Waking the Sleeping Integer … 16

Ch. 16 ~ A little bit of history repeating

“Hey, man…”

You could just about hear the laughter in Lucy’s voice, but she wasn’t laughing.  She was born with a smile in her eye that trickled down into her throat and set into motion a rolling-swaying kind of lumber to her upper body that, well, rolled and swayed and lumbered ever so slightly as she sat cross-legged on the ground.  She had flowers in her hair, Lucy did.  That’s right.  In.  Her.  Hair.  In fact, she had Flowers Everywhere.  Not to mention Diamonds in her Kaleidoscope Eyes.   And all of this made Lucy smile even more deeply than her non-photorealistic skin caused her to do.  Because all of this reminded Lucy that she could be or do or create anything she wanted to, anything at all.  She almost wished someone would alt-click onto her face so she could flash her pearly whites and reflect to the outside inworld what Lucy felt so deeply within her inside outer world being.

Everything this fine day was so absolutely “Groovy,” Lucy breathed into the universe.   Heck, that was true every day because Lucy was one of the very first few adventurous souls to enter into and live and be in this Brave New Inworld.  In fact, the Bleeding Edge Gridworld that Lucy found herself in was *the* very first of the Brave New Inworlds that would be born over the next dozen or more years like so many stars scattered across the universe back to the beginning of time.  But that was later.  Billions and Billions of years and stars later, as the saying would kind of go.   As for now, in the beginnings, the stars and universes that busied themselves with being born were digital, and this First of all Inworlds constituted the precise time and place for the rezzing of Lucy Galaxy, who usually spent all of that precise time and place inworld in this Brave New Frontier flying unassisted in the sky because – “WOW!,” she’d laugh and yell as she pulled her arms into her sides and lifted her chin, using her head to propel her body through the heavens, “where ELSE can you do this!”

But for now, for today, Lucy had parked her tuckus on Gaia’s Good Green or even Technocolor Grid and sat down for a sit-in with some like-minded early-adopter souls.  Today, the metaverse mood and culture was all Peace, Love, and of course, Freebies.  Well, not only today, but every day.  Because that was the way of this world.  Except when it suddenly wasn’t, but that critical juncture — and it was highly critical in every sense of the word — happened later.  As for this present moment, well, Lucy swayed and rolled and smiled so brightly her Freebie Warehouse “Diamond-Iris Purple Sunrise Kaleidoscope Eyes” sparkled and dazzled nearly as blindingly as the most popular of all the freebie facelights.  She knew this to be the case because TimothyLeary Writer, HunterThompson Gestalt, and GloriaSteinem Bunny each nodded their heads in appreciation while they too sat in on this sit in, pointed their fingers in the general direction of Lucy’s eyes, and muttered in a long cool drawl of near Valley Avatar speak, “whoaaa…blindingly cool, man.  Mind blowing righteousness.”

Maybe it was Lucy’s eyes they admired.  Or maybe it was the Flower Particle Shower that enveloped their little sit in.  Suddenly, there were more flowers in her hair.  More flowers everywhere.  Someone had set the particle show off for no other reason than they could.  It was probably that HunterThompson fellow, Lucy decided.  He made manifest the coin of the realm in the early days of this Brave New World, and that coin of the realm was simply Imagination.  Everything that happened there, happened because it could.  Un-hindered.  Un-judged.  Un-classified.  Un-categorized.  Un-navel gazed.  It existed because it existed.  It was the best aspect of the cult of Rand, minus the Rand Vaccuum made up entirely of an unmitigated self-absorption:  because it was only Rand’s perspective and Rand’s alone that was declared “truth.”   (Just ask her jilted lover who she had banished from the Inner Rand Truth Circle to an Intellectual Siberia soley because his particular perspective of freedom and truth included cheating on her when her particular perspective of “universal” freedom and truth came with several caveats, chief among them his particular freedom to act on all of his perspectives…including cheating on her.)  The truth of the matter was that everything was because it was but also that everything was interconnected.   And that made everything basically free, so that imagination wasn’t forced to torque itself into the unimagined consequences of supply and demand, consequences that so often eventually crashed every party.  This party proved to be no different.  But that was later.

As for now, for today, Lucy giggled.  She was actually breathing, but she didn’t know how to breathe without a lilt of a laugh, which had the effect of making her sound like she was perpetually giggling.  Her tonsils danced with the air bubbles lifting the Flower particles around her head.   “I love the flowers,” she laughed.  And on a rolling, swaying, lumbering whim, she passed some Inworld Currency Love over to that HunterThompson fellow as a kind of a thank-you gesture for the particle show.

“Gonzo!” he muttered in surprise.

“And what’s so horrible about ‘Gonza’,” GloriaSteinem asked the air precisely.  Precisely, because she rarely let her hair down…even as a Bunny.  And the Air because not many paid much attention to her initially.  They just liked looking at her pretty face and figure.

“Lucy, man…”

“Uh, Lucy would be a ‘woman’, Hunter.  Hear her roar…but I’m getting a bit ahead of myself,” Gloria drew each word out carefully.

“Lucy, chick…” Hunter slurred a bit relunctantly.  Taking direction just wasn’t his bag but that weird Bunny chick over there scared the crap out of him.  She talked too much for a pretty girl, and she still had her top on.  How weird was she.   “You dropped some money on my head.   Do you know…” he paused, suddenly listening to a diatribe in his mind “…the Fat Cat on the bill talks?  He keeps saying ‘catnip!  catnip!'”

“Well, stop sitting there letting the Fat Cat get up in your grill, Hunter,” TimothyLeary said, “and whip out the catnip!”

And so HunterThompson did, and everyone in their little sit-in and eveyrone nearby shared in the catnip until everyone got positively spazzy.  And when they ran out of catnip, everyone dropped more Inworld Currency Love on HunterThompson’s head until the Fat Cat in his mind barked “catnip! catnip!”, and then they would all have catnip again in spades.  And Lucy giggled and Gloria nearly tore off her top but started with her bra instead and burned it in the fire while her perky little mounds dangled and bounced precisely in the air and everybody cheered until the cheering morphed into a breathy moaning from a sudden orgy that everyone writhed themselves into and all was good Inworld.

Until it wasn’t.

