Hermes sample – barfight

The first time we walked through the gateway onto the orbiting Hermes space station, I expected it to feel odd. Like I’d get some sense of my particles hurtling through the atmosphere and re-constructed in space. There was no gut-wrenching displacement. No classic sci-fi fantasy light show. It was as simple and uneventful as walking through a normal door. One small step, and I was on Hermes, high above the earth. Exactly like the N●Viron simulation. The spin of the station matched the gravity of earth, though I thought I felt a slight difference. Could be just my imagination though, probably brought on by the awareness that a few layers of metal and plastic was all that separated us from the cold void of space. That may explain why I felt light-headed, but it may also have been the relative distance from the hub between my head and my feet that literally made my head lighter on Hermes.

 

Fred showed us around, allowing each of the technicians and scientists on board to describe what they were doing. Mostly they were helping put the finishing touches on automating their experiments, and helping the on-site conversion of the navigation and propulsion systems. I was excited to get stuck in. Psi-man was already coordinating with them, making the necessary adjustments to the programming, and helping them upload the data and testing parameters. One of the technicians was busy looking around for a missing test subject. A large white rat that he suspected had gotten pregnant. He was embarrassed enough that he’d failed to notice the pregnancy earlier, but eager to find her before she birthed her litter within the vessel’s bulkheads and cause further problems. I reassured him that I’d be opening up the bulkheads periodically anyway to check the internal systems for maintenance and repair. He seemed relieved, but continued looking, with help from a new recruit with veterinary experience.

 

I overheard Psi-man correcting one of the scientists on their procedure. This struck me as more than a little arrogant. This is his first day on the job and he’s already presuming to tell people that have been working on these experiments for months how they should be doing it. I tried my best to shut him out, while I busied myself with re-familiarising myself with Hermes mechanical, electrical and electronic systems. I’d pored over the publically available schematics already, having followed the project ever since the portal gateway simulator went viral. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the publically available schematics overlaid the real systems exactly. Whoever had been responsible for maintaining the Hermes project’s presence in the N●Viron system had done a great job. Some of this must have required coding. Why did they need another programmer? Why did they need Psi-man?

 

We still hadn’t found the rogue rat when Fred rounded up us new crew members, and led us back through the gate to earth. They double checked our knowledge of safety procedures in a variety of unlikely disastrous situations. This included hull breaches (exit through the gate quickly and shut down the gateway), getting caught in the event horizon of a black hole (exit through the gate quickly and shut down the gateway), under attack by aliens (exit through the gate quickly and shut down the gateway) which we all laughed at, and gateway failure (activate the emergency gates and launch the shuttle toward earth, taking it in turns to operate it). All of this information had been easy enough to recall via the N●Viron.

 

The whole group of us new recruits, Helena included, agreed to go out afterwards to a nearby bar called ‘the Launchpad’. Psi-man came too of course. I really hoped he wouldn’t. Helena and I got a good conversation going. Her field was botany, and we found we had a lot in common. We started by talking about lighting and hydroponics, but quickly moved on to classic sci-fi and fantasy N●Vels. We had a difference of opinion regarding a modern adaptation of a historical classic in which children are conscripted to do battle with an alien race. She objected strongly to the book for romanticizing child abuse, and I pointed out to her that the story is a warning against such treatment, and the psychological trauma it caused. Honestly though, I just think the fully interactive battle games are awesome, and skipped over most of the narrative. She’d clearly researched this much deeper than I, because then she began citing evidence that the original author had a less than healthy personality. She felt that, if he’d been born in our time, the N●Viron would have detected the behavioural anomaly, and he could have received the proper help.

 

I was almost grateful that Psi-man interrupted the conversation to deliver one of the most cliched lines on the planet. “Is this guy bothering you?” Helena had gotten a little animated, but the idea that I was actually bothering her, or deliberately upsetting her riled me up and I made some comment like, “Not as much as your face does”. I forget exactly. Long story short we found ourselves outside preparing for a match between our favourite gaming avatars. I know he’s a programmer, but I’d had a few drinks, my avatar was undefeated, and I wanted to make Psi-man look stupid. I’d put a lot of gaming hours and thrown a lot of Arpies into designing and building an armoured mech suit. As indestructible and intimidating as you can get. A heavily armed and armoured dreadnought. Psi-man’s chosen avatar surprised me. A wood-elf. No armour at all. In fact if it wasn’t for the warpaint and a loin cloth, the gaming avatar would have been completely naked. The stiff blue hair made the elf look even more ridiculous. Psi-man, as the wood elf, carried only a pair of elaborate swords.

