Tales of Tadeusz

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Why the MSM Keeps Playing Poker With the Cowboy Even Though They Already are Taking off their Shirt

I remember a scene in a Tom Clancy novel where the stock trader hero reveals the bad guy's plan which involves losing lots of money on Wall Street, and he wonders to Jack Ryan and his best bud why anyone would do that, after all, making money was the biggest game in town. But Jack and bud realize there is another bigger game...political power, international power.
I knew in the Clinton Admin that the MSM was madly protecting Clinton, and that they were spending decades of credibility to do it. And the likelihood of them winning anything back was poor. But they judged that allowing the R's to take down Clinton would be more damaging to their cause, perhaps that it would break the enchantment of invulnerability and inevitability. Or perhaps that it would break the ties of mad/insane loyalty that hangs the Modern Dem Party together.
But imagine you're a MSM hyuk-muk-muk, you've already laid your house mortage of credibility on the poker table, and you're still losing, why not push the car and the boat out there as well? Maybe, just maybe, you can turn it around with a couple big wins, and win it all back, and more.
Of course, thats a sucker play, but then its easier to do that than to get up from the table, and go out and try to do your job, your duty, your honor, and earn back what you have lost.

Poetry to Pologize for Postponing the Sending of a Christmas Card by Moi

Merrie Christmas said Santa,
I got your card,
An aquarium full of a Manta
And a junk-filled yard

Got in the way of the sleigh
With the card for you
Getting out the garage before next May
Tis very sad, tis true

But then it will be in time
For a Christmas in July
How wondrous, how sublime
To have a card with a daiquiri and lime!

By Eric R. Ashley

Friday, December 23, 2005

Writing Chapter Two

Chapter Two of Worldwalker is being seriously rewritten. I was not that happy with it. It did the job, but in a kind of lame, aimless way with the heroine acting pretty pathetic, and taking a real long time to do so.

I'm learning how to be more descriptive, but not all wallowing in description, and emotions is fruitful. So, a serious rewrite, and hopefully a chop of a couple thousand words with stronger, brighter descriptions, and more action. More change. More scenes.

Still need to work on scene creation. And scene transition for that chapter. I think that might be part of why it was so flaccid. It was trying to be one whole scene for the whole six thousand words.

Another side bene from this is that it shortens the novel a bit, leaving more space for some other good stuff I had planned for the fight with the plesiosaur.

Science Experiments

I'm here to tell you that Magnetronix are wonderful for the kids, Mr. C makes letters of them, and they stick to the fridge to be stored, but the kid just wants to experiment...in a way her mother would not have.

Stuck it right to the monitor screen. Left a purple and blue hue on the screen corner.

We did not know what to do for a while as it seemed permanent since it reoccurred in multiple windows. Happily a click off, click on of the monitor resolved resolution in our favor.

But next time he does that, I told him, they go in the trash.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Storyblogging Carnival is UP!

The link ishttp://talesbysheya.blogspot.com/2005/12/presenting-storyblogging-carnival.html and Sheya has done it again.


And she wonders after reading my piece how she would react if a copy of her showed up on the doorstep. Perhaps better than my characters did...

Hopefully, I'll have more of the story next Storyblog. I'm trying to edit Worldwalker at the same time, but I need more than one outlet.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Storyblogging Carnival