Another revolution aside from the sex and drug revolution was tangled in the air right under their very noses.  TimothyLeary wasn’t as stoned as he looked to be.  He possessed a calculating mind that one.  Even when he found himself in positions that involved other people’s thighs being wrapped around his head, he constantly crunched the numbers of opportunity.  He knew when to sit-in and when to drop out, and he was soon about to drop out yet again but this time into the edges of the culture’s new margins.  How can you be an iconoclast when you suddenly find yourself doing what everyone else is doing, he reasoned.  At this point, mounds of people inworld dropped in and dropped out and soon found themselves with multiple pairs of thighs wrapped around their heads.  Sure, Lucy, Hunter, Gloria and he may have been one of the very first ones to define the Inworld Anti-Establishment Movement but as soon as the Anti-Establishment Movement went Mainstream, well then, TimothyLeary figured, all bets were off.  Because at that point the only sure bet was that the Anti-Establishment Movement had just become the New Establishment.  And that bummed his head, because if nothing else, TimothyLeary was all about fighting The Man.  On that, the Intellectual Bunny and he agreed.   TimothyLeary just went about fighting The Man in his own way; that was the only difference (if you could really call even that a difference).  So, now feeling the weight of the New Establishment bearing down on his shoulders and his back at every twist and turn (with most of that New Establishment wearing temporary tattoos of brightly colored flowers along the legs), TimothyLeary watched with great interest as hordes of people wound themselves into a tizzy of dropping Inworld Currency Love on HunterThompson’s head, the poor wretch.  Hunter was on an unusually aggressive trip and didn’t have a clue what was going on.  Half the time, he unwittingly gave the money back, all the while shrieking “Gonzo!  Damned Fat Cat!” and swatting furiously at it.  This only encouraged the hordes to drop even more money on his head until, exhausted from flailing about at the Damned Talking Fat Cat, he finally gave up and accepted it.  And then there was once again “Catnip! Catnip!” for all.

“So this is free…”  TimothyLeary muttered at the edge of his consciousness.  He expanded his mind even more, crunching the opportunity until it took shape.  “The freedom to give money in exchange…for something even if it wasn’t much of anything really.  What a concept!  A concept not currently mainstream.  So, this was the New Anti-Establishment Movement.  Fight the Freebie Man!”  And so was born the New Anti-Establishment Movement, ushered forth just as rapidly by Leary.

“Hey, man,” he said now in a stronger voice that weaved its way through the throngs of limbs writhing around his head.  “Who loves this groovy good Gaia land that gives us this wild orgy, man?”  (Cleverly avoiding the fact that the land had nothing to do with generating the wild orgy, but it was belief systems Leary addressed, not fact.)

“I love this groovy good Gaia land, man,” Lucy giggled up through a tangle of interwoven arms and legs.

“Hey man, me too, man!”  “Yeah man!” a chorus erupted.

And then all at once the owners of all those voices began to alt-click on the parcel, dropping mounds of Inworld Currency Love into the account of the land owner:  one TimothyLeary Writer…who also claimed a percentage — call it the top 1 percent — on every bit of currency the thrashing HunterThompson realized in exchange for his catnip, cleverly avoiding the fact that Leary had absolutely nothing to do with generating the catnip and HunterThompson was in no state of mind in those moments to even realize much less bring up this point.

It didn’t take long for word to travel far and wide, with all the juicy details of the Free Love and Free Sex on TimothyLeary’s property (not to mention the Free Catnip).  Droves of folks from all cultures and all backgrounds flocked to the grid, mainly out of curiousity to turn on, tune in and drop out on Leary’s parcel, where they pursued all things Free:  free love, free sex, free catnip!  At least they thought they were in pursuit of all things free, because on Leary’s property, “free” was theirs only when they freely parted with their Inworld Currency, something Leary called “Thanks-Giving.”  The key was “Freely” parting — at least in the beginning — because of course it was an individual choice, and the “Thanks-Giving” was any amount the partiers wanted to give.  But very soon from that point forward, TimothyLeary took it upon himself to declare his first incarnation as a freedom loving hippy as “dead and over.”  Instead, he now fully personified this updated incarnation of TimothyLeary the Capitalist (otherwise known as TimothyLeary the 1 Percent, because who else had landed on this incredible idea of his to make hordes of money from virtually nothing!).   Sure, he continued to rail against the current Establishment, only now he railed against the New Establishment — the Freebie Man — that he himself had had a major hand in creating!  And he fought the Good Fight by creating a fixed-price entrance fee that he attached to the Pursuit of All Things Free as well as to all of its soon to be endless lines of merchandise:  fixed-priced Free Love tshirts, fixed-price Free Sex hot pants, fixed-price Free Catnip bongs, you name it.  Even Free Land that initially sold for just pennies on the inworld currency but rapidly became priced increasingly higher with each flip from one seller to the next and all because of the ever addictive TimothyLeary hype.  Free Hot Potato!  Just throw the word Free in front of it and attach a price.  Because how better to fight the Establishment than by redefining the institution and redefining its language.  Free now meant that it came at a cost…yes, so low that it was just about free, but far enough above zero that it was, in fact, a price.  Leary’s “Thanks-Giving” surcharge started out as 1 dollar here, then 5 dollars there, then 50 dollars just about everywhere before things went chaotic and the prices on all the items varied based on some value of “Thanks” that Leary felt justified in requiring the partiers to give to him, the host of these increasingly popular and heavily attended soirees.  And all because he could…because the hordes paid without question.

Then one day, a moment of clarity not only emerged but also seeped into HunterThompson’s pores and he sweated out a question.  He asked in a voice muffled by GloriaSteinem’s flower-covered inked upper hips, “Hey man…how loaded are you now, Damned Fat Cat Leary!”  With that question, HunterThompson, just as much a king of altered states as TimothyLeary, dropped what amounted to the most rational of all possible buzz kills, because out of all the gonzos uttered by the man, the question of TimothyLeary’s new-found wealth was the one thing that actually registered with people and that they actually took seriously.

There was an unmistakable lull among the hordes of partiers.  They held their collective breaths in wait of an answer.  Each set of eyes stared at TimothyLeary through the veil of entwined limbs and flesh.  (Don’t ask what their hands were doing.)

He wasn’t about to wiggle out of this one and he knew it.

“Um…” he hemmed and hawed.  But he was a fast thinker and stuck to what he knew.  Everything was all about fighting the Establishment, whatever the particular Establishment de Jour was.  Even if he, himself, had created it, dammit.  That irony hadn’t escaped him.  And yet.  …he thrust a finger at the Good Gaia Grid.  He wailed and cried, “Do you have ANY idea how robbed blind I am by Governor Rand!?  She demands everything I own and everything that I possess because EVERYTHING IN THE UNIVERSE IS ALL her SET OF RULES!”  His perspective, his truth…so it must have been real, eh?  Hell, yeah.

“Freedom!” someone yelled.

“Yeah, yeah,” Leary rebounded.  “Freedom that is being terrorized by the Governor’s rules of what freedom is and should be!  Who is the GOVERNOR to dictate what freedom is and isn’t, what is owed to her by others, I ask you!  Think for yourself and challenge authority…even Randian authority that masquerades as freedom!”

“FREEDOM,” HunterThompson echoed, then half tripping added, “FREEDOM FROM THE GOVERNMENT!”  And TimothyLeary’s eyes lit up like the fiery end of HunterThompson’s ever-present cigarette.  “Psychedelic, baby,” was all that he said, and he watched as the horde’s hallucinogenic fervor shaped the New New Anti-Establishment Movement:  Fighting the NEW Man – Fighting the Governor!”

“Gonzo!  Fight those Damned Fat Cats along with it!” HunterThompson crackled and continued to flail at the air.  Unfortunately, far too many took this far too literally.

