Saturday, December 29, 2012

Howlina Day 29.2 - Character Revisited

I have gone back and done several post on character building, but I wanted to do something that goes along with Day 29 of World Building.

On Day 29 it was suggested to write a scene where a main character is given a gift they must refuse.  I would like to share that scene with you now that I've thought of what that gift should be, a man.

"Payate, Christmas is a children's holiday, we have barbecues and give toys to children, not gifts to adults," Viole spoke in a low voice despite the fact that she and her fellow Transhuman, Payate were speaking in a private language they had  created nearly a year ago when then met.

Payate smiled, "He's sort of a toy."  She pushed the door to the tavern open, winked and pointed inside with her head.  She let a normal man pass under her arm and enter while she waited on her stunningly beautiful friend.

They both wore the short, loose tunics that were standard clothing for women in Howlina, but on their outrageously tall and curvy bodies they looked like goddesses.  Payate nodded toward the open door again and her shoulder length black curls waved so seductively that the other men and some women who were waiting to enter stood with their mouths open.

"You're holding up traffic," Payate said.

"A toy?"

Payate let the door go and stepped up next to her friend, "Sure he's a toy, you can play with him all  you like."

"Are you suggesting sex?"

Payate stared at her friend.  Her gaze unconsciously went to Viole's broken nose.  She never spoke of it, but on an otherwise completely flawless body it was a blinking red light with a siren.  Payate was sure it was a purposeful affectation and wondered why someone who was so determined to fit in and follow social norms would make such a vain body modification.  When the other Supers were trying to create their own culture, Viole steadfastly stuck to her beloved Veebeelo.  If she didn't want to be a Super why wouldn't she want a normal for a partner.

"Yes, I was suggesting sex.  Doesn't your Veebeelo prescribe sex?"

"Not as the first test of compatibility, and not as frivolity," her voice was calm and steady but still low in the secret language.

In English, Payate said, "Come in, meet him, have a nice night.  That's all I'm asking.  He's a nice man, a nice looking man.  What's wrong with making sex the first test?  It could make it easier to overlook the other tests if they fail.  It's a no-brainer, he is desperate to get with a Super."

"Why don't you take him then?"

"Ah, well I would, but I'm meeting with my boyfriend Sama later tonight.  And besides, I want to see my friend smile, so I got her a gift," she linked her arm in Viole's elbow and pulled her.  Viole gave a faint smile and acquiesced.

Inside the tavern was loud with music and talking.  There was a live band, but it was clearly a pick-up group.  There were several people getting ready to either take over or join.  There were a few other, less performance oriented groups and pairs off in several corners.  Where the music didn't fill, the conversations did.

Payate easily found her man standing at a table.  She caught his eye and motioned that they would join him as soon as they could make their way through the crowd.

As usual for Cheekagopolee, the room was filled with all sorts of races, from normals, to Supers, Cats, and Cybers.  The only ones not easily visible were Faes, who were probably there, but too small to spot easily; and Mers who most certainly were not there.

The normals and Cybers were intermixed with no visible pockets of Cybers alone.  The Supers were intermixed as well, but there were a few clumps of them off to a side here and there.  The Cats mostly stuck to groups of their own.  Every now and then one would break off from their group and enter mixed crowds, not unlike a lion stacking a herd from the inside.

Viole noticed one of these Cats, a female, who had moved toward a lone normal man standing at the bar.  There was something about that man that immediately told Viole that he did not belong.  It wasn't that he was normal, but she instinctively knew he was a foreigner.  It wasn't anything obvious at all, but more of her superior brain picking up on almost imperceptible things and complying all the data quickly.

As the woman Cat made her move on the short man, Payate tugged at her arm.

"Viole, this is Delo, the man I was telling you about.  Delo, this is my friend Viole.  She's a queer bird, and a bit of a prude, but she is a great time and would love to talk with you for a while."

He was indeed a good looking man, for a normal.  He was over six feet tall and had the typical Howler curly blond hair.  He was very fit looking in his dark male tunic.  His green eyes sparkled as he looked her over.  He had a hungry look in his eyes.

Viole held out her hand to shake his.  He had a firm grip, but she squeezed hard enough to see his eye twitch.  He gave no other indication of the pain she knew she caused; good.

"Can you sing, Delo?"  She asked, but she looked over his head and watched as Payate walked away toward the tall godlike Super waiting for her near another exit.

"Yes, baritone," Delo responded with confidence.

Viole held up her ocarina, "Let's find a corner and see how jamming goes," she said gamely.  Delo smiled and nodded.  As they looked around for a somewhat secluded corner to test out their musical compatability, Viole noticed the man from the bar was gone. 

The woman Cat that was with him was just leaving and her tail was doing something unusual.  Viole looked around quickly to confirm what she saw with the tail. Indeed, the group of female Cats that she had come from were laughing and carousing  in just that way they did when one of them was about to rape someone.

"I'm sorry, Delo, there is something I have to do," Viole barely gave him a glance as she moved quickly and smoothly toward the door.  In a flash she was out and gone.

Delo knew when a date was over and this date was most certainly over.  Though he knew she would need no assistance, he made his way toward the door she exited to see if he could help.

Friday, December 28, 2012

New Poll for January

In honor of Doctor Who winning the last poll I'm making time travel the subject of the January poll.

If you had a time machine when would you go?  Why?

I had to chose some choices for the poll, but you can comment here with the details.

Would you visit yourself 30 years from now to find out what to invest in?

Would you visit your teenage self and tell you what to invest in?

Would visit the Sermon on the Mount so you could heckle?

Would you go forward and find out how to stop the apocalypse?

Would you travel back to last week and stop the world from ending?

What?!  Tell me!

Howlina Continues - Religion

I really didn't get to explore the religion of Howlina and the people there.  I did mention their book, the Veebeelo is their preeminent guide to life, and I mentioned that they structured their church hierarchy along the lines of the first millennium Roman Catholic Church.  And lastly I think I mentioned that during the Enlightenment they became more secular and removed the requirement for public officials to be clergy, but I never mentioned what happened to their church after they took political and military power from the clergy.

I also never mentioned the theology behind their religion and what drives the Veebeelo.