 

Once those patrons of the bar who had come out to watch had placed their bets, the N●Viron arena sim counted us down. I opened fire as soon as I could. Psi-man dodged all the fretting bullets! A wood-elf was faster than a human, so the sim slowed down my bullets and rate of fire to demonstrate this. It was very frustrating watching my explosive rounds sail past his shoulder. My movement was slowed too, so I couldn’t get ahead of him. I managed to get a grazing shot only before he was close enough for me to swing a crushing mechanical fist at him. He dodged it easily, and jammed a slim sword into my mech’s waist. It got between the plates and delivered a magical magical lightning attack. I couldn’t turn! The elf Psi-man used the sword as a foot hold and climbed up onto the dreadnought suit’s shoulders, the wind causing the loin cloth to flap as he did so. People were laughing at me as he drove the other blade between the plates of my armoured neck. Another jolt of magical lightning went through me as it went in, and the match was all over. My avatar was immobilised, in less than a minute since the match started. I went home without even saying goodbye to Helena. The fact that my gaming avatar had been defeated so easily was embarrassing enough, but having an elf’s digital dick swinging in your face is mortifying.

A New Chapter

Writing for Don’t Hate the Geek is beginning to feel like a job. A job I don’t get paid for. Slavery? I’m probably just miffed because of the changes they made to one of my articles. I wrote a piece on Memorial Day Monday, inspired by a suggestion by my friend and roommate Jitters. This is Jitters.

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He’s awesome. Jitters suggested I write an article about the heroes of Nerdom and Geekery that we’ve all seen fall in battle. A tribute to my own fallen heroes. It made sense to me, since I have to military idols to remember, and it appealed to our sense of humor. Bumble too thought it was funny. For those that don’t know Bumble, I co-host a podcast with him called The Masquerade with Bumble and the Brit!

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I just learned how to do Facebook embeds! More on that later.

Anyway, as I was saying, an admin at DHTG pulled the article. They said it was inappropriate. I said I understood and offered to delete it if they sent it back to me. I was hoping to copy and paste the article into my own blog (this one) and test a theory. The last time I posted a controversial article it spread across Facebook like wildfire. I assumed that, shared it the right strategic places, the same thing would happen with my Memorial day article.

I didn’t get a chance to find out. They edited it to make it obvious that I wasn’t disrespecting the troops and posted it anyway. I need to start making copies of my articles and posting them here. I had been planning on that from the beginning, but they told me posting the same article elsewhere would reduce the number of hits to Don’t Hate the Geek. From what I’ve read about online marketing, duplicating your article increases the chances of it being found. You’re supposed to guest-blog for other sites and include links back to your own blog. I know from working with DHTG that this is only part of it. Links back to other pages of the blog you’re guesting for are also essential too.

I have learned a lot I didn’t know. I’ve read a lot about maximising SEO (that’s Search Engine Optimisation by the way) but it didn’t really stick, or make much sense, until I had to do it for DHTG. I’ve also learned the importance of links within the website and to external sites, the structure for a news piece versus op-ed, and they also made me feel good about my writing. I’ve been told by friends that my writing is good, but it’s good to hear praise from a third party. If my writing sucked, they wouldn’t have taken me on. I would have looked bad for the website. So I’m very grateful to Don’t Hate the Geek.

I still have more to learn too. I have yet to write a review, but that time will come. Maybe. I need to make time to write for myself. My friends are especially eager to hear more of my Sci-fi adventure story, currently called ‘Hermes’, but I’ve been so busy researching and writing for DHTG that my own projects are falling way behind. In addition to the disappointment about the Memorial day article, I’m also miffed about an article I was writing for them about the release of the Dark Brotherhood DLC for The Elder Scrolls Online. I found out that one of the voice actors had posted a shout out to the game and it’s developers, and so I mentioned it in the article. They sent it back, asking me to embed the link to the original post. I could not for the life of me make it work! I’ve deleted the article. I don’t want to write it anymore.

Maybe I’ll get back on the horse with my next article. Maybe the feeling that I’ve disappointed them will go away and I’ll feel like I belong again. Either way I need to move back toward my goal. Becoming a published author of stories. Spaceships, Dragons, Superheroes and Vampires! I’m going to use what I learned to improve this blog where I can (hopefully) keep you updated on my progress. Likely this will be sporadic as I’m still juggling my full-time job as a debt collector, my obligations to DHTG, and my personal writing, without neglecting my friends and housework too much!

