Monday, April 30, 2007

Empire Beyond Mars 1

This is a new story serial I'm starting. I'm going to add to it as I write it, so it should build and build, I hope.

Let me know how you like it. It's sort of Space Opera meets Burroughs.


"It wasn't really broken, just unsnapped. I snapped it back. It should be fine now."

"Thanks ever so much Rusty," Janet Brewer cooed as Rusty Ferguson shimmied his way out from under the BMW convertible of the captain of the cheerleaders.

Rusty would be the first to describe himself as a "lump." He was large and soft, red and freckled. Janet was just the opposite, small and firm, dark and smooth.

"You're better than a brother Rus," she reached up and hugged his neck while pecking him on the cheek. "Hunter gets out of football in only an hour and I had to make sure I got him a new shirt. That boy needs two mothers."

Rusty nodded while he wiped his hands on a rag.

"Can I give you a ride anywhere?"

"No thanks," he said reluctantly. "I have to get to work and DDI is the opposite direction from the mall."

"I'll see you in band tomorrow morning then," she said as she slid into the driver seat. They both played clarinet and sat next to each other.

He waved until he couldn't see her and then went and unlocked his bike from the rack. He had had to build his bike from spare parts left from his four older brothers, but it was still pretty good.

Rusty worked after school at Diversified Dynatechnics International. DDI had been established and was owned by Doctor Ares Greene, MD who started the company a dozen years earlier to further the studies of his own favorite professor. The building itself was a one-story facility in a semi residential neighborhood of Chicago with a small parking lot big enough for only about a dozen cars.

When Rusty arrived he saw Dr. Greene on the roof. They waved to each other and Dr. Greene called him by name.

Dr. Greene's being on the roof was not as strange a sight as it might have been. The DDI building was a green building. The bricks were especially made to be environmentally friendly, the south-facing wall was angled so that the solar panels on it could collect the maximum amount of energy and the ceiling was planted with grasses and shrubs that fed the goats that lived there. There were also several windmills and some other features that Rusty suspected, but was unsure of, like the building may have been tapping into and using geo-thermal energy.

Inside the lobby Rusty stood aside as several of the full time workers departed. Three women and two men who all worked in the administrative side of the company went through the scanner and wished him a good day.

Two guards operated the scanner. They were very large and very stoic. Although Rusty knew their names were Bob Montgomery and Kent Cox he also knew that speaking to them about anything except security was worse than a waste of time.

"Are you taking you bag with you?" Bob asked, as one of them always did.

"No, I can check it," Rusty handed his school bag to Kent, who put it through a scanner before locking it in an airport style locker behind the guard desk.

"Step through the scanner please," Bob said.

Rusty went through the scanner. This was not an ordinary metal detector, but the most sophisticated piece of security equipment invented by the staff at DDI itself. The scanner did scan for metals, but also for anything with a density high enough to be an effective weapon. It also scanned for health signs, similar to a lie-detector. His DNA; retinal scan; ears; finger and toe prints were on record. They were all scanned in the time it took Rusty to walk the two meter length of the machine. Once Bob and Kent were satisfied that the subject was an employee they would issue an ID. The ID had a photo from that day and was actually a computerized transceiver that let the guard force know where the subject was and what he was doing at all times.

Rusty clipped on his ID, hazarded a, "have a nice day" and walked briskly to his lab.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Prop on Pope, Again

I posted a story about Pope Benedict XVI earlier today on Miserable Donuts, but that wasn't the first story I saw about the Pope today.

The original story that drew my attention Vatican-way was the one that Daddy Ben (I don't think he likes me calling him that, but I wonder what the translation services would do with it, don't you) is approving a "study" that has concluded that we really don't know diddly about Limbo and therefore babies and really nice non-Christians who never got the chance to get baptized (like Moses and such) may actually be able to get into Heaven.

I couldn't actually read the report since I don't have a subscription to the journal (Origins Online, I won't include a link there since you can't get in any more than I can) in which it was published, but it seems a bit, oh I can't remember the technical term, so let's just call it, goofy.

