Archive for November, 2008

Zeppelin Controls

In The Autobiography of Ziggy Swift, Ziggy gets the opportunity to fly a Gnomish Zeppelin. In order to get my head into one of the scenes, I’m trying to envision what controls would be at his disposal. Here’s the list so far… any additions?

  • move forward
  • move backwards
  • move up
  • move down
  • turn left
  • turn right
  • landing gears
  • elevator music selector
  • running lights
  • landing lights
  • take off lights
  • head lights
  • tail lights
  • blimp lights- ones that are on top of the blimp
  • windshield wipers
  • camel lights – in case you’re transporting a camel
  • water pump
  • emergency cargo dump
  • ejection seat
  • rejection seat (like an ejection seat except it throws you straight into the ground with no parachute)
  • emergency break
  • anchor up/down
  • fire suppression system
  • gas suppression system
  • Kobold suppression system
  • theft deterrent – press the button and it launches a rock in your face
  • Anti-turtle system
  • Bottle opener
  • Zombie detection
  • window heat shields
  • Thermometer
  • Altimeter
  • Speedometer
  • Wind speed
  • Wind direction
  • Moon phase tracker
  • hand warmers
  • shields- two bucklers that can be “raised” on the front of the ship



Regular Haircut (me): $15
Regular Haircut (Ian): $10
Tip: $4

Remington Shortcut Electric Razor- $29

It’s paid for itself, and it will save me $30 every 3 months from here on out. I never really liked my hair anyways.



An Excerpt, Pt 3.

This one comes from Ziggy’s interview with Cobbwocket brothers for a job as a Swarzrok, which was a gnomish word that he didn’t understand.

“So you want me to fly this thing?” I asked, still trying to wrap my head around how essentially a boat tied to a large balloon would work.

“Yes- we’ve had… problems,” Lumbert said, answering before his brother could. “It’s difficult to convince potential clients that our method of travel is safe and secure. There’s a bit of a stigma attached with being a gnome. Humans simply don’t trust our inventions. Sure, some occasionally blow up, but there is no conceivable way this thing could blow up a second time. It’s perfectly safe.”

“The real problem is they don’t trust our flying skills,” Nerrick interjected, trying to shy away from pointing out technical problems, “So nobody trusts us with their goods. Gnomish eyes are good for seeing things underground or up close, but we tend to get blurry at long distances. That’s why we need someone like you. Most of the merchants in this city are human, and if they see a human behind the wheel, they’ll be more likely to trust that our invention is mechanically sound.”

“Fire!” Pimmel shouted from across the room. Apparently their water cooler had burst into flames. Nerrick and Lumbert wasted no time, darting over to the wall and unravelling a large hose. They dragged the hose over next to the watercooler and clamped it in place while Pimmel hurriedly filled a cup of water from the jug and tossed it on the growing fire on the back side of the cooler. I jogged over to see if I could help and was almost bowled over when both gnomes darted back to the wall where the hose connected. The climbed into a large wheel attached to the wall, maybe seven feet in diameter. After some disagreement about which way to go, they both turned to the left and started running in place. Before long the hose ballooned up taunt and water gushed out from the end of the hose, sending both the watercooler and Pimmel sprawling across the hanger floor. Lumbert and Nerrick saw the fire was out and slowed the turning of the wheel. The flow of water eventually stopped and the hose went limp.

Pimmel picked herself off, tilted the watercooler upright, and began to inspect the damage. “Musta been a bad valve,” she yelled across the room as they slowed to a stop.

“See, I told you that brace would earn it’s keep,” Nerrick told Lumbert, seemingly rubbing the statement in Lumbert’s face.
“Alright, alright, but we can at least both agree that the wheel was much better than the pump.” Lumbert shot back defensively. Both nodded their heads in agreement as they walked back towards me.

“Sorry about that,” Lumbert apologized. “We just added a new Intake valve on it last month and still don’t have the bugs out. It’s been doing that on and off for a few weeks now.”

That wasn’t exactly comforting.

You thought I was kidding.

This is day 4.

Public Service Announcement

Do Not Have Kids If:

  • You value sleep
  • You value your marriage
  • You value not living paycheck to paycheck
  • You value your sanity

Cause right now Ian is fucking all of those up. Jackie walks out of the room, or even acts like it, and he starts screaming bloody murder. We tried letting him cry it out, but no, an hour later he was still going. Right now I’m thinking tomorrow- wait, today- I’m just going to go to work and not come back. I’m just gonna start living in my cube- I’ll bring a pillow and blanket and just fucking sleep there.

