Archive for concepts

When math goes sour….

Posted in Education, Entertainment with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 22, 2012 by urbannight

I loved math until the 5th or 6th grade. Before that, my mom got me math workbooks to do for fun at home and when we traveled. I used to make up my own math problems.  Big, elaborate addition and multiplication problems.  I would do subtraction and some division problems.  You can’t make such elaborate problems that way.

I remember having a bit of problem with fractions and I couldn’t really make them up on my own.  I also remember letters being added to find mystery numbers.  I LOVED those.  I would make up those as well.  The kind where letters and numbers were going on one side of an = sign and then more were going on the other side too.  I recognized that since I was making them up, I was probably making up unsolvable problems.  That didn’t detract from the entertainment and pure fun of trying to work them to see if I might actually come up with some solvable problems.

Then in 5th or 6th grade, don’t remember which, the teachers started to tell me that I had trouble with math and the put me in a special group that met during one of the recesses. So I lost a recess to work on math. Only my memory is that they just sat us at a table to give us extra time to work on math. I don’t actually remember any extra help.

In junior high, I also had to go to a special math group that met either during home room or I lost a lunch period to do it.  That was a once or twice a week thing.  I know I wasn’t missing that period every day every week.  I do remember that was a bit more structured.  The teacher would cover concepts that students were having trouble with.  Think of it as an extra, remedial, class that you took at the same time you were taking regular math classes.

Fast forward to High School. In the math classes I did take,  I ended up sitting next to people who were failing. I was able to help them understand the math and raise their grades to B’s. Yet I was still getting D’s and C’s.

I had so gotten the message that I was bad at math that even thought I understood the concepts enough that I could teach a failing student, I still made strange mistakes that it took my teachers 10 to 15 minutes to find. (my algebra teacher told me that the only way she could find where I went wrong was to redo my problems herself to try to find my mistake. She also told me that I made the strangest mistakes and not the ones that most people would make.)

To this day I wonder if I was really bad at math in grade school of if I was the victim of a teacher who didn’t really want to take the extra time with me when a new concept had been introduced that I might have needed more help with rather than just more time to do homework.

All I know for sure is that they took a child that loved numbers to no end and turned her into an adult that hates math and hates numbers.

Strange Dreams

Posted in Books, Entertainment, Gaming, Life, Movies and Theatre, Science, Technology, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 7, 2012 by urbannight

Lebbeus Woods ship for Aliens 3

(Apologies, I will have to tidy this entry up a bit latter.  But I burnt lunch twice while doing this and I don’t really want to waste anymore food.)

I had a dream about a planet ship built on earth. There was NOTHING really new in this dream.  But that is  usually how the subconscious works.  It pulls from a variety of sources.  Usually from things watched, read, or thought about recently.  Since I’ve been watching comedies and Korean horror, reading fantasy and children’s fantasy, and working on non-fiction and some fantasy, this extremely Sci-Fi focused dream has to have been inspired by the only source of Science Fiction I’ve had the past month.  Thanks StoriesbyWillaims, Sci-fi is invading my sleep.  Also credited are Star Wars the Old Republic and Alpha Centauri.

It was partly built with technology from ‘somewhere else’.  The dream didn’t specify.  Perhaps another planet, fleeing the ravengers came across earth and a joint project enabled the two to build something beyond what their individual technologies would allow.  The technology and programing itself was highly adaptable so that it would update itself.  It was intuitive so that it could see connections between two lines of study and research and be able see where the results could be connected to create new things.  But it stopped just short of being self-determination and self-awareness.  People were loaded onto this craft and sent out into space.

People need purpose so we set up city like communities.  People had homes, jobs, and mostly replicated the normal lives they left behind.  I am myself in this dream and I have no idea what my job was exactly.