Before the Howlers moved to Howlina and even before they called themselves the Howlers they had the Veebeelo and called themselves the Roulasa.  They had been moving through Eastern Europe and became Christian when a group of Gothic Christians met with the Roulasa in the Sudette Mountains.  The Roulasa people of the Veebeelo refused to say from where they came.  The groups formed a partnership to protect themselves from their neighbors.  Neither group was particularly skilled at war (that being why this particular group of Goths did not stay connected to the others) so they hid in the mountains mostly and avoided others.  They were far from the Empire and from other centers of Christianity so that they did not participate in the dialogs regarding theology with the rest of Christianity.  They were between the Chernyakhov culture of the Ukraine and Wielbark culture in Poland.

The Howlers (after the two groups had settled together in the Polish Sudette Mountains they started calling their combined group the Howlers) had modified Christianity to fit the world-view of the Veebeelo (which both groups had seen the value of).  They completely discounted the Old Testament.  They already had a creation myth and they only values they could see in the Old Testament were the Ten Commandments and as a reference to what Christ was prophesying.  They already had a code to live by and Christ explained that there were only two commandments, so the Ten Commandments were out.  The Two Commandments fit better in their theology anyway.  They kept the Old Testament as an historical record of a pagan people who really didn't understand what they were talking about.  They put no stock in it. 

Originally the Sudette Howlers were formed prior to 325 when Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire.  They were organized into parishes and dioceses led by priests and bishops respectively.  They were invited to the Council of Nicea in 325 and left it feeling quite a bit out of it because they had developed their own theology by then and it largely did not jive with what the council put out.  They decided to just grin and bear it to the outside world just in an attempt to stay with a supportive group when all else were against them.  They did gather Paulianists (from Paul of Samosata) who did not want to be rebaptized per the Council of Nicea.

Their theology was just as tenuous if not more so than the normal Christian view so it collapsed under the Enlightenment.  Jesus is still enjoyed as a philosopher even by those who don't believe any of the religious implications.  Because Jesus was never seen as divine, it was less dramatic to drop Christianity and take up a much looser, more deistic spirituality.

Priests are people who study religion and dedicate their lives to partner with a parish as their teacher, counselor, advisor.  Prior to the Enlightenment they were organized into the Catholic Hierarchy and also had the role of leader and ruler.  They have since dropped the power roles.

The Church and Churches -
There has never been a tradition of cathedral building, churches as intimate and home-like.  The idea of a building dedicated to worship is odd and the idea of churches in their tradition is as a house where God is married to the people.  There is much more done there than just worship services because we the people are wed to God and have a symbiotic relationship with him.  We are not parasites of God, but partners.  God needs us as much as we need God.

Churches are separate buildings, but they are much more community centers rather than holy places of reverence and worship.  They are places where community meals are held.  They are more like a VFW hall or Salvation Army hall than what we would think of as a church.  Fundraisers, soup kitchens, dances, dinners and general gatherings are held there.  Often in modern layout the church and the city hall or public building are co-located, with a demarcation within the building.  This is similar to when multi-generations of families live together.  A house is expanded so that it is connected, but separate.  The exact layout depends on the constituents' preference and financing.

During the Enlightenment churches were wholly taken over as civic centers or civic / public buildings were added onto churches as additions.  This tradition continued when they moved to Howlina.

The clergy-member of that particular level usually lives in an adjoining house, if not in an attached house.

Pre-Christian Creation Story -
In the beginning God was alone in the darkness and perfect.  God was lonely so he tried to split himself in order to create a mate.  While trying to do this God shattered into uncountable infinitesimal pieces.  The only thing left in the universe were these pieces of God and God's will.  God's will permeated everything and God tried to reassemble the pieces to rebuild himself, but to do it this time as a mated pair.  All these pieces have a bit of Godness in them and so do the intermediate subassemblies.  That's why men and women are separate, why they should get back together as perfectly as possible, and why they should never be separated.  

Christianity Modified to Fit the Veebelo -
The Virgin Mary's soulmate was St. Joseph, and God made Joseph's soul have a child with Mary, though she never "knew" him.  This was seen as the perfect mating, The Mating as described in the Veebeelo, the one everyone else aspires to.  Jesus wasn't God, he was married to God.  The Holy Spirit is not God the Mother, but God the child of Jesus and God the Mother.

Christ "wed" God to act as an example.  He suffered and died to show how strong the pair bonding is, and to show that it is eternal.  The Christ-God wedding made Christ godesque as a significant part of the pair.

The idea of Jesus becoming God is similar to Adoptionists teachings (Paul of Samosata especially who was deposed in 269 from being Bishop of Antioch).

The key aspect of their philosophy is partnerships, symbiotic partnerships.  Christ would have been only half a man if he had not been married.  Had God been Jesus' father then it would have been incest which they don't like.  They also always recognized that God has no gender and that God is neither wife nor husband to Jesus, but his soulmate beyond any physical pairing.

The situation is complicated and difficult, because how can many people be married to one God.  And one must remember that this is not God the Mother or Jesus the Man that people are married to, but God the Holy Spirit.  The spirit of the community is married to the Spirit of God, we are not each married to God individually or even by household.

They are NOT Gnostic.  They are Stoics though not Cynics because they do not reject sex, power and wealth.

Baptism -
Howlers have always practiced Home Baptism, with everyone in a home being baptized together. Essentially the home is baptized.  When children grow and marry they create a new home and that home is baptized as well, even though the children had already been baptized in a sense as members of their parents' home.  It was through baptism that Jesus was married to God the Mother and their union, their partnership is a divine thing.  Christ is the marriage of Jesus and God.

Burial and Death -
Death was traditionally seen as a joining with God and everyone who had gone on to be joined with Him, but also as a dis-joining with the married partner.  Those who are not so religious today see it particularly as a dis-joining of the old relationship and a new bond.  The new bond is much more difficult to maintain because it is between the living partner; and the memory and legacy of the deceased partner.  It is the responsibility of the living partner to maintain that link, that partnership.

