Bus Observations: The Doppelganger

There is little that can be said about mirror world versions of people you may know.  Writers, artists, and Hollywood have picked the idea of your evil twin behind the glass to death; many, many times over.  Hell I’m sure it had been beaten with a rusty hammer long before I first read about the concept in Let’s Get Invivisble! by R.L. Stine when I was 7 or 8.  Since then there have been countless stories, movies, and TV episodes that deal with either an evil twin or some kind of mirror world.  So it is with a heavy heart that I must admit to seeing a friend’s doppelganger on the bus.  Yes, my life contains a horrible cliche.  I am as ashamed of this as you most certainly are.

There isn’t much I know for certain about this evil version of my friend.  From my limited observations they both have the same short, bristly dirty blond hair, same eye colour, and same average height and build.  Even more surprising is that they share similar style of clothes and should they stand next to each other it would be difficult to tell the two apart.  Except for one glaring difference.  Yes that’s right, the doppelganger has the standard evil version goatee.  As I type this I feel the unrelenting urge to shower in a fruitless attempt to rid myself of the stench of this tired idea.

There are, however, certain things that question whether or not this is actually the evil twin/mirror person.  If we follow the trend of the standard cliche, the evil version should in fact be almost completely opposite.  Going by this gold standard in measuring the actions of others the doppelganger does not in fact exhibit any of these actions.  For example I would expect him to maybe… oh I don’t know punch a baby or kick a puppy.  Maybe laughing evilly while chugging a forty of vodka while thrusting his pelvis at the female passengers.  I almost wish this were the case because in the end that would be hilariously surreal.  And now I have an image of an old granny putting coins down the front of his pants while he does that.  Ugh…

Now on a different and more writing project centered topic.  I have the workings for a short story that will take place a few days before the start of my novel.  In all likely hood it will not make it into the novel, although maybe I’ll rework it for a later chapter.  The goal for it is to get a feel for the situation that the characters are going through at the time.  Their comrades are being assassinated while heading to assignments, and they are trying to track down those responsible.  They have been at this for several weeks, and the one character has only had perhaps two hours of sleep in the past five days.  In the end his patience is wearing thin, and the chase through the streets, apartment buildings, and alleys is not helping the matter.  I plan to use it to get a better feel for both characters’ thought and speech patterns, as well as how they would both react to things going to hell around them.

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Still Breathing

So I am in fact still alive.  Still incredibly proficient in avoiding doing any writing but I am still alive.  So only half of that is good news but there are times when that’s the best that can be hoped for.  There are some things that have become evident over the last few weeks some entertaining others worrying.  For example, I have in fact managed to figure out where Captain Old Man disappears to, although the revelation was a bit anti-climatic.  Running to another bus is not in fact more entertaining a thought than him running to save the Regina streets from crime.  Though I suppose that there is still the possibilty that he just switches buses to get to where the crimes are happening.  Though the thought that our crime fighter is entirely dependent on the Regina public transport is a bit worrying.

The other revelation is that I am starting to worry about the upcoming project.  Due to time frame issues and the like I don’t plan on venturing outdoors until the snow has fully melted and the trees are green.  I believe that with some luck mid-May will be the perfect time to head out and take some pictures.  The problem is that I am a bit worried about the safety of these abandoned farm houses.  Though I will have friends along to make sure that I don’t die, and if worse comes to worse drag me free after I do something incredibly stupid.

On a plus side I realized that my camera will take about 800 pictures so I shall be snapping them at will.

Now to another note, and one that may in fact be entertaining.  I have vivid dreams and in the end they are almost certainly guaranteed to entertain me.  One that I had a few days ago has stuck with me and I’ve been churning it over in my mind as a possible short story for the novel characters to experience.  It definitely fit and perhaps I could expand on it for a chapter in the novel itself.  Regardless, when I finish whatever it turns out to be I plan to post it here.  Like I do for everything else.  It will contain a foot race through what appeared to be a tent city, confrontations with conspirators, a very pissed off main character, and a final show down in a ruined church.  Colour me intrigued.

