36 Years

My childhood hero is getting old.

It’s Harry Potter and author J.K. Rowling’s birthday today, both born on July 31st. The celebration weekend goes on with the release of the unofficial eighth book in the Harry Potter universe “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child”. While this book is available in a physical paperback form, I bought it on Google Play for a friendly price of 14.99. It’s not really a novel but the script from a stageplay adapted into a book. The drama continues with the kids of Harry, Ron, and Hermione going to Hogwarts. Albus Severus Potter is the main character in this story and deals with some real issues, including questioning his family name and heritage. What’s in it for the future of Harry Potter and company? Read the story to find out.

Dramatic

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The Search For Wi-Fi

Quiet SpotI was a desperate traveler looking for a Wi-Fi signal. A lightning storm had just commenced and knocked out my Internet reception at home, possibly damaging the receiver. I had no idea when it would be fixed, a week perhaps.

I had been walking along a long road near a farm looking for help when I was suddenly kidnapped by some guys in a car. They blindfolded and tied me up in the backseat. I had no idea where they were taking me but soon woke up in the middle of a desert with no one around.

Luckily, my phone was still with me, but the thugs had stolen my wallet. I tried to update my Facebook status, send a Tweet, check my WordPress, and upload a funny Vine of myself dancing near a cactus.

But nothing…

The first time I tried connecting…”Sorry there are no connections available”
The second time…”Sorry there are no connections available”
The third time though…”Hold on while we access your current location”

So I, a tired and confused nomad, waited for a response…

“You’re in the middle of the freaking desert!”

I looked at this weirdly. Was that a normal response?

The phone then put up another message:

“Here are some recommendations to find Wi-Fi: Go east about 10 miles. You’ll find a highway. Go north on that highway for about 5 miles and you’ll come to a little town called Dustcrop.”

So, with the sun beating down on my young sweaty face, and feeling dehydrated, I went the distance to the long highway and then trekked the five miles to this Dustcrop. It was like a scene out of an old Western flick or The Rifleman. Every shop and house looked like it had a cardboard front. A dusty road split down the middle of this strange-looking town. Everyone was milling out mindlessly, but when they saw me coming, they suddenly stopped and looked at me suspiciously. Immediately, a stout looking man with a moustache saw me and walked up to me casually.

“Howdy. I’m the Marshall. What can I do for ya?”, he asked in a heavily Western accent.

“I’m looking for Wi-Fi. Any available?” My straight American accent must had sounded silly here.

The man nearly choked from laughing so hard. Nearly fell down.

“Wi-Fi? Bless my buttons! Sorry, my young lad. There’s none of that here. We’re out in the middle of the freaking desert.”

“Oh. Do you know where I can find some?”

The Marshall pointed to a tan building on the right where a white pickup truck was parked. A tall gentleman was standing on the porch outside.

“Ask that man to give you a ride into the main city. He’s the keys around here.”

And so I did. And when the pickup truck stopped in the bustling urban jungle with lights and screens flashing everywhere, I got out and started checking my phone for a signal. Still nothing even as I waved my device around and walked around a bit. What seemed to be the problem? In the desert, not having a signal was obvious. But still not having any connection in a thriving metropolis was kind of strange. I checked all of the settings, made sure the phone was not in Airplane mode. No. There weren’t any connections available. How could that be?

Frustrated, I asked a guy dressed in hipster clothing where to get Wi-Fi in this city.

“Uh, sorry man. Wi-Fi has been banned from this city for years.”

I looked at him in horror. “What? Banned? How come?”

“Privacy issues and too much data overloading.”

“I’ve never heard of such a thing.”

“Yeah, I was kind of shocked too. A lot of people were pissed. They now have to go at least 20 miles to find any connection. No wired connections here either. We’re nearly Amish.”

“Well, sir. Thank you. I’ve been traveling all day to find Wi-Fi. I got kidnapped and dropped off in a desert, strolled into a strange highway town, and now am here in this strange city. And all I want to do is post a funny cat picture on Facebook. Can you give me a ride? My escort just left really fast.”

“Sorry, I don’t drive. Actually, no one really drives anymore because of the pollution act of 2013. The few that still drive need special permits to do so and do it very little to save from polluting the air anymore.”

“So how do you get around? Is there a train? A subway?”