An elaborate funerary ceremony is held to bond the two together in a new pairing called Second Wedding.  The body is cremated and spread in the home garden to become one with the living partner in body as well as spirit.  The area that is enriched by the deceased is planted and harvested only for the members of the home.  Often this is a veleeya tree.  Also several memorials are created for the deceased including addition to the church registry, a stone in the church, a stone in the home, obituaries, books, songs, trees and annual memorial services held on the death day until the second partner dies.  

The living partner often brands themselves with their partner's initials.  They may alternately or additionally sew or embroider the initials of the deceased onto their clothing.  Often in modern society patches are purchased and/or the initials are tattooed.  Whether the initials are worn (or branded or tattooed) visible or concealed is up to the living partner.  Most often a young parent will feel that they must get remarried for the children.  They will wear the initials of their first partner against their skin or concealed.  

Marriage -
As discussed earlier marriage is a partnership of the very highest order.  A person is not a whole person by themselves.  It is only through marriage and forming a home that a person becomes part of a whole.  First marriages are often later in life (late 20s, early 30s) because people work hard to find the perfect mate and want to do this after they have stabilized their own personalities.  Their is always a big ceremony for the marriage and the whole thing takes at least a week.  During the ceremony all the aspects tested according to the Veebeelo are reenacted, but mostly in public.  Sex is held in private in this ceremony, but it is part of the ceremony (and often repeated each of the nights).  There is a particular position that is reserved for the wedding night.  The couple decides which one it is based on what is their favorite.  The ceremonial positions are the least favorite of the couple, and they may even restrict themselves to the very least favorite only during this week.

If a widower finds that they must get remarried for the children, family and home the second marriage is possible, but it is not considered a first order level marriage.  Because this type of marriage is mostly for the children and is considered a wedding between the new partner and the home (or between two homes) more than between two individual partners.  These marriages are most often between two widowers because a single person will want a single partner for themselves.

Howlina Characters - Day 28 & 29 - Genre & Scent

"28.) If your character’s life was a genre, what would it be? "

Viole's genre would be Science Fiction and Frank's would be tragedy.

That was too short.  Let's do another one.

"29.) How does your character smell? Do they wear perfume or cologne? "

Viole smells like violets (as mentioned earlier) and Frank smells like clean sweat, new leather and Old Spice.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Howlina Characters Day 27 - Songs

"27.) Pick two songs that describe your character at two different points of their life, and explain why you chose them. "

Viole's songs would be the Hallelujah Chorus for her birth and "Girl from Ipanema" for when she graduated college and took a beach holiday.

Frank's songs would be be "Cowboy Song" from Thin Lizzy for when he was in college and "The Distance"  by X for during the story.

Of course the theme song for the story, "Salute Your Solution" is "Salute Your Solution" by The Raconteurs.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Howlina Characters Day 26, Boxing Day and So Much More

Today is a bonanza (no spontaneous singing of the theme song please).

I'll start with Howlina Characters Day 26:

"26.) Second day of favorites! Favorite comfort food, favorite vice, favorite outfit, favorite hot drink, favorite time of year, and favorite holiday. "

Viole's favorite comfort food is savesti berry ice cream.  Her favorite vice is keeping secrets.  Her favorite outfit is her birthday suit.  Her favorite hot drink is veleeya tea.  Her favorite time of year is Spring.  Her favorite holiday is Hatch Night.

Frank's favorite comfort food is oatmeal.  His favorite vice is flirting, which he almost never does.  He truly has no favorite outfit.  His favorite hot drink was coffee, but now it is veleeya tea.  His favorite time of year is Summer, or when you can swim.  His favorite holiday is Memorial Day.

Happy Boxing Day - my kids are running around cleaning the house, it's a boxing day miracle.

Poll Results - my poll on annual Christmas stories came up with five votes, 2 each for Doctor Who and Harry Potter; and one for Wizard of Oz.  I'm going to vote Doctor Who to break the tie and to beat Harry Potter.

Funny thing is, we DO ALREADY get an annual Doctor Who Christmas special.  I guess the BBC DOES know what they are doing sometimes.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Howlina Characters Day 23 & 24 - Superstition & Soulmate

"23.) Is your character superstitious? "

No, neither of them are.

That wasn't enough, so on to Day 24.

"24.) What might your character’s ideal romantic partner be?"

Ah, now this one is much more interesting.

The Veebeelo is a whole book of age old wisdom for determining your soulmate.

It begins with singing.  Even before sight, singing and music compatibility are the primary aspects of love.

The book goes through what aspects should be in sync, how to judge if they are compatible, and a scale on which to measure the level of compatibility.

It includes cooking, eating, walking, talking, games, breathing, snoring, sleeping, child rearing, number of children, body shapes, eye color, hair color, length of limbs, travel desires, vacation preferences, housing history, housing plans, work, career, hobbies, laughs, humor, sadness, anger, holiday traditions, pets, allergies, and ultimately sex.

There are charts, diagrams, and pictures.

It would be much too much to go through in this post.

It does not take genetic engineering and Transhumans into account.

Frank has no such guide, and therefore neither Viole nor Frank know, or can know who their perfect partner is, should be, or even could be.

Isn't that really one of the most important questions in all of our lives, who is this person?

We must also ask, when is this person?  What time in life is best for us to me this person?  We are always changing ourselves, when is the best time for us to me this other person so that we can both change our life directions to match each other?

The Veebeelo talks about that and helps to guide you, but it doesn't tell you who it is.  It tells you how to test.  It is up to you to work with the prospective mate to make a a perfect match.

One of the main points of the story I want to write is whether Viole and Frank are a match, so I could not answer this question here.  Still, it is a very interesting question.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Howlina Characters Day 25 - Hands

"25.) Describe your character’s hands. Are they small, long, calloused, smooth, stubby?"

Frank has thick, calloused hands.  The fingers aren't particullarly long.  The knuckles are hairy.  The nails are strong and kept clipped neat.

Viole has long, perfect fingers.  Her nails are shortish, but well manicured.  Her hands are slender, but she has a powerful grip.

Howlina Characters Day 22 - Temporal

"22.) If your character could time travel, where would they go?"

Viole would travel to the future for the wealth of knowledge she could gather to bring back to our present.