Also in the next few days I will write up another Bus Observation.  This time round it will be the Doppelganger and what nefarious plots it has for this world.  I love how spine-tinglingly vague I am almost all the time.

Project update

I have been thinking a lot about my upcoming project and am realizing that there is quite a lot that I need to prepare.  There is some research that needs to be done.  Mostly I’m thinking that I need to give a bit of introduction to the activities that this nearly fictional character is participating in.  And that would be urban exploration.

Now I don’t know too much about this activity other than I did a similar thing when I was a child.  Though I didn’t know it was called urban exploration at the time.  At the time it was more of an avenue to tell a story and scare the pants off a few friends who would be willing to put up with my crap.  I suspect that the number of people who would be willing to do that these days are limited to a few if any.  But I digress.

There used to be an old run down house not far from the home where I spent most of my childhood.  Today it has long been torn down, the owners had moved on and the buildings foundation had been condemned.  But as a young, adventurous and utterly bastardly child I used this house for my own ends.  The tales I spun about vampires and evil creatures living within were the the five year old equivalents of Lovecraft or Poe.  Or at least I would like to think they would have come up with horrible stories at such an age as well.

Which has gotten me to wondering if perhaps I have created this project because in the past I had done the same.  I know that the blogging aspect and the time frame for telling the story isn’t something that I have ever tried before.  But part of me can’t shake the feeling that perhaps I am doing this because I want to experience that feeling that I felt long ago.  To have the object of terror there;  physically there and larger than life.  To be inside it, to feel the floor boards creek and shift;  to smell the mildew and rot of years past.  To not just imagine but to experience the scene just as how my characters see it.

Or I’m just feeling like I need to get out of the house more than I do.  Though in the end I’d be just going into old run down houses… so that would defeat the purpose just a tad.

A Shocking Discovery

I am a fan of role-playing games.  Yes I am in fact a geek.  As shocking as that is there have been many signs over the years.  Lots of video game playing, programming, and collecting video game action figures.  Yes, beneath this awesome and cool exterior beats the heart of a geek who likes to roll dice.  I will give you a moment to collect yourself from this earth-shattering revelation.

I have been into the whole Dungeons and Dragons thing for a few years now; going back to a summer I spent playing the original Neverwinter Nights.  That summer I spent probably over one hundred hours making my way through the original campaign, then moved onto the two expansions.  The original campaign did little for me in terms of story; it was the actual game system that entertained me.  For better or worse I love the D20 system.  It keeps allows for randomness and risk all the while giving you an idea of how successful you will be.  Many a kobold, gnoll, and ogre’s blood was spilt that summer.

Now within the last two years I have transitioned into actually playing the table top version.  We don’t use miniatures but we have a whiteboard that we draw out our elaborate maps and keep track of positioning as best we can.  Which is often just a rough approximation that we were in about twenty feet of something.  Our group, a rag-tag band of misanthropic adventurers, tries to meet up at least once a month due to the distance between us.  And when we do it is often a weekend spent gloriously saving the world on a paper and gorging on chips, cookies, and energy drinks for a good sixteen hours minimum.  I would not be surprised if our weekends shave off a couple months if not a year off our lives.

Our characters tend to have something fundamentally wrong with them.  One player always has douchebag characters; big dumb behemoths that soak up damage and utterly break the game due to being almost god like.  One of his last characters was a Minotaur Barbarian who barely had the intelligence to articulate words; but somehow and horrifyingly ended up being a grade school teacher.  Another player only plays a Dwarf Fighter;  and each is a descendant of the same Dwarven clan.  It is a consistency that is somewhat welcome, but depending on his mood the dwarf may have several personality issues.  The latest being the most apathetic dwarf to run along the Sword Coast;  who could smoke and walk into battle with resignation that he had to actually swing his axe.  Though he perked up a bit when he learned he could throw comrades into the battle.  Our third player tends to be the one that prods and pushes us to stay on track.  Though his ranger that could hear voices was hilarious when we received a ring that lets the group communicate telepathically.  My characters have been a mostly been a pyromaniac sorcerer, though I have started a Rogue as well who is a little to hands on while pickpocketing.