Flower particles and orgies gave way with alarming ease to griefing attacks and demonstrations, class and identity wars at every level of the culture and subcultures.  Where once there had been cats and dogs living together, now Nekos and Kitsunes savaged each other’s appearances and belief systems.  Immersionists and Augmentalists carved out diametrically opposed viewpoints and attacked the other’s position with lazer tipped tongues.  Scientists and Spiritualists clashed over the strength of that which could be measured versus the power over all of that which was yet to be learned.  Prepsters and Stylists reemerged from their long slumber and Freebie Warehouse gluttony and networking to issue directives on everything from how to dress, how to speak, what colors to wear, what shape to own, what form to be, what friends to have, what skin to buy to what stores to frequent.   The meaning of Nudity — once a source of celebration and expression — turned itself inside out and became a source of shame and embarrassment.  GloriaSteinem rediscovered not only the bra but a seamless padded corset stuffed with enough material to just about pulverize any evidence of a nipple or a navel.  Child avatars were admonished while bratty behavior in the blogosphere was exonerated just so long as the brattiness came from an adult avatar.  There was a run on the grid with increasingly vocal demands from the community that the Governor provide access to land in a way that was Fast, Easy, Fun…which translated into premium parcels for cheap, cheap, cheap, with those prices skyrocketing as the parcels were flipped at a manic pace and traded hands between all the fully-organized inworld real estate developers.  In no short order, the new social order flirted with intolerance, which resulted in anything “different” being plucked from the masses and quarantined into a grid all of its own complete with iron-clad rules for entry.  And strip malls popped up everywhere.  Soon, the Inworld feast for imagination kept its meal ticket stridently clean by flirting dangerously closely with Thought Control and by refusing to mix peas with carrots or carrots with potatoes and gravy or patotoes and gravy with meat.  And still the tide of chaotic Mainstream couldn’t be held back.  Before long with prices on everything from parcels to freebie items skyrocketing and a widespread drought in terms of parties interested in those things, panic spread throughout the grid, content creators closed up shops, markets collapsed, parcels sat barren and empty, differing viewpoints were stifled, hell, if there had been books inworld they would have been burned, moles in the Governor’s employ felt the blade of the unemployment axe and on and on and on.  The cry went out for Authentification.  Unleashed was the fight for getting rid of the ridiculousness of all of this free imagination crap when there existed plain as day the lunacy of the vapor markets in the atomic world! (And does anyone still expect others to believe that Inworld is somehow any more “unreal” than something like the global market meltdown of the atomic world? Please.)  Because who would take imagination seriously without monetization, the new hip buzzword, come on!  Even vapor monetization!  Avatars began shouting for customers!, partiers!, buyers!, employers!, jobs! jobs! jobs!, currency! currency! currency!  The right to flip!  They marched along the routes of the forums and the blogosphere, protesting the greed of the top 1 percent, the very group founded by TimothyLeary who had lit this chaos-nomic frenzy firepit of overpriced hype and who had benefitted from it at the top of every successive wave ridden to the hilt by what seemed to be an endless stream of starry-eyed entrepreneurs who chased the monetizing pyramid scheme.

Until the stream chasing that scheme proved itself not to be endless.  Because suddenly it wasn’t. 

It was then that Lucy pulled her head up to breathe.  She stared at the sky, all awash in windlight.  She flopped her arms slowly out from the tangle of bodies and laid them to rest quietly on either one set of legs, or legs from two or more avatars, she wasn’t entirely sure which.  It was difficult to see where it all began and where it all ended…if in fact it ever did. 

“Like a big ole plate of spaghetti,” Lucy laughed softly to no one in particular. 

The mound of tangled, entwined bodies rippled slightly.  HunterThompson turned first an ear toward Lucy’s statement then his eyes.  He watched in fascination as the Damned Fat Cat tap-danced along each strand of spaghetti, spraying meatballs and sauce everywhere, startling HunterThompson and annoying the china plate no end, which quickly grabbed a fork and pointed it in an ominous manner at the Damned Fat Cat, demanding that the dancing feline guzzle a liter of wine.

Hunter blinked through the sauce and shouted at the spaghetti, “Resist conformity!  Fight the Damned Fat Cat!”, then immediately dueled with the fork-weilding plate by waving his cigarette furiously at it.

“Hey, man,” Lucy Galaxy giggled, not because she was laughing but because she was born with a smile in her eye that trickled down into her throat and set into motion a rolling-swaying kind of lumber to her upper body that, well, rolled and swayed and lumbered ever so slightly as she lay sprawled and entwined with multiple bodies heaped onto each other across the parcel on Gaia’s Good Technicolor Grid.  “That is sommmmeeeee Damned Fat Catnip!  I just took the most wild trip…that you just wouldn’t believe,” she laughed and this time she did indeed laugh because she was so relieved to see flowers and orgies everywhere and GloriaSteinem’s bra still burning.

“Had to have been hell if the Damned Fat Cat was involved,” HunterThompson growled and swirled the tip of his burning cigarette wildly in the air.

Lucy nodded, her sparkling Freebie Warehouse “Diamond-Iris Purple Sunrise Kaleidoscope Eyes” shining.  “You just wouldn’t believe it…even if I could describe it.  You just wouldn’t…” she muttered, shaking the memory from her head, “You just can’t make this stuff up…”

But then again, maybe it all could be believed.  Because after all “…fiction often makes the best fact” ~ Hunter S. Thompson. 

Gonzo!

Nanowrimo10 total word count: 3,650. Total wordcount to date: 44,470 of 50,000 (not including any of this notation). Yes, I intend to hit the 50,000 word count if it takes me one year to do it.

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Reflections (literally) on Giants Within

Over the past several months, I’ve read a fashion weblogger I really admire rave about Kirstens viewer.  I became curious so I installed it, tried it a couple of times only to find that for some reason I kept crashing every time I tried to log in.  I tried it again today, hoping I wouldn’t crash and that I could take my usual several hours to set up for a photo session of wonderful new items that Tiffy Vella, creator of Eclectica Jewellery, dropped to me.  Happily, I didn’t crash when I logged in, but I was very much Ruth’d … Glow Ruth, not the Original Ruth, who despite the awkward appearance would be kinda fun to see again on occasion.  (You know, nostalgia and all!)  So, I relogged — hoping I would un-Ruth — but I didn’t.  So then I teleported thinking maybe that would do the trick.  Nope…still all aglow, but the sun and the shadows, which I understand V2 has as well, made for an interesting effect.  Take a look…just me, Glow Me, and my reflection:


Giants within…on multiple levels (even for our avatars) and even in all worlds it would appear.  Very fun, very much fun indeed!

Speaking of Amazing Giants…Happy Father’s Day!!

In search of Picasso

In the process of moving sliders to see how strongly I identify with a particular shape and face (and I really do), I began to push the facial sliders along the extreme.  Not so much to challenge my sense of identity, but I suddenly wondered if I could approximate a portrait that mimmicked Picasso’s signature “full face and profile” portraits.  Here’s my first attempt:

I think it’s not possible to mimmick Picasso’s full face and portrait technique fully inworld.  Even the extremely loose approximation shown above was tricky to achieve.  The other thing I noticed is that even with exaggerated slider positions, the world really is quite hardwired for conventional notions of beauty.