“Nope. The train system was discontinued after a bunch of passengers got claustrophobia. The subway crashed and hasn’t been repaired yet, tax dollars going to other things like a new statue of Sir Elton John over there. You can ride that around though.” He pointed to a small tricycle by a light pole. It was pink with a basket and had streamers on the handlebars. “I don’t know whose it is but I’m sure they’re not missing it.”

Without another word or hesitation, I hopped on the little trike and rode through the internetless city, not caring what funny looks I was getting or if my legs were cramped and aching. But after about ten minutes, I soon stopped short when I saw a library nestled within some trees. It seemed to be the perfect spot. Could it actually be? Something told me it was.

I went inside. A strange smell came to my nose of fresh paint and cut wood. Checking my phone, I was super excited to find there was a working connection! I found a comfortable chair in the back corner and checked my online life in relaxation. Finally, after so much trouble, my tired nomad feet could rest. Funny cactus Vine uploaded. Third time was the charm.


In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “History of Language.”

The Titanic Sails Again

On the set of James Cameron’s 1997 romantic disaster film Titanic, I presented the beginnings of an alternate script I had worked up overnight. The director looked at it as if it were ridiculous, for which is was, but read it anyway:

A person from 2015 builds his own time machine and sets the date to April 12, 1912, the date of the Titanic’s maiden voyage. Of course, the guy has to look the part, so he researches and looks for clothes from the early 1900s, and is dressed like a dignified Englishman in time to arrive on the dock at Southampton. He even has an authentic ticket produced to reside in first class, for which he certainly is not of, but no one would be able to prove it otherwise.

Narration from the time traveler:

It was one of the most glorious and grandest ships in the world, and in early 1912, I was aboard it. The RMS Titanic, set to embark on a voyage to America. I was to reside in the bottom dorms of the ship, known as steerage, after mistakenly having a third class ticket produced, getting on with just one suitcase and trying to not act too modern (there was a smartphone in my backpocket for taking pictures and maybe wowing the passengers later on).

While walking the deck, I met a friend named Jack Dawson who was an excellent artist. He showed me some of his paintings, including those of women he met in Paris, many of them nude. Instead of waiting for the right moment, I warned him right there that the ship was to sink on its third day. He looked at me in disbelief and laughed and said I was crazy. “What makes you think that?”, he asked. “This is the best ship in the world. It can’t sink!”

“I can assure you that this ship is not built to withstand even a mild collision,” I replied and added, “you all are ignorant of the fact that sailing out on the Atlantic Ocean into the night is as dangerous as ever with communication so far away.”

“You all know that this ship is going to sink?”, Jack later asked during his dinner with Rose and her rich royalty, frightening everyone.

“What makes you think that?”, asked Cal with skepticism. “A friend told me. He says he’s from the future.” Of course, they all looked shocked at this statement.

“From the future? And you believe him?,” Cal said, casting a sideways glance at the person seated next to him, who too couldn’t believe this, his moustache twitching nervously.

“Well, if it means saving all our lives, I would say so.” They all just shrugged and dismissed all of the foolishness Jack said during the rest of the dinner as “hogwash”.

But after notifying the crew, they promptly took my advice to prepare for the worst, even getting a call out to another ship to come to their rescue if needed.

And just as it was to happen, the look out crew spotted the deadly iceberg on the chilly night of the 15th and had enough time to maneuver the ship past it after knowing about it far in advance. They, Jack and Rose, and some of the other passengers, including first class, all looked at me in astonishment. Some thanked me graciously, some patted me on the back, some looked at me as if I was an alien from another world, even if I was dressed like them.

“Is there anything else you know about the future?”, the Captain asked. “Of course. I’m from it,” I said and then added, “You guys really need to learn about Facebook.” And with that, I pulled out my smartphone and took a selfie with me and the Captain together, who looked at the device curiously.

So now the ship has been saved and history changed:

Jack lived and went on to marry Rose in America, raising a family in a Wisconsin log cabin. Cal was thrown in prison for attempting to murder Jack, eventually committing suicide by hanging himself. The Titanic went on a second voyage back to England in 1913, not avoiding the iceberg this time, as fate was angry and sprouted up an array of iceberg blockages. The ship hit one of the blockages head on though and survived the impact, the operators taking my advice to do so. A fire eventually broke out in the boiler-room, damaging but not sinking the ship in 1914. Instead of James Cameron’s movie being about the disaster of the Titanic, it was about a time traveler who goes back to warn the passengers and does the incredible. And about a ship that is cursed and narrowly avoids disaster every time it sails.

