Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Eagles Have Landed!

Back in April, I took you on a little tour of The Prison Ship Martyrs Monument. They're getting ready to celebrate the monument's Centennial on November 15th, so the restoration and cleanup is almost complete.

All the fences around the monument have come down.

And the eagles are back.

They're all covered up right now because I assume they're planning a grand unveiling. The boards around this one fell down a little, so here's a peek.

Here's a view toward the city from the plaza where the monument sits.

And you can see the part of the Manhattan Bridge from there, too.

Look! Autumn color. We haz it.

When I got home, there was a big envelope waiting for me. In order to welcome me back into the warmth of its bosom, the Directors Guild of America sent me a bazillion pages of rules, regulations, and other stuff. I hope there's no test because all I'm going to read are the parts where it tells me how much I can charge on various types of jobs.

And Sony sent me this personalized thanks for buying their big-assed TV.

What else is going on? Yesterdays post is scoring beaucoup GoogleSearch hits. As of 3:00 p.m. I had already gotten the number of hits I usually get in a day. Yes, my evil plans to lure in hapless seekers of wisdom is succeeding.

And I'm either about to write a huge butt-load of words for NaNoWriMo or I'm going to quit. I owe three days worth to get back on quota.


Yesterday's post is still attracting a lot of attention (by my standards)...twice my usual traffic.

And I was just over at the Hollywood Juicer's site. The comments turned to the fact that anonymity on the web is illusory at best. I commented that anyone determined enough would figure out who you are if they really want to. This made me think back to the Dominoes Pizza Debacle. Why? Because Jim, the retired Navy Intelligence Officer was amazed that Shawn, was able to find my phone number in able to pull a prank on me. Shawn informed the highly trained Intelligence Officer that he had just dialed 411.

That just still tickles me.

(BTW, every blog linked in this update is a must read. Just sayin'.)


Anonymous said...

Uh, Nathan, why is the goal either "get completely caught up or quit"? It seems to me that even if you write 35K words this month instead of 50K - that's 35K you didn't have before, and either a great novella or a super start on a new novel.

Or, in my case, a substantive dent in my Million Words of Crap™.

Nathan said...

I've kind of written myself into a corner and so far I've only managed to crank out about 300 words today.

Random Michelle K said...

So start over.

Ditch what you have and begin again.

Nathan said...

Or I could have the next chapter begin: Sophie woke from a fitful slumber, vague memories remaining of the aliens who had visited her dreams.

Random Michelle K said...

Even better!

Anonymous said...

There you go. Just keep writing.

Jeff Hentosz said...

Old pulp writer advice: when you're good and stuck, drop a corpse through a skylight.

You get the idea.

Nathan said...

Skylights on Space ships are as common as screen doors on submarines...but I get your drift.

Anonymous said...

So, tell us your 'corner', where you're stuck. Let us brainstorm for you. No option is too silly or off the table. That's what friends are for - and if we can't do it down at the coffee shop, we can do it virtually!

I did that last year (a coffee shop brainstorming session) when I hit a totally stuck place at about 35K words and no conceivable ending I could think of would fit with my characters' integrity. We came up with a dozen solid ideas, and three really good, useful ones.

Because I'm stupid, I went with the absolutely weirdest one and ruined my story. But it was a fun ride.

Remember, it's supposed to suck! No such thing as perfect drafts, here, only really shitty ones. In fact, why don't you try to write the worst space opera you can?

Nathan said...

My corner is that the captives and their capturers(?) can't communicate. I need a plot device that will let them.

The capturers have decided that their captives are, indeed "Oomin", in spite of the fact that their scriptures tell them that's impossible.

I just don't know where the hell to go with it.

Anonymous said...

Oooh... I can come up with some ideas. And I'm sure my fellow UCF-ers can as well. But it's midnight, I just finished my word count, and my creativity bucket it bone dry right now - I'll work on it in the a.m.

mattw said...

Nathan, I'm about three days down on words too and I'll keep plugging at it. Eventually, I'll get to that breakthrough point and take off. But you can't give up. Even if it's total shit, just keep going.

Have you thought about some rudimentary sign language. Or maybe if the bible is really old and it's in latin and one of the captives speaks a little latin. Or some kind of program in the ship that will analyze the captive's speach and try to translate. Or maybe Captain Picard and the rest of the crew of the Enterprise show up and hand over some of those nifty badges that had the communicator thingies in them. (although I could be remembering that totally wrong from the show).