Three fucking nights he’s been doing this shit, but it’s been going on for longer than that. For weeks now, ever goddamn night he wakes up two or three times (half the time from that fucking cat), and she goes in there and comforts him. The only difference is now he won’t let her leave the room.

This shit has to stop. I’ve used up all my vacation time- I can’t just call in sick anymore when he pulls this crap.

It stopped- last 2 nights he’s been fine. whew. On the bright side I got the video in the next post to show that I was not going crazy- after 4 nights of that, 45 minutes of sleep, and a 4am fight with jackie about it, I stand by my crankiness.

50,000 words!

So I crossed the 50k word finish line 9 days into NaNoWriMo. How did I do it so quickly?

  1. Have a great, well developed main character in mind
  2. Spend October writing an outline- a gigantic, 12 section outline with 10 bullets under each point that covers 6k words and has a glossary containing all characters and locations mentioned in the book and a 10 word description of each
  3. Take the first week of November off of work
  4. Have an understanding spouse who gets that you are compelled to do this.

I’m sure there’s more to it, but damn, I’m too excited right now to go into more detail, but as of 9pm on the 9th, I have 50298 words.


An Excerpt, Pt 2.

This one comes from later on in the story.

Andy was dumbfounded that I was stupid enough to pour bricklayers mud into a trough and then take a bath in it. I wheezed the word ‘soap’ and he laughed. He chipped most of the stone away and was able to stand me up straight while he got some of the stone off my back. After a while he had to stop because his chisel was dull. He said he’d be right back and told me not to move. I didn’t think that was funny.

A long time passed, and I watched a lot of people walking by- they stared at me as they walked back and forth, doing whatever. Then something funny happened. A large stinky ogre walked by and glanced at me, then kept walking. After a few moments, he stopped, stepped backwards and stared at me. It was Kibbel- I recognized the smell and the clothes. He looked me up and down without saying a word and scratched his head. After a while, recognition lit up in his eyes, then he smiled.

“Hey, I know you! You’re my partner! Zaggo!” he stated, proud of himself. He jumped up and down and clapped his hands at his accomplishment. Then he furrowed his brow, troubled by something. “Why are you stone?” he asked. I tried to explain, but couldn’t eek out a full word.

Recognition set in again, but this time it was followed by terror. He slapped his hands over his eyes and began screaming “The invisible dragon got him! the invisible dragon got him! Run for your lives!” and took off running, tripping over a wheel barrow and scattering a fresh batch of bricklayer’s mud onto the ground. He fell and slip into it, flailing his legs but never taking his hands from his eyes, and continued to run, far out of view.

An Excerpt.

Kibbel clamped his hands over his eyes and trembled. In the distance the wagon creaked and groaned as the off-kilter hoofbeats of the single horse plodded forward at full speed. Slowly, the creaking and groaning grew louder.

“OH GOD IT’S COMING RIGHT FOR US! RUUUUUUNNNNN!!!” I screamed and pushed Kibbel. He screamed as well and ran north as fast as his legs could carry him. I ran behind him a bit and gave my best impression of a dragon roar, causing him to scream and run faster. I stopped, but he didn’t. He continued to run, tripping and falling several times, but never uncovering his face. After 30 minutes of running, he faded out of site over a hill. After chasing him off, I stood in the middle of theroad and waited for Haynar’s wagon.

Haynar still looked confused when he pulled up. “Was that the ogre? What did you do to get him to run like that?”

“I told him you had an invisible Steel dragon that could turn him to stone if he saw it, and told him to run when it flew back through.” I explained triumphantly.

“Wait, Invisible dragon that turned you to stone when you saw it? But… ok, well what was the he quicksilver for?” he asked, momentarily confused, then growing impressed.

I held up the steel ball and wiped a finger across it, displaying a coat of quicksilver. “How do you prove an invisible steel dragon exists… Have you ever had a bird poop on you?”

“No but-” his eyes narrowed with understanding, “Oh no… and he bought it?”

I smiled, examining the quicksilver on my finger, and gave it a taste (It sorta tasted like one of those copper coins Semus kept in his sock). “What can I say, Ogres are dumb.”

Heck of a run so far

So I’m 31k words in and nearing the end of the first week. I’ve done 2.5 of the 12 sections of my book. Jackie is taking off for the weekend so I expect to get another 10-15k words over the next few days.

It’s funny laying out ziggy’s story… so much to tell, so many loose ends to leave.

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