SL Wiki wow … on inworld photography

I’ve not really explored the SL wiki much.  But I’ve learned a bit more about SL’s wiki from v very wonderful Dale who posted his awesome continent detector script to the SL wikiDale’s script is really a wonderful creation that gives you a sense of place every time you teleport.  Upon landing, I immediately look to see the script identify the continent I’m in, and from that I have developed a larger sense of the overall context of the grid…which really is a very fun thing.

So as I think about taking more fashion photos — this time, items from the Fantasy Faire, which I confess is my favorite annual fair in all honesy — I searched SL’s wiki for advice on taking quality photos.  In four years of taking inworld photos, I can see that I’ve developed more technique than I originally possessed.  But I know there remains so very much I still don’t know about taking quality photos…either in raw format or in post-processing.  One thing in particular that has vexed me and vexed me mightily for four years is the whole issue of removing jagged lines that invariably show up when I model clothes and snap my picture.  Typically, I’ve made all the attempts to correct the jagged lines in photoshop:  painstakingly run a blur on a small soft brush along every edge, tried to teach myself various airbrushing techniques, tried to learn and use various actions, tried some kind of liquid tool to move sharp lines.  Each time, I was never quite satisfied with the result.  And each time, I was frustrated because I have always had a pretty decent graphics card…true, it burned out a couple of months ago, but I since purchased a very new and pretty darn powerful graphics card.  So again, I have found myself muttering:  “Why do these dang jagged edges keep dogging me!”

Torley’s SL wiki post on taking snaphots finally solves the problem!  His section on “Turning on antialiasing and antrostrophic filtering” (about half way down his entry) proved to hold the key.  I knew about turning those things on inworld with the graphics setting.  What I didn’t know was that I could turn them on and change the setting on my actual NVIDIA driver.  After following the steps Torley lists, the jagged edges in my photos are gone.  Exhibit A:  a photo of an outfit and skin from the Fantasy Faire, details forthcoming in the series of posts I have planned on the Fantasy Faire.

I mean just that simple.  Wow.  You have no idea how very long I’ve been trying to figure that out…well…4-1/2 years now.  Long process with that, you say?  Perhaps.  It’s not exactly intuitive.  So utterly tenacious, well, you can count on that.

All I can say is thank you to the generous, talented individuals in the SL community who share their talents and knowledge in all kinds of ways — including via the SL wiki — so that others can benefit from their knowledge and hope to learn too.  My goodness.  Thank you.

Waking the Sleeping Integer … 14

Ch 14 ~ The World on a (Wireless) String

Today was the day.  Megan just about catapulted out of bed a full half hour early, beating out the morning ritual of her smart phone sounding the alarm.  A quick 15 minutes later, after attending to the matters of personal hygiene, and Megan carefully yanked her outfit off of the hangar in the closet — where the frock had hovered in a holding pattern in patient anticipation of this very day when it would finally drape across Megan’s body, step outside into the world, and see the very bright light of this very bright day.  And how was this day bright, Megan confirmed in her mind.  The possibilities for her future nearly blinded her, but she didn’t shield her eyes or any part of herself from those possibilities.  Instead, Megan was fully jacked into and jazzed up about the path that lay before her because today was the first day of the future:  a final interview awaited, one for that coveted position with that high flying company doing that way-cool jazzed-out thing that the market just loved loved loved…which sure beat doing things the market just loathed to pieces.  Especially in these times.  The economy sucked rocks for the past two years — didn’t it know it should shape up because Megan was finishing her last year in grad school? — and the economy outright sucked boulders now since she hit the job market half-a-year ago.  But all of that was about to turn around.  By God…if not by Wall Street.  Who the hell could count on Wall Street except for Wall Street anyway?  (I’m sorry, but that’s precisely what Megan thought…no point in trying to sugar coat it.)   Because on a wing and a prayer — in this rocking slick suit that Megan wore close to the vest finished off with her skirt and its back pocket that she slid her smart phone into close to her hips —  today was the day that Megan cracked the world wide open, started her future and claimed permanent residency on Cloud Nine.

She strutted her stuff, professionally appointed suit and all — a crisp navy blue jacket paired with a white shirt, a patterned shock of scarf inked in neon red, and a tightly fitted skirt — out of the house and forward along the sidewalk to her car.  She was in motion.  Forward motion, baby.  Her hips swung, her tooshie bounced.  And yes.  All at once.   Entire worlds rocked and swayed and moved.

The screen flickered to life just as Megan entered her all terrain vehicle, painted in an Electric Shock Yellow hue.  Somehow the color was appropriate.  Sure, it was bold, but it suit her.  She had washed the vehicle and vacuumed it and put a shine to every inch of its detail.  No one would care or know that the rugged earthy bit of machinery was incredibly reliable even if out of warranty.  Megan still babied it like it had just been driven off the lot, and it gleamed extra bright today.  All anyone would see was the blinding sun of her wheels, the blinding sun of her personality and talent, the blinding sun of her brilliant career. 

Look out World, here she came.  Literally.  She arrived at precisely the same time as she had plopped her plump rounded tooshie onto the upholstered driver’s seat.  She came or the World came — it was difficult to say which came first — but there the World was, and in it, so was Megan. 

Except the base of her spine wasn’t so much fleshy anymore.  Not that this was all about her backside, but the fact of the matter was Megan was flying by the seat of her, well, skirt, in this instance.  But in this world, her skirt was more like a shredded loincloth and her backside was so chiseled you might as well pick your handholds and foodholds and climb up it.  Above her rather unforgiving thighs and wrapped tightly around a waist that just about taunted for a fight, Megan wore a thick, weathered belt that carried an assortment of cruel weapons.  She hardly needed any of them by the size of her hands and arms and upper body, all of which was punctuated off by torn elven ears and the low-rumbling scowl that rode the tail of a firery cresting mohawk.  Body poised and flexed for something not yet visible, she stood in watchful wait for a problem that every one of the massive fibers in her body told her was about to erupt into this World.   And then it did.  Because life was filled with challenges and the life of an Orc was no exception.

“Can you move it along!” she barked at the long sea of traffic that snaked before her eyes.  As if to emphasize the point, she leaned forward enough to just about smother the steering wheel with her breasts and barked into her front window for a second time.  Megan was usually cool as a cucumber but she just *hated* being late and this unexpected mob of vehicles was about to seriously take the shine off of her day. 

“ARRCKKK!” the Orc boomed incomprehensibly before catapulting onto the mass of bodies that formed around the front grounds of the fortress.  

“Outta my way!” she yelled before swerving wildly across three lanes of traffic, just barely threading the open spaces within a hair of her life and that of everyone around her.

A giant ladder arched itself up into the sky and wound itself up into the air, as if biding its time before it landed on the turrent of the fortress keep.  The Ocr lunged wildly forward and clutched at a rung, then swung her powerful body heavily forward and around until her clawed feet and treetrunk legs fixed themselves onto the handholds.  She clutched a jagged knife between her foul teeth and leaned forward in an impatient wait that gathered in thick darkness for the chance to mow over anything that got in her way.