“Okay, this sounds great and all, but I’m not producing sci-fi here,” James Cameron said to me. “Please take your script somewhere else, maybe to Joss Whedon or Steven Spielberg.”

And so I did, and way and behold, Spielberg loved it so much (I think he was drinking something) that I worked on the script some more, working it into an official full length script. The movie was produced and was officially named “Back to the Future: Part IV: Saving the Titanic”. Michael J. Fox was even so excited that he agreed to reprise his role as Marty, his illness seeming to be magically cured. Christopher Lloyd as Doc Brown even suggested turning the ship into a time machine boat.

And then I woke up. All just a dream.


In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Fourth Wall.”

You get to spend a day inside your favorite movie. Tell us which one it is — and what happens to you while you’re there.

Birthday Wishes

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Fiction:

“Look, Lorie, it’s a comet!”, shouted her brother Pascal, nudging her slightly. They were sitting together on the roof of their house, just outside the open window of Lorie’s small room, listening to the crickets chirp and the wind blow calmly. Sure enough, when the teenage girl looked up, a brilliant trail of silvery dust could be seen speeding across the stellular sky. It quickly disappeared behind the horizon of trees in the distant countryside.

What a great thing to see on her birthday, Lorie thought. Nothing too exciting ever happened around the sleepy hillside just on the East side of the river that snaked though this part of Garris County. She sometimes wished she could get away and experience what was on the other side of the river, what mysteries she would uncover. Pascal and she would come up here often in the evenings just after supper had finished and mom and dad had settled into their favorite TV show together. It was a peaceful moment of bonding for them and they usually didn’t say much but let Mother Nature do the talking.

It had been a good day for the girl from a small town in the rural landscape. Her mother, a very fine chef, had meticulously baked her a cake, chocolate with strawberry frosting, and when she went to blow out the fifteen candles on top, she secretly wished for a number of things to happen to her in the future:

No.1 – She would marry a handsome prince who rode through the country on a white horse. No, that sounds so cliché and fairytale like. She did want to meet someone with a little ambition in life though, someone she could travel the world with, him having money being an obvious thing in this case, though she would definitely want to have her own source of wealth. This man would come from a rich family, of course, and would have attended the finest colleges, preferably one from the North.

No. 2 – Her eighteenth birthday would be even more extravagant than anything before. She imagined it being held in a large dance hall with chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. Everyone would be dressed up in their finest clothes, the men in tailored suits, the women in free-flowing dresses. She would be like the queen, everyone singing for her, all the eligible bachelors wanting a chance to dance with her on that smooth parquet floor.

And No. 3 – She would have had the greatest last year of high school during that eighteenth year. Many unimaginable things would happen to her. Lorie would be elected Homecoming Queen, walking along the good-looking King who happened to be the star quarterback of the football team. She would get to take the class trip to a faraway country, preferably Paris, since that is what she had heard was exclusive to the upperclassmen of her school. Again, it all sounds so cliché, but after living her life for so long in a low-key, unassuming way, being able to do something that not everyone gets so lucky to do and being celebrated for just once would elate Lorie.

She would love to have a day everyday that celebrated her, made her feel like the most important thing in the world. Like having a birthday everyday, as Katy Perry would say (yes, she knew about pop music even way back in this area where it all but seemed unlikely to exist, having listened to her friends music at school), getting the most wonderful gifts, being able to go anywhere she chooses. She would be floating on a weightless cloud, not a thing to harm her, always happy.

“Hey, Lorie, you okay?”

She hadn’t realized she was still sitting up there on the roof with Pascal, having drifted off into deep fantasizing thought. Pascal had made as if he was about to go inside again, silently gesturing for his sister to do the same.

“Yeah, I’m fine, was just thinking about something”, Lorie answered, still looking ahead towards the forest, the last bit of sunlight slowly sinking.

“What was that?,” Pascal asked curiously, choosing to sit back down again.

“Just something amazing. I can’t hardly put it into words but it is nice.”

Pascal didn’t answer this time but looked at Lorie as if he was intrigued by what she said. After she seemed to fall into deep thought again, he simply smiled and sat there quietly with her, just staring at the cosmic display of stars amid the half crescent moon.

