciseness.
          Quill sat up. "Sure! Meet you downstairs!"
          "Gotcha. Beware the Rodent!" I warned melodramatically and vanished out the door to wait in the entryway.
          Quill joined me with gratifying promptness, so we headed out the back door through our ACTUAL dog's (Max, a golden retriever) bedroom, which was the mudroom.
          "One thing I'm glad about Maxie is that he never barks," Quill noted with approval as we slipped out the back door.
          "He did once," I snickered.
          "Really? When?"
          "Well, remember when I lived upstairs with Nemesis? I used to sneak down to the middle floor bathroom if I had to go. Well, one night, I scared Maxie and he barked, so I quickly ran into the bathroom to hide because I heard Dad coming down to check it out. Turns out Dad needed to use the bathroom too, so when he got into the bathroom and turned on the light, I was hiding behind the door!"
          Quill clapped her hands over her mouth to suppress a laugh. "Was he scared?"
          "Understatement. I probably gave him some grey hairs," I joked. "Let's go run out on the front lawn!"
          We had about 4 acres of front lawn, which was an inviting prospect for both of us. We took off, arms waving in such a manner that it would have been impossible for an observer to predict where they were going next. Once out on the front lawn, we did a bit of stargazing ("The Big Dipper...the North Star..." "There's the Archer. He looks like a teapot!") before deciding that the brightness of the Moon was really not going to be helpful in aiding our efforts in Astronomy.
          I closed my eyes. "Quill, count for me. I'm going to do that spinning thing."
          20 spins later, I wasn't too dizzy, but as soon as I opened my eyes and looked at the moon, I fell over like I'd been punched. I was laughing so hard I was having trouble breathing, so I didn't make any noise; but Quill had to once again hold her hands over her mouth to suppress her giggles.
          After I regained my balance, we walked over to the pond to see if we could scare up any frogs (no go). Then I suggested a short jaunt into the woods behind our house (five acres of that, too), but Quill shook her head. "Skunks," she said, by way of explanation.
          "Oh, come on," I urged. "If there are any, we'll smell them LONG before we see them! Well, you will anyway," I added as an afterthought, remember that I couldn't actually smell, a fact that the parental unit had taken advantage of on the several occasions Maxie had picked a fight with a skunk. Guess who got to wash him?
          "Fine...just a little ways," Quill conceded. "You go first."
          I snickered and took off. After we reached the limit of Quill's comfort zone, we turned around and came back. I mimed howling at the house, but Quill smacked me. "Shhhh! You'll wake up Bobo!"
          "You're right," I agreed. "Stupid Rodent would probably start yipping."
          "Think we should head in?"
          "Yeah, probably. I think I'm suitably tired now."
          We parted ways at the stairs; I went down, she went up. I don't remember actually getting back to my room...
          ...probably because I was sleepwalking at that point. I can fall asleep really fast....

Friday, August 3, 2012

Captain's Log, Day 94: NEVER!!! and some links...

