Tuesday, March 25, 2014

WEP - My Eyes Don't Lie, Do They?

Remember what your childhood was like? Here's a futuristic version of one young boy's life.



'It's a lie. If it's not true, it's a lie. I don't believe there are planets like that. Not anymore. That was long ago, in ancient Terran times. The elders speak of hairy creatures on four legs, of plants called trees, of wood and vast amounts of water. Where I live we have underground rock, surface rock, and rock dust."

I live in SRS-1 Colony, the only home I've ever known, and it's wholly underground. This journal I keep for others, those who come after. Everyone calls me Dak. I don't know if that's my real name, but I don't mind it. I have no parents, but alternates cared for me and the many like myself who were abandoned or orphaned. None of the juveniles, including me, is allowed to go on the surface alone. We are told stories of scavengers who kidnap children and sell them, or worse.

One thing in particular worries me; this place was home to someone before our starship limped into the abandoned landing port long ago. The Elders say our colony is hidden, but where are the people who made this place? What if they decide to come back?

Colony Star IV, our quad-jump ship, searched for generations but never found a place that was safe to stay. Here on asteroid SRS-1 on the star charts, we discovered a network of tunnels and protection from the pirates. We were the last ship of twelve that departed together from our dying planet. Our ships could go no further by the time we arrived at this cluster of rocks, as our onboard systems were starting to fail. That log entry was signed by the ship's historian, dated just after the colony was established.

Image Credit*

I flipped the switch to the opposite side of the brass viewer relic I had found in the library. The light faded as the unit cooled. I disconnected the power source, as every bit of power was monitored for the general good. I wish I could see a place that had green stuff on the ground or creatures that followed humans around. But there was none here, and all I see in our history database are very old images.

I wish I had one of those things shaped like a sphere. On a planet, the historians say, these spheres would do a thing called bounce, but I have never seen anything bounce here. In all my ten seasons, never. What does bounce look like? I don't know what 'go out to play' means either. We stay in to do things, but we don't call it play. We call them challenges.

As I left the library viewing room, I heard someone call, "Wait up, Dak!"

I know that voice. He's the only person that agrees with my ideas. Both of us want to escape this place one day. First, we need a map. . .so we can decide where to go. Then, we need to hide aboard a seeker transport.

"Hi Rafe! I'm on my way to training duty for the next hour block. Meet you after at Central Mess?"

"You haven't heard the news then, have you?"

"What news?" My heart jumped.


To be continued, this snippet is part of the background of one of the characters in my SciFi novels. Hope it stirred your interest. . .

*Image Credit: Free use image.


Would you like to challenge yourself? Try Write...Edit...Publish!

Join us for a monthly signup and some very interesting reading. It's flexible. I joined the once-a-month bloghop since it meets my needs. I've also met fellow bloggers with the same penchant for responding to Denise's challenges. WEP makes me practice short writing and has given me starter material for a few short stories.

Write…Edit…Publish! aka WEP welcomes you to submit any of the following – flash fiction, poetry, non-fiction or playscripts to a word count of 1,000 words – artwork and photographs accompanied by your written inspiration in creating your work/s.

Next Challenge: April Fool
Owner/Originator: Denise Covey at her website.


Do you know about the WEP writing challenges? Do you think our experiences in childhood form part of our principles as adults? Can you remember when you first realized adults didn't know everything. . .?

Thanks for visiting, feedback is welcome but not required. Let me know you were here in the comments! Then, please visit the other participants on the list at the Denise Covey Blog.


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Vancouver Views - Unique West Coast Style

Welcome to a photo tour of objects seen around town. 

Vancouverites like to look to the future
Space and beyond
Not that we have any spaceships here, but we like them

Rocket Sculpture, Vancouver, by DG Hudson 


Ethnic Diversity
One example seen below
Vancouver has a large Italian community
' Little Italy' centers on Commercial Drive, aka The Drive
(another source says it's also called the 'Mersh' by locals)

Vancouver's typical Italian Corner store, by DG Hudson


More ethnic diversity on Hastings Street in Vancouver
Our Chinatown offers many interesting treats and sights
Imposing Doors
Reminiscent of a time past
Iron wrought to a specific style

Vancouver's Distinctive Doors, by DG Hudson



A mural highlighting west coast industry
We have the coastal mountains and waterways
Our trains, planes and ship traffic
But mostly it's about the People who make it work

Vancouver Industry Mural, side wall, by DG Hudson

Just Click!
This post is a short one written in abbreviated style since the photos are the focus. There are always many things we see as we go through our day that we don't photograph. Unique spots capture the personality of a town. They won't always be there, so take as many photographs as you can. Your images may one day prove valuable for historical purposes or for comparing then and now.

Examples: I photographed Sweeney's Cooperage, a long time barrel maker, on one of our photo shoots. It burned to the ground a couple of weeks later in a fire, ending an era at that location. In France, I took photos of Wilde's tomb in 2010; it was different one year later. Time waits for no one. Catch those images when you can.


Do you think your town has a personality? Is there a defining feature or history associated with your town? Have you ever taken a photo of something and find the subject has changed since then in some way, or disappeared altogether?

Please share your thoughts in the comments, and thanks for dropping by! I'm working on my posts for the A to Z Challenge, as it starts to come over the horizon. Are you participating this year?


Monday, March 10, 2014

2014 National Wormhole Week and Beyond

Let the Wormfest Celebrations begin!

