Day 88: Some Drive Time Thoughts on Solex Panels

Since I had previously announced today would be a planned outage so that I could haul the girls to Houston for Thanksgiving week I suppose I can write anything I want and it will be better than taking a pass. I cant say I am excited that in addition to finishing potty training on the first two that I still have two more behind them.

I did try to resolve some of my hang-ups with the Shanty thread that’s developing. Mostly tried to work out a few details regarding solex panels and what they exactly do. I didn’t get as much done as I normally do on a drive of this length since no one saw fit to sleep. I’ll list them below and see if I can expand textually.

Solex panels dissolve into each other when arranged in a grid. This feature highlights the animate nature of the panels and aids in characterizing the magiciness of something that would otherwise seem to be technological. I suppose the visual gag would lend itself well to film. But there might be something in there that could be exploited for the plot. Maybe a virus or an evil spell blocks panels from rejoining or being separated?

Solex panels are used to not only collect solar energy, but also magic energy from the sun(?). This energy can be used for whatever (poorly defined) but so far it came to mind that maybe this would be a resource from being able to communicate with the tech it powers. So you have a solar powered toaster the toasts the bread with the electrical energy converted, but uses the magic energy to determine things like when the toast should be made, how toasty, and other personalized toast needs. So far this thinking is lame, but maybe it pans out in other ways. Maybe the magic just goes into a pool resource that the user can access?

Ah ha. Solex panels are only able to collect minute amounts of magic and then only the crudest quality. Thus this is more of a rainwater in a barrel or recycled paper sort of thing. A way for the common person to do some little magics?

Solex sounds like solace not rhymes with Rolex. Inspired by random pronunciation quirk.

In addition to the three above rock solid worldbuilding bits, I also decided that the balloons on Johnka’s sledge would be on really long cables. I think this will give the sledge greater stability since the pendulum is longer–have to look up. And might allow it to more easily navigate through narrow passages since the cables would be much thinner than the balloons.

Then those driving range nets for villages to curb overhead flits, hangers, and sticks came to mind.

Word count: 471

Day 84: Breaking The Fixer

Not that I have invited many folks over to this site that have then actually come, but I’ve noticed a sharp drop off in my readership stats.  It’s unclear why anyone was reading in the first place, but it makes me a little sad that the numbers are trending downward.  Ah well, it’s really not about you after all.

Gane knelt in front of the solex controller panel, hands comfortably on his thighs.  The acrid incense of silicon and chalpu root stains the sensors orange then ruddy brown.  So far the chanting hres is running without error.

This prayer/code thing is just hanging me up.  I keep choking on the terminology.  Maybe something else instead…

Two rounds vep and spack near Susan’s feet.  At least that’s the sounds she imagines they’d make if only she could hear as fast as the bullets travel.  Vep through the air; spack on the rock.

She chose this vantage, so technically she’s not pinned down.  In fact, their gunfire is a reminder of what she’s doing: waiting.  Waiting these men out.  Ever since Susan’s paid attention she’s noticed that men can’t abide a lack of change.  In fact, in lieu of continual status to remind them that nothing has changed, they’ll assume that it has.  Every time it works against them.

She and Karen were tomboys in grade school surprisingly Karen more than Susan.  The week of the Fourth between 6th and 7th grade they’d been lighting fire crackers and bottle rockets with Mark and Teeter.  More than once a dud would surface.  Initially every one gave them respect and distance, but three or four in that was gone, for the boys.  Mark burnt his hand and numbed his fingers on the last fire cracker he ever touched.  Teeter fell down laughing, Karen cried, and Susan sunk his hand into a cup of iced-tea.  They never could stay patient.

Susan’s last college boyfriend pulled the same thing in their junior year after a big fight.  He’d gotten drunk and danced too close and too long with another girl.  Susan knew it was a stupid fight at the time but couldn’t back down.  Eventually after a week of silent treatment she was ready to get back with him.  When she met with him the next Saturday, he’d already decided she’d broken up with him and more or less moved on.  Nothing had really changed.  She loved him, but since she wasn’t there all week to tell him and sleep with him, he’d gone an decided it was over.

Every time nothing changes, men assume it does.  So Susan lay here in this depression behind a recently fallen tree listening to them call out orders and occasionally vep and spack rounds a few inches above her well camouflaged feet.

Remarkably, beyond that and her general eagerness for them to lose their patience, all she could think of was how enjoyable it was to be hacking out another job here in the jungle.  The terrain was always soft and springy.

Word count: 495

Day 75: One of Shanty’s Ends

Thickening the plot remains elusive to me.  After I practice writing I must learn to practice thickening.  Even a runny plot would be better than what I regularly mix up.

If you take the time to read any of what I have written–here or elsewhere–you would likely discover that I dabble in images.  The very brief element of a scene is something I feel I am good at generating.  In addition to setting the scene, I like to think I am able to allude to a direction, to a conflict.  Regardless of your appreciation of my abilities to do that, I have that impression.  The thing is, I don’t have a plot or even a plan.  I just have a finite moment or two.  What I need is a next.

I’ve heard more than a few authors like to determine the beginning and end and then work out the middles.  I have tried that once and still not gotten the middle worked out.  Mathematician’s would argue once is not statistically valid–possibly it’s worth another shot.

What I have in my head while I am writing is this thing with Shanty.  I’ve ended up with three scenes pointed squarely at a single destination.  I think it’s clear that destination isn’t the end of the story, just the site of the initial physical conflict.  I like these scenes and I am enjoying the characters thus far.  I don’t want to let them down.  I don’t want to let them down by composing crap nor by not composing anything at all.  Each of the three began as a simple but concrete point of view effort to describe Shanty.  There was no intention.  Maybe I could just try the same technique on the ending…

Tritti held nothing more dead Johnka’s belt knife.  She held no doubt that she would next kill the Killer.

