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Weekend Roundup: December 14-20 + Lessons Learned


Tweet of the Day: I Which Three Adults Discuss Dune Seriously and in Depth

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This has been…a difficult week. I finally recorded the video I wanted to make for a very long time. Not without problems, and the audio is not optimal but I made it. Along the way I received some troubling news about family health problems. Nothing is confirmed but the worse case scenario is…bad. We are talking about possible terminal disease level of bad. Like everything else, I just have to deal, but in the upcoming months we will get a clearer diagnosis and proceed from there. But enough that, let’s see what this week before Xmas brought us:

And while I hate to beg, but please check the video below, comment if you please and if you like what see, subscribe. Thank you for your loyal following and I hope you have a merry, oh so merry Xmas and many happy holidays to come.

 

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Space For Rent: Cuba’s Fifty Year Drought


President Barrack Obama moves to normalize relations with the Cuban government.

The world does not end.

News at eleven.

But it is a big deal. A slight but important shift in the relationship between the two countries. A tacit acceptance by Washington that they can not impose their will on Havana. And by god, they have tried. Assassination attempts, terrorist attacks, even a failed invasion. But even when Moscow retreated from the world stage, Havana stood defiant against its neighbor to the north.

The irony, of course, that after the revolution that toppled Batista, Castro went to the U.S. to reaffirm ties. But the leadership wasn’t interested in talking to Castro or to Cubans as equals. The vassal was expected to bend knee before his feudal lord, his gaze firmly upon the ground. Castro had no intention to do that, and fifty years of conflict ensued. Covert, indirect, dirty, and certainly bloody.

And for those who claimed (and still claim) that this was just part of the fight against communism or about human rights. It wasn’t. It never was. It was all about control. Look at the long list of savage dictators Washington has allied itself with over the years. How many times has the U.S. looked away as their so called allies drown in the blood of their own citizens? Far too many times. Only when somebody like Noriega or Saddam defy the will of their imperial masters, or they become an “embarrassment” like Mubarak or Marcos, then they are either abandoned to their fate. If the problem doesn’t resolve itself via convenient coup d’etat, then a heroic invasion is called upon to clean house.

None of that worked in Cuba.

She endured.

And now, not by any great leap of initiative on Washington’s side, but by the sheer exhaustion brought on by unstoppable inertia we have the beginnings of a change.

I hope it lasts.

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TV Tropes Monday: Gone Horribly Wrong or Gone Horribly Right


 

Tweet of the Day: 10 Reasons You Hero Needs Flaws

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Ah science, the realm of the boring, repetitive, by the book way of doing things. Well, that is in the REAL world, but in fiction, science is full of geeky mavericks, contemptuous corporate executives, and power hungry generals just waiting to unleash their latest (and greatest) creation upon an unsuspecting country, world, universe.

When they do we either have someone say it has all Gone Horribly Wrong or worse (yes it can get worse) Gone Horribly Right!

The first variation of this double trope is easy enough:

  1. Research or experiment into something man was never meant to know,
  2. Mess up your experiments into that thing we were not meant to know,
  3. Profit! And by profit the horrible mutilation, carnage and/or mind twisting mind control of those foolish enough to follow step 1 & 2.

You would think that if they didn’t cut corners, followed all protocols, and were fueled not by greed but a desire to do go then everything would turn out all right?

You would think that, wouldn’t you.

Nope, you can still mess up things royally even if you did everything right. I mean that super weapon than can vaporize a planet, neat stuff right? Not if everybody comes after you to get it, replicated it, or destroy it. Or worse, it gets used on your home planet.

These tropes are useful plot devices, either as setup for the story, or to end a story in a cliff hanger. It is also a good way to set up the antagonist of your story as either the result of these tropes or the cause behind them.

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Mass Effect/AEC: Chapter 15 (c.2)-Patriarch


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Tweet of the Day: Why Are Certain Stories Timeless?

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Afterlife Night Club,  Omega Station, Sahrabik System, Omega Nebula, November 16, 2196

The floor thrummed to the sound of the bass. The rhythm mingled with the sound of dozens of conversations fueled by a host of intoxicants. As we walked by emotions flashed in the faces of the clubgoers:

Fear,

Anger,

Surprise.

Omega had no laws, but two rules. Rule number one, no one fucked with the self-styled Queen of Omega, Aria T’Loak. The seconds rule, there were no humans on Omega. Everywhere else humanity was a symbol of resistance against the Reapers, saviors of the Citadel, champions of the rule of law. But Omega suffered under human occupation. It suffered from those who claimed to be the best among humanity: Cerberus. Cerberus “relocated” the bulk of Omega’s human population. The rest where executed as alien collaborators or chased off the station by angry mobs after the war. Humans visited Omega, credits were credits after all, regardless of the race of the spender. But they didn’t stay long. And they didn’t waltz into Aria’s inner sanctum. Good thing our objective was someone else.

Miranda led the way to a side room. An old krogan sat in a corner, bottle of ryncol in hand.

Miranda cleared her throat, “Patriarch?”

“Ms. Lawson? It is very rare for an honored member of my krantt to show up unannounced, specially a human,” he said with a hearty belly laugh.