“HEY!!  Loser!  Where did you learn how to drive!!”  She tore the words out from over her shoulder and flung them at the driver of a semi that came barrelling down the ramp. 

Hurling herself off of the ladder, the Orc suddenly ripped the knife from between her teeth and lashed out wildly in the air at anything within arm’s length until she crashed with a punishing thud on top of the turrent and rolled onto the floor of the stone walkway.  Miraculously, no one was hurt.  

Heart pounding and she was certain her eyes flaring, Megan floored the pedal with barely a second to cut in front of the speeding truck before she launched her all terrain vehicle and her highly aggitated self onto the exit ramp.

It was a wild, bumpy chaotic ride from the highway to the side roads but somehow at last, Megan’s vehicle screeched into a stall in the parking lot of the high-flying company that did all the latest things that the market just loved loved loved.  As she manuveured the vehicle, her body rocked side to side until she slammed on the brakes.  A beep and a whoosh eminated from her smart phone through the tightly woven fabric of a skirt that threatened to suck her hips in down to the tops of her kneecaps.  She made a mental note to check the device later.  But for now, she kept it tucked securely in her back pocket, she smoothed her face, caught her breath, grabbed her portfolio, and dashed out of her all terrain vehicle to leap across the parking lot to the building.

Furry Rabbits dashed incredibly gracefully, even when they wear stiletto heels.  Ears fluffed back, eyes peeled open, and her nostrils whiskering the air, this Furry Rabbit like all Furry Rabbits stayed alert at all times and mapped out a route before one even made itself known.  Like the path of least resistance to the building.  Megan’s gaze locked onto the set of revolving doors that made for the fastest route into the all-glass and steel facility, then with her eyes, she mentally outlined the full length of the path as it passed the main and guarded entry desk and into the bank of elevators.  She scampered lightening fast across the clearing and into the safety of the pumpkin patch where she burrowed clear into the thicket.  Satisfied, she blinked her big almond shaped eyes and with her furry paw smoothed the tufts of hair around her eyebrows.  And then she sighed a sigh of calm because now — tucked into the back of one of the elevators behind a thicket of professional type people — Megan had smoothed the near panic of the morning commute out of her hair and face.  She was well on her way to retrieve the carrot of a brilliant career with the added bonus that she could bank on arriving a pleasingly 10 minutes early for an interview for a new job that was going to launch it all.

“Good morning, how are you?  Megan Than here for a 9:00 interview.” 

“Good morning to you too, Megan.  Have a seat please.  I’ll let them know you are here.  And good luck, by the way.”  The receptionist smiled.  It was a warm smile but it didn’t promise anything…like insider knowledge about the interview process.  Still, Megan took it as a good sign that the receptionist wasn’t aloof.  She returned the smile with the best Miss Congeniality expression that she could muster up as naturally as possible given that she was so incredibly excited that her energy flirted with nervous disaster, and after she thanked the receptionist, she quietly yet with a pleasing amount of self-assurance claimed the center chair in the waiting area.  When she sat, another beep and a whoosh sounded from the back pocket of her skirt but had barely registered in her mind.  Yet like all of the times before this time, the beep and the whoosh had occurred even if Megan hadn’t acknowledged it.  But, how could she at this moment?  The competition that began to file into the waiting area was thick and openly threw daggers at her.  The thing is though that Megan would have none of their negativity.  She was too excited.  Because my God…here she was!  Well, really…it was really more along the lines of:

“Anddddd here she is!  Miss Virtual World of the Metaverse!”  Impossibly long, impossibly gorgeous, impossibly sexy with all of her features impossibly refined and beautiful, and her mouth impossibly drawn in the most emphatic expression of confidence that anyone could ever dream of mustering.  Yet Megan managed to muster it even beyond the extraordinary because the competition had challenged her to a deathmatch stare down.  Nostrils pinched to the extreme and lips drawn so full yet so fiercely clamped together, it was a wonder they could even breathe.  Stare down or no stare down, Megan had won and won clearly, so inhale all of the regalia of her beauty contest royalty she did.  She smoldered in her gown as she glided down the catwalk.  She set the world on fire with her Editorial Hairstyle and her layers of baubles around her neck that draped in worship on her curved back. She commanded the center of all attention, Megan did…even in the center chair of the waiting area where she suddenly dialed back the ramped up self assurance and lifted the corners of her mouth into a smile that broke the polished veneer away and that was delivered warmly to the Interviewer.

Gosh but this interview went fast.  From the time they sat down in the conference room (where another beep and a whoosh echoed distantly down her ear canal) to the time when the Interviewer wrapped things up, it turned out they had talked for a couple of hours.  And in that time, Megan stepped fully into herself and emerged as a masterful artist.  She painted a very clear picture of the value she could provide to the company.  Painstakingly yet with a real enthusiasm, she described every detail of how she could create worthwhile solutions that the company hadn’t yet envisioned.  She presented and examined the Muse within the torus and the sphere, the cone and the prim, all the basic building blocks for creation.  She demonstrated the language of building:  the stretching and rotating, texturing and coloring, flexible paths and glow, hollowing and twisting.  She laid out the heart of creation whereby piece by piece, link by joined link, she built an expansive vision for creating an environment that nurtured imagination, for encouraging the unbounded exploration of creativity, for fostering the realization of outright innovation as the aim.  At last her ideas encouraged a conversation and their exchange of ideas and views reached a point of mutual understanding, mutually envisioned potential.  Then when Megan asked if she could describe anything in more detail or answer any other questions, all that she heard was:  “Welcome aboard.  When can you start?”

She smiled in that electric shock yellow all terrain vehicle for quite a while before she revved the engine.  She relived the conversation — especially the part of the job offer — and just about did back flips.  Her mind threw a tiny party, delivered on the wings of a euphoria complete with particles and dancing.  My God she was hungry after such a coupe!   So hungry and elated, in fact, that she finally managed to pull her mind out of her reverie.  Either that, or the incessant beep and whoosh finally tugged Megan by her chin and forcibly drew her attention to her smart phone.  She yanked it out of her back pocket.  She stared at it. 

“Oh my goodnees,” she laughed.  She rolled her head back onto the headrest and kept it there for a few seconds while she snorted at herself.  At last, she rejoined her chin to her chest and gazed again at the image on the screen of her smart phone. 

“So much for butt dialing,” she smirked out loud.  “Looks like now I’m butt logging into virtual worlds.”  She shook her head and smiled.  “I always enjoy being a tiny.  They are fun.  hmmmm though…I do wonder what else I was this morning…”

And with that, she leaned forward and tumbled the keys in the ignition.  She suddenly had a hankering to find the biggest stack of waffles out there in the worlds.  Because without question today was the day for it.

Nanowrimo10 total word count: 2,410.  Total wordcount to date:  37,700 of 50,000 (not including this notation).

