Archive for March, 2010


Link

I hate to admit this.
Jim Groom is right.

I planned on telling a number of stories while following my walk to school from my house.  I couldn’t even get my ass off the front porch.  I wanted to find the places where I cracked my head open (not a typo, places), I wanted to visit school, to point out all the shitty stupid dumb houses they built over the field that we tried to build a tree house in.  I wanted to check out the dam, and the big letters in downtown.  Ok, so I didn’t want to do all this in the five minute video, but I thought I’d at least get to the spot where I threw the remains of a pear, and watched it decompose by checking on it every day (SCIENCE).

I didn’t get to any of that.  But I was reminded of it.  Maybe the intarwebs is good for more than just shooting noobs.

Oh, and in case you didn’t get the title.

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Replacements is up!

The best laid plans of mice and men…  Replacements was supposed to be a short, easy post.  Well, don’t worry, I’m still technically on time, and I’m already hard at work on the next post.  Shout out to themodernselkie for helping me (a lot!) with the photoshopping on the image you see in the story.

I got a comment asking how the world in my story differs from ours.  To a large extent, it hasn’t differed, yet.  It isn’t until the civil war, mid-1800’s that differences start showing up.  The equipment our hero has just recieved should make it clear that technology is in some ways more advanced.  The main result of this is that many fewer people died in the civil war from disease.  The racially motivated hatred we saw in Fever Dreams shows that not everything was better.  But, by mentioning the prosthetic arm and leg, I’ve opened a whole new can of worms, a few things about them:

Firstly, Edmond is not Iron man. The prosthetic foot functions, for the purpose of the story, exactly like a foot.  The prosthetic arm and hand have some limitations, Edmond can straighten his arm, but it can not bend any further than a 70 degree angle or so, where a regular arm can get down to 30 degrees.  His wrist, as mentioned in the story, can not move up, down, left, right, or any combination thereof.  However, the one advantage is that his wrist can rotate continually, all the way around and back again.  Otherwise, his arm is like a regular arm, no superhuman strength or anything strange.

Secondly, please suspend your disbelief about parts of this.  While the arm works mechanically pretty well, the way he controls it is something I glaze over.  Apart from this spot, you shouldn’t have to suspend your disbelief much, so bear with me and enjoy the story.

The story is going to heat up even more!  To get the full effect for next time, you might want to brush up a little on your code!

Replacements

“You can see, Captain-”

“Discharged honorably, technician.”

“Well, sir, then you can see in the schematic that the gas burns here, and generates steam, which powers the pistons.  The power generated makes the joints as strong as your old arm, and while the inner workings are sensitive, the frame is solid.  You lose ability to move your wrist, except to rotate it, but it can rotate all the way round.  You can see somewhat how it works in the diagram there.”

“I can see how it works but what I can not see is how I work it.”  Edmond replied, tentatively flexing his new fingers.  “Why can’t I-”

The union doctor followed Edmond’s gaze to his new toes.  “The foot mechanisms are much simpler.  You can move the ankle as you move the fingers, through the connection at the stump here, but the toes simply flex as you walk.”

Edmond sat up in bed, tentatively pushed himself into a standing position, and took a few limping steps before tripping over the heavy steel foot.

“Remember that your body is healing, as well as getting used to the new equipment.”

Edmond gritted his teeth and pulled himself up.

Assignment for 3/16

I’m no Garrison Kiellor, but I hope this is fun to listen to!

Sheridan ex story v2

Fever dreams is up!

I started the story with Edmond being wounded in order that I could have this flashback sequence (aided by morphine use) follow it.  In this section we learn more about Edmond.  He seems to have served a while on airships in the war (held aloft by hot air), but he is also a Quaker.  While there have only been a few things that make it clear that this isn’t quite our history, there haven’t been any major changes yet.  There also haven’t been too many things to make it clear that this is a steampunk world.  With some of the exposition in the bag, we should be able to see more of the world next post.

But, about steampunk!  One of the things that I’ve been looking at doing in addition to this story is cosplaying (dressing up as) a character from this world.  I’m planning on doing that both for a realistic photo, and for a costume I can wear at the Steampunk world’s fair. In order to do the realistic one, I’m putting togeather a period outfit for Edmond shortly after the war, circa 1870.  At this point he’s got a bit more cowboy than soldier, but I’m still debating whether wool pants or blue jeans would be more suitable.  He’ll be wearing a flannel shirt and either a cowboy hat or a wool cap (everyone wore hats back then).  The coolest part of the outfit will be the colt single action army replica and the loop belts though!

The most important part of the costume will actually happen after the photo is taken.  The next post on the 1882 blog will be schematics/sketches of my character’s new arm and leg.  The steam powered prosthetics function (mostly) like the originals, and what I would like to do is photoshop in the arm design on the photo.  If anyone knows photoshop and would like to work with me on it, please let me know!

