Category Archives: Uncategorized

Astrobiology

Hello, readers! Been away from writing for a little while, but the recent find that Saturn’s moon Enceladus might be “hospitable to life” is not only exciting in its own right, but has made me think back to what I know about the science of astrobiology.

Most science fiction shows feature aliens that are large, complex life forms, like xenomorphs or Vulcans. However, the reality is that most of the life on other planets is likely to consist of single-celled or filamentous organisms, analogous to bacterial forms of life in extreme environments on Earth. The kind of life to be found on Enceladus is likely to consist of chemolithotrophic food webs consisting mostly of bacteria, nestled close to the hypothesized deep sea vents on that icy moon. Analogous food webs lie deep in Earth’s oceans, where “hot smoker” geothermal vents spew warmth and the minerals that power these food webs, which exist independently of light from the Sun. There are more complicated and large organisms deep below the surface of Earth’s oceans, like large tube worms and several forms of invertebrates, but most of the life around these geothermal vents consists of bacteria that can gain energy for living from transforming the minerals released by the vents. From what I recall, the food webs around these vents depend on the cyclical transformations of these minerals between their different forms, and it’s all conducted by bacteria. The tube worms, for example, have large digestive organs consisting of sacs of bacteria powered by minerals. It’s fascinating.

I may dig up new research on these vents and write a short story about what people may find on Enceladus once they send robots beneath its icy surface.

In other news, I am still about halfway through my SF novel Infinity, and I plan to work on it again starting tomorrow (today and much of last week I spent dealing with bipolar dreams, which come and go- they usually leave me with all sorts of ideas for stories, and this time around has been no exception).

Have a great day!

Baby steps

Hello, readers! My progress on my most recent novel was sidelined by about eight days of severe illness, but at least I have a bunch of really interesting ideas to use to fuel future fiction, so it wasn’t an entire waste of time. I’m more or less back to normal now, and since my taxes are done, I figure I’ll be getting back into writing fiction starting tomorrow.

My cat, as I type this. has decided to walk across the keyboard:

xsxdzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzrtefddddddddddddddcxcvb

I really wish, sometimes, that I weren’t bipolar, but quite honestly I have no idea how to be anything or anyone different. I actually want to start working on my novel right away, but because I know I can’t disrupt my circadian rhythm too much, it is just going to have to wait.

Have a great night!

The ‘wire tapps’ were me- my bad

Hi readers,

I just had a detailed dream in which I was talking to a variety of folks on the phone in my office in Canada, with a variety of problems. One named Michael said he was in legal trouble, and I advised him to seek immunity. One named Devin was head of a committee and ‘subjected to a smear campaign’. I advised him to step down.

One was named ‘Don’ and called multiple times, first with winning ‘a big prize’, and questions about whether he should get ‘outside help’ swaying public opinion to help him win. I said he should only do what is legal. He kept asking and asking if he could bend the rules a little so he can do it, and I said he had to follow his conscience. He asked me for advice on how to make sure people didn’t find out he had ‘gotten outside help’, and I told him to never do anything himself, and make sure if people had meetings, that it was never the same people twice. That confusing network of spies and Trump associates? I’m sorry, world, that was my fault.

‘Don’ asked me how he could become popular. I told him Americans love war and celebrities. He asked me if he should use Tomahawk or nuclear missiles. I explained nuclear winter to him and he asked if it would affect golf in Florida. I told him it would, and that it also would last about fifty to a hundred years. I have a  vague memory of his asking me if he could build a radiation shield dome that would enclose enough grass for a golf course. So I’m to blame if Trump starts World War Three, but at least he might wait a bit before using nukes.

It gets worse: I kept hearing the thoughts of ‘Don’ and friends, and repeating what was on their minds. Sergei Kislyak. The Seychelles. Hidden bank accounts full of Russian money. Money laundering via changing the odds on a casino in Saipan, which is close to Hawaii.

After a while, ‘Don’ accused me of having intel on him. I was pretty fed up by now- ‘Don’ needed lots of pampering and seemed to really want the future I painted for him, which was “military parades and flags and marches”, a future I personally do not want for myself or anyone I know. So I told him that I only had the information he had given me over the phone. His response? “So you’ve been wire tapping me.”

I knew this man was paranoid and kind of stupid, so I preyed on his paranoia and said, “Sure, we’ve been wire tapping you since the beginning. Everywhere you go, everything you do, we know about it.”

“Who’s we?”

“Your biggest enemy,” I said.

“So, Obama,” he said. “Then why haven’t you brought me in?”

“It’s an experiment,” I said. “And who says you aren’t being brought in?”

‘Don’ lost it at this point. He raged and foamed and accused me of being Susan Rice; I told him I had never gone by that name. He then asked me what agency I worked for. I said “U.N.C.L.E”, and then that I went by the name Agent Diamond.

“And that person you trust the most?” I said. “They’re double-crossing you. It’s only a matter of time.”

‘Don’ then proceeded to threaten me with all sorts of things, prison and waterboarding, execution. He told me my own name prior to my ending our dream conversation, having found my Twitter feed and my various blogs. He said he would smear me so no one would work with me, and when he realized I am bipolar he said he’d get me drugged up, in a straitjacket, unable to talk, and make sure they gave me drugs that would irreparably fry my brain. I told him the RCMP would have something to say about that. I am a Canadian citizen, only visiting the USA- though if ‘Don’ is to be believed, I might take a trip to Cuba. I hung up the phone.

So, world, Donald Trump’s my fault. His election and the bizarre behaviour of his administration can be placed at my feet, and I apologize deeply and sincerely- I really would have preferred that Hillary won.

It now remains to be seen if the FBI can uncover all the various links between Trump and Russia, and make sense of them all- and if they can find evidence of some kinds of crimes, not just shady associations. I sincerely hope for the safety of the world they find something quickly. I mean, come on, someone might persuade Trump that he can build a wall around Mar-A-Lago and it will be safe from nuclear fallout, in which case he won’t hesitate to bomb the shit out of us all.

The man is sick, dangerous, and willing to kill billions as long as he can keep golfing. If Marie Antoinette were reincarnated 70ish years ago, I’d place bets on her soul showing up in Trump.

I’m not really able to sleep now, but for all our sakes I hope this dream of mine was only a dream, and not a prophecy.

Missed a book signing- for a good cause

Hello, readers!

I realized from perusing John Scalzi’s blog that he would be in my area today, signing copies of his new book, The Collapsing Empire. My husband and I are both fans, but unfortunately we didn’t make it, mostly because I didn’t read the actual blog post detailing the event until the event was over.

It’s all for a good cause, though- my current project Infinity is now at just over 40,000 words. I still have a way to go before I have a first draft finished, but I’m a bit over halfway done. The reason I missed the event is that I was busy writing instead of checking Twitter and reading blog posts to learn when the event was.

It will probably be some time before Mr. Scalzi is signing books in this area again, but I will try to keep out a more vigilant eye. Who knows, maybe by the time he comes around again I may have a completed draft of my own book!

While we wait, we will wander over to the bookstores he has been at most recently and see if there are copies of signed books lurking on the shelves.

Have a great night.

Test recordings of sadistic voicemail system

Hello, readers! I’ve mentioned before that, just for fun, I wrote a short audio play about a sadistic voicemail system, and it plays homage to the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. I’m learning how to record it, just for fun, and so far I’ve managed to figure out how to amplify the recordings I make on my crappy headset microphone (I have a very soft voice) and learn how to make audio recordings on my computer. I wanted to share with you one of the test audio clips, but alas, I can’t seem to upload audio to this website. If you’re curious, write to me at bent dot elizabeth at gmail dot com and I can send you a test clip.

This was a difficult process for me since my office is not particularly soundproof and not only did I have to deal with passing traffic (airplanes as well as cars), I had a curious cat investigating the ducks outside through the window blinds.

Have a great day!

What I have been up to lately

Hello, readers!

I’ve been busy for the last couple of weeks wrestling with my own psyche (unfortunately, this can happen to bipolar people a lot) and just trying to get healthy again. This is the first day in about two weeks that I’ve felt more or less like a normal person. So good, right?

It’s sidelined me from focusing on my story Infinity and my other writing projects, but I’ve managed to put together a short script (I plan to record it some time, whenever I figure out how audio recording and sound effects work on my computer) in which a hapless customer encounters a sadistic voicemail system. The script is something I threw together and I’m likely to change it, and it is not something I’ll try to make money from since it is essentially an homage to Douglas Adams and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy trilogy. But I feel better for having produced something during my bout of illness. The reason I decided to write an audio script was that recording it will force me to deal with my fear of performing/reading aloud.