Albert's birthday is the 14th

Welcome to the Second Annual 2014 National Wormhole Week Blogfest also called the 2014 Wormfesthosted by: L. Diane Wolfe, Alex J. Cavanaugh, and Stephen Tremp.

Assignment 1 - Name one thing where science advances mankind
Learning to navigate the wormholes and the ability to jump parsecs.

Wormhole transport tubes benefit trade and travel, and faster transit times aid in colonization and reaching outposts. On the negative side, generations of men and women piloting the TradeRunnerTransports are reporting negative effects on family life. Following is one example.

WormHole Stories: Virtual Man

John and I waited for the Go-Ahead from Central Control. We were next in the WH-4 takeoff zone. All the specs and equipment were checked. Something was bothering him. I could tell by the way he held his jaw.

"Any plans for the holidays, John?"

"Not yet. I don't know what the family wants to do. I don't see them for so long, in between our trade runs. . .  it's hard missing their growing up."

"You know this job pays very well. It helps your family."

"Knowing what has to be done doesn't make it easier. I'm just a ghost in their lives. I don't know how much longer I can do this work."

"There's the Go Ahead light. Activating all stability thrusters. What makes now any different than any other time?"

"It's my wife's birthday."

He pressed the key to start our descent into the energy field. The ship slid for a short distance until the energy tube caught and secured our vehicle on the access ramp. Time halted for what seemed like only seconds as the undulations of the Wormhole folded twice before delivering us to Grand Central Skystation, the supply nexus for the outer quadrants.

There was nothing I could say. Working these long Traderunner routes was starting to tell on my partner.

Free Use Image


Assignment 2 - Name a technology with unforeseen consequences that will go too far and set mankind back.' Two examples of books on this topic:

Margaret Atwood's Oryx and Crake.
When Technology and science are given unbridled rein, a collision with nature can be expected. One era ends. A new one begins. . .

David Brin's Uplift Wars highlighted problems due to diversity: more languages to learn, more politics, more insider secrets, and intrigues. Uplifting means elevating creatures (such as dolphins) into sentiency if they pass certain tests and can communicate with other species.


Q and A

Are wormholes intelligent? Or are they merely 'transit tubes' with optional endings? 
No intelligence is evident in the wormholes at present, they function as a pathway to another point in time and space.

Einstein oriented us to where we should go, and it's up to our scientists to get us there. We need intergalactic starships and a combined earthly effort, or we'll never get past Mars.

What could they possibly trade to aliens or even humans of the future? 100%Chocolate Bars, MPax's* universal exchange commodity, and two Iron Chefs.

Should we try music as in Close Encounters?
Yes. How about wildlife sounds from the jungles, whales singing in the deep and winds blowing through the mountain passes? Earthy sounds.

Before you go. . .

Answer any of the above questions Or leave a comment to say you were here. Thanks for dropping by!

To get back to the other participants -  Linkylist at Stephen Tremp's blog.


Saturday, March 1, 2014

The Greater Journey, Americans in Paris. . .A Review

Do you know how much influence France, and especially Paris, has had on the US? You may be surprised.

Cover, The Greater Journey, by David McCullough, 2011

The Greater Journey
American stories of Paris by those who made the journey. It continues.

Drawn like moths to light, Americans came to Paris to experience the culture and to learn in the city considered the most advanced of its time. The best in France would teach the brightest from the young USA. Most of those who went to absorb Paris had independent means or generous parents. The eager, hardworking medical students learned new techniques, and incorporated the ideas into medical procedures in the United States. In between classes, their ideas about society changed, some with profound results. American artists and art students were welcomed into the ateliers of established French artists. Writers found a new audience and a city that provided an endless source of inspiration. If you had talent, Paris was the place to be.

Most Americans who came to Paris stayed for a few months to a few years. Early in the migration of American visitors, prior to steam, the voyage from New York to Le Havre took approximately 26 days. By the 1870s, steamships reduced the trip to about two weeks. McCullough takes us through the past from the 1830s through the golden years and the lean times and leaves us at the cusp of the 20th century (1901). We learn about 'Lady Liberty', better known as the Statue of Liberty, the gift from France to the United States, with a 'supporting' contribution by the master builder and engineer, Gustav Eiffel. This structural design was prior to the building of his iconic tower for the 1889 Exhibition Universelle de Paris.

In this book, you will learn about Major General Marquis Gilbert de Lafayette, Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain), Samuel F. B. Morse, John Singer Sargent, Charles Sumner, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Elizabeth Blackwell; That's just the beginning. Americans were there in Paris during the cholera, the American Civil War, the Haussman reconstruction, the Prussian siege, and the Communard coup. They saw firsthand the difference in how the French people reacted to life, their love of art and their innate resilience. Letters and journals are used to show the detail of life in Paris from the American visitor's point of view. He includes a wealth of illustrations. Through inventions, improvements to medical processes and hygiene, the American life was improved through the association with France.

Paris Exhibition Promo, Paris 1889, wiki, PD*

Are you a history buff or do you like the stories (behind the history) about Paris? Factual stories? Do you have any favorites of the many American or French historical names listed?

I highly recommend reading this book, if you like history, especially the kind that explains the machinations behind many high profile events which took place in Paris between 1830 and 1901. I'm keeping it as a reference book.



Exposition Universelle 1889 - wiki

Major Gen. Marquis Gilbert de Lafayette

David McCullough's, The Greater Journey, Americans in Paris

How Paris Created America ( A review) by Stacy Schiff, NY Times

*Image Credit: 1889 Paris Exposition Promotion

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