A Taste of November (1/30)

Posted: November 1, 2010 in Uncategorized

Okay. Here we are. “The November Project.”

Today went well. I’ve started the primary part of my diet, which is, simply enough, “don’t eat so much.” It seems obvious, but if one piece of sticky pizza is good, then aren’t two better? Four? Lunch at Souplantation didn’t make it easy, but I kept to one bowl each, one bread, and a plate full of lettuce. Tonight’s sticky pizza was harder, mostly because it had to be peeled from the tin foil, but I’m down from eating six pieces to three. So, better. Also, got almonds for snacks. No more baking until at goal weight. (Well, except for baking a cheesecake for Kay on Sunday. But I’ll do it with Splenda. Don’t tell.)

Updated all of my jobs on the iPhone into new app “Epic Win.” As my parents always told me growing up, “not everything is a game.” I have disproved this now by making “do dishes” and “take insulin” into experience point gaining quests. I hope to level up after I get my xp for writing this blog.

Nanowrimo is actually taking off well. Last year this time I spent the first week slowly ramping up to the 1,633 daily run. So far today I’m at 1,530. I see cracking the daily goal as completely doable. Also, since I’m doing something that I’ve got lots of old notes on, it’s easier sailing than last year, where I made it all up as I went along. [Okay, because I’m multitasking, I actually just hit 1,681, so ignore that last part. Already done.]

So. November starting out well. So well, in fact, that I’m going to treat you all to a bonus passage from the Nanowrimo novel. This takes place right after the excerpt I posted on http://www.nanowrimo.org/eng/user/156399 so go read that first (and marvel at my word count!) Then come back and read this:

Scrolling back up the article to the actual footnote (the notation simply yet alliteratively read “Ace Archer Archive”) Caryn reread the quote requiring such odd attribution.

“…since the ignition of deuterium is theoretically possible with the Super Marx Generator, rather than deuterium-tritium with a laser where 80% of the energy goes into neutrons (barring a proof of the Prospero fractal laser theory1, which could reduce said percentage to a far more functional 20%), this would also mean a breakthrough in fusion research, and therefore would justify the large development costs.”

The article, by a Dr. Daniel Juergensen was being reposted to arXiv.org, and Caryn’s bosses at Samaritan Press Services had been licensed by the ubernerds at arXiv to “trust but verify (and don’t even trust very much at that)” every scientific article being catalogued there. It was great work for Caryn, whose background was more in the literary arts; in the two months she’d been at SPS she’d learned more rocket science than a brain surgeon.

This, however, was the first time that Caryn had found something actually fun in one of the articles. She smiled, imagining dear old untrustworthy Professor Prospero down on earth advising modern military-industrial contractors on how he had coaxed greater gain from his lasers when he fired them against the legionnaires of Malus Khan. Caryn suppressed a giggle with her right hand, at the same time her left was already at work entering “prospero dr William s” into the browser.

This time, Google had the best response. It started weakly with a family practitioner named “Dr. Prospero Viarkanian, MD” in Louisville, KY who was a tenured medical professor at Bellarmine University, but followed it up with dubious Wikipedia’s entry on Shakespeare’s The Tempest, which promised to include the sentence fragment “Dr. William Prospero.” It had been two years since Caryn had been to a Shakespeare performance, so the Tempest link got clicked and followed even as Caryn realized she really should be using the search string “Professor Prospero,” instead of “Dr. Prospero.” The citation from the arXiv paper had thrown her.

Still, tucked away at the bottom of the Tempest article under the “Other Media” heading was a single-line entry about Professor Prospero. “In the Ace Archer tales, a narrative homage occurs as Dr. Will Prospero summons pilot Ace Archer on board his starship, The Tempest. When the ship is lost in space with Archer, girlfriend Anne Stevens and sidekick Chip Charles, the group must find a way home; they are exiled much as Prospero himself is exiled in the Bard’s play.”

Caryn blinked at the screen, the rest of her body reacting with stiff disbelief. Anne Stevens was her grandmother’s maiden name, the very same grandmother who had spent summers reading Caryn the Ace Archer books.

It wasn’t that Caryn didn’t believe in coincidence; she knew the odds of stochastic synchronicity were fairly likely. Just because you were listening to “Little Deuce Coupe” the same time you saw one on the highway didn’t mean anything… there were millions of similar incidents each day that didn’t happen. Minor coincidences like that were pleasant distractions. What Caryn did believe was that when the big connections happened, they meant something.

It wasn’t coincidence that Granne, who loved the Ace Archer tales, had the same name as the woman Ace Archer loved. Nor was it coincidence that Caryn had been given the arXiv.org paper containing the footnote that lead her to find this connection. While she would never have used such an embarrassingly romantic word as “destiny,” Caryn didn’t have any trouble accepting this as fate.

The rocket propulsion article was forgotten. Caryn began an extensive Internet search on every aspect of Ace Archer.

More Ace tomorrow!

Doug

Next: Day two of thirty straight blog entries.

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