The idea was "originally" that JC came to free us from Original Sin (that Adam listened to Eve in the Garden of Eden when she listened to the snake). Everybody is a sinner and the only person who was even born without the sin of the original father was the Virgin Mary (the Immaculate Conception). Original Sin was a "Mortal Sin."

Trouble is, Limbo is a bit like Purgatory. Purgatory, the nuns used to tell us, is the place you go to burn off whatever Venial Sins you had on your soul when you died, before you could get into Heaven (anyone except infants with a Mortal Sin would get a one-way ticket to furnace-ville). You could get out of Purgatory (my grandmother used to tell us) if someone on the "outside" (still alive) offered up Graces they earned to your salvation. This led in the middle ages to the sale of a certificate that you had devoted your Graces to a particular loved one, otherwise known as Indulgences (remember old Marty Luther and his tacky list on the door).

Well, I figure that if babies don't get baptized they only way they can get into Heaven is by other people's Graces (actually I think they don't go anywhere since I don't believe in Hell, Purgatory or Limbo, but that's another story) or the whole thing collapses. I mean if they'll let any old (or very young) punk into Heaven, Original Sin or not, then why the heck do we need Jesus anyway?

Also, and I think this is a much more real "danger" it opens the way to the Church giving the nod to abortion. In far future 'studies' I they'll say it's okay to kill the fetus if the mother prays really hard and she was going to die if she didn't get the abortion.

I wonder if they really want to open that level of hell?

Friday, April 13, 2007

I Failed to Fail!

There it is in all its glory. I am now the proud owner of a USA Rugby Level I Referee certification!

I told you I wouldn't post again until I got it and I have. It even has my correct name on it.

Mrs. Prop will be so proud, no scratch that. She will be relieved, happy that I am not going to spend anymore time on that silly thing (this year).

As you may know, I have already reffed one game and TJed (Touch Judged) another. That may seem like the cart being before the horse, but I agree with you. I don't understand, but it did seem to work out.

I actually won't have a rating until I have passed the test (which I have) and been evaluated while reffing a game. I don't know exactly how that works, but that next step will have to wait at least another week as I am going to my little brother's Naval Retirement Party tomorrow.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Na Ah Not Gunna Do It.

Wouldn't be prudent so I won't post again until I here back from the testing folks at USA Rugby. I'm going to send my third and final try at the Rugby Referee Level 1 test in and I'll get back to you later.

I'm also not going to tell you that I'm working on a new serial. It will be called Empire Beyond Mars, but you won't know that until I actually write Episode I and post it. It wouldn't be prudent to say something like that with no product to back it up.

I am currently writing a Horror SciFi story for Apex and then I'm going to write another for Alien Skin's new contest. Along with that and the officially unannounced Empire Beyond Mars, I'm going to edit "Lest Too Light Winning Makes the Prize Light" based on input I got at Mirable Visu.

So, nothing much on my plate right now. I'll get back to you when I have something solid.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Failure, Failure and More Failure

Failure seems to be the theme for March. I failed the Rugby Ref test and then sent in corrections and still didn't pass yet. I did find out that one of my answers wasn't wrong so now I only need two more right answers out of four and I'm really sure I know the answers.

I also failed to do 50 hours of editing on my book, Guya Principal in March. That was part of NaNoEdMo. I'm really disappointed in that. I've got loads of excuses, the above-mentioned Ref test, two-three day drills with the National Guard and on and on. The point is I didn't do it. Now I have to keep going and my plan was to start working on new stories and submitting queries with the book. That's on hold.

I'm not doing so well with my New Year's Resolutions. I planned on submitting 12 short stories to PAYING publishers. I haven't sent one yet. I planned on making 6 queries with my book. It's not ready yet. I planned on swimming 100 miles (not that hard if I had a chance to swim at all, it's just two miles a week).

I also planned on retiring from the Guard at April's drill. They're having a hail and farewell and a bunch of awards handed out next drill so I would have been there anyway. I might as well get paid, but this means I'm not out yet.
Let's hope next week shows an upturn. I'm optimistic.