Frank may sound selfish, but he would travel back to when he proposed to his ex-wife and talk with himself.  He wouldn't try to diswade himself because he neither thinks he could do than nor does he think he should.  The experience is part of what makes him what he is today.  He would reassure him that he will survive this and to be prepared.

Otherwise Frank wants to travel in time just like he is now, day by day into the future.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Howlina Characters Day 21 - Marks

"21.) What would your character’s cutie mark be?"

"Cutie Mark" is a new term for me.  It refers to My Little Pony and is FAR too cutsie for me or for this story as a matter of fact.

I think I want to call it something else, maybe a tattoo.  I don't personally like tattoos unless they are from a traditional tattoo culture (like Polynesia), but I'll try not to let my opinion bias this too much.  In other words, I don't want readers to think that the reason these characters don't have tattoos is because I don't like them.  I want readers to see that if these characters do or don't have tattoos it is because that is their character.

Maori "cutie mark"
Howlers are not a visual art type people.  They value literary and musical arts above all others and neglect paintings, clothing fashion, jewelry and sculpture as art.  Their architecture is much more functional than stylistic as well.  They like things to be aesthetically pleasing, but they don't put too much into it.

With that in mind it is rare that a Howler would get a tattoo, and Supers even less likely.  They feel that being Supers sets them apart and binds them as a group already.

However, if Viole were to get a tattoo and it were to represent her personality, proclivity and interests it would be a heart with a book on it and a sunburst behind.  I think she would put it where only her husband would see it.

My initial reaction is that Frank would not have a tattoo, not because I don't like them, but because it seems fairly cliche for a "modern cowboy" to have a tattoo.

I think if anything he would have a brand on his chest, over his heart.  Because it's a brand it can't be as elaborate as a tattoo.  It would be a lantern for his never ending vigil for truth, knowledge and love.

He doesn't have a brand.  He doesn't because a) he doesn't need to prove how tough he is, b) a brand is something you put on cattle and he is certainly not part of any herd.  He is "owned" by his search, drive and determination, but he thinks in his own mind and heart that he owns that drive, not the other way round.

He does have scars and they are tattoo enough for him.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Howlina Characters Day 20 - Phobias

"20.) Does your character have any irrational fears?"

Frank is not afraid of anything.  No, really, he has a strange lack of fear.  He has a calm demeanor and at most he gets very concerned, cautious and meticulous, but no one around him would ever see him in what they would consider a state of fear.

If asked he would say that he is afraid of a lot of things, but he would have a hard time thinking of a general fear he has.  He is a slight bit afraid of heights, but he will joke and say that's because they are so unfamiliar to him.

Viole doesn't know it but she has an irrational fear of death.  Because she is a Super and should expect to live hundreds of years she will not feel the approach of death for a very long time.  She is young enough not to have to think about it too much yet, but most of the people around her are not Supers or even Transhuman and she will probably see over 90% of the people she knows and cares about, grow old and die.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Howlina Characters Day 19 - Travel

"19.) What’s your character’s preferred means of travel?"

Tardis, no; ocean liner, no; winged horse, no; starship, no; transporter, transmat, monster truck, no, no, no.  Jetpack,, no.

Both Frank and Viole enjoy walking very much.  Frank enjoys traveling by horse, but Viole would prefer a cart or sledge.

Viole's absolutely favorite way to travel is to fly.  She is partial to hang gliding, but it is entirely impractical to get anywhere, so she prefers ultralight aircraft.  If she could use it to get everywhere she would.  She also likes hot air ballooning.

She loves the ability to move just based on wind, and the feel of working with nature, giving what she offers and bringing what Viole herself has to offer.

Frank's favorite mode of travel is sailing.  He had a canoe as a child in Minnesota and often sailed on the lakes there.  In the winter his favorite sport was ice sailing.  He missed that while he was in Montana at school, so when he got to Argentina he bought a canoe and went out on the rivers as much as possible.

He likes the interplay between water and wind.  He too likes the ability to move on the power of nature alone, but he also likes the idea of traveling on a medium that he normally couldn't, using what others find as a barrier as his means of transport.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Howlina Characters Day 18 - Food

"18.) Is your character a good cook? What’s their favorite recipe, whether they’re good or not? (Microwave mac-and-cheese applies.)"

Frank is an excellent cook.  He enjoys Tex-Mex, Cajun and Argentinian.  He considers himself and is considered by others as a grill-master.  He particularly likes to make the most from the most ordinary fare.  He tries to add just a little bit of flourish to everything he cooks and enjoys subtle flavors.

The dish that Frank is probably best known for is a gumbo that he developed the recipe for himself and refuses to share with anyone.  The thing that he loves to prepare more than others is a grill mixture of foods that he insists be cut on the plate into small portions so the different elements can be combined on the fork for a different experience in each bite.  Rarely do his guests have that kind of patience and they usually gobble it up without regard to his instructions.

Viole doesn't cook.  She can, she knows how, but she doesn't.  She normally eats very simply when she is alone.  When she is with men, they almost invariably insist on cooking for her.  When she is in a large group she busies herself with other chores and helps in the kitchen but doesn't cook.

She has cooked for men that she is in a courtship with, because that is part of Veebeelo instructions, for each partner to cook for each other.  She does it perfunctorily and without enthusiasm.

Her favorite thing to eat is a salmon salad sandwich or a fish sausage sandwich, either on pumpernickel bread.  Her favorite thing to cook is a cheese, mushroom and kelp omelet.  She also enjoys savesti berry ice cream.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Howlina Characters Day 17 - Desk

"17.) What’s your character’s desk/workspace look like? Are they neat or messy?"

I am making a name change.  Fiole will now be Viole.  That will keep them from both having the same first initial.  Also, she smells like violets, and Viole is similar to viola.  Her very existence is something of a "Ta-da" for her parents and the developers of Transhumans.  I'm going to go back and change the spelling as I can.  From here forth I'm going to spell it Viole and you should read it as Viole anywhere else you see her name.

Viole is extremely neat and organized, almost to the point of obsession.  She doesn't obsess over it though, but is so organized and quick in her mind that she can just put things where they belong the first time.

Frank is fairly neat, but not a minimalist.  He doesn't have undifferentiated stacks of things, but his office is also not as sparse and bare as Fiole's or maybe one showcased in an Ikea catalog.  There is stuff everywhere and plenty of dust on certain things, but most everything is labeled and Frank can find anything in a matter of moments.