Nathan said...


The ones that blew our hero's spaceship out of space (only two escape pods made it to safety) are originally from Earth but after 1000 years of separation have become something different. They're all Albino, all deaf and speak a type of sign language.

They've corrupted the bible to suit their needs (voraciously expansionist and xenophobic). In the last chapter I wrote, we've discovered that they still use the English alphabet but the language has changed so much as to be unintellible in written form. The captives and the capturers know that they must have common origins, but speech is impossible and written language is no help.


mattw said...

That doesn't mean you couldn't just choose a way that they could communicate and go back and change what you've previously written later.

Also, your avatar is all too appropriate for these comments.

John the Scientist said...

Nathan- by coincidence, I'm reading a bio of Hellen Keller with kid #1. You might give one a skim. Think "water". Someone may have preserved the old finger alphabet.

Random Michelle K said...

1) babble fish

2) universal translator

3) one individual (on either side) who is a whiz at languages and is able pick up the language quickly and is able to act as translator within a few weeks.

4) Write a chapter about how they learn to communicate. This can be combined with 3.

5) Latent telepathy

6) Braille

7) Unexpected knowledge of rudimentary Greek, Armenian, Yiddish, Russian, or some other "ancient" language (because the characters families have attempted to preserve their past. Maybe through an old diary, or historical chronicle of the family)

8) Unexpected knowledge of written Chinese. (See 7)

9) Magical beans

10) Advanced alien technology that falls through a skylight

11) Someone developed learning through osmosis.

12) Someone has a dictionary, and with that they are able to use a computer to create a rudimentary translation program.

13) AI program that is able to build a rudimentary translation program

Random Michelle K said...

Lemme know if you'd like some more ideas.

Nathan said...

The magical beans have me intrigued.

Random Michelle K said...

Jack does get around, y'know.

It makes sense that after the loss of his Hollywood studio (See: Jack of Fables) he'd look into a way to escape the reach of Fabletown.

Anonymous said...

Nathan, these occurred to me:

Someone from the human crew, someone artistic reinvents pictionary/pictographs as a means of communication. Perhaps using fingerpainting with blood for impact. ;)

The human medical genius, fortuitously on the escape pod, realizes that the albino folks deafness is a mechanical thing and restores their hearing. After they get over the disorientation of learning to filter sound, the humans teach them to understand spoken speech.

The humans observe and learn their method of communication - whether it's sign, written, whatever.

The albino/deaf aliens communicate through electronic chips implanted in their brain. Once they decide their captives are human, they select one member of the captive party to try the chip on. It works - but there are... ::cue ominous music:: dreadful side effects.

True, communication seems to be an obstacle. But the albino aliens begin to die from some dormant virus carried by our heroes. The albinoes retaliate weakly, but ineffectively, and are gone, the disease raging through their ship like a wildfire. Lizbet and team find themselves in possession of an alien ship full of dead bodies and operated by technology they cannot comprehend, and data stores they cannot read. (They will also be considered mass murderers by the alien race - but that's in the future.)

Or, the SL Viehl plot option. The humans can't figure out how to communicate, so Lizbet takes one for the team. She drops to her knees in front of the leader of the captors, administers a world class blow job, and from then on the two realize no words are really necessary to communicate between them because their relationship is a special one. That is, until Lizbet drugs him in his sleep and rescues her folks in the captor's escape shuttle, and they make their way to a nearby space base, but they find they've been chipped and branded as slaves and are captured and the shuttle impounded.


Nathan said...


I actually like some of those ideas. The idea of reversing the deafness has some real promise.

And they don't need to write in blood. Inexplicably, they were never searched before they were locked into a compartment. They don't have any weapons because things happened too quickly on their ship for there to have been time to open the small arms locker, but they do have what was in their pockets which includes a marker. One of the captives is a Chief who worked in supply and she's been assigned to inventory their communal 'arsenal'.

When the 'Mothers' Circle' (religious elders) come in to assess the captives 'Oomanity', they're shocked to see the list written on the wall...unintelligible, but in English Letters.

Anonymous said...

What? No SL Viehl option? ;)