Karl (louderback) wrote,

Beware! Long Post! about nothing much...

         Last night was another example of how not to sleep. My "usual" sleep hours now run from 6pm to around 1am save that those are never the usual hours. Invariably I wind up staying up until at least 9pm then sleep through my 1am wake-up time to about 2:30am That's about 5½ hours of sleep in one chunk. That's about the best it gets for me. I often get up a couple of times during that period.

I'm doing a lot of yawning…

         On the upside of all of that I have found that my napping skills have improved. I often snooze about an hour or even 2 at very roughly 7am. In case you're wondering about the odd hours, my Sis's sleep schedule is 6pm to 1am and I am trying to match hers. She is adapting to those hours more easily than I.

         I find it more than a little odd that I am unable to do certain tasks between the hours of 2am (when Sis leaves for work) and about 8am. I cannot bring myself to vacuum, do laundry, do dishes, or generally speaking, do housework until after 8am or so. I have no problem cooking, making breakfast, etc... I wonder why the mental block?

         My writing has been particularly problematical of late. I'm participating in the nanoljers community's Writo de Mayo challenge to write a full novel in the month of May. For the purposes of the challenge "full novel" is defined as 50,000 words. I have re-defined it for myself as 30,000 words — 1000 words a day.

Up against the wall of Writer's Block

         Here it is the 17th and I owe 16,000 words to the challenge. Damn. I've defined my characters and even my story. I just haven't been able to write it! Maybe it is just too cheesy. I mean, really, the pirate thing has been as done to death as Dracula. At least it is a crack in that wall of writer's block I mentioned.

Here are my characters for my Writo de Mayo novel. Currently titled Freshwater Pirates, the title is certain to change. So are the names of characters (I am horrible at names).
1 Protagonist
1.1 Bart Jackman
1.2 Cap'n Bart is beloved by his men for his bravery and willingness to lead from the front. He is a pragmatic man that never takes a chance he needn't and never fails to take a chance that must be taken. His beloved Ismay Delacree was taken by the Island Pirates three years ago in a raid on his town. Since then he has worked tirelessly to organize resistance and to acquire the money to ransom her.
2 Antagonist
2.1 Pedro "Dancer" Purdell is the Pirate King of the Island pirates. He is not such a bad fellow - for a pirate - more of a Lex Luthor than a Blackbeard.
3 Contagonist
3.1 Sandoleon Cervanti is the leader of the River Pirate's Council. He is endlessly trivial in making even minor decisions. Eventually he is revealed to be the Pirate King's accomplice. 4 Guardian
4.1 Zacharias "Bully" Kent is an elderly seaman who can no longer sail due to injuries (peg leg of course) but who knows all there is to know of sailing and both the river and the sea. He once lived on the pirate island before it was taken by them (on second thought, no, but maybe his ancestors did? Or he is a reformed island pirate?). He nostalgically wants to retire there to his old family farm.
5 Logician
5.1 Sir Haverel Main is a nobleman, educated, refined, and frustratingly obtuse about the usefulness of his knowledge. He is a great planner but tends to be buried in the intricacies of planning and forgets that much of his planning has practical application.
6 Reason
6.1 Mings Weatherall is the sort who can consider all sides of a question without hesitation. His advice is almost always good, but is often unwanted by people who have already settled on a plan of action.
7 Sidekick
7.1 Solon "Hades" Conrey, so called because he peppers his sentences with "By Hades!" all too often. Loyal beyond a fault, Hades will stick by Cap'n Bart through anything at all. Bart rescued him from island pirates in the same raid in which Ismay was captured. Bart has taken care of the now-fifteen-year-old Hades and thinks of him like a younger brother.
8 Skeptic
8.1 Abednedego Crown thinks everything will fail. He has an intensely analytical mind but in only finds faults and possible errors. He'll never concede the chance of success in any scheme and after it succeeds he'll be convinced that "something bad'll come of it anyways!"

Where's his parrot?

Pirate Keyboard. Arrr!
Here's the basics of the novel itself. It's cheezy, but I just felt like writing about pirates. The chapters are not numbered (they tend to move around) and are only sketchily defined.