          I got punched in the head by my brother Nemesis yesterday.
          I'm not really sure who to blame for that: Nemesis for not pulling the shot, or me for not blocking it. Don't worry, we weren't fighting...well, weren't seriously fighting...well....
          Nemesis and I are currently working on a stunt-action fighting sequence that we plan to film eventually (and will post up on here when it comes out). It's really fun to create, except for those moments where we both forget what we're supposed to be doing and end up wrestling. I'm naturally aggressive, so I have to be careful not to forget that this is FAKE combat; very difficult for me. Nemesis's naturally defensive, which is amusing because sometimes he blocks at shots that he thinks I might throw, leading to him actually hitting me, because I'm not expecting to get hit with a block, which just seems weird.
          It's part of the reason I love sparring; I really enjoy the chance to hit/be hit without repercussions...well, serious repercussions...well, from certain parental units who think that sibling fighting is a bad thing or something. I will admit that friend of mine accidentally knocked me out once, which was an educational and enlightening experience, and by "enlightening" I mean I saw lots and lots of bright lights swimming around my field of vision once I regained consciousness. It would have been an opportunity to do some mental astronomy and begin naming some of the constellations if it hadn't been for the fact that I had complete amnesia and short-term memory loss for the next thirty minutes. I suspect that I was very entertaining for everyone but my parents, who were naturally freaking out. Well, Mom was, anyway. Anyway, I recovered fairly quickly after I remembered who I was, but unfortunately I was not allowed to spar again because 1) Mom thought I needed to go to the hospital and 2) class had ended 15 minutes ago. My siblings were disappointed to discover that no one had taken video ("You mean it won't be on YOUTUBE?????").
          I will also admit to not knowing when to give up...or, to be more precise, knowing when to give up, which will be sometime after the universe comes to a screeching halt and the winged monkeys bring Elvis back. I.E. never. This do-or-die mentality can be amusing, but it's also led to fractured bones (in my foot, after a few sparring matches ago when my best kick got blocked by an elbow). This trait is so hardwired in me that Mom reported that it was hugely present after I woke up from anesthesia after my wisdom teeth were removed. Despite the return of complete amnesia and short-term memory loss, I was still insistent on driving the car. According to Mom (I can't remember), I kept telling her, "No, it's okay, I can drive! I'm fine," and then walking into walls. Okay, I actually said something like "Mo, if ofay, E n wive! Mm fn," as I still had gauze in my mouth, but I think I made my point. Mom drove.
          I guess this mentality is useful under certain circumstances, such as stupid stunts, new inventions, or the grill incident, which has led my siblings to allow me to try most things first, figuring that 1) I can take a lot of damage, like getting my hand crushed or having a rocket detonate in my lap, and 2) if I die, I'll probably deserve it because I'm a moron. (They're not far wrong...I mean, I hit up a storm sewer to get a frog. What does THAT say?)
          Alright, I'm done with the links, I promise. I just discovered that LINKING IS FUN!!!!
          So yeah, I'm headed off to practice my fighting sequence with Nemesis...and if anything funny happens, we'll put it up on YouTube. Wouldn't want to deprive the currently-absent parental unit of the fun of watching my younger brother knock me out....
          ...and does anyone know where the fire extinguisher is?

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Captain's Log, Day 93: I Just Won a Bet

          Someone made a bet with me.
          ...and we all know how THAT'S gonna end...
          Shorty made the sort of squealing noise normally associated with small rodents being stepped on. "EEEEEEE!!!! That's how many short jokes, now?"
          I shrugged. "At least five in the last few minutes."
          I attempted to keep a straight face, but I defy anyone to manage that while watching a short person wave her hands around in hopeless futility. It was probably a good thing that she was a few thousand miles away from me at this precise moment, or she probably would have attempted to kill me. "Probably because short people are such an easy target?"

          Her face was priceless, even through the video chat app. I spared a moment to wish aloud, "Ughh, I wish I had a camera!!" 
          "It's a good thing you don't!" she retorted, a few milliseconds before I smacked myself. "Hey, what--"
          "I'm an idiot!" I complained. "I can just take screenshots and save them!"
          "What? NO! Wait, you wouldn't...would you?"
          I was busily pulling open Paint windows in preparation for screenshots, in the meantime giving my best Cheshire Cat grin. Shorty groaned. "This is going to be another phone-in-the-toilet thing, isn't it?"

"Why am I talking to this freakishly tall lunatic?"
Wonder if she means me...?
          The "phone-in-the-toilet thing" was referring to a prank I pulled on her last semester. She had forgotten where she had put her phone, and I found it before she did and quietly hid it. Then I made a quick trip to the bathroom. When I got back, Shorty was positive that I took it, so (being the absurd person that I am) I told her I hid it in the back of the toilet, in the little water container thingy. (I'm sure there's a word for it, but I can't think of it.) She knew I was kidding, and asked me why she thought I would believe such a thing; because if I'd REALLY dropped her phone in the water, she would have killed me on the spot. I told her that I'd sealed it in a Ziplock bag before I put it in there. After some back and forth discussion, I managed to convince her that I had put it in there, and she departed to check. When she was gone, I quickly put her phone back on the table. Shorty came back laughing and berating me for being a liar, and demanded to know WHERE HER PHONE WAS!!! I managed to keep a straight face while she rummaged through my backpack, but completely lost it when she discovered the phone sitting nicely on the table. I ostentatiously carried a Ziplock with me through the rest of the semester, and managed to trick her three more times with the same prank. It's been a running joke ever since; whenever I say something completely ridiculous that has a slight hint of possible truth (mostly when I'm trying to convince her of something), Shorty complains that "'s going to be another "phone-in-the-toilet thing again!!!"

"...he wouldn't...would he? Noo, I'm sure he wouldn...EEEEEEE!!!!!"
          But I digress.
          "Of course it won't!" I reassured Shorty. "I think I'll use these photos in an article about you!" (I had been kidding at the time.) "By the way, how did you like the other one you were in?"
          More mouse noises. "When you texted me and said you were writing about me I thought you were just going to do like some random short joke and then I read it and you had a picture up and EEEEEE!!!! But it was awesome, I'll give you that!"
          I applauded the run-on sentence. "Hmm, I should do an article on you..." I mused aloud, just to see what her reaction was.
          Shorty fell over. 

