Day 93: Ailchas Pees in New Zealand

Been thinking about doing a little clean up around here.  I like the clean lines and the focus on the words.  I like that I didn’t have to do anything to get it that way too.  I don’t want to spent too much time with the site design since this is primarily about the writing, but the title font is a just a little too small and the link color too hard to distinguish.

What follows is more talky stuff since I can’t find the time to be creative on the holiday.

I am reminded at how much I really dig other cultures.  Especially the subtle differences with respect to the same activities.  At work I am exposed to the twittering of a group of folks in the UK.  It’s work so I don’t get any of their wacky swear words, but there are still differences.  One mentioned trains recently and it struck me how European such a notion is–I suspect it’s Asian too.  I live in the west and sometimes in the mountains.  Trains are for cattle and coal.  I am not sure you can even put people on a train in Oklahoma.

On our fifth anniversary we went to New Zealand.  There were so many different ways to do the same thing it left me marveling.  Never paid up front for a hotel–never gave credentials indicating that I could.  Always paid up front for food–typing was inexplicable.  Ketchup was too.  Urinals were nearly always metal and raised off the main floor a step.  Most of them drained under you feet as you peed through a grill.  Toilets had number one and number two flush options.  I never signed a waiver of law suit even though I rented a car and a kayak as well as flew in a sail plane.  There were almost no stop signs–only give ways. Lots of round abouts.  All of our driving was on two lane roads, none of the bridges were more than one lane.  One of those shared the crossing with a train.

All this is to say that I need to capture that experience for Ailchas when he goes back in time.  The trick is to capture it in such a way as to tweak the reader’s sensibilities as well.  Maybe it’s time to read "Job: A Comedy of Justice" again.  Heinlein pulled that of marvelously.  As I recall it was best done by allowing the reader to make assumptions about what they thought the main character was familiar with and then dousing them with reality.  Of course that’s easier for Heinlein since, in addition to knowing how to write, his characters were ostensibly in the ‘real world’.  Ailchas is not.