My first shirt

I’ve always appreciated the talents of creators and designers inworld.  But I admit, not having tried to create clothing myself, I could never honestly say that I really understood the process.  So I decided to explore that a little.  I found Robin Wood’s awesome UV Templates and downloaded those.  I found several resources online that explained how to make clothing and on a whim I tried the instructions posted on the Mermaid Dairies.  The instructions there are very straightforward and clear and include pictures of the steps in Photoshop (which I greatly appreciate since Photoshop remains this very mysterious and powerful tool to me — kind of like the Great and Wonderful Oz — and probably always will). 

So after spending over an hour fumbling my way through (again, with no fault cast to what are very good, clear instructions at the Mermaid Dairies weblog), here is my first shirt. 

You wouldn’t believe how long I worked on this neckline.  Astounding isn’t it?  To think I spent so much time on the neckline and it came out like this?  (Don’t even get me started on the edging or the texturing.  Baby steps for now, grasshopper!) 

But you know what, for my first attempt, I’m happy that I tried going beyond the normal scoop neckline, even though I have no idea what happened in the back either, laughing.  (I must have missed a step in there to remove that black foreground which was created to avoid a white halo thingie that was mentioned in the tutorial.  I don’t know what all of that means, but I trust that somehow it’s significant…although I’ll probably run an experiment and *not* use the black foreground just to see what this white halo thing is.)  Suffice to say, I’ll be practicing all of this quite a bit more.  And in fact, I’m going to bring out the big guns and also reference Shenlei’s book “Designing Dreams” for help.  My goal is to get to the point where I can make one nice outfit.  For me, it’s all about experiencing this side of creativity, to not only do it but to also gain an even deeper appreciation for the incredible creative talents inworld.  And yes, I also would like to develop my own skills enough, hopefully, to bookend this “Before Skillz” weblog entry with an “After Skillz” entry.  At least that’s my hope!  (Could be many months in the making, but it’s still my hope!)

Waking the Sleeping Integer … 9

9 ~ A Mashup:  Hindsight as Foresight

The sun burned a hole in the sky or maybe it was another world doing that, he couldn’t be certain of it either way.  It was just another day and the sky had been that way for a while now.  He crunched his forehead to the center until his brows arched into a frown.  Briefly, he searched his memory to discover if he had heard that — the thing about the sun or another world burning a hole in the sky — somewhere before.  Reese soon found the thought or statement was in fact tucked in the recesses of his mind.  He had, indeed, heard it before.  He might have even heard it from his own lips, but either way, it was of little consequence and little surprise these days.  The Great Rehash had ensnared and monopolized all cultural influences, art, voices, imaginations along with the most vitally agreed upon societal facts…if there could be any agreement or any fact in society these days.  What a quaint notion — agreement — from a time not all that long ago.  Now, all the multiple worlds and social platforms — with more being born every day — served only to amplify the Great Rehash.  There was a kind of looping or echoing of the past that you just couldn’t escape.  The only thing new under the sun or in any world where the sun burned a hole in the sky seemed to be an acceleration of the mashup.  The self-looping of expression had ramped itself up to a velocity never before witnessed let alone experienced.

Reese dropped his eyes from the sky and peered over his shoulder.  The skin on his face rippled back constantly when he moved or when he held still…it didn’t matter which.  Rippling skin like Reese’s might have been a cause for concern at one time.  In truth it did startle everyone in the very beginning when it first happened, but nowadays constantly rippling skin was not an unusual thing.  These days, there was really no choice in the matter about how the largest organ of the body appeared.  Vanity of the physical sort had long since been cast aside and a level playing field brought about by the constant disruption of change.  The stable part in that disruption, ironically enough, was the physical effect change created on everyone not only under extreme conditions but in day to day existence.  No one escaped having their face pulled back in waves, something that was not caused by plastic surgery but instead strictly from the velocity of life.  Reese couldn’t recall the last time he had placed his hand on the side of a woman’s face and felt its silkiness as it lay quietly and smoothly under his fingers.  He hadn’t felt that in the longest time it seemed.  Now, if someone’s face didn’t have a current of energy waving and cresting underneathe and pulling the skin back in a series of crests to the base of the skull, well, then, it was a sure bet the flapless face belonged to a statue.  Or possibly something worse.  Funny how when it first happened it was jolting and now that everyone adjusted to it, the flapless faces look more plastic than anything, Reese pondered for a second.  These days, people weren’t acknowledged as being real unless their skin rippled constantly, he thought as he found himself idling his mind away on the movement of his face.  He hadn’t done that in ages, but this momentary obsession had to be a brief one, that idling of Reese’s, in a brief second, far shorter than most seconds typically counted, as go the wiles and ways of time.  This time it had to be different because at this time, Reese’s attention was yanked forcibly and pulled away just as severely as the skin on his face.  Only this time, the force that assualted his senses was some kind of movement near the building to his right.

He was grateful for the habit of scoping out the environment no matter where he was.  Especially wheever he found himself near or in an Infohub.  Say, like he found himself now.  He narrowed his vision around the side entrance to the half-eaten building.  He couldn’t yet determine why it was half-destroyed, but he figured it had something to do with the sky.  Or the fact that consumption had run amok these days, with very little in the way of creation to provide a balance.  The flaps of his face furled back in rapid succession and actually helped his eyes narrow and zero in.  Zeroing in was a good thing to do whenever you were around information.  Some people still claimed that Infohubs remained neutral territory, that they provided the least amount of repurposed information and by doing so, made themselves the last safe place to think for yourself.  That might have been true back before the Great Rehash fully took over every aspect of life.  Now it was only true if you believed the latest PR campaign.  Infohubs had travelled the road of all other sources of information and had become the latest front line in a long series of front lines where the past repeatedly bullied its way into the present, refusing any entry of new thought or new creative expression, instead remaining hellbent on dictating the future through a looping of things said and done and created before.  Infohubs and all the worlds of social platforms and, begrudgingly, individual expression had morphed into nothing more than the latest in a long series of reruns.  Anything new creativity was stifled.  In the age of consumerism on steroids, new creations barely saw the light of day.  Content was king only so long as it was pushed out in as fast, as easy, and as fun a way as possible.  And the best way to achieve that was to mine the long tail of content repurposing.  

“There.”   Reese suddenly saw in full what had snatched his attention to pieces.

“A machine,” he muttered through clenched teeth.  Its clothes were torn and threadbare against its titanium casing.  Its eyes glowed red.  Its metal face frozen in place, without a ripple or an unfurling to be found.  Its expression contorted into a perpetual snarl.  The cigar clenched between its polished metal teeth out of the corner of its metal metallic mouth added to the effect.  This was a machine with an attitude.  It didn’t care if it was spotted.  It was fully armed and loaded.  It hauled weaponry of the sort typically found stocked only on a military base…or in some street gang.  Its shoulders were broad; its waist small; its arms and legs thick.  It was a robot on steroids, big enough to be a champion bodybuilder or even a governor of California.  The robot whirled its legs uncompromisingly forward. It no longer moved very quietly or stealthily around the building.  With each step, Reese heard an ominous sound. 

Da da da da da! 

Da da da da da! 

Not just a machine, Reese now realized grimly.  With a great deal of effort, he pushed back against the G-forces of change and pressed his lips into a tight line that reverberated against the wind.  This was something far worse than flapping faces or machines.  This was a Terminatore, he cursed to himself…da da da da da!