Frank is the kind of guy that likes to work out of a bag, out and about.  He keeps the bag fairly sparse and only has to take a few things out to get right down to work.  He doesn't have to set up a "station" where he is.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Howlina Characters Day 16 - Relatives

"16.) Are there any blood relatives that your character is particularly close with, besides the immediate ones? Cousins, Uncles, Grandfathers, Aunts, et cetera. Are there any others that your character practically considers a blood relative?"

Fiole has a cousin that lives in Chikagopolee that she lives with.  Her name is Katazeena, but she insists that everyone call her Kat.  She is quite a bit older and a black sheep in the family.  Kat never bought into The Solution, and Fiole had thought that Kat hated her because she IS The Solution, but when she broke up with her latest boyfriend and felt lost in Protopolee it was Kat that actually physically came and got her.

Kat had always been interested in the visual arts and almost completely shunned music and singing.  She was interested in fashion as a young girl while the rest of the family were academics, particularly her father and grandfather, Fiole's maternal grandfather.  Their grandfather was a wise and well respected man that both Kat and Fiole dearly loved, but Kat felt disillusioned by him because of his active promotion of what the Howlers call The Solution. 

The Solution is the concept that transhumanism, by creating better people will solve all the world's problems.  Their grandfather worked tirelessly to make it a reality. 

Kat was against transhumanism because she felt that it did not trust people.  Kat believed in the goodness and value of Homo sapiens sapiens and felt that transhumanist didn't.  She didn't think that we need new people, but that people should live up to their potential, to take responsibility for themselves.

By the time she was a teenager she had turned to painting and her anger at her grandfather had grown so that she could not even speak to him.  In the end, because of her anger at their grandfather and because she wanted to go somewhere where she could paint she left for Paris to attend school.

She left at about the time Fiole was born.  She traveled around Europe, Asia and Africa; specifically avoiding the America's because she felt that Howlers too readily associated with the US.  She wanted a broader view.  She is the only one of Fiole's family who has been abroad.

Eventually she got a degree in Anthropology and specializes in the art of different cultures.  She met her husband in South Africa.  He was a zoologist.  They married and had a son.  While doing fieldwork as a family together they were caught in a tragic series of events that ended in the death of both her husband and their school aged son.

The disaster devastated Kat and she tried committing suicide several times.  Eventually a man from Howlina came to Africa and found her.  He stayed with her and nursed her back to health, eventually bringing her back to Howlina.  She never knew how word got back to her family, but eventually she did find out that it was her grandfather who, as he lay on his deathbed, had sent him.

Kat's rescuer was Soteero, and he is now her husband.  It's very unusual for a Howler to get remarried, but it had been unusual for a Howler to marry a non-Howler in the first place.  Soteero is a normal Howler in almost all respects except that he married Kat.  He's a Biologist, but he had trained as an EMT when he was younger and in the Coast Guard.  Since marrying Kat he has become a teacher.  They have no children.

Kat is still an anthropologist, an historian and a painter.  Both she and her husband follow the Veebeelo, and for Cheekagopolee standards they follow it closely, but that's Cheekagopolee.  Compared to the rest of Howlina they are very loose with it indeed.

When Fiole was at her worst and most self-doubting Kat suddenly appeared at her door.  Fiole was completely surprised to see her and didnt' even recognize her.  They talked for a while and that was when Kat revealed to Fiole that it was their grandfather who had rescued her from Africa and her sorrow.

Fiole dearly loved their grandfather.  He had so beautifully described the world that he knew would be.  It was a glorious Utopia and Fiole was an integral part of it.  It was his dream and became her dream, her drive and her goal.  A goal she doesn't trust herself to achieve.

Kat doesn't believe in The Solution, in fact she hates it, but she is certainly capable of putting her hatred of an idea aside for the love of family and friends.  It was Kat that suggested Fiole come to Cheekagopolee and live with her.

Frank has an uncle Vigo who is a captain of industry in Argentina.  He is his father's older brother by many years and Uncle Vigo had always had a soft spot in his heart for his baby brother and his nephew.  He was the reason Frank sought a job at a university in Argentina.  When Frank was arrested after the gunfight with his wife, it was Uncle Vigo that kept him from being criminally prosecuted.  He made sure that Frank was only kicked out of Argentina and he arranged for Frank's current job.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Howlina Characters Day 15 - Sleep

"15.) Is your character an early morning bird or a night owl? "

Both Fiole and Frank are early risers.  They love a long day and like to get started early.  Both do love sunsets, but after sundown neither of them like working.  Sunset to predawn is time for relaxing.  They feel that you should wake up early enough that you are ready for a full day of work or play as soon as the sun is fully risen.

Supers don't need as much sleep as normal people and 4 hours is a full night sleep for them.  Fiole still likes to spend any other dark hours as down time, time to "sharpen her saw."

Frank makes due with less sleep because he feels like it is time he could be doing something else, and he doesn't like to think there is anything he can't do (he tries to keep up with Fiole).  He knows how important sleep is and sleeps a full night when there is no pressing need for him to be awake.

Neither of them have any trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Howlina Characters Day 14 - Temperature

"14.) How does your character react to temperature changes such as extreme heat and cold? "

Frank is not bothered by cold until it gets extremely cold or he's been exposed for a long time.  When he has spent a whole day out in the cold he may end up weakened and sluggish for a couple of days aferward.  His small size is a disadvantage when it comes to extremes of cold and exposure, but he is also too stuborn to let it restrict him to bed.

He is also very good with extreme heat, except that he sweats profusly.  His sweat is watery rather than musty and is not as unpleasant as some people.  He's never suffered a temperature related injury.

Fiole has not really been tested in cold.  It doesn't get very cold in Howlina except at the tops of the mountain ridges in the middle of winter.  These are popular ski areas, and she has been skiing, but she was never exposed to the cold for very long.