Gane’s enormous hres finally paid off with the location of his sister.  Behind this door.

You tug at your shackles.  You pray that when they chronicle your journey that they leave this next embarrassing part out then fear for your immediate death overwhelms you.

The young witch resolves from the darkness with only that knife as a weapon.  She imbues it and throws.  No matter how you move or jerk or turn away it will find you heart.  Gane opens the door, sees the knife, and shields you in time.

“Brother!”

Let’s see if we can put that to some use.

I should probably look into what comprises a good paragraph before I spend too much time composing any.  It’s doubtful I’ll discover anything I don’t already know about well written paragraphs, but I imagine the effort will beneficially remind me what I already know.  Not doing so perpetuates bad habits.

Word count: 453

Day 60: The Solex Guy

What has gone before.

It wasn’t a vow. It wasn’t a blessing-grade hres even. It was really more of a technique. Nearly two days into his fast if he just ate this one small slice of lamb, he’d not be throwing that much back up. If he even did get sick.

Gane marveled at how easily his single brain took sides against itself. If you throw it away you are wasting good food–good money. If you eat it you’re being untrue to yourself. You decided not to eat, you can decide when to eat. Yesterday’s Gane isn’t the boss of today’s Gane. [et cetera]

He looks around for an excuse, a starving child, a malnourished traveler, or some other graceful error handling. No out. Then he finds something. A sign. Probably from God. He’s being punished of course: no food or drink in slide car.

Alright that enough of the chatter about Gane fasting. It feels important but not interesting to write and it’s clearly me avoiding getting him over to the spike.

Let’s cut to the chase and get him over there and work out the head stuff later.

Gane’s penultimate stop is in the penthouse. His last in the basement–figures. At least for now he’s in the clean air and bright open room of a wealthier Tacon. That helps, because this is the largest array of solex panels he’s seen in a quarter.

He finishes his tertiary count. He’d expected 1024 but there were 1023 instead. The sun-worshiping Thapes were always one-offing the octals, something about not being too perfect. Tacon’s on the other hand were more practical about their solex: the panels come eight to a box, you can’t buy less than a full box, one-offing means throwing something away. Tacon’s don’t throw anything away they might need later. [something about being out here over the ocean and everything having value].

Gane measures the appropriate amount of silacaine then sifts in the powdered chintal seed. Despite being exactly tied tot he number of panels, the disappointingly near-white silacaine was more than a volumizing agent. It plus the chintal powder together was what powered his blessing.

I’m going to have to think more on blessing-grade hres before I can just hack one out.

Word count: 391

Day 50: The Solex Guy

Gane stood back from the clearcrete wall and the nerve-vibrating edge of oblivion. He was on deck for the next slide over to the ah’Taconschienteen spike. He had purposefully fasted since early the day before yesterday. His hunger drown out any nausea and focused his attention enough to stave off the worst of his vertigo. Chabe, a long dead technomonk, taught him that particular hres within a month of Gane taking vows. Gane had never been to ah’Taconschientee well fed.

His proper title was Solexcorp Technician – Prim. But the Tacons, and everyone else, just called him “The Solex Guy”.

While Gane’s bimonthly trips to the ah’Taconscienteen spike kept him lean of body and broad of billfold, they rolled tidal on his spirit. No hres he instantiated dampened his fluctuating emotions. Gane was certain the problem lay with the nature of his visits not the frequency or timing. One month wasn’t down and the next up. One trip wasn’t down and the next up. He could probably handle that–novitiate hres or even just alcohol could handle that. His problem was that his appointments bounced out to the extremes multiple time each trip. The best he could tell was that it matter where the solex was that he was blessing.

Higher up the spike things were brighter, bluer. Lower down he had to intone the blessing with greater ferocity to get the same effect. Lower down it smelled. Brine. Refuse–human and other. Lower down it was brown.

His visits were never timed to start at one end and work to the other. That might have helped. He wasn’t sure if top to bottom or the reverse would be more pleasing. He did think that gradual was the way to go. On this visit he’d been able to force a few of the appointments to different times. He’d wanted to go bottom to top, but even before he’d gotten the calendaring girl to swap a few around they were trending downward.

The light breeze off the ocean reversed. Cool salty air became the succulent sent of barbecued lamb in an instant. Gane’s mouth watered and he inhaled deeply. The cheenwood smoke mixed with the near burnt aroma of meat made him close his eyes and forget his fear of heights. Involuntarily he reached for the coins in his pocket and took a step toward the nearest vendor.

Hunger simultaneously propelled him forward and questioned his earlier decision to fast. The flavor of berry pepper in his nostrils suggested that this time his nausea was cured. He could eat this trip with no problem.

[some stuff here]

“Free sample,” the veteran vendor called out. The old man deftly sliced a bite sized morsel from the end of a cooling skewer and thrust it in Gane’s direction. When Gane didn’t respond the vendor quickly switched to Taconese, “Quee quee!”

Not wanting to be rude and balancing the likelihood of one piece of meat crashing his hres he accepted it. He hoped he didn’t look ravenous gulping it down. But then he felt even more compelled to purchase the remainder of the skewer. Rather than eat it, he held it in front of him like an unmade decision till it was cold.

Word count: 205

Day 34: The Solex Guy

While Gane’s bimonthly trips to the ah’Taconscienteen spike kept him lean of body and broad of billfold, they rolