Learn you good

(scene opens in cluttered parlor)

Me: (enters, sees Gamma on the computer) Gamma? What are you doing?
Gamma: Watching videos of games! (Pouty lipped cartoon character on the screen, with lipstick choices)
Me: (flinches inwardly) How about you watch something a little more intellectually stimulating than putting fake make up on a fake person?

(mother leaves, back momentarily, sees Gamma typing)

Me: Now what are you watching?
Gamma: I’m trying to find Kurzgesagt. Is that okay?
Me: (pauses, impressed) That’s fine.

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Too Much Creativity

(scene opens in tossed parlor)

Gamma: (fresh from school) Mom! I have to make a machine for school tomorrow!
Me: Wha..? Why?
Gamma: I…(self aware pause) I didn’t finish it in class. Maybe draw it?
Me: Do you have to make or draw?
Gamma: (mental processing) …both? I need a machine that makes my life easier with snacks.
Me: (can’t even) With what? Snacks?
Gamma: Whatever we have in the house. Its a machine about snacks.

(scene cuts to cluttered dinning room)

Me: There. You have styrofoam cups, bendy straws, tape, scissors, and this aluminum tray you brought home from school. Have at.
Gamma: Whee!(proceeds to cut everything into confetti)
Me: Uh, what are you making?
Gamma: I’m just cutting.
Me: What about your snack machine?!?
Gamma: (surveys carnage) Oh. I forgot.

Don’t Cross the Streams

(scene opens in a narrow mud room)

Me: Alpha, I wanted to show you what I got and I hope I don’t embarrass you too much wearing it.
Alpha: (looks up from tying shoes to see mother in a Starfleet Letterman hoodie) Nice.
Me: Am I cool?
Alpha: Nerdy cool.
Gamma: What does that say?! (points to patch)
Me: Starfleet Academy. Ex Astris, Scientia. “From the stars, knowledge”.
Gamma: Can I go! I want to go too! I want to go to the Starfleet!
Me: (hugs her) I’m sorry sweetie, it doesn’t exist. Yet.
Gamma: (outraged look of betrayal) Why not!
Me: We haven’t met the Vulcans or developed the Warp Drive yet.
Gamma: What’s Warp Drive?
Me: A way to travel through space in less time.
Gamma: Time and space? Like Dr. Who? Or is that Dr. Strange?
Me: No. Starfleet travels through space, Dr. Who travels through time and space, and Dr. Strange is just magic.

Learning can be fun

(scene opens up in cleared dining room)

Alpha: (fumbling with project materials)
Me: Oh! Solar models! You can talk about totality we saw in St. Louis. (picks up sun-earth-moon model and arranges them for the joke) Solar eclipse. Lunar eclipse. Apocalypse.
Alpha: (stares for a moment) No. This would be the apocalypse (removes moon) because if there wasn’t any moon to stabilize rotation….
Me: Try again. (repeats it slowly with emphasis on “clipse”)
Alpha: (stare gets darker) Ha ha. That wasn’t very funny.
Me: It’s all I’ve got today.

Unimpressed

(scene opens in moderately organized kitchen)

Alpha: So where are we going?
Me: St. Louis. We’re spending the night and on Monday we’re going to see the eclipse! (with great enthusiasm)
Alpha: (dismayed) But we have school on Monday.
Me: I’m taking you out of school. Once in a lifetime chance! Non-academic learning potential!
Alpha: (wilting further) We’re getting gym locker combinations on Monday.
Me: Solar. Eclipse. In. Totality.
Alpha: (Sagging completely) It’s just….just that…its less time I can hang out with my friend.
Me: Holy god. It’ll be another 99 years before this happens again. Could you just try to enjoy the fact that your nerdly space-obsessed mother finds a 3 minute event to be more important than sitting at a desk for six hours?

Moar Carrot’s Book Review

In today’s shameless promotions, we’ve got an independent author Leonard Petracci.

For those who are unaware, there is a website called Reddit and within their many forums is a Writing Prompt. People post the theme/scenario and anyone who wishes can submit their flash fiction. Sometimes they become longer, becoming mini-novellas posted under that topic in itty bitty chapters. Occasionally, the Muses take them and a novel is born from a simple prompt.

Personally, I tend to favor the science-fiction prompts as they provide entertaining escapism from the World of Today(tm) and it’s many uncertain political woes. That means you might find more of these Reddit Authors being shamelessly promoted her in the future. Who doesn’t need a good read?

So, onto The Bridge: A Science Fiction Survival Story

It only comes in Kindle format, what with that independent author status and all. For $2.99 I thought I got a good read. The concept (writing prompt) was simple – generation ship heading to a planet and over time the inhabitants lost understanding and knowledge of who they were, where they were going, and even the technology of the ship itself.

I think the main character could have been fleshed out a bit more, as most of the story was from his perspective, but you still got a real sense of his feelings an motivations throughout the story. The culture shifts on the generational ship from spacefaring to….not spacefaring…seem very plausible given the limitations of their environment and what was necessary to keep society alive. Some of it was shockingly cruel, but if it was a question of life and death, what other option would there be?

I have to admit to practically skimming the last few chapters in a desperate race to get to the ending to see how it all played out, so the minute details are lost to me, not that I would give you a detailed summary of how it ended anyway. Take the fact that I sped read it as an indication of how tightly the story had me.

I give this book a “Speculative Anthropology” – which only sounds boring to the non-nerds. I’ll add “With Spaceships” for the rest of you.

Close as I’m going to get today

(scene opens in cluttered kitchen, sandwich fixings crowding the counter)

Me: Okay, Alpha, this is very important.
Alpha: (eyes fastened on the industrial sized jar of pickles) Piiiiicccckkkklllles
Me: Alpha. Do not drink the pickle juice. I can take that juice and put it in that ice cream maker (points to top of the cabinet) and we can have pickle juice slushies.
Alpha: (shocked) But….wait…pick…. I don’t think I want…
Me: Look into your heart, you know it to be true.
Alpha: Slushies. (in wonder) Of pickle juice.
Me: We can make this happen. You and me.
Alpha: (dazed look)

Discretion is key

(scene opens with mom in pjs chasing a son through the kitchen with a squirt bottle and a hair brush)

Beta: Mom!  You have to warn me before you do that!
Me: Hold still, I have to brush your hair. You look like you went through a threshing machine.
Beta: (suffers the attention of water and brushing)
Me: There. Now you look less of a mad scientist with your hair all over.
Beta: But I am a mad scientist.
Me: Well, yes, but the point is to not look like one so that way no one suspects you are up to something and can mad science in peace.