I wish I had been a bit faster with the screenshot on this one, but
my computer locked up. She was midway through falling, though!
          "NO!!! YOU WOULDN'T!!! This is NOT going to be another phone-in-the-toilet incident NO!!! There's no way...I bet you won't! Noooo....."
          I perked up. "You serious about that bet? How much are you willing to bet on that?"
          Shorty glared at me, a wasted effort since the corners of her mouth kept twitching. "A lot less after that last article, but but still...noo, you wouldn't. Not a chance. I WILL NOT BE TRICKED AGAIN!!!"

 that's the story behind the bet. I think I've perpetrated the perfect she's going to be forced to be completely confused regarding everything I say, because I might just do it! 
          And hilariously enough, Shorty just texted me to inquire, "You really didn't take those pics, did you?" I'm posting this to her wall and hiding for the rest of the year...did I mention she owns a lot of guns?

Maybe it's a short person thing...? They need to
do SOMETHING to avoid getting stepped on....

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Captain's Log, Day 92: The Zombies Are Coming!!!

          ...okay, probably not. But it never hurts to be prepared, right?
          I did an article way back when I was just starting this blog (and obviously sleep-deprived) entitled APOCALYPSE!!!!, with a few more exclamations points than I will put here because 1) I don't need to use up that much space, and 2) I'm lazy. However, due to some inexplicable oversight, I never bothered to cover the zombie apocalypse, which seems strange because I was one of the co-founders of the game Humans versus Zombies at my college.

Never let theater students be the zombies. They get wayyy too into it.
           Needless to say, I figure that it's high time I enlighten people on proper zombie avoidance, seeing as most folks only have the basics of a plan that goes something along the lines of "Yeah, right, Radar...don't be a moron, that would never happen!"
           ....oh, wait, that's my parents.
           What I meant to say was, most college kids have a plan, if only because dreaming up zombie apocalypse plans and watching Resident Evil are more exciting than studying for Calc III, even though Resident Evil has more stupid decisions in it than my entire life history to date (which is saying something). I spent literally the entire movie yelling at the characters, prompting my friends to periodically try to calm me down with a baseball bat. 
           I'm so far off my original point that I can't see it with a telescope. 
           Anyway, the typical plan involves running like mad for the nearest gun store, raiding it for guns and ammunition, then retiring to a safely boarded-up house to have some fun by killing zombies through the window slits. That is, unfortunately, terribly impractical. As most gun shops are run by people who like guns and (more importantly) people who know how to use guns and may not want to give up their offensive power, that might be the last place you want to go, especially since the entire non-zombified population will be there, banging on the doors until they're turned into hors d'oeuvres by the zombies, who are presumably laughing their undead heads off at the short-sightedness of the general population. 
            So anyway, assuming you have a gun and supplies, you decide to hole up for a while in your impenetrable house made of wood...great idea there, Eisenstein. You know what will happen when your food runs out? By the time you get to that point, there will be a mob of drooling zombies outside that all the king's guns and all the king's ammo aren't going to be able to shift long enough for you to nip out for a quick bite to eat. Zombies are's not like they've got jobs or anything.
"Hurry up and come out, will you? I'm late for my 9 o'clock
            Makes me wonder sometimes...if a zombie ate a drunk guy, how buzzed would he get? I DON'T NEED AN ANSWER TO THAT, IT WAS RHETORICAL. 
            So I have some good news and bad news. The good news is, farm kids and gun store owners will probably survive the first few days quite easily, while the bad news is that the rest of you are probably out there being caught and devoured. Actually, I'm going to include my friend Shorty in that category, too, as she currently owns more guns than the US Army.
And uses them on people who make fun of her height.
She's 4' 11". I'm currently hiding.
            Anyway, after the first few days, it all evens out, although the farm boys still have an advantage because we live a million miles away from ANYWHERE (not that I'm annoyed by that or anything) and we can grow our own food and snipe zombies from miles away. If you prefer the city, though, make sure you keep moving. Zombies can surround a house and sit patiently on their rotting kiesters for days waiting for you to come out for dinner. 
            I would suggest moving in groups and heading for the country, but not all at once. That would cause a terrific traffic jam, leading more of you to be zombie lunch, and increasing the odds that I would have to play Whack-A-Mole with a rifle from two miles away, except it would be more like Shoot A Zombie and and I would probably be using my rocket launcher because--let's face it--what else am I going to be designing when I'm a million miles from ANYWHERE???
            Okay, okay, I'm building the Ironman suit too...guess that makes me a definite survivor, huh?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Captain's Log, Day 91: The Sequel!