Plenty of folks are also interested in steampunk-ing nerf guns.  I’ve been looking at the above examples, and I’m going to try to do the same.  I’ve already modded mine a little bit, but I’ll be repainting them and putting gears and stuff on them as well!  I’ve got some advice as to which guns to get for what, because some of the action types lend themselves to Steampunk (the maverick from Nerf, and the Doubleshot, from buzz bee), others to Dieselpunk (The Vulcan from Nerf and the Tommy 20 from Buzz bee) and some to more of a cyberpunk time period (The CS 35 from Nerf, and the Clip blaster 10 from Buzz bee).

I try to keep my posts short and readable, so I’ll be talking about the nerf modification more as a companion to the schematic post coming up next.

The sharp copper tang filled his nostrils, and the entrails set his breakfast churning.  His uncle knelt by the corpse and checked the brand.  Edmond strained to see what had been written in the dirt with the blood from where he stood.  ‘N*gger Lover’

“Get on back to the house now, boy.  When you get there, saddle up your horse and wait for me.”

Tears fought their way past his resolve into his eyes.


Edmond lowered the telescope and glanced at the compass.  “Signal to the ground: Cavalry advancing from the south southeast.  Bring the ship around to-” The explosion threw a whirlwind of splinters and pain.  Had the hot air bag been hit?  He looked up-

The brown canvas was there above him, lit by smoky oil lamps.  There were shapes above him, and a dull feeling that something was gone.  He tried to ask them- but his tongue was too heavy.  They were leaning over him, putting more weight on his heavy head.  Why were the lamps going out?

He was standing at attention while Sherman explained how the airship corps would be refueled and resupplied so far from safe landings in the Mississippi.  Their target, the city of-


“The air corps would be an excellent place for you to serve!  The federal government understands that many feel a duty to their country as well as an obligation to follow the peaceful commandments of God.”  The recruiter was explaining how Quakers could serve in the army.  “The air corps serves in a purely scouting and reconnaissance capactiy, most airships are not even armed.”


The deck was growing slippery, despite the sand.  “LOAD!  Johnson, take the sergeant below.”  The whole gun crew was being unnerved by the bloody body.

“No-” Edmond pushed feebly against the straps holding him down.

“More morphine.  We’re almost finished.”

Edmond turned his head to the side, but the nurse held the mesh over his mouth and drowned him again in darkness.

Sweat ran into his eyes as Edmond looked down the long gun.  The air above the gun was hot and wavy, but he could still make out the distance markings and the front sight.  He coaxed the grinding gears into movement and when the gun had swung in front of the enemy airship he yanked the firing cord.  The cannon should have fired.  He had an instant to realize that it had not, and then look at it, before-


Now there was only the beetles.  Their sharp pincers deep in the flesh of his arm and leg.  Slicing and pinching.

One story, three legacies

I have been dreading the one story three ways project.  I don’t want to dig through the list trying to find three ways to tell one story.  I was outside a few days ago, and decided to take the story of our area over the last few weeks and tell it with photos as a replacement.  This was also an excuse for me to post some photos on flickr, and get used to using it.

Plastic tray

Makeshift sled remains.

Damocles

This branch of Damocles still hangs over the walk to Seaco.

Bloom

These flowers made the best of the soggy situation.

dailyshoot :  2010/02/28: Sunday challenge: Make a photo that invokes or communicates happiness to the viewer. Make ’em feel it, not just see it! #ds105

Modernselkie

If this doesn’t make you happy, I don’t know what will.

Monochrome

dailyshoot: 2010/02/23: Monochrome photos don’t have to be the result of processing or desaturation. Find a monochrome composition and shoot it. #ds100

Reveille is up!

The story starts with the main character waking from a long time unconscious.  There are a number of reasons to begin at this point.  Firstly, at this point in his life, Edmond is going through major changes, and through his response to change we can learn a lot about him, and hopefully become attached to him too.  More importantly for the audience, this lets us answer questions like “where am I?” without it coming off as super cheesy.

I tried to queue the audience in as much as possible to where they are and what is going on.  The title, the colors, the location, everything should at least let folks know that something military is going on.  The fact that they are in a destroyed Atlanta, and that one of them is wearing blue wool should hopefully suggest the end of the civil war.

This starting place also gives us much to look forward to, as well as an opportunity for the characters to look back, grounding the audience in time.  We’ll have more on that in future posts.

Jim groom commented on my last post and asked me what I’ve got to post, well, the first issue of the story, and this explanatory post are out, but in giving you this, I’m also going to be giving you an explanation as to why you don’t get to see everything right now.  This blog is about how I’m doing the story I’m doing at my other blog, so it would make sense to upload all the junk I did as preliminary character design stuff.  However, if I start telling you right now when Edmond was born, how old he is, what exact date it is, what

whenwhyhowrankstoryexplodehotsexscenesmilitaryexcursiontradingshipcaptainimperialism,

then I wont be doing a service to the story over here.  So…. I will post character back stories, schematics, drawings, and other things relating to how I designed the characters, but only after those things wont be horrible spoilers.

Don’t be sad though, next post should include scanned schematics and Steampunk Nerf guns!

The next post on 1882 will be soon as well.  My plan was for one post per week per blog, but I want to get a bit ahead of the game in the start here.  I will also be making both blogs look better soon.  Head over to http://www.sanguinus.net/1882 and read the start of the story!