I suspect that because she is a Super she can handle extreme cold as well as she handles extreme heat, with ease.  Some of her friends are very jealous that she never seems to sweat.  This is especially evident now that she lives in Chikagopolee, which is as hot and humid as New Orleans.  The really annoying thing, for those that are annoyed by the way she handles the heat is that Supers' sweat smells like flowers.  It's something they wrote into their genetic code.  Most of the Super men smell like grass or fresh forests after a rain.  The women all smell like different flowers.  Fiole smells like violets.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Howlina Characters Day 13 - Bedroom

"13.) What does your character’s bed look like when he/she wakes up? Are the covers off on one side of the bed, are they all curled around a pillow, sprawled everywhere? In what position might they sleep?"

Being so tall, Fiole has to sleep diagonally on a bed or sleep on a specially made super-size bed.  One of Fiole's quirks is that she wants to fit into normal society so she doesn't have a super-size, she normally sleeps on a queen-size bed. 

She prefers cotton bedding and a single pillow.  She isn't the kind to snuggle into a bed, but she does like very clean sheets.  She washes her sheets twice a week, but doesn't iron or starch them. 

She has a quilt on her bed that is a prized possession.  She got it as a gift from her sister-in-law and she has used it on every bed she has had since she got it, regardless of whether it goes with the room.  The quilt is done in abstract patterns in the national colors.

Frank generally sleeps above the covers.  He is usually warm and sleeps with the covers half off even in winter.  Lately he has found himself tossing and turning quite a bit in his sleep.  He's very good about being able to sleep anywhere, in any position.

By the way, bedrooms in Howlina do often look like the one in the picture I included.  Because they eschew air conditioning and because they are almost in the tropics, bedrooms are often open and airy.  They do use screens in their windows so a netted four poster bed is a bit of a luxury.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Howlina Characters Day 12 - Technology

"12.) How is your character with technology? Super savvy, or way behind the times? Letters or email?"

The story will be set 30 - 50 years in the future.  The things we have as cutting edge technology now will be old hat in the story.

Fiole IS the cuting edge of technology.  As a genetically engineered person she is part of the Science Fiction element in the story.  As a Super she is a genius and is up to date on all the latest technology as well, not to mention that she has a doctorate in computer systems technology.

Frank is techno-savvy but is also nature-wise.  He can start a fire with flint and steel; or a bow and drill.  He knows how to read the weather, make a camp, and cook outdoors with the foods he can gather in the wild.  On the other hand he carries the latest portable computer system.  He is not old fashioned, but he sees technology as a tool, not a way of life.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Blogging Record

This is my 108th post this year and I don't imagine I'm going to have less that 120 when it's all said and done.

That is the most posts I've ever done in a year since I began this blog back in January 2006.

I'm impressed.  That means I averaged more than two posts a week, and I posted at least once in every month this year.  This is also the third year in a row that my post total has increased.  If I do keep going at the rate I'm at I will have posted at least 30 times in each of the last three months.

I thought I was doing very well last year. My totals were driven up in 2011 by my posting as I rode by bike to work.  I decided not to do that this year and I expected my totals to go down, but it seems that posting every month, daily posts for Cthulhu month and November, December world building have more than made up for it.

I like this pace, though I'm not sure I can really keep it up indefinitely.  I would prefer to actually generate fiction content (in other words, stories) rather than just ideas, but keeping my mind and my fingers moving a little bit everyday will probably pay off in the end.  At least that's what I hope.

Wish me luck.

Howlina Characters Day 11 - Animal

"11.) Is there an animal you equate with your character? "

As in, "if you were an animal, which animal would you be?"  No, I don't equate my characters that way.

However, if I were to chose spirit guides for my characters I would choose a raven ("Destroyer / Rebuild, Explorer of the unknown, Mysterious") for Fiole and Frank's would be a salmon ("Able to overcome obstacles. Determination. Focused energy. Perseverance.").

Fiole had a pet papagalo (a kind a parot).

Frank has had horses and dogs.  He's currently considering one of the rats specifically bred in Howlina as pets.

If forced to choose a favorite animal Frank would chose orcas, Fiole would choose golden eagles.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Howlina Character Day 10 - Crossroads

"10.) Can you define a turning point in your character’s life? Multiples are acceptable."

For Frank the most pivotal day would be the one he most would like to forget.  Other key turning points in his life were when he joined the rodeo to pay for college, the first time he traveled to Argentina just after graduating from the University of Montana, when he got his job at the University of Buenos Aires, and now after his divorce when he got got his current job, which brought him to Howlina.

The turning points in Fiole's life include when she got her job at the Balo Company in Protopolee, working with the team to develop cold fusion; and the day she met the American team from the Department of Energy.  That day under the pressure of the looming "visit" and difficulties she was having in her personal relationship gave her a personal (what would be the opposite of an epiphany, not the antonym, but the opposite, when someone has a sudden realization that they DON'T understand something) shock that made her question many things.  In an effort to avoid this crisis of faith she left her position in Balo and moved to Chikagopolee to take a new position.

While in the cavitated wake of Fiole's crisis and move; and Frank's divorce they met, another event that both solidified their personalities and provided another turning point in both their lives.

There will be one other in the story for each of them.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Howlina Character Day 9 - Trust

"9.) Who does your character trust?"

Fiole trusts her Mother, but she doesn't like to confide in her because although her Mother is trustworthy and always on her side, she is also judgemental and really doesn't understand her.  She loves her unconditionally, but she is the nagging sort of mother.

Fiole grows to trust Frank beyond anything she ever expected to  even be possible.

Frank trusts his parents as well, but feels he is beyond their help.  He trust no one else in his life at the time of the story, that's part of what makes him feel so alone.  He never fully grows to trust Fiole, but he does trust his love for her.

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Howlina Characters Day 8 - Favorites

"8.) Day of Favorites! What’s your character’s favorite ice cream flavor? Color? Song? Flower?"

I'm not sure if anyone has a favorite ice cream color.

But seriously folks.  Fiole's favorite ice cream flavor is heath.  Her favorite color is aquamarine.  Her favorite flower is Her favorite song is complicated.

She has a favorite song to play, a favorite classical piece and a favorite modern song to listen to.  It's going to take a bit of research so I'll have to get back to you with the details.

Frank's favorite ice cream is vanilla.  He likes it with chocolate syrup.  His favorite color is midnight blue.  His favorite flower is a Lincoln rose.  He doesn't have a favorite song because he is tone deaf.