We have also dabbled into Call of Cthulhu thanks to my purchase of the source book.  We have of course a rag-tag band of investigators and they are in order named: Chuck Norris, Atticus Finch, Dana Scully, and Dr. Junior Jones.  Yes we even have Indiana Jones.  The ridiculousness of this group is only compounded by the fact that Atticus Finch suffers from Nymphomania.  Oh how my world was shattered when we were headed to Arkham University only to have Atticus decide his time was better spent at the whore house.  I will never be able to read To Kill a Mockingbird the same way ever again.  Thank you, Brice, for killing my childhood ever so slightly.   Though I am in the process of creating an adventure for Cthulhu using one of my stories as the setting.  So we shall see how that goes over.

Returning to a regular schedule

The past few days have been fairly busy and I can say with honesty that the schedule has been the cause for not writing.  Yes, it’s actually truth when I say that I was not lazy just unable to be at a computer to write.  Which is odd considering I spend my working days in front of a computer working on an Excel spreadsheet.  Though I have set aside time tonight to work on a quick one shot story.  We shall see how this goes.

I have been reading through Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft authored by Janet Burroway.  I’m finding that I agree with almost all of it, and have picked up a few areas in my writing that I need to work on.  Specifically being able to get in my characters skin to know exactly how they would talk.  How they act is no problem; it is their voice that I have problems.  Most of my characters sound too similar and the differences are only superficial for most of the time.

I am contemplating working on a few short stories based on the characters in my novel; the stories would be based around events prior to the novel, which may be referenced but never fully addressed.  I think it would be a great way to know the characters, how they’d react and how their own attitudes and speaking habits would evolve over time.  I really need to focus my energies a bit better than I do so far. Far too many projects and too lazy and unfocused to work on them.  Hopefully I will shake this off in a couple weeks so I can get to work on my project with complete dedication.

My New Nemesis: Toki the hamster

My girlfriend has a hamster, that she has named Toki.  This in of itself is nothing unusual or special.  For all intents and purposes she went out and rescued this hamster; and for that I commend her.  Far too few people are willing to go and rescue animals from the shelter or humane society.  The reasoning behind taking in a hamster when her family already has four cats was that it was cute.  And cuteness prevails.  No, the special circumstances that have driven me to write this post is that I am fairly certain the hamster is out to get me.

I of course have not evidence to this belief, just small clues and gut feelings based on that crafty rodent’s actions.  Take for example the day she brought the little sociopath home.  She had put him in his gigantic plastic ball and he is motoring along having a grand old time.  At the time I was watching TV and in a brilliant show of initiative I got up for a glass of water.  Imagine my surprise when the little assassin attempted to trip me.

I recovered and to your relief was unharmed by this unprovoked attack.  But he was not done that day.  Oh no.  For when my girlfriend took him from his plastic prison he immediately ran over and peed on me.  He had blatantly crossed the line and went far beyond that.  Before I could retaliate in kind I was warned that I would need to bath the wretched creature if I went ahead as planned.

For weeks we have been at odds, him attempting to annoy me and me annoying him in return.  That was until last night. Sunday morning I needed to get to the university to play volleyball for 8.  This is an ungodly hour at the best of times, and is utterly unreasonable without a good night’s rest.  The hamster knew this fact and declared all out war.  Throughout the night this furry monstrosity rattled at its cage for hours on end.  It knew and I knew that shit had just got real.  Before I could exact revenge by throwing the cage into her closet she quickly took that bloody rodent away and into another room.

One day, Toki, I will have my revenge.

You can see him plotting my downfall in those evil little eyes.

You can see him plotting my downfall in those evil little eyes.