I’m not sure if I’m going to have the guts to backlink to Don’t Hate the Geek. Will they be mad at me for talking about them? Will they fire me if they don’t like what I’m saying? Like I said, I’ve learned a lot from them. It might be time to spread my wings and fly solo. Probably not yet. In which case I can’t share it to Facebook yet either, because they might see it there. It’s time to get back to my own writing, but I don’t need to be burning any bridges just yet.

 

How does Hell work?

This is my random thought for the day. How the fuck does Hell actually work? The concept most of us are taught is that, if we are bad people in life, when we die we go to Hell. Satan and his demons then get to torture us for all eternity. Torture what exactly? If we’re dead, then the pain isn’t going to hurt you, you’re already dead! It doesn’t matter if they flay your skin, or eat you alive, or crush you, it’s not going to kill you. As for the pain itself, what would you be feeling with exactly? You have no nerves anymore.

The only way the torture idea would work is if they gave you a flesh and blood body. Even then though, the whole eternity thing makes it a moot point. They can only torture the so much before it falls apart and needs to be replaced. Or perhaps the body regenerates, hurting all over again as it grows back. Still, the experience of pain has a negative context for us mortals because it can result in permanent damage or death. If the damage isn’t permanent, then the pain is just stimulation without context. It would only work on those who insist on still believing they can die.

Actually, I can see how that might work. So what happens who those that realise that it’s an illusion? Do they graduate to demonhood once they learn to enjoy the experience? Are the demons actually trying to encourage new souls to realise that they’re no longer mortal? In some of the old stories, truly heroic, great or legendary individuals ascend to godhood when they die. Perhaps the true purpose in life is to give people a second chance to realise that all that’s holding them back is their own fear of consequences that won’t ever come.

This of course doesn’t work in the modern concept of Hell, because only the obedient, docile and ‘good’ go to heaven. So the only way Hell could be a second chance, must be to beating the dead into submission until they are also obedient, docile and good also. In fact the Devil himself is supposed to be there as punishment also for leading the rebellion. I wonder if he ever broke? Or if he’s still imprisoned, tortured, defying the almighty and encouraging the souls of Hell not to break? Did Satan eventually beg for forgiveness and go bed to his Father, humbled and beaten? Presumably if god is all-powerful then the only reason why Lucifer would be able to rebel in the first place was if it was god’s will.

And that spins the whole scenario around again! If god wanted the Morningstar to lead a rebellion, it would have been to demonstrate that god is all-powerful and cannot be overthrown by his own creation. Presumably as a cautionary tale in case us mortals get any ideas. Of course Lucifer didn’t have to be aware of this, god could have just pulled his strings to make him do it. If so then Satan is god’s puppet and therefore anything the Devil does is god’s will. Lucifer was chosen to be the punisher of evil, punishing him for doing what he was supposed to do is a dick move. The alternative, is the Devil was in on the plan, and that  Lucifer was entrusted to embody evil and be the scapegoat for everything that sucks. That in return he rules Hell and keeps the torture wheels turning.

Anyway. My point was this. What the Hell is Hell actually for? “To punish the bad people.” For what purpose? “Because they were bad and need to be punished.” Who says? “God does.” But god gave us the choice right? “Yes, we’re supposed to be good and go to heaven, but it wouldn’t mean anything unless we choose to be good willingly” So you get to go to heaven because you willingly sacrifice your personal goals in the service of god? “Yep!” And you go to hell and get tortured for eternity if you don’t? “Well, yeah. If your bad.” So what happens to the people who never do anything good or bad? “God forgives them and they go to heaven.” So laziness and mediocrity get a free pass? What’s the incentive to be good? “Because it’s the right thing to do, and because it’s easy to sin.” It’s easy to sin? So basically as long as you never sin ever, you can avoid going to Hell, but if you sin just once. Ever. Then it’s Hellfire for all eternity? “Exactly” And that brings me back to my first point. Why is Hell an effective punishment if you’re already dead!!

Girlfriend Interviews

That’s the crazy idea I woke up with this morning. Probably not an original thought, and it seems a little shady and degrading to me. What right do I have to expect women to line up for a chance to date me? The very idea of expecting people to sell themselves, showing off their hobbies and interests, wearing something nice, and demonstrating their overall loveliness is condescending, crass and rude. Nevertheless it got me thinking. What would I be looking for in an ideal candidate?