We encountered others who needed to be saved and were able to save portions of populations.  The ship ended up in districts where certain, more compatible races, lived.  Shortly after this ship takes off from earth, robotic and medical joint research enables the ship to see a way to create cybernetic bodies and download personalities into them with some reproductive capabilities.  People still desired children. It would massively extend life spans, slow down childbirth rates, control population growth without legislating it, and even enable people to cross over to a different species.

I took advantage of this tech as did many people.  Some people did not.  It was too strange, to scary, or denied God too much.  But most of the overly religious never got onto the ship to start with.

But for some people, the reproductive functions didn’t.  Some people greatly pitied those who realized they would never be able to reproduce.  Some of them fell into a deep despondency.  Other didn’t care.  It created an almost eternal life span for the people to went into it early on. This was soon seen as a flaw and some limitations on life spans were incorporated into the design.  With a long time to live, some who realized they wouldn’t be able procreate took the view that it was simple a matter of time before the weird glitch would be found and corrected.

This saw an upswing in people from less human-like looking races towards more human like races.  Or adapting  the particular physical attributes the races prized most to a more human-like base structure.  Not out of any idea that ‘human’ were better but because, off of the native planets and on a ship, even a planet sized one, it simply had better functionality.

I was in one of the early batches with nearly unlimited life span and ended up in some sort of military capacity.  At a shop one day I ran into the first person I had known in childhood who also made it onto this ship.  Eric Hansen.

Eventually, the districts came to represent different political ideals and world views.  And the natural progression was, of course, war.  It was bad enough having to deal with war between our various ideals but there was also the ravengers to deal with.  As the scientists and the labs were busily churning out research to find a way to deal with them, the ship puts two and two together and creates a new drive and shooting use far away and beyond anyplace we could identify.  And a new internal transport vehicle is produced based on the Kia model my roommate recently bought.

Custom Kia Soul (in my dream, it could fly)

The thing is, during this ‘jump’ the ship pretty much put every one to sleep.  But there were some damages when coming out the other side.  Various areas were woken up at different rates.  Some of the districts took advantage of it to advance their war efforts.

We were fighting off a unit with newly adapted, close quarters weaponry.  Cutting weapons for up close, personal, fighting.  I grabbed two pieces from a downed enemy and was trying to figure out how to use them when a new surge was pushed forward, largely civilian cannon fodder.  I was told to fall back and give them to someone else when I finally got the hang of it.  These were ugly, brutal weapons causing pain and suffering rather than a quick death.  Once I figured them out, it was basically a bloodbath.

Only I don’t like slasher films so my brain, which dreams in vivid, color, movie-like patterns kindly avoided letting me actually see some of that stuff.

Anyway, it was a very detailed, elaborate, drawn out dream with lots of elements from many sci-fi movies, books, and t.v. shows.  Opps, and games.

Forgetfulness, A Writer’s Bane

Posted in Writing with tags , , , , , on June 18, 2012 by urbannight

Random Beastie Image

I was going through a bunch of my story ideas that I haven’t done much with thus far.  One of them was apparently going to be a fairy tale of sorts.  About a village who tried to flee a monster and set up a new village and eventually the monster caught up with them.  I think I was focusing, in part, on the idea that you can’t just up and move and solve your problems that way.  You are still you and you take all your fears, flaws, and insecurities with you.  But on a larger scale. 

It was also about how local or tribal legends may have had a real point but time and memory distort them.  The story they think they know isn’t the whole story.  It may not even be the true story, but in fact have been so twisted around that it becomes the very opposite of what the orignal purpose and meaning had been. 

I have three paragraphs of background developed in a concept folder.  Only I had forgotten the key point to the entire story, the Truth that the people had forgotten and fled from. 

Now, if you think it silly or a waste of my time to sit here and share what I’ve been sharing, I’ll remind you of a key work in that last sentence. 


The process of giving you a description of what I wanted to do with the story has eventually reminded me of the plot line I originally had in mind.  I spent all weekend trying to remember this and couldn’t.  The process of telling helped me remember.  So I’m going to add that to my concept page before I forget again.