Friday, December 07, 2012

Fantasy World Poll

I've decided on a new poll. 

After L. Frank Baum published The Wizard of Oz it was so popular that he published a whole series.  The books generally came out at Christmastime and it was a tradition for children to anxiously await the next book in the series so that they could read it over the Christmas holidays.

I believe they published the Narnia books this way too.  I do know that C.S. Lewis wrote one a year and that their publication was anxiously anticipated as well.

Everyone reading this is no doubt aware of the fervor and often the fury that surrounded the publication of each installment of the Harry Potter series.

M.R. James is not as well known today, but he was a Victorian author who published books of ghost stories, originally written as Christmas gifts to his family.

Doctor Who traditionally runs Christmas specials now (ironically since The Doctor isn't even from Earth, let alone any sort of Christian).

My poll is based on this.  If you lived in a world when the Oz series, the Narnia series, Doctor Who and the Potter series were concurrent, which would you prefer to get as an annual Christmas tradition?

I'm also thinking it would be really nice to write a series of Christmas stories to give as gifts.  I'm not going to base my story lines on any discussion here, but I wouldn't mind talking about it with anyone interested.

We could also talk about what else you would like to see as a Christmas tradition along these lines.

Howlina Characters Day 7 - Mistakes

"7.) Is there one event or happening your character would like to erase from their past? Why?"

It is interesting that this falls on Pearl Harbor Day.

For Frank it would most certainly be the day that his wife left him.  She was a very deceitful woman and had presented to him a completely false personality.  They had dated for over a year before deciding to marry and he had thought it was a perfect match.  In secret she was cheating on him all along.  She loved the play acting and manipulating him.  That is her true personality, but she so convincingly put on the persona of a loving, caring, thoughtful companion to whom he could tell and share everything that he never even suspected until she finally revealed it all.

She had been recording everything she was doing and her real feelings in a diary.  She didn't manipulate him in order to cheat, she manipulated and lied to her other lovers too.  She revealed it to him when she didn't find it fun to play act anymore.  When she shared the diary with him she laughed.

She published the diary and held a party to celebrate the book.  He actually came home from work to find their home filled with people.  She started an elaborate presentation to show him everything about her deceit.  He lost control and drove everyone out of the house.  She got angry at him and pulled a gun on him when he was yelling at the guests.

She winged him in the arm from a bit of a distance while he was near the gun cabinet.  He took cover and she continued to shoot at him.  In defense he managed to get another of the guns and they traded shots until the police arrived.

There was a great deal of confusion in which the police were fired on, and eventually the house was set on fire.

Both Frank and his wife were arrested.  In the ensuing legal battle both sets of attorneys claimed that the other party set the fire.

Frank sank into a deep depression and was almost useless in his own defense.

In the end he lost his position at the university.  He was not held responsible for the fire or any damage and injury from the gunfight, but he was asked to leave Argentina and never come back.
The one memory that Fiole would erase is the death of her Father.  He was the loving one of her parents and the only one, she felt, that understood her feelings as a Super in a normal world.  She could talk to him even more than she could her Super brother, Teleto.  She was away from home when it happened and wasn't able to come home in time for the funeral events.  She never forgave herself that.

I suppose I could mention the funeral traditions of the Howlers.  When someone dies their body is stripped naked and they are dressed in a white gown that is made in such a way that it will eventually be wrapped completely around the body and used to carry the deceased.  The body is laid for viewing for only 24 hours.  During that time a shallow grave is dug and a fire laid, preferably in the family garden.  Included in the fire lay are the death clothes, any special keepsakes that the deceased had predetermined should be "death gifts" and any other "death gifts" offered by the family.  24 hours after death they body is carried to the fire pit and surrounded by mourners, the fire is lit.  They sing songs as the fire burns.  When the body is completely burned away and the fire as died of its own accord then dirt is shoveled into the pit by any mourners that want to and/or are able.  For one week the site lays untouched.  After one week the soil is turned over in a ceremony.  The ground is then left to lay untouched for one month.  After that time the soil is turned over three times in a ceremony.  A border of stones is then placed around the pit.  If the season is right then flowers are planted.  If it is not the right season then a green cloth is laid over the site until the proper season.  After one year of only flowers, the site is planted with vegetables and there after used as a vegetable garden.  There are no other markers.  It is imagined that the loved one who passed is now helping the garden grow and is, in effect, growing a garden for those they loved.  If the home, and consequentially the garden is ever sold then the site returns to flowers and the new owner must pledge that they will always be open to the former owner visiting whenever they want.

Fiole returned for the first turning and the second turning.  She also planted the flowers.  She plans on returning to plant the vegetables.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Howlina Characters Day 6 - Memory

"6.) Describe your character’s happiest memory."

Frank's happiest memory is his wedding day.  He thought he was marrying the girl of his dreams.  It was a beautiful early summer day in Argentina on a ranch that bordered the ocean.  They honeymooned in Bermuda and it all seemed so magical.

Fiole's happiest memory was when she told her parents that her team had discovered how to economically, commercially and practically generate cold fusion power. 

The team that was working on it had run through all the scenarios with positive results.  They had been given the financial backing to build a test model and they were all in the control room in Protopolee on the day they ran the test.  The first day was the most critical, if that day went as planned then the whole project could only naturally succeed.

The team knew that if the test were successful it would mean that they had the exact right plan for not only creating cold fusion, but also using it.  As the test proceeded the excitement grew and grew.  There was never any real tension, like a football game that is never really in doubt, you not only are winning from the beginning but your team performs well beyond your expectations.  It did so that day.  The equipment performed flawlessly and provided results beyond the most optimistic predictions.

This confirmed that not only was cold fusion viable, but also the development of the Transhumans and their working with normals to go beyond what normals could achieve alone.

As they opened bottles and shared hugs, Fiole found a quiet spot and called her parents at home in Kaurorapolee.  She shared the news and invited them to the upcoming party.  It was the first and only time she saw her Father cry and there was no sign of anything but pride and approval on her Mother's face.