He crouched low to the ground, folding his own powerful form in half and compressing himself as much as he possibly could.  The Terminatore scanned the Infohub.  Its glowing red eye pinpointed those few who were mindful of their surroundings and had rapidly begun to teleport away.  At least, those who were lucky enough to be quicker on the draw than the machine.  Those who weren’t fast enough were vaporized.  Others in the Infohub remained unscathed as they zoned in on reruns of movies or art or music that had been created in the 60s, the 80s, the 90s.  The Terminatore ignored them after rapidly scanning them and registering that they didn’t create expression but instead consumed it unabashedly with their appetite stalled in the virtual trough that was once the express lane of mass media’s glory days.  This Terminatore had bigger fish to fry.  It continued to scan the area until it zoomed in on a large heat source with a different pattern of information that came from a different type of group in the Infohub.  The Terminatore had in fact zeroed in on Reese and his friends, a small group of free thinkers who routinely explored new ideas.  In fact, they made a life’s purpose.  On this day, Reese had volunteered to be the guard or lookout or some kind of protector while his friends talked about new ideas and worked to bring them to life.   His friends, a small group of about 4 individualists, huddled deeply together as they teased out and chased what they believed to be a new form of expression… something that hadn’t been repurposed, something that hadn’t been already said or done before.   They were so immersed in the process that they fell completely ignorant to the danger that fast approached after the Terminatore bore its laser like eyes on them.  Hard and fast.  The machine clamped down even more on the cigar, deepened its scowl (if that was at all possible) and was about to cut the group down in mere seconds.  Reese rapidly searched his memory of the action packed blockbuster flick from the 1900s.  If only one in the small group was named Kyle, they could pair that name with Reese’s and come up with a name for a character in the series.  The machine might ignore them after hearing the name “Kyle Reese” shouted out and after recognizing the name as a piece of art from the past, the Terminatore might have stood down.  But since there was no way to make “Kyle Reese” out of the names in the group, it didn’t matter.  Time was quickly running out.  The machine leveled its weapon by its side and fixed its aim on Reese and his friends.  Then, Reese had a thought.  Why not just say the name anyway or just say anything from the movie?  He broke into the circle of artists, thinkers, individualists, however they labelled themselves.  His eyes remained fixed on the machine as it squared itself off toward them, his skin peeling back in waves from the endless winds of change.  He growled in hushed tones to the group, “Come with me if you want to live”  and hoped it was enough.  He held his breath against the onslaught from the wind and waited to see if the line from the movie would stop the machine from wiping them all out.

“What?  What are you talking about?”  She had already been highly animated.  In fact, that was just a part of the way she was wired.  And she remained true to her wiring by waving her hands around while she talked.  Especially when she had been right in the middle of a discussion that was near and dear to her and then out of nowhere (from her vantage point), Reese had cut her off from her train of thought about how anyone could possibly know their direction in life, how they could possibly pick up any of the cues that move souls along their path.  Right when she was smack dab in the thick of what was really much more an artistic exploration for her than a conversation, Reese had interrupted her.  Still, Jessie remained energized and excitable, only now more than a little bit rattled, almost aggitated.  Creativity didn’t like rude interruptions, at least Jessie’s version of creativity didn’t.  Take the topic of the discussion as illustration:  she had written a book that explored how anyone knows their direction in life.  She had self-published.  She now self-posted chapters of her published work to her weblog and followed up each week with posts of an author’s review of her work.   In fact, the author who reviewed her work each week was, well, Jessie herself.  Jessie’s version of creativity married the act of art itself with a lengthy artist’s commentary about her own work, pre and post-creation.   Kind of like a built in review for every work she generated.  Jessie was convinced this was unchartered ground and not only that, groundbreaking:  the idea that an artist could objectively create masterworks inspired by the Muses followed up by the same artist’s subjective review of the quality and purpose of that masterwork.  To date, Jessie had never received a bad review.  Her Muses on the other hand…well, they were the ones who had become too attached to the outcome if you asked Jessie.

Reese grabbed her by the shoulder.  His face fluttered into hers where he found her face fluttering into the winds of change that howled at her from behind him.  But her eyes were peeled back, wide open.  She stared Reese straight in the eye and then noticed something over his shoulder.  She stared straight over his shoulder, not saying another word, her mouth gaping in waves as change blew itself perpetually into town.

“Come with me if you want to live,” he repeated to Jessie and to the other two in the group who hadn’t turned to flee.  The Terminatore had vaporized the others in the group who had run off without even attempting to mimmick anything from yesterday’s mainstream culture. 

“The machine is confused,” he continued and worked to breathe in between his words, “But that will only last for a short amount of time.  Unless someone here knows more dialogue from any of the Terminator Series?”  He looked around the remaining group of three that included himself.  “Anyone?”

“Of course not,” Creed said.  There was a tone of disdain in his voice.  He stared at Reese like he had never met him before even though they had known each other for the past 10 years.

Reese shrugged almost apologetically but not quite.  “What can I say?  I dabble in mainstream media.  I don’t live there, but I do dabble.”

Da da da da da! 

Da da da da da! 

The Terminatore had renewed its advance on the group.

“What…what…” Jessie stuttered into the wind.  She stared at the advancing Terminatore as if seized by its glowing red eyes.  Reese grabbed her focus back to him, pulled her with him and nodded at Creed who followed suit and pounded the parcel with him.  They all had seen the advancing machine.  They were shocked and driven by a will to live, but they also all knew they had taken a risk by talking in a public place about anything new under the sun.  Still, they all believed it was long since time to come out of the shadows.  It was simply time to come out of the creative underground and risk the dangers that lay in the darkness of a culture that had no place for anything original.  Yet for all their brave intentions, they still ran for their lives now.  They ran gasping for air as their sprint broke into a long hard trudge into the winds of change.  They could get little traction.  With each burst forward, wind gusts thrust them back to where they had already been.  Titanium Alloy Terminatores might have faced the same conditions, but Liquid Titanium Terminatores had no such issues.  The thing melted itself and its weaponry into a gleeming pool of liquid polished metal and slivered along the ground, carrying its cigar with it like a burning canoe.

Creed chanced a backward glance while his body fought to cut forward through the wind tunnel.  “It’s nearly on us.  It will re-form itself soon.”

Da da da da da!

Reese spun around, glowering at the pool of heated metal.  He thrust his fist out, and with his face undulating in the wind, he yelled, “You will never be one of the people!”

At that moment, giant blue and green winged Mountain Banshees from another world and another time — point of fact, another movie — swooped out of the sky.  There were three of them, and each of them chose their riders and nudged their heads under the legs of Jessie, Creed, and Reese.  

The Terminatore’s forward slide stopped.  Its cigar ember flickered and faded momentarily.  This scene with giant multi colored banshees was a memory from the 2000s but still very mainstream.  Yet.  …Still very new-ish, on the mainstream cultural borderline, potentially tipping over into the cultural divide.  Suddenly, the Terminatore began to reform. 