Pirate novel - Pirates live on an island in a huge contained sea. They completely control the sea and all traffic on it. River Sailors from the Blackwater River band together with local militiamen to build ships then attack the island


Chapter: Midnight Raid A fleet of skiffs carry powder and a few guns from the mouth of the Blackwater to the nearby town of Wains. They draw off the pirate ship on duty at the town with a comical ruse then skip away into the night. ((this is an expository chapter to show what they are all about and to introduce characters))

Chapter: River Castle
Inside the stronghold of the River Brotherhood a meeting of the leaders is in session. Argument on the one side wants to begin fighting the Island Pirates piecemeal and on the other to continue the policy of stockpiling arms and boats to destroy the pirate island stronghold and destroy them utterly. ((this is intended to introduce the protagonist and contagonist characters. Guardian and sidekick, too, perhaps. This may also be a good place to introduce the logician and the reasoner.))

Chapter: Retaliation The Island Pirates send ships against the River brotherhood to punish them for the events of "midnight raid" ((primarily an action builder to further introduce everyone to characters and their qualities))

Chapter: Reconnaissance To decide the issue of attacking the island pirates or continuing to wait, one crew is sent to infiltrate the island stronghold. Initially, a mission merely to observe, the river pirates are somehow discovered and must pretend to be seeking work with the island pirates. They join an island crew, and eventually have to fight their own. ((this sets up conflict with and introduces the Antagonist. It also complicates relationships and causes some "questionable actions" that may not be forgivable))

Chapter: Recruited
To decide the issue of attacking the island pirates

Chapter: Aboard the Gray Raven (island pirate that's the name of a ship)
Learning about the Island Pirates

Chapter: Battle with the Long Eel (River pirate ship name)
The "questionable actions"

Chapter: Honors in the Island Stronghold Following their "heroic" battle with the Long Eel, the crew is rewarded with positions on their own ship the Rook's Call. First mate goes to the protagonist, bursar? to the Sidekick, chief cannon cocker (whatever that is called) to one of the others and some other "plum" assignments (officer's posts) to others. ((this puts them in a position to sail about gathering and dispensing information and to gain control of the ship (mutiny?) if need be.))

Chapter: The life of a spy
((an action chapter to do some sword-play and derring-do in the middle of the night))

Chapter: Meetings in the night
((meeting with river pirates to exchange information))

Chapter: A plan forms
The Island pirates island is in fact three islands that are nearly sand bars so low above the waves are they. The entire pirate city/stronghold is built on these islands and are so interconnected that the separation of the islands is no longer evident unless you descend to the lowest levels of buildings. Buildings have been sinking for two centuries, but pirates just build on more upper levels and let the basement rooms fill with water. ((discoveries of the island pirates plans for the river pirates and of some island weaknesses begins a plot))

Chapter: Escape from the Island
The crew of the Long Eel mutinies and takes it to River Castle. They inform the River pirates that the entire island stronghold is build over basements filling with water. ((return to River castle to discover much has changed… not the same people in charge))

Chapter: Escape from River Castle
((betrayed/set-up by an impostor in the river castle hierarchy who knows them from pirate island the crew must flee))

Chapter: Return to River Castle
They expose the impostor and vindicate themselves. … somehow.

Chapter: New strength
The shake-up at River Castle brings new recruits and an unexpected contingent (archers) from an inland count who's son is now one of the river pirates.

Chapter: Testing the archers
This is a short chapter detailing how useful archers may be aboard boat

Chapter: Gathering Strength
Some tales of derring-do to gather a fleet of ships near the river and in other strategic places

Chapter: The Storm
Attacking the Pirate Island at the peak of a storm and using the high waves to break into the defenses.

Chapter: After the Storm
The pirates give up piracy and become the king's navy to keep the peace on the sea.

         Today's poem folows and is found at both my website and in louderpoetry


I climb, unlighted, through the dark
secure. I know above what I will find.
Ascending softly, borne by hope,
my heart a-thump and scarcely in my chest confined.