          I'm now almost done with one of my books, but in order to finish it, I kinda needed to know where I wanted to go with the sequel. Couldn't resist posting the first bit of it up to see what everyone thinks of it so far! It's set on an uninhabited planet outside the Solar System right in the middle of a skirmish.

Warrior's Mission

          I hurled myself backwards, away from the grenade flipping over trench wall. I probably could have used my Air powers to throw it right back where it had come from, but I was a bit distracted. Being targeted by every sniper out there tends to do that to you.
          The grenade went off with a muffled thud. My helmet spared me the noise, while my armor spared me the shrapnel. I paused for a moment to praise my apparently amnesiastic self for designing such good gear before scooping up my plasma rifle and poking my head back over the top of the trench.
          The advancing troops, confident that they had cleared their one remaining obstacle out of the way, were streaming towards the trench that I was the sole occupier of. They were apparently not aware that a Warrior was that occupier. I opened fire, managing to take down seven of the 15-person squad and shoot two more grenades out of the air before they retreated.
          “Dangit, Ryan, didn’t you hear the retreat order?”
          I glanced sideways as Hyatt rolled into the trench next to me. Like me, he was wearing a full battlesuit; unlike me, his spells were nearly gone. I saw burn marks across his arms and chest.
          “Yeah, I did, but if we lose this trench, it’s gonna take us months to get it back,” I warned, snapping off another few shots without really aiming. “When did Command say reinforcements were coming?”
          “They’re not warping in until mid-cycle,” Hyatt snorted, wrist gun spinning as he launched his own attack. “That’s 12 hours from now. We can’t hold the trench that long, especially not with the air support arriving.”
          I stared down Serenity Valley, which seemed to me to be most unfortunately named at this point in time. “Air strike? Why didn’t I hear about this?”
          “They just got wind of it,” Hyatt grunted.
          “Was that a pun?” I didn’t wait for his reply, flipping through the menus in on my visor screen until I found what I was looking for. “Command, this is Stormwalker Ryan from Trench Oh-Seven-Seven-Five. What’s this about an airstrike?”
          Devonius’s voice filled my headset, causing me to grit my teeth with hatred. “Soldier, that information does not concern you. Pull out now.”
          “With all due respect, General, it does concern me. Can you get the reinforcements here if the air is cleared?”
          “Soldier, that was an order. Pull out now!”
          “That’s a stupid order, sir. Answer my question!”
          I snarled and cut the link, turning to Hyatt. “Get on the horn to our captain, let him know that the anti-aircraft batteries have been taken and the strike is being held back.”
          Hyatt shot a jet of water out of his palm to knock away an incoming grenade. “You want me to lie? I can see their anti-aircraft batteries from here! They’re still under enemy control!”
          “Knowing your communications array, they won’t be by the time you raise the captain. Do it!”
          I vaulted out of the trench before Hyatt could fully understand what I meant and charged across the three hundred or so feet separating me from my goal. Under normal circumstances, and for a normal soldier, this would be a suicide mission. But these were not normal circumstances.
          And I was a Warrior. Not that anyone else needed to know that.
          My shield spiraled out on my left arm just in time to block two plasma blasts coming in from the sentries, who were clearly not ready for this. I located their box and leapt, reaching over my right shoulder for one of my blades. One midair flip and quick strike later, and their heads were no longer in company with their bodies.
          I landed in the enemy trench and channeled fire down my blade. The spear of pure plasma leapt off the tip to punch straight through spells, chestplates, and torsos. All the soldiers down one side of the trench collapsed, dead. I spun and whipped my blade through two more soldiers before I found who I was looking for. The leader of the group was firing at me, guns in all four of his hands, when I batted the bolts aside with my shield and smashed him right in his helmeted face with it. He flew backwards, right towards the heavily armored doors of the anti-aircraft battery…
          …and sailed right through as they slid open automatically for him.
          As I’d expected, he had the key for the doors somewhere in his body. I hurled my shield at the quickly-closing doors, wedging them open. Running forward, I threw my legs forward into a slide underneath the shield, reaching up with one hand to catch the edge of my shield to both yank it free and arrest my forward progress into the room.
          Good thing too; plasma fire blew out the deck where I would have skidded. I spun up my wrist gun and opened fire, covering myself with my shield. I also folded out the minigun in my powerpack on my back and flipped it over my shoulder to help rake the interior with plasma fire, visor aiding me in targeting opponents.
          Fifteen seconds later, it was all over. I stepped over the charred alien corpses to the controls, visor lighting up with translations and schematics as it scanned the interior of the room. A few more seconds, and I had set the computer to fire back up the valley at its own aircraft.
          The fighters were caught completely flat-footed, the squadron decimated in seconds. I activated my comm., to find Captain Rodgers giving Hyatt heck over the channel for drinking on duty.
          “Ryan here, sir, and Hyatt wasn’t drinking,” I cut in. “I ordered him to call in with those reports.”
          “Ryan, why the heck are you still out there? I ordered a retreat!” Rodgers shouted.
          “Musta missed that call,” I shrugged.
          “Twelve times??”
          “I was in the middle of a counter-attack,” I shot back. “The anti-aircraft gun has been captured and reprogrammed to blast Scoric fighters into little-bitty pieces and we now own Trench Oh-Seven-Seven-Six. Got any backup coming, as per my request?”
          I knew I would never get tired of getting those shocked silences from my commanding officers, even though that usually ended with my butt getting transferred to another unit. “Three squads are coming your way,” Rodgers finally came back. There was a pause, and I waited for the inevitable transfer orders.
          It was his turn to catch me by surprise. “Unit Three has orders to report to you for command. Congratulations on your promotion, Squad Leader.”