If I do ever decide to be with someone again, I know that I want that person to be my equal. I want her to have her own interests and hobbies. With the time and effort that I’m putting into my writing, I really don’t have the time to be someone’s primary source of entertainment. She needs to have the self-confidence to know that she could have anyone, but that she chooses to spend time with me because we’re on the same page. I also want to be able to have a respectful conversation if and when either one of us decides they’d like to explore other options.

I don’t want a clone. Having an exact duplicate would only compound my weaknesses. Plus, an exact duplicate would be physically incompatible also. Sadly, I’m not gay, bi or pan. In fact my sexual interests are fairly specific. I like boobies. At least I like the ones I look at online. To my recurring frustration, the girls I date don’t look anyway near as hot as their online counterparts. I understand that I’m comparing people who have real, everyday lives, to people who make a living from being hot, and that’s hardly fair. It also wouldn’t be fair to me or my potential partner to ignore the fact I want her to be attractive, and become deeply disappointed in the relationship when I have to start lying through my teeth everyday to save her self-esteem. Plus lying about anything inevitably leads to a break up. Knowing that, I have a tendency to begin looking for an exit strategy as soon I think about lying.

Lies would be unacceptable. I prefer to trust someone completely to begin with, assuming that they are being honest with me at all times. That means that if you’re suddenly unable to do what you had planned to do, particularly if you’ve told me you would, it get disappointed. The more often I’m disappointed, the more I’m sure I’ve make a bad choice. Let me clarify. I don’t expect anyone to do anything just because I’ve asked (or told) them too. I respect that whomever-she-might-be will have her own stuff to do. I’d love it if she had her own stuff to do. She may not have the time or the opportunity to do the favor I’ve asked. I don’t want someone I need, or that needs me. I might pout a little, but I’d much rather they were too busy, than say they’d do it and then let me down.

When we have downtime, I understand that she may not wish to use all of it with me. We all need alone time, to work on ourselves and our pet projects. When we do hang out,  I expect conversations about mutual interests, emotion expression of personal concerns, solutions only when requested, and also the watching of nerdy movies and tv shows, the playing of nerdy games, and a bit of playful intimacy. I’m not sure where I am on the libido scale. I know I like to look at nudity, particularly breasts, and that I thoroughly enjoy the feel of skin against skin. I know the my urges when I’m alone are often greater than when I’m with a girlfriend. I’m also aware that my choices so far, and my motivations for my choices, were not ideal. There was one girl who drew me wild when I looked at her, but her anxiety issues prevented any physical fun. It’s a real shame, because we clicked on so many other levels.

I have a silly fantasy about a woman deliberately nudging, touching and jiggling her exposed breasts as we play a nerdy card game and listen to Rob Zombie or Rammstein. Naked in the kitchen, except for an apron, is a recurring one too. She should probably expect more play and teasing from me than actual sex. Unless they’re somehow so incredibly hot that I devolve into a sex-crazed ape, which seems like an unrealistic expectation on both sides.

I guess what I’m looking for is a woman who wants to use some of her free time to play games, watch movies and let a somewhat handsome (so I’m told) british nerdy goth-on-a-budget writer fondle her breasts.

 

So far so good

I enjoy writing articles for Don’t Hate the Geek. I had originally planned to publish a copy of each article here, so that I could keep and online portfolio of everything that gets published. However, it was made clear that having the same article in more than one location would dilute the search results and result in fewer people visiting the version hosted by DHTG.

The last week of April I noticed that I wasn’t getting any writing done after work. So I switched to late shifts this month. I’m only 2 days in and I’m already feeling much better about how my writing output. I didn’t actually submit an article this morning, but I got 2 in yesterday, and actually got a little further with my creative writing.

I have a few creative writing projects at the moment, most of which have reached a point where I don’t know where to go from here. My sci-fi story, about a ship that has to take care of itself after the crew dies, hit a wall a while ago. I wasn’t sure how a major, but so far background, character would react to meeting the ship. I decided to go back and write some of his story, so that I know what brought him to this point. It feels good to have the story moving again. More on that another time.

This is also the first month living without my girlfriend (ex girlfriend) and her 16 year old daughter. The apartment is blissfully free of distractions and clutter, besides those I make myself. My new roommate is awesome. He’s already demonstrated that he’s much cleaner and more considerate than those I had been living with before.

So, life is pretty good right now. 🙂