After a few minutes, he finally broke the silence.

“It’s okay to dream sis, but don’t let it go to your head.”

Lorie finally looked at him after he had said this. He must had figured what she thinking then  With him being a few years older than she is, he was basically fit to tell her to not be so naive when it came to the world, that not everything is as good as it seems. Sure, she thinking she may get to be a famous moviestar someday might had seemed an impossible thing, but in her dreams it seemed closer than ever as if she were actually there on the red carpet…

With this final thought, she sighed deeply and went back inside, Pascal following close behind. She’ll get to show off someday, Lorie solemnly thought.


In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Festivus for the Rest of Us.”

Planet Minecraft

There once was a little man named Steve who was dropped into an enormous block like world. The only things he had were the clothes on his back and “fists” of fury that could punch through wood and rocks like Superman on steroids.

His big mission: to craft the world before him and survive the elements – mainly those pesky and relentless monsters, AKA mobs – creepers, endermen, zombie, and the formidable Herobrine. The weather was either rain or shine and didn’t have much of an effect on the landscape or Steve, other than making the grass grow rapidly fast. This land seemed to have a plethora of livestock that could be harvested such as cows, chickens, sheep, pigs, and rabbits, but they didn’t go down without a pitiful fight.

Steve soon learned how to craft different tools, from stone pickaxes to mighty swords, and used these to defeat enemies as well as mine the land with more practicality and speed, until they broke of course. He gathered many materials such as wood, cobblestone, and even very rare diamond and soon had the necessary skills to build an entire new world. Dreams of building towering skyscrapers, legendary castles, beautiful arching bridges, and articulately designed underground mine shafts floated through this one guy’s virtual mind. The possibilities were endless.

But there was just one thing, or many things missing: a companion to share his experiences with and build the world together and have fun. Steve looked all around for other inhabitants of this sandbox world and saw not a soul around (except for the Creeper that exploded in his face) until one day he came across a sign asking for people to join a club of avid followers of a game called Minecraft, whatever that was. All he had to do was step on a circular pad of light underneath the sign and be whisked away to another world – one that was full of happy and eager crafters just like Steve, all getting to know one another and participating in some exciting games. But when they all saw Steve drop in on the world, they all laughed for he just had on the same, old boring clothes he started his adventures with while everyone else was in extravagant and rather exotic looking clothes that they may had bought or crafted their selves. All of a sudden, Steve felt like an outsider, like he didn’t belong here with people that all seemed to know each other. Couldn’t even join in any games no matter how hard he tried. Was shunned by many unforgiving eyes.

But then he met a friend, someone who took him as he was, accepted that he hadn’t quite figured out how to look cool. This great friend showed him all around this populated world full of interesting designs from replicas of famous buildings to giant flags made out of blocks. And everywhere he looked, everyone seemed to be happy or him now, all clapped and cheered, and said together in one loud chorus:

“Welcome to Planet Minecraft! Make yourself at home.”


In response to The Daily Post’s writing promptu: Interplanet Janet

You get to design your own planet: tell us all about your planet — the weather, the seasons, the inhabitants. Go.

The Last Taken

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The frightened woman ran across the street, gasping for air, trying to elude the evil tyrant Ivanova. She came to the beginning of a sparse wood, not hesitating to stop and find a way through the trees. Mr. Ivanova was hot on her trail, Swiss and Wesson magnum trailing behind him, a trail of blood being left behind from the wound to his left abdomen. The women barreled through the woods, snagging her clothes on the low hanging branches, fighting her way to safety. Heart rate going through the roof and perspiration wetting her forehead, she kept on going, not noticing the fabric of her linens getting tears from the various thorns protruding from bushes. But just as she saw an opening, the bright light of the sky through some bare branches, she stumbled over an earth root, landing face first into the fresh bed of snow. Trying to get up, she felt a stabbing pain in her right leg; something had obviously bent unnaturally. She muffled her scream, clenching her teeth, trying to crawl forward, now leaving her own trail of blood on the white. She began to sob, lightly then uncontrollably, knowing that she was done for. Mr. Ivanova was very close – she could here his footsteps getting louder and louder. Frantically reaching around for her backpack, she pulled out a device, a camera, and swung it around to her side. Trying with one last effort to stand up, she managed to find support from a nearby tree, a terrible, burning pain in her leg.