“We came here to arrange a meeting with Aria,” said Miranda.

“HA! She doesn’t take any visitors these days. She has been a bit paranoid, or should I say, a bit more paranoid since the war,” said Patriarch. Miranda gave him a datapad. He read the contents aloud, “Shipping manifests…eezo sales…Omega four relay?”

“Cerberus,” said Miranda.

Patriarch nodded.

“There is a burn-comm line in the datapad. We will talk to Aria in a time and place of her choosing that is not Afterlife. We already attracted more attention than I like.”

“Got it,” he said.

We got the call forty-five minutes later. The meeting place was an abandoned office block in the Gozu District. Aria walked in with eight heavily armed bodyguards. Vega fidgeted with the safety of his M-76. She sat in a comfortable leather seat with her back to the wall.

Aria’s lips curled into a sneer, “I’m here, what exactly do you want from me, Ms. Lawson. Although I am curious how you got this information.”

“Because Cerberus is back and using Omega as spring board for their operations. Someone has managed to sneak past your sensor network around the relay for the last eight years. We suspect they are carrying war material to a base beyond the relay. And we are here to stop them. As for how we got the intel, well a little breaking and entering backed with extensive hacking goes a long way,” I said.

Her lip curled, “And what does the illustrious commander Thompson-Ramos want with me, exactly?”

“A free hand in dealing with anyone with Cerberus in Omega,” I said.

“I can’t do that,” she said.

“And why not?” I asked.

“Because if you’re planning to go across the relay, you’re going to need more than a stealth frigate. And yes, I have eyes on all the relays in my system, not just number four. Luckily for you, I have such an army,” she said with a wry smile.

“I don’t think that is a good idea, jefe,” said Vega.

I put my hand on Vega’s shoulder, “That might work, if, and only if, we can trust each other.”

“Cerberus manipulated me, lied to me, and took from me what I held most dear. If they are back, or is someone is stupid enough to take their cause, I want to watch them burn. Better yet, I want to burn them myself,” she said.

“Okay, gather your people, quietly. We don’t want to spook the opposition. We launch the operation in five days,” I said.

Aria got up and left with her bodyguard in tow.

“Not a good idea to trust her, jefe,” said Vega, light machine gun still at the ready.

“Aria is self-serving, but she knows the stakes. Her help had proven useful in the past,” said Miranda.

“Aria was right Vega, it would be stupid to go it alone. That’s why I called in some friends,” I said.

“Alliance? Aria is not going to like that,” said Vega.

“Allies not Alliance, Vega,” I said.

Miranda tapped a few keys on her omni-tool, “I present to you one Harper, Jack.”

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Weekend Roundup: December 7-13


Tweet of the Day: God is real and it wants us dead

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Weird how things shape up. I’m battling (what I hope) are the remnants of a cold and somehow managed to be more productive this week than in the last month or so. Go figure. It may be that I also caught the holiday spirit. And any long time reader of this blog knows that means Christmas theme short stories. I think this one will be a three-parter. May write another one before Christmas day, who knows. But for now enjoy this week in blogging:

That is all for now. A friendly reminder to check out my new gaming You Tube channel. Hope you are having a wonderful set of holidays with family and friends.

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Space for Rent: A Torrent of Fear


 

Yes, once again, I waded into the deep waters of internet comment and found…Fear.

Loads of it.

Fear of the black man walking in the middle of the street.

Fear of the brown skin foreigner with the funny name.

Fear of the Muslim hoard crashing against the shore.

In the name of Fear some can justify almost anything from torture to murder.

The Fear that is left unconquered, consumes us.

 

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Holiday Short: Jam


Tweet of the Day:  Make Yourself a Geeky Little Christmas

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Oh no!

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The snowfall grew thicker with every snowflake that landed on the windshield. The traffic jam got longer and slower with every minute. While I tried to get to the airport, Patty raced to the village square for a last second shopping marathon. Why? Because my mother-in-law suggested that since the storm obliterated their plans they should stay over the holidays with us. You know, just us: the wife, the in-laws and the dog. Well, Dr. Stevens, Patty’s dad was he quite, introverted type so that left Mrs. Stevens to deliver wave after judgmental wave of suggestions about our lifestyle.

The dashboard lit up with an incoming call followed by an obnoxious ring tone.

I pressed the hands-free button on the receiver,”Mario?”

“Feliciadades little brother, how are you?”

“Driving through a blizzard at the moment?”

“Really? Where to?”

Why was he asking that?

“Heathrow, why?”

“Great, cause we…we were on our way from Euro Disney when our plane got diverted to Heathrow, so we are kind of stuck here.”

“Whose we?”

“The wife and kids of course. You wouldn’t mind picking us up, since you’re already on your way.”

“Where to?”

“Well, all the hotels are full so we were hoping to stay with you. I’ll bring the rum and we can call it a Christmas party, right?”

“Right. Text me your terminal and I’ll call you the moment I get there, okay?”

“Will do!”

The moment he hung up I speed dialed Patty.

“Hello?”

“Honey, we are going to need a bigger turkey.”

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