Howlina Characters Day 5 - Sex

"5.) What’s your character’s ranking on the Kinsey Scale?"
This is asking for the sexual orientation.  It would be very easy to just say heterosexual (Kinsey rating of 0) for both Fiole and Frank, but that would be a short and uninteresting post.  It may also be a knee-jerk answer and I need something a bit more complex to make me think outside the box.
I may end up back in the box, but at least I need to look around the box to see if that is more appropriate and that I've covered all the angles.  Additionally when I was first thinking of this story I wanted to let my imagination run cage-free as it were regarding this very topic.
When I looked up the Kinsey Scale (which I had not heard of previously) I found a few other sexual orientation measuring systems.  The Klein Sexual Orientation Grid is explained in good detail in Wikipedia so I would like to use that.

The KSOG is set up as a table in which you are supposed to plug numbers according to a prescribed scale.  Here is the table as I filled it out for Frank and Fiole (click on it to make it bigger if you can't read):
This needs a little explanation right off the bat.  Because of the different races in Howlina the sexual orientation and preferences even more complex.  I had to add some things. In the columns I marked:

S - she (Fiole)
H - he (Frank)
n - normals
s - supers
c - cybers
t - cats
m - mers
f - fae
I marked the number in front of the race to which it applied.  After I filled this out I realized that it would be far easier to just explain what I mean.  
  1. Sexual Attraction. To whom are you sexually attracted?
    1. Past
      1. Before coming to Howlina Frank had only ever been attracted to normal women
      2. Before the story Fiole had been attracted to male Supers and Cybers
    2. Present
      1. After coming to Howlina Frank still finds normal women attractive, but he also finds Super, Cyber and Fae women attractive.  He finds Cats to be magnificent and beautiful, but not sexually attractive.  He sees them as Furries.
      2. After meeting Frank, Fiole now realizes that she finds normal men attractive sometimes.  She has also developed a greater appreciation of female Supers, Cybers and Cats.  She finds Fae far too small to be of any sort of attraction.
    3. Ideal (I'm not really sure what this means, but I'm going on the assumption that it means, "What the people think they should do/be")
      1. Past
        1. Frank sees Super women as the ultimate women and the perfect people for a heterosexual man to desire.
        2. Fiole feels like she should only desire male Supers.  In a way she feels a bit guilty for looking any further afield.
  2. Sexual Behaviour. With whom have you had sex?
    1. Past
      1. Frank has only had sex with normal women
      2. Fiole has had sex with two male suitors and has strictly followed the Veebeelo for protocol for those encounters.
    2. Present
      1. In the story Frank may have sex with women who are Supers and maybe some that are normal.
      2. In the story I think Fiole will have sex with Frank and maybe one other Super man.
    3. Ideal
      1. Frank thinks he is expected to only have sex with normal women
      2. Fiole thinks she is expected to only have sex with Super men, both because she thinks general society would approve of that most and because she thinks they give her the best chance of a perfect match per the Veebeelo.
  3. Sexual Fantasies. About whom are your sexual fantasies?
    1. Past
      1. Frank always fantasized about normal women
      2. Fiole fantasized about Super and normal men mostly, but she also entertained the idea, mostly experimentally, of Super and normal women.
    2. Present
      1. After coming to Howlina Frank explicitly fantasizes about Super women and Fae women in addition to normal women.  The idea of sex with a Cat or Mer is very unappealing to him.
      2. Since meeting Frank and the situations they go through Fiole has started to think about what it would be like to have sex with Cats and Cybers, both male and female.
    3. Ideal
      1. Frank sees women who are Supers and Cybers to be the ultimate object for sexual fantasies.
      2. Fiole feels guilty if she fantasizes about anything but male (mostly) Supers and Cybers.
  4. Emotional Preference. Who do you feel more drawn to or close to emotionally?
    1. Past
      1. Frank has had good male relationships and healthy relationships with women, but he generally hung out with men for emotional support.
      2. Fiole has had good relations with both Super and normal women, and a few with both normal and Super men
    2. Present
      1. Frank is seeing more emotional availability of women now that he is in Howlina and needs friends.  He is finding solace in both men and women who are Supers, normals, Cybers and Cats.
      2. Fiole is turning more to male normals than before, but still finds emotional stability and support from Super and Cyber women.
    3. Ideal
      1. Frank thinks it is perfectly fine to share his feelings with men and women who are normal, Super and Cyber.  He feels a bit funny opening up to any Fae or Cats.
      2. Fiole thinks she should be bonding with male and females of all the races.
  5. Social Preference. Which gender do you socialize with?
    1. Past
      1. Frank usually hung out with men and did stereotypical male things, except when he was sharing feelings and/or wanted to get into some girl's pants
      2. Fiole socialized with Super men and women equally.  She tended more toward women for normal friends and almost only ever hung out with women Cybers and Cats
    2. Present
      1. Frank socializes equally with men and women of any race he meets
      2. Fiole has widened her friend base to include more men who are normal, but she still mostly associates with only women Cybers and Cats
    3. Ideal
      1. Both Frank and Fiole feel like they are expected to be social friends with all races and genders equally
  6. Lifestyle Preference. In which community do you like to spend your time? In which do you feel most comfortable?
    1. Past
      1. Frank was not homophobic and didn't mind being in the company of homosexuals any less than associating with heterosexuals.  He kept conversations away from sex with his homosexual friends, but otherwise they got along fine.
      2. Fiole was even more comfortable in either setting
    2. Present
      1. Both Fiole and Frank still has the same comfort level with the homosexual community.
    3. Ideal
      1. Both feel like they ought to be just as comfortable in either group
  7. Self Identification. How do you label or identify yourself?
    1. Past
      1. Frank self identified as strictly heterosexual normal.
      2. Fiole openly identified herself as being heterosexual with Supers.
    2. Present
      1. Frank has broadened his heterosexual self-identification to include Supers and Cybers.
      2. Fiole has also broadened her preference to include normals and Cybers.
    3. Ideal
      1. Frank would ideally like to be known as heterosexually open to normals, Supers, Cybers and Fae, but he is still reluctant to make his attraction to Fae women public knowledge.
      2. Fiole feels like she is expected to be a strictly heterosexual Super woman attracted to strictly heterosexual Super men.