I, Doppleganger

By Eric R. Ashley

My wife and toddling children wander about yardsale-ing in the early summer morning when the Appalachian heat and mugginess were still held down by the cool of the passing night, while I typed a list of planned renovations for my ninety-year-old house on the just purchased computer in our living room. Antique floors of tongue and groove oak creakily held up the latest piece of plastica electronica on top of a pressed-board desk. The computer sneers at its surroundings, but shuts up after I point out…
“Look so good when you are ninety, you will not.”
Of course, it came with the dominant word processing program, Wyrd which is my regular platform for rants on my blog, games, short stories, and novels. The list kept growing longer as I thought because the “manor” needed much more help. The house is set far back in a hollow in the Southern Appalachian mountains, and when we bought it, unsafe to walk through. Now you do not have to worry about falling through the floor. So the renovations were coming along, but much more remained to be done.
I sat knocking my teeth repeatedly with a pencil as an aid to thought until the doorbell rang startling me. Most of our neighbors do not know we are back here, hidden in the woods, let alone anyone else. My eyebrows rose, and I tried to think of who it could be, as I reluctantly got up from my planning.
A tall man could be seen in vague outline beyond the lace curtains of the antique nine-paned door, but I opened the door without worry. We lived in a safe county, and besides at two-twenty and over six foot, I’m no midget myself. I figured the man was probably a politician seeking my vote for city council or something.
“Hi.” I said and stopped in shock, my thoughts going right and left and then back again without gaining any traction. My self, my very own image, stared back from me, and leaned against the door frame of my house with a weary right arm. Six foot two-ish, blue chambray shirt, a huge duffle bag, black jeans, hiking boots, and pure blonde hair, sun-bleached with dead level eyes looking into mine scattered my wits into a hundred pieces.
“Hi, yourself.” He said in a deep voice without moving. I stared again, and then did the sane thing. Slamming the door shut, and grabbing an aluminum bat stationed behind the door for emergencies, I breathed out a quick prayer for help. Then with a quiver in my left arm, and the bat held high ready for belting in my right, I jerked the door open. Still he had not moved from his erect posture.
The other me looked into my eyes with calm patience.
“I believe hospitality to the saints is recommended.” He said with an exaggerated slowness.
“Even the devil can quote Scripture to his own ends.” I replied wondering if I was facing some sort of spirit on this Wednesday summer morning. It seemed an odd time to have such a visitation, but any time would seem an odd time I guess since I’ve never had one, at least nothing so visible.
“Yeah, but would the devil be so willing to admit he made mistakes? I’ve made plenty.” He shrugged, winced, and I noted that his muscles seemed considerably more developed than mine. Also his face looked more hard-angles, and the large nose had obviously been broken several times. We shared the massive jaw that made us square-jawed, and frightful if we yawned for then a great, gaping chasm opened up.
“Any that you’re bringing with you?” I looked out onto the porch beyond him, as if some stalker with a rifle might be coming up soon.
He grinned with a crookedness.
“No, don’t think so. I left them a long way back.” He paused. “In another universe.”
I nodded, and put down my baseball bat. I did not think he was a doppleganger cursed to kill his original, or a clone, and the only other explanation I could come up with involved multiple timelines and alternate realities.
I backed up to let him enter, and he grinned at my caution. No invitation would be extended to a potential vampire. Not that I believed in vampires or doppelgangers mind you, but five minutes ago, I did not believe in an alternate divergent of myself from some other reality. This was not the time to take wide sweeping actions based on theory which had just proven itself fundamentally flawed.
He stepped in, walking with a oiled grace that reminded me of a ballerina, and not at all like my own lumbering and thudding style of perambulation. Eyes swept over the whole living room, catching details with a swiftness and sureness, and at the same time I saw my place from a different view. It was rough, but comfortable, a working man’s home with signs of love and play tucked with a companionable neatness into the abundant bookshelves.
“Your wife is out, isn’t she?” He asked turning to me with a fixity of attention and focus that caught my attention. It was like looking into my own soul, but more compassionate, and dreadful eyes than mine stared back.
“And the tykes, as well.”
“Tykes.” He said, and there was a vibrant sadness in his voice. Obviously somewhere he had taken speech classes in abundance to have such a trained voice, but what interested me was the visceral pain washing across his face. A keen look he canted my way as I stood by the fireplace.
“Aye, I have a tyke. A fine little girl, and a wife I‘d happily end my days with. But they are very far away, and I don’t know how to get back to them.” Rubbing his face to cover the tears in his eyes that all of my blood are prone to, he raised his face again, and spoke with chill savagery.
“But I will find a way back to them. If I have to beat down the walls of the universe with my fists.”
And there for a second, I was honestly terrified of him. There is a bloody-minded ruthlessness in my soul, but untried and untested. In him, I saw it purified and exalted by pain and blood. If he set his mind to something, it would happen, or his fingers would be sheared off in the effort of holding the grindstone. Not saying anything, to allow him time to recover, and me time to swallow the lump of fear in my throat, I ushered us with a waving hand from the dim living room into the brightly lit dining room, and across it to the kitchenette.
We sat down at the sunny pinewood table bar, and like me, he drank a lot of Coke ®, and filled a chair to its limits. Two big glasses we drained in silence looking at each other in the kitchenette across the kitchen bar, and then we both went for refills.
“I’m not a time traveller. Not some future you.” He spoke at last as I refilled his glass cup, and then mine. Sitting down I nodded quietly.
“I figured. You look just slightly different. Face is altered.”
“Yeah, well some of that’s cybernetics. Changes the shape of the head a bit, and so on.”
“Cybernetics?” I gasped and choked on my Coke ®. “It’s not before breakfast.”
“You can’t believe six impossible things now.” He finished for me. Looking at me, he nodded to himself.
“Why don’t I tell you a story? You can record it if you like. I think it will help you get your mind around who and what I am.”
I nodded knowing that I needed some time to think. A story would help clear the mind.
“It starts about ten universes ago. Not the start of my story, but it’s a good place to begin. You are familiar, of course, with late twentieth century life. That’s where I started. The American Century, growing up half-expecting to see the Sovs take over America, and then watching them fold their cards with hardly a peep is my history and yours as well, I would wager from the newspaper I read over breakfast.”
I nodded in agreement as he slipped off the duffle bag. The floor creaked under its weight.
“I’ll just cover the last ten worlds because I haven’t yet written it up for my diary. So I can engage in some avian monolithic, whatever that joke was, kill two birds with one stone. You know what I mean.” He finished a bit grouchily.
Indeed I did know what he meant. This stranger in my house, already I had a rapport with him that shocked me with its rapidity and depth, but at the same time it made perfect sense, if his story was true. After all he was me. Then he took out the guns out of his duffle bag, and started to professionally clean them, and I wondered about my previous judgment. I like guns on a philosophic level, but personally, I’m a bit scared of them.
He took a sip, and began to tell me what he chose to share of his story.