The doorknob turns and I softly step
to bedside, touch your tousled hair
and sigh, so foolishly relieved
to just discover that you're there.


some text or other goes here </center>

         Recipes added today: Taco Bell Chalupa Supreme Taco Bell Chalupa Supreme</h1>

Main Dish

This is one of my cook-alike recipes, meaning it is intended to be a close copy of some product you usually buy instead of make. The Chalupa Supreme is my favorite alternate. That means (and those of you who know me will understand) it is what I get instead of two big beef burritos with no tomato. The Chalupa Supreme is most "authentic" if you can find the Taco Bell sauce products in your grocery.

    Ingredients/Shopping List
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon dried minced onion
  • ½ cup water
  • Flat bread (pita will work)
  • Oil for deep-frying
  • Sour Cream
  • Shredded lettuce
  • Shredded Cheddar/Jack cheese
  • Diced Tomatoes


Mix dried onion with water in a small bowl and let stand for five minutes.

Combine ground beef, chili powder, flour, paprika, and salt. Mix thoroughly. Add onions and water. Mix.

Brown beef mixture. Stir often and chop fine with spatula to form a fine mixture, almost a paste. Reserve and keep warm.

Add oil to the skilled you cooked the beef in and deep fry the bread for 30 seconds. Drain on absorbent towels.

Build Chalupas adding (in order) 1. meat 2. sour cream 3. lettuce 4. cheese 5. tomatoes Top with hot sauce or salsa, if desired. Taco Bell Taco Sauce and similar products are available at the grocery

Taker of Souls
The soulcatcher's first victim was not noted as such. He and the soulcatcher were both little boys at the time, playmates. Dorian (Dory) first victim and the soulcatcher were in a neighborhood park playing a bit apart from their mates when Dory was Taken. No one noticed. Dory was found, to all appearances uninjured, lying on his back placidly lifeless. Discovering no injuries, authorities ruled his death accidental and forgot it.

Hours later the soulcatcher's parents asked him if he had seen what had happened to Dory. His response was the usual childish "nothing". It unnerved them because he said it in Dory's voice. For some days the soulcatcher's parents worried. They found him arguing with himself in two distinct voices. They experienced the unsettling approach of their son asking in Dory's voice if he could go home now.

The psychiatrist called it a sort of mal-adjustment by a child who had experienced the death of a playmate before he had any concept of death. A seven-year-old's way of denying the event.

In time the voices went away and the matter was forgotten.

Three years later, ten-year-old soulcatcher Took again. This time he was seen angrily contending with another child over lunch money. No one actually saw the Taking, but when the bully was found dead with no injury of any sort, the earlier incident was remembered.

The new psychiatrist had little luck with diagnosing his extraordinary patient. He suspected DID (dissociative identity disorder) but couldn't make it stick. The "alter" integrated in just a few days.

The police had as little luck with the soulcatcher. His presence clearly associated him with both deaths but the complete lack of a cause of death left them with no action to take.

The industry of ants sometimes bothers me. On the one hand, it seems almost virtuous, falling back on my Puritan Work Ethic heritage. Conversely, I find it leaves me a bit squeamish when I think that closely resembles those "hive minds" that are always conquering the galaxy in science fiction novels.

I wonder how large an ant colony can truly be? Is it possible for a single colony to cover a city, a continent, a world? If there are multiple queens is there a way for colonies to cooperate or will they always war? Perhaps that is the only reason that ant's don't rule the world.

Ants are stronger than we. They are unspeakably ingenious and ruthless in accomplishing their goals. I remember an experiment where a honeycomb was place afloat in a wide bowl of caustic fluid atop a barstool. The ants found the honeycomb, climbed up a wall and across a ceiling and began dropping down onto the honeycomb until their numbers had created a bridge across the caustic fluid (might have been vinegar or something ant's can't cross). The surprising thing, at that point, is that they then began climbing up the barstool and crossing the bodies of their fellows rather than continue dropping from the ceiling. That sounds suspiciously like actual intelligence to me, not just instinct.


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