Ivanova had entered the forest, stumbling through the trees, clutching his side, already having lost a lot of blood.

“Give up…”, he gasped, raising his magnum at a spot in the trees, shaking, barely able to stay upright.

The woman steadied her camera, getting the scene into focus, and, with one last look at Ivanova’s profile in the distance, snapped the picture. Everything seemed to stop for a few seconds, the little clearing in the wood becoming a blur in the woman’s eyes. A sharp, piercing sound reached her ears, but she barely heard it over the sound of her heart, pumping harder than ever to keep her alive, the blood from her wounded leg soaking the inside of her right pant.

A bullet came whizzing through the brush, and hit her straight in the back. She fell to the ground in with a soft thud, a red pool covering the ground in seconds. The camera tumbled from her hand and landed about a foot from her, the last picture she ever took contained within it.

Her assailant dropped to the ground as well, his gun tumbling out of his callused hand.


In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: A Moment in Time

What was the last picture you took? Write a post about it and what it means to you.

The Great Divide or Blurred Line?

Daily Prompt: The Great Divide


I disagree with the notion of The Great Divide when talking about non-fiction and fiction. Since a lot of fictional works do incorporate elements of reality into them I don’t think it’s quite a great ‘divide’ as in the crack of an earthquake but more of a ‘blur’ between two worlds. Some historical works also take liberties as well to incorporate fiction as a way to make the story a little more interesting than it would be if it was told straight. The author might also be intimidated by writing something so historically accurate, such as if it was dealing with a tragedy and the survivors, that they use fiction as a way to escape some added heat, such as with Jessica Francis Kane’s retelling of the Bethnal Green Tube disaster. Either way, it is a matter of the author choosing to go wild with his or her imagination, play it straight up, or incorporate reality and fantasy into the story as to make the characters more human and connect with the readers. That’s the blur of fiction vs. non-fiction: imagination.

Do I prefer fiction or non-fiction for a fun read? Depends on how I am feeling but recently I have been preferring fiction more since the knowledgeable half of me is a bit uninterested at the moment.

Fiction is for days when I am feeling bored or content and would like nothing better to do than read something that doesn’t tax my brain power. I like being transported to a world totally unimaginable and out of our realm. This stretches my imagination and I usually come away with happy emotions and some food for thought. Harry Potter is obviously my favorite fictional series ever (I just bought a new 7 book set in hardcover) followed closely by Artemis Fowl which I have been waiting eagerly for a movie to be announced but it seems quite unlikely now.

Non-fiction is for days when I feel like being intellectual and adding something worthwhile to my “data base”. Many a great times I have walked by shelves in the library and saw books about real-life or historical events, machines, or the human body that instantly opened that curious door in my brain. Some of my favorite non-fiction books tend to be on the subject of how things work, how they are built, or what is inside them. One of my favorite non-fiction titles was (and still is) called The Way Things Work by David Macaulay, a reference book actually, which was choke full of artistic drawings of machines from simple to complex and explained the process of how each one operated when they were initiated by a human or something else. One of my cherished memories of reading that whole book (yes, it was THAT good) was the humorous drawings of wooly mammoths and people in it where they would often be pictured in some way on the machines either operating or dwelling within them. I suppose one of the true non-fictional works I read was about three NFL players whose boat capsized in the middle of the ocean and recounted their rough battle for survival. It was told from the eventual final survivor’s point of view, who was the author. The book was so captivating and full of emotion and strong words that I believe a few tears were shed reading it, much like listening to Simon & Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water”.

I get a sudden ‘itch’ to read or watch fictional works because I am willing to escape and get lost in another world that plays on my emotions and I get a sudden curiosity to read or watch non-fiction because I am looking to come away with some new-found knowledge and find answers or I want to relive the heroic or harrowing journey of someone based on my own emotions at the time.

So to sum things up, non-fiction and fiction are alike in some ways and there is no deep, impassable abyss between them. They do overlaps sometimes, depending on the book, with emotions, relationships, morals, and tragedies. It all comes down to a little thing called imagination. Without imagination there is no fiction. A lot of characters in fiction are drawn from the author’s own experiences and they both end up sharing things in common. The same can be said for non-fictional characters; their experiences, personalities, and dialogue are based on the actual person themselves either from the author’s point of view or someone else’s and when the author is not so sure about true events they sometimes might use a little fiction to move the story along.