Tabletop vs. Computer Gaming

Perhaps Neverwinter Nights is about as good as many D&D games because many of them were pretty bad. But a good tabletop game engrosses you on a level that the computer cannot even begin to match, and it allows far more options.
I still remember playing "Nine Princes of Amber" a text game, and trying nine ways from Sunday to keep hold of an iron bar which I thought would make a useful weapon. Its gotten a lot better its true, but still the fundamental problem remains.
Speed of action, socializing, immersion, and options, a good tabletop gamemaster outshines a computer game like having your own personal French Chef outshines the best mall food.
However, I will admit, some people have a problem with visualization. For them, a computer game heavy on graphics might be better.
Now I'm a game designer part-time, so I'm an enthusiast, and a game master, but still...
Iron Dragon on the crayon-using board is just cooler than the computer. Or Risk likewise. Or Chess. So too I expect Heroscape with its heavy pieces and beautiful board on the table is going to be better than the game on the computer.
What computer games offer is convenience, and a certain minimum reliably met. In other words, they are the McDonald's of the game world. But for the true connoisseur...tabletop.
/He said with his nose tilted in the air.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Nice Pic and Two Rich Data Mines

Here's a nice looking picture of a sword and a scabbard. http://www.christianfletcher.com/html/home.html

Here is a substantial list of castle-related definitions.

Here is a set of 57 medieval clothing pictures (individual downloads).

Monday, November 14, 2005

Kitchen as Work

A close and dear friend of mine referred to the others who worked with her as French Cooks, while she is a recipe cook. That is, they each are filled with the certainty of their knowing the right thing to do--which might work if there was just one of these--unfortunately imagine a kitchen full of fulminating French Chefs and arguing with each other, and assuming the others are going to do it their way, that is the right way.

My C&D Friend on the other hand says she just wants clear instructions that everyone follows, and she would be glad to follow them herself as she is not the type to proclaim her certainty (which is one thing I like about her). And this is what she means by being a recipe cook.

Me, I pointed out that my style in the kitchen was akin to a mad scientists doing one-off experiments, and that I would bring much of the same style to her detail-oriented workplace, and thus I was not suited for her kitch...I mean workplace.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Storyblogging Entry: Sleeping Dragon

