Why I was silent

So, granted I don’t post all that regularly, but last week’s silence had purpose.  You see, I was in Disneyland, taking my five year-old daughter for her first visit.  And it was a wonderful time.  

I’ve always loved Disneyland, but seeing it through the eyes of my child made it even better.  

The drive down was fine–we left a little later than we’d intended, and we got hit by rush hour traffic just as we hit Los Angeles, so we didn’t get to our hotel until about 5:30, nine hours after we’d left Sacramento.  We checked in, got dinner, and settled in to watch my daughter’s (current) favorite movie, Brave.  

The next day we began our Disney time.  We’d bought two-day passes, but only for one park–we didn’t think the California Adventure park would have much our kid would be interested in.  At her insistence, we went straight to Star Tours.  She was excited, until we got into the ride itself.  About thirty seconds into it, she grabbed my arm in fright and exclaimed, “Daddy, this was a bad idea!  We should not have come on this ride!”  Later, she said she loved it, but I’m just not sure–and she wouldn’t go back on it. 

And that’s how she felt about a lot of the rides.  Sadly, a lot of the Fantasyland rides are the sort where you sit in a cart, which then zooms around while overly-loud crap happens in your face.  She hated them.   

What did she like?  Tom Sawyer’s island, where she could run around to her heart’s content.  She loved the Haunted Mansion, and Autopia, and Winnie the Pooh’s adventure.  She LOVED the Tiki Room, and the Jungle Ride, and It’s a Small World, and she was ok with The Pirates of the Caribbean.  But her favorite part was the Jedi Training Academy. 

She got chosen to be in the show, and was vibrating with excitement.  She loved it, especially going up against Darth Vader in the show’s grand finale.  It was all she could talk about the rest of the night.  

But the part I’ll remember most is her face during the nightly fireworks show, and the fake snow that showers the streets immediately after.  She will, I am sure, remember those few minutes for a long, long time, and so will we.  I felt, in that moment, like I was in a magical moment that would stay with me forever, when I shared something with my daughter that doesn’t come along more than once every few years.  

She’s already looking forward to our next visit, when she’ll be eight or so.  She knows she’ll be into more of the grownup rides, then, and more eager to see the stuff she won’t clearly remember.  

And I find, I can’t wait, either.  

Oh… OH!

I may in fact have gotten my plotting mojo back.  I’ve been plotting out the rest of the current WiP, and it looks like I may be out of the rut, finally.  Yay!

Now I have to keep with it.  Don’t let it get away from me, and all that.

Friday Fragment

It’s been a while…  This is just something I whipped up when I wasn’t doing anything else.  It’s probably awful. I’ll decide later.

With a slight pressure from his left knee, Jason signaled his mount; the dragon dipped it’s left wing and banked over San Francisco, the bay gleaming blue to his right, the ruins of the city’s old Financial District on his left.  He paid particular attention to the pyramidal shape of the Transamerica Building; the last time he’d flown by it, one of the scavengers that inhabited the old building had tried to snipe him off his dragon.

The building was little more than a shell; the financial district had been hit hardest by the earthquakes that attended the Return, and many of the city’s workers had died in the privations afterward, when the bridges into the city had been destroyed in the War and the peninsula to the south had become a wasteland due to the predations of the Returned.  Only San Francisco survived relatively intact, and even then, that was largely due to the Dragons.

The beast on which he rode turned to regard him with a baleful eye.  “Well, it was only right we help the City”he rumbled, the deep bass of his voice traveling up Jason’s legs and into his core.  “After all, it was our opening of the way that allowed the shik’aragh to return as well.”  Jason patted his neck.  The dragons still felt guilt over that; they’d tried to limit the species that returned from exile to those who could coexist with humanity, but they’d failed.  The deaths caused by vengeful creatures angry for their centuries of exile still haunted them.  

“Karg, it wasn’t your fault.  My father told me how you tried to save the cities south of the Wall.  But the War decimated your people, too.”

“All well and good, and I’m glad your father regarded me so highly as he did.  But that does not change the facts.  Had we stayed in the Shadowlands, none of this would have occurred, and your people would still number in the billions.”

10 Things I love about… Assassin’s Creed

Way back on my old LiveJournal, I started doing periodical “10 Things” posts, each one linked only by the fact there were 10 items.  This was originally inspired by the movie “Ten Things I Hate About You,” and I’ve come to love the concept so much that not only will I be doing them here, but I use them as periodic assignments in my classes.

Anyway, today’s “10 Things” is, as the headline says, 10 Things I love about the video game series, Assassin’s Creed.

1. The storyline isn’t what I expected.

When I first heard about the original AC game, I thought it was set totally in the past.  But when I looked into it, I realized it’s actually a Science Fiction story, in which Desmond Myles, a 21st century New York City bartender, is kidnapped by agents of a corporation and forced to use a machine called an Animus, which allows the user to relive ancestral memories encoded in their DNA.  Along the way, his own secrets are revealed: Desmond is actually a member of the Assassins, an order that goes back to the 12th century–and the Assassins are the good guys, fighting for freedom for all people against the Templars, who wish to “unite” humanity under their forced rule.  And the assassins are actually descendants of an earlier, advanced civilization, the memories of which helped inspire several religions and myths on earth.

2. Multiple Characters

In addition to Desmond, in the first game you play Altair through much of the game.  In the second, you play Desmond and his ancestor Ezio Auditore, who stays with you through two other games.  In AC3, you play yet another of Desmond’s ancestors.

3. High Stakes

The stakes in the AC universe are nothing less than the life of all the inhabitants of Earth.  You see, the First Civilization, who created humans as a slave race, were wiped out by a massive solar flare they didn’t see coming (due to fighting off a human rebellion).  In the aftermath, only 10000 humans and even fewer Ancients remained alive.  The two sides agreed to a truce, and began working together to ensure it never happened again.  Human/Ancient hybrids were created, and their descendants became the Assassins (though not all Assassins have the DNA, those who do are the most gifted).  Those with a high concentration of First Civilization DNA, such as Desmond, can “read” the memories of their ancestors by using the Animus, and Desmond has uncovered much of the background, including that the Ancients foresaw another, identical disaster would befall the Earth–on 12/21/2012.  So now Desmond must use the memories of his ancestors to uncover the secrets of the Earth’s history in order to find the installations the Ancients left for him to use to prevent the Earth’s destruction.  Read More »