Before I became ill, my hubby and I went to Colonial Williamsburg. It was a very fun day, and I picked up a cookbook and several pamphlets about historical cooking. I had the idea to make a family cookbook a while ago, and this cookbook and its interesting recipes have cemented my desire to come up with something that is partly cookbook, partly prose. Only I have no desire to actually do all the difficult work of investigating the history of food. One of the recipes I will be presenting is from a friend whose last name is Roberts (as a joke, we refer to him as “Dread Pirate Roberts”). I plan to invent tales for each recipe as to how I came across them, with the first tale being how Dread Pirate Roberts gave me his recipe for lamb stew while I was vacationing in Bermuda. I’m really looking forward to putting together this book. It’s due to be finished in November (I hope to self-publish it in time for Christmas this year).

I hope you have a fabulous day.

Triptych

So- my brain has been overactive for a short while now, and I’ve come up with a third story idea based on dreams I’ve had. I’m borrowing an old title for it belonging to a work I started a long time ago and have decided not to finish: Hypnagogia.

That brings the number of stories I want to tell that are rooted in bipolar delusions to three.

I just hope I can stay productive long enough to get them all down!

My Muse brought me something new today

Hello, readers! I’ve been busy with Infinity, getting about halfway, and I am enjoying the writing process so far.

I had to take a break starting about five days ago, though- I have been dealing with some fairly difficult psychological stuff. I think I made a breakthrough this evening. I certainly feel better now than I have for days.

In all of this, I have renewed interest in a couple of ideas for stories dealing with some of my more frightening thoughts, which I believe I’ve blogged about before. Nemesis is one of those- it’s the story of how a person like me, who is vulnerable to lies and deception (I tend to distort reality and so have a hard time believing odd things really happen) is preyed upon by someone she barely knows, for a “crime” she hardly remembers, it was so trivial a thing to her. This main character’s nemesis is someone skilled at psychological manipulation and she slanders the main character quite often to manipulate others into attacking- and this has the added benefit of hiding who is really behind all the attacks. For many years now I have dealt with ideas that someone of this sort has been attacking me, and so after I’m finished with Infinity I am going to write Nemesis.

I still have to work on a third story of mine, brought about by very disturbing visions I had a year or two ago, of being stalked by a mentally ill person. This one is different slightly from Nemesis in that the stalker is a full-blown psychopath, and the victim thinks all the bizarre things that are said and done in her presence were imagined, at least at first. This idea is a little less defined than Nemesis as it is based on a smaller series of dreams, and I may fold bits of these two story ideas into one. This one is a lot more difficult to think about, and I may never be able to write it.

These new story ideas, disturbing as they are, were brought up to me again tonight by my Muse, who has been talking to me (not literally, but you know what I mean) nonstop for the past five days. I’ve had these ideas, and I’ve had a few personal revelations which have been very life-affirming and beneficial for me, so all is well, at least for now.

I hope to get back to Infinity this week, and make further progress on it. So far I have over 30,000 words.

Thanks for reading!

Having a little fun with “Trumpocalypse!”

Greetings, readers! Work has slowed down so I find myself with more time and, coincidentally, more ability to write as well. This is fortuitous, and I am using this time to work both on my novel Infinity, and an experimental work I’m tentatively titling Trumpocalypse!. This latter work will be in the form of a Quest gamebook, which is a digital version of one of those Choose-Your-Own-Adventure books. I am currently enjoying myself researching the various rooms in the White House, and a friend of mine who is a graphic artist is graciously donating title page art.

I don’t hide my political viewpoint, so I must say that if you are a Trump supporter, you will not enjoy the latter work. I am not particularly worried about this since (a) more people dislike Trump than otherwise, and (b) the Venn intersection of people who are nerdy enough to enjoy a gamebook, and people who are Trump supporters is, in my estimation, vanishingly small.

 

Just another day in Trumpistan

Well, like most people I know, I’m underwhelmed by the new Trump administration and their demonizing of the press, and reliance on “alternative facts”. Time will show if this is going to be a blip in American history, or the beginning of an ominous era.

In other news, I’m trying to cheer myself up between phone calls to my husband’s elected representatives by writing a silly story. It stars Agent Diamond and Charming Guy and involves a large baking soda volcano. Details to follow at a later date.