Creed and Jessie panicked and hardly noticed the Termintore.  They felt more than a little violated from the winged creatures pushing their heads up and between their legs.  Reese, on the other hand, saw the Terminatore reform and knew their time was quickly running out.  He scrambled onto his Banshee, not knowing what to do next but knowing this was the only way out.  “My God!” Creed yelled.  “Get on!  Stay on!” Reese yelled.  “What are we supposed to do…my GOD!” Jessie shouted and fought for a grip hold anywhere on the smoothed muscled and tye-died skinned creature.

“The HALO!  The HALO!  Make the bond!” Reese yelled, his imagination stuck in a movie that rested on either side of the cultural divide.

Quickly, somehow instinctively they each rezzed a neko tail and perhaps did the unspeakable.  They sealed the bond with the Mountain Banshees by twining the ends of their neko tails into the tendrils on the side of the four-winged creatures.  The recomposed Terminatore’s scan indicated that a new species had been formed.  The polished metal metallic machine watched with a dispassionate glowing red eye as the threesome flew into the sky, the sun burning a hole in their wake, the webs of their winged creatures spinning out far and wide and latching onto the edge of the half-destroyed buildings to ricochet them far away from the Infohub, far away from the Terminatore’s impressive fire power.

Suddenly, missiles sliced through the punishing winds of change that carried the threesome through the sky.  Creed spun his head in all directions and saw that all around them a squadron of military airpower had gained airspace on them.  Big Papa stood on the deck of the largest military fighter plane.  He drank a cup of hot cocoa.  He quietly ordered his men to “take them down” in a clean fashion.  He wanted to be back home on base for an early dinner; the first round of drinks would be on him.  Another volley of missiles rocketed the air under the Banshees’ wings and nearly set Creed’s neko tail on fire.

“He’s a MENACE to the city!” Creed barked and flailed his arms around instinctively as if he wanted to beat the shit out of the giant military fighter plane that hovered ominously behind them.  Big Papa smirked and snarled at the same time while he drank his hot cocoa.  He wore a chocolate mustache over his upper lip when he said to no one in particular, “You’ve got to be kidding me.”

“Reese…ohhhhhh what now!!…REESE!”  Jessie yelled over the winds and the thumping engines of the military craft.  She not only sounded nearly hysterical, she had truly jumped clearly over that edge into a land called out of control.  “What are they doing?”  She screamed in horror and stared at the Mountain Banshee under her legs.  She watched long sticky tendrils of webbing spin far out from under the joints of her winged creature.  She spun her head at Creed’s and Reese’s Banshees and saw they were doing the same thing.  Worse yet, she saw with horror that the things had started to morph right before their eyes and — far worse yet — right under their very legs.

“Oh…shit!” Creed barked.  He nearly scampered himself off what what had now become the rounded, hairy back of a giant arachnid.

“I…can’t…do…this!”  She was near hysterical now, Reese knew.  He didn’t know much about Jessie, other than her passion for paving the way to a new, yet previously untravelled route to artistic expression.  But he got the very real sense — call it a Spidey Sense — that Jessie had a fear of spiders.  Particularly giant ones.  Particularly huge hairy ones that spread their bodies against them.  His thoughts were punctured by two feet long steel-like hairs that sprouted up around them.  Somehow Jessie, Reese, and Creed managed not to be impaled by them.  But they did have to touch them and in fact grab ahold of them if they hoped to maintain any kind of balance on the jumping soaring gigantic webslingers that Reese realized soon enough Jessie had more than a fear of.  She was positively repulsed by them.  Her hands shook and flew off of the hairs, grabbling at something else.

“Jess!  Are you alright!”  Reese shouted over the winds as the three swung from the spiders’s webbing in giant loops through the sky forward to somewhere.

“This is insanity, Reese!  Of course not!”

“Hold onto it, Jess, or you’ll fall off!”

“Maybe falling off of the mainstream ride is exactly what needs to happen!” she yelled over her shoulder to him then quickly returned to busying herself with an object in her hands.

“What are you doing!” Creed yelled.

“Exactly what we came out to the infohub to do,” she yelled nearly hoarsely over the winds.  “I’m writing a new essay.  I’m mashing up the past cultural influences.

“Even if it produces something as hideous as these giant spiders?” Creed bellowed.

“Spiders…that are saving our lives!” Reese reminded them all.

“Yeah, well!” Jessie snorted in disbelief but fully got that the only reason they survived the Terminator was because of these friendly neighborhood spiders.  “And I don’t know if my writing is producing them, but I’m definitely mashing them into my essay on art.  And then…”  She bounced wildly off of the back of the anarchid just as all three of the spiders dumped off their passengers onto the front lawn of a very creepy, very dark, very large looking house that was even possibly in actuality a small castle. 

Suddenly, the sky cracked open.  Lightening illuminated the wrought iron gate; it cast in stark relief the dark and foreboding front entry.  Clouds in the sky gathered and busily greyed out the sun as it burned a hole in it; and everywhere around the sky, it busily poured down buckets of rain, each the size of alligator tears.

“And then,” Reese said quietly, all the while surveying their new and less than welcoming surroundings.  Water spilled over and into the rippling creases of all of their faces as their skin repeatedly washed over their jaws, cheeks, forehead in waves.  It was as if their skins vibrated underneathe so deeply that the vibrations generated cosmic shifts on the surface.  This was precisely what they had hoped to accomplish beyond their appearances but into actual expression, into actual life and influences…into the actual voice of the cultural landscape.  Reese shook his head.  He quietly lifted his eyebrows in surprise and heaved them a tiny bit over the waves of change that mercilessly assaulted his flesh and kept the worlds trapped in reruns.

The three of them quietly stood back on their feet.  They stared as the front door of the dark large house – a house so dark and so large that it was possibly even a castle.  The front door creaked open slowly.

“And then,” Creed repeated, clearly aware that they had all lost their train of thought in an effort to figure out what might be happening to them next.

“And then,” Jessie said, her hair drenched, water spilling over her rippling lips.  With her mobile device in hand still, she wrote the last line to her artistic mashup, her brave new world of never seen or heard before expression, and clicked “publish.”  She looked up and saw a figure loom in the dark front door of the castle.  The figure could only be described as a Sweet Transvestite from Transylvania.

“And then,” Jessie whispered.  “I’ll write a review of my own work.” 

Such went expression in the Great Rehash. 

It was just a jump to the left. 

And then a step to the right.

Da da da da da!

Nanowrimo10 total word count: 4,046.  Total wordcount to date:  25,354 of 50,000 (not including this notation.  I had the notion of writing a complete story in each entry.  I’m not sure why I thought it might be easier to approach the 50,000 word mark that way…creating a completely new story with each entry.  I’ve discovered that it’s just as difficult — if not more difficult — to start from scratch and create an entirely new premise with each chapter, as it is to build and develop characters and storylines throughout a one-story 50,000 attempt.  It’s not an excuse for why the writing or story development might not be quite there…and it’s interesting for me as the writer to see how increasingly challenging this has become as I get further into the word count.  If you have thematic ideas for a one-chapter entry, please share them in the comments.  I’m finding it increasingly challenging to come up with something new. )