Sleeping Dragon
By Eric R. Ashley

Lee Huang cooled his feet in the Suez Canal. Since he was the highest ranking Red Army officer in the area, and possessed two decorations for bravery, he was not worried that his unmilitary actions while on duty would get him in trouble. Or at least so he told himself, until he heard a yell from behind him.
“Huang!” Rapidly he turned, grabbed his rifle, and jumped to his feet. There stood his younger cousin, U Fung. Startlement, and then sheer pleasure broke over the war hero’s face under the hot Egyptian sun. And he swung the rifle up on his shoulder, and motioned for his childhood playmate to come closer for a hug.
The visitor did so, but stiffly. Lt. First Huang asked him what was the matter.
“You, you are so unmilitary! It is a disgrace…”
Huang held up a hand to stop the new recruit.
“I am the lieutenant, war hero, governor for this pathetic city, am I not? You Fung are just a new recruit turned eighteen.”
The younger cousin nodded as his usually idolized older cousin booted himself.
“It is not like you expect, this war and occupation, cousin Fung. In truth, it is not like I expected either. I will show you. Then you will see.”
A skeptical look faded into a general back-slapping, and the two young men wandered chatting enthusiastically about family matters over to a jeep where a sleeping Egyptian driver got kicked into wakefulness by Lee Huang. He came awake with a curse, and Fung made to hit him, but then stopped. Huang nodded approval, and Fung smashed the man in the mouth. The driver began to volubly apologize while the two Chinese Army officers laughed to each other behind impassive masks perfected while gambling. Then Huang backfisted the man in the mouth again.
“You talk too much.” He barked, winking at his cousin.
After they got in, and the jeep got started back to town, to Sesra, Huang explained his action to his cousin’s questioning look.
“One must be unpredictable. They try to use their unpredictability and insanity against us. So we have to be more so.” He said this in Han which the locals did not know; indeed knowledge of Han merited the noose.
Huang started yelling at the driver as they got back into the edge of town. He wanted the jeep slowed. A man alongside the road carrying a load of what might be bags of grain in the white, wilting sun had drawn his eye. The Chinese Army officer drew his pistol, and shot the man in the chest twice. Then laughing, he smacked the driver on the head with the pistol to make him go faster.
“Calculated insanity?” Fung asked, and Huang nodded.
“Plus, they are useless. They can’t fight according to order, can’t drink because of their religion, can’t build anything without messing it up, and are generally illiterate, plus they are barbarians. They are like Subodai’s hordes without the intelligence or horsemanship or military skill.”
A look of dawning glory shone on Fung’s face.
“So we can kill anyone we want?”
“Yes, but I advise you to leave certain ones alone.”
“But, why?” Fung protested, his whole face and posture sullen. A glorious treat had just been taken away from him after being dangled in front of his nose.
Huang slapped him on the shoulder, and winked.
“You’ll see, cousin. Say, how is your effort at romancing Leikou going?”
With much agitation, Fung explained that his gifts, poetry, and even a humiliating attempt at singing a love song had failed to do more than make the lovely Leikou giggle while she went out with officers with higher ranks than his lowly Second Lieutenantmanship. It made one wonder if the Chinese government should have allowed all those baby girls to be aborted. Huang commiserated, but absently which Fung eventually noted with some bitterness. Still, Huang kept directing the driver to zip about town, until the first lieutenant spotted a clot of people in the street.
It was a group of men surrounding a smaller group of females on their way somewhere incomprehensible, and thus stupid. Huang had the driver barrel into the clot, scattering it everywhere. Then he bounced out of the jeep, dragging Fung with him.
Several of the women had the burqa on which was a new development after the Red Army had invaded, and Huang snarled something in Arabic. The women so veiled pulled back their hoods, and Fung gasped. Each was a beauty. The group of men around them rumbled, and suddenly Fung felt a sense of fear.
This would not do. He had not been in on the March across the Sands from China’s borders all the way to Libya’s outer borders like his older cousin. It was a chance to prove himself to the older veteran. So he pulled out his pistol, aimed it at the first man nearest him, looked at Huang who waved him onward, and shot the Arabic threatener full in the chest. Then he turned his gun to the next man who dove for the ground into a full face kissing the ground mode. Turning about, he saw that all the other men had done the same.
Huang nodded to him with a smile.
“Choose which girl you want.”
“But what of what they? Err, will they not knife me while I sleep?” Fung began to ask concerned for the rights of the women, but then he realized such was not the proper concern of a conqueror. So he chose a pragmatic objection. His cousin answered in kind.
“They beat their women to death if they show an ankle. Send their little girls back into the fire for not wearing a hat. Cousin, you could be the vilest jerk, and still they would think you were treating them as a princess compared to the way their own family treats them.”
Fung nodded accepting the rationale.
“Besides, it is well known that Chinese men are more, ah, vigorous. More skilled in the arts of love than any other race of men in the whole world.”
U Fung walked about among the women. None smiled at him, but he fancied he saw one with hope in her eye. He chose that one that reminded him most of Leikou, and after prompting with his pistol along her cheekbone, she kissed him in the street while the men gasped in anger. U Fung could feel her trembling, and see her conflicted face. Part of her wanted what he offered, and another part felt guilt. Guilt was a reactionary bourgeoisie notion since God or Allah or the Celestial Bureaucracy was non-existent, by order of the State. He licked his lips; she had tasted nice.
“Now that she has assured that she will be stoned to death, or knifed if she leaves you since she did not do the ‘honorable‘ thing, and get herself killed as a martyr, you need to protect her. Say these words…” Here Fung listened in dismay to a string of Arabic which he was supposed to memorize. It meant something about how he would protect his woman, and if any harm should come to her, he would burn the village down where it happened, and destroy the whole family and clan of the relatives of the killers. But Fung was bad at foreign languages, and he did not want to seem weak to the men kissing the dust in front of him.
“I say that!” Fung shouted, and shot a man near to him in the head.
Huang looked startled, and then laughed.
“I think they got the message. Now, lets drink.”
They went down to the local mosque turned bar, and ordered some Russian vodka. With his new mistress ensconced on his lap, Fung asked his very wise and wonderful cousin Huang a question.
“What shall we drink too?”
“Let us drink to Osama Bin Laden!” Huang yelled back to Fung’s horror, and then more softly he explained. “For without him launching that airplane to crash into the Peaceful Flowers Skyscraper in Beijing six months ago in September, you and I might still be in Beijing chasing unavailable girls, and toting paper for our masters. Here we are like gods.”
“It almost makes you believe in a god. Life is good!” Fung replied with a silly grin crossing his face. “To Osama Bin Laden then!”