Monday, July 23, 2012

Captain's Log, Day 90: Just a Little Bit of Programming....

          For BEHOLD!!! I bring you tidings of great comics, which shall be for all people!
          ...or something like that.
          Yes, you guessed right; my brother Nemesis has finally jumped on the webcomic bandwagon and will be putting out a new Silly Snake and Turtle comic strip every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday! Okay, in the interest of accuracy, he will be emailing the comics to me to upload every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, but hey--I get to read them first!!! MWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaaaa......
          Naturally, though, it is first necessary to iron out all the issues with the page and uploading procedure. I have GOT to stop playing with the html code. Not everything needs to be modified...not everything needs to be modified...oh, who am I kidding, of course it does!!!
          I decided to be a bit clever with this notification of brotherly ambition and set it to post at the EXACT same time Nemesis's first comic goes up! Well, his first new comic, I should say--I uploaded one of his old ones last night to test border spacing.

Cover art for the new webcomic!
          Oh, and speaking of programming, I decided to reboot the JARVISBETA AI so I could test some new code that I wasn't sure of (I was afraid it would accidentally wreck SKYNET or something). The interesting result was that JARVISBETA shut down my computer, which wasn't quite what I was going for but a result that could be useful if I ever needed to crash my computer for some reason.
          ...or someone else's...MWAHAHAHAHAHAHAaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Captain's Log, Day 89: Setbacks and Potential Changes

          I keep running into setbacks.
          It shouldn't be surprising at this point, I suppose; but, has anyone ever noticed that, no matter how much we prepare for it, it's still surprising?
          Take, for instance, the cannon I built back when I was 12. I knew I would get busted by my parents at some point, but I was hoping it would be after I cleared the pond with the Play-Dough tube I was attempting to shoot. Unfortunately, my brother Nemesis decided to get Mom to watch the first shot, and she quickly arrested the experiment. (At least I got off several shots with the air cannon I had built...too bad the compressor was noisier than anticipated.)
          What with everything I get into that has tendencies to fail (which is almost literally everything; I create complications, for heaven's sake), one might think that after a while, I would learn my lesson, but fact, to take my mind off of the failure, I usually jump right into another project with all the zeal of someone who is absolutely convinced that this time he won't get in trouble.
          Mmhmm, right. Although the rocket launcher was spectacular.
          In this case, I am rebounding from a series of really annoying failures by redesigning my blog. For anyone who was reading this during the last hour before this gets posted, my sincerest apologies; I screwed up all the formatting as I was resetting it. I think I got it fixed though. Ahh, the joys of programming...
          Anyway, I figured I'd give everyone a chance to vote on which format they'd rather see, just so I don't mess this up. (Ah-HA! I am capable of learning!!!) Below are the two options I'm considering: Theme 1 is the outer space theme I've been working with so far, and Theme 2 is the forest one that I'm considering switching to.
          You can either vote in the comments under this post, or on my Facebook page: I'll give it a few days before counting the votes and making changes as needed. Thanks for your help, and thanks for reading!

Theme 1: Outer Space

Theme 2: Forest