Mission Monday 1.0 – Discovering the Ideal Writing Location

I hope everyone had a great weekend! Before you say anything, yes I know last week’s Story Saturday never showed up… Unfortunately, not having a computer or a free second all weekend made things difficult, so that story will be used for this week instead! Lucky you! (This little ‘incident’ has also spawned what will be the topic of the next Whatever Wednesday… Deadlines!)

But today is Monday, not Wednesday and not Saturday. That means it’s time for Mission Monday!

There is something I feel I am missing that every writer really should have. If you are lucky, you can create it for yourself and design it to be exactly the way you want, but I feel like many people don’t have that luxury, including myself. Therefore, my mission for the next couple weeks is to find my ideal writing location.

Before we start, let’s analyze the current situation… Continue reading

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Whatever Wednesday – Dystopias and Me

Welcome to the HISTORIC first ever Whatever Wednesday! I have no idea what Whatever Wednesday is really going to be, but maybe that’s the whole idea. Who wants to wander over to this blog and read a couple paragraphs when they already know what’s going to happen? It’s more fun for everyone if we just use an open format and keep everything a surprise until it finds its way onto paper!

Now to get down to business. There’s something that’s really REALLY been annoying me lately. I’m not just talking about the kind of annoying where you’re like “that bugs me, so I’m going to avoid it.” It’s more reminiscent of the annoying where you’re like “WHAT THE HELL YOU KEEP RUINING THIS FOR EVERYONE!” I think you know what I’m talking about… In fact, I think you are most probably experiencing this exact same feeling regarding the exact same topic as me.

Continue reading

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“Leverage, says you. I think I feel a change in the wind, says I.”

It’s true. Change is coming to this “blog!” Now that I have accomplished the daunting task of seeking employment, I can actually spend time on what really matters. Like being employed… And writing!

I enjoyed reading and reflecting on articles about new technology and interesting science. I also enjoyed writing stories that went with those articles. However, I think the format needs to change a little bit. That can’t stand alone as the sole purpose of this website. And let’s face it, the whole “Oh, I’ll just post whenever I get a chance/am in the mood” thing wasn’t really working out that well for anybody. I think we will start having specialized days of the week, which will make it easier for all your folks to follow and will hold me accountable if I fail. Always a good time.

Nothing is set in stone, but my vision is this…

Whatever Wednesday – This could be a review about tech/science, it could be just random ramblings. It will conclude with the prompt for Story Saturday.

Story Saturday – Story that goes with that week’s prompt.

Mission Monday – …Because it’s always nice to have a goal, I will post about whatever (writing-related?) mission I am currently trying to accomplish.

Revised theme, layout, About Me, and other things too. Hooray!

No one knows when these changes will actually become a reality–most likely within the next few weeks.

And yes, that is a quote from Pirates of the Caribbean.

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Protected: Writer’s Digest Your Story Contest – September 2013

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Science Update – Meteor-Preserved Life?

This might be approximately the coolest thing I’ve heard in a while…

First a little background. When a meteor strikes the Earth and actually reaches the surface, creating a crater, there is an immense amount of heat and pressure during the impact–so much, in fact, that clumps of glass can form. Scientists have recently dissected the remnants of the 800,000 year old Darwin Crater and discovered clumps of glass that contain completely preserved organic compounds. These compounds suggest that when the meteor came, it hit a swampy area and when that happened, glass was created and somehow captured tiny particles from that ancient swamp, preserving them indefinitely within the glass.

Trust me, this is cool. When a meteor impacts occurs, it blasts pieces of itself and pieces of Earth off into space. These pieces can then travel vast distances to the moon or even other planets… Yes. You heard that right. Meteor impacts on planets that have life could potentially transport organic compounds to other planets–essentially seeding planets with some of the components necessary for life! (This is referred to as panspermia by sciencey people). With that knowledge, it is reasonable to hypothesize that life on Earth may have originated in a similar fashion.

Okay, I’m going to stop before I hurt myself… Thinking about how life created itself from just a bunch of organic molecules and compounds messes with my brain.

Check it out here:  http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn24560-meteor-impact-trapped-ancient-swamp-plants-in-glass.html#.UoFoiPl4yuM

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BioScience Update – Artificial Blood, Not Just for Vampires…

It seems that the world’s recent obsession with vampires has not gone unnoticed by the powers that be. In the coincidence of all coincidences, scientists in Transylvania are making progress on an artificial blood substitute. Apparently vampires decided that they don’t actually like having to bite people to get blood and would prefer to just make it themselves…

Back in real life, artificial blood is one of the holy grails of science. If it can be created with an unlimited expiration date with no possibility of rejection or immune response it would change the way emergency room surgery works today. The days of needing the Red Cross would be over, and serious cases of blood loss could be fixed almost instantaneously.

I imagine that creating a working substitute for blood will not be the end. Once we can create an equal to our natural nutrient and oxygen transportation system, we will look to improve it. Eventually, we will have artificial blood that is more efficient than our own blood. Potentially/theoretically, with more efficient blood the heart muscle may not need to work as hard, reducing fatal heart diseases. Along those same lines, if we can develop artificial blood that will only clot under certain circumstances than we could avoid blocking arteries altogether.

The potential here is enormous! Unfortunately, it’s still a ways away. Check it out here:  http://www.newser.com/story/177041/transylvania-scientist-ive-made-blood.html

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Protected: NYCM Flash Fiction Contest – 2013 Round 2

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Short Story – “The Weight of the Badge”

Here’s a little something I came up with based on my Tech Update on 3D printing metal. It was also supposed to double as NaNoWriMo practice, but ended up taking longer than I expected when I started to care about making it actually somewhat polished and well-written. All in all, it probably took about 3-4 hours to write and edit the 1000 words here. Hopefully I can improve on that rate for NaNo when I’ll try really really hard not to edit at all. And inevitably fail because I awkwardly enjoy editing…

The Weight of the Badge

Officer Karen Winters pointed her pistol at the rear exit and waited. She tried to steady her trembling hand and brushed a bead of nervous sweat from her forehead. It was her first case outside the office.

Around the front of the small condo she heard one of the other officers knock on the door. “Mr. Kane, please come out. We have a warrant to search the premises.”

Despite the current focus on this house, Karen kept her ears more focused behind her. She had heard the stories about this rundown neighborhood. Drugs, guns, poverty.

Suddenly, a large crash sounded from inside the house. Karen jumped and instinctively pulled the trigger, blasting a hole through the back door. Her partners came running, guns drawn and ready.

Continue reading

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The Science of Waking Up

If you’re anything like me, then you probably struggle to get out of bed in the morning. This morning was pretty bad (though still fairly typical for me, sadly enough…). Somewhere amid the obnoxious beeping of my 10 alarms set at random 5-15 minute intervals, my cruel consciousness lurked, knowing that it was supposed to be pulling me out of slumber. Instead, it just softly lifted my finger and pressed the snooze every time.

For an hour.

There is something about getting out of bed that is bizarrely difficult, especially when it starts getting cold out. I don’t know if my bed is just infinitely more comfy than everyone else’s… but I just can’t resist the urge to stay where it’s warm and cozy. I’ve even tried putting my alarm across the other side of the room under my desk. When it goes off, my body just slumps over to it, presses snooze, and crawls back under the covers. It probably is as much a result of craving extra sleep as it is about not wanting to leave that happy place…

These days there are all sorts of things that can help you get out of bed in the morning. There are “Sleep Cycle” phone apps that sense when you are moving and try to wake you up then instead of when you are in a deeper sleep. That way you will feel more awake when your eyes open! Some people use stimulating alarms that try to get their brains active to get out of bed—usually using math problems that always seem to be way too easy to actually do much stimulating… And finally, a friend of mine had an app that required him to scan a bar code in order to turn the alarm off. He put the bar code on his bathroom mirror, which proved to be extremely annoying once when he spent the night on our couch after going out and was miles from his bathroom mirror the next morning…

These solutions probably work for some people, but it turns out there is an actual biological reason that we don’t want to wake up in the morning and often remain tired throughout the day. I think by now everyone is aware that 7-8 hours of sleep is ideal and actually crucial to human health because that is the time our cells use to regenerate and fix all the stupid things we did to them throughout the day. But actually, the original sleep cycle for humans was based on sun cycles. In general, once the sun went down, it was a cue to our bodies and we would become tired and rest until sunrise. Historically, humans even had a period where we woke up in the middle of the night for an hour and then went back to sleep. This was observed as late as the medieval period, but no one really knows what the purpose of that was—although apparently it is the most productive state of mind to accomplish things.

I don’t think I will be changing my sleep hours or waking up in the middle of the night to gain more energy in the morning, but maybe I’ll try out one of those apps… Unfortunately, I think the only one that would actually work for me is the bar code. Yay…….

Check out this link for more information on all the sleep cycles and why we always seem to be so tired: http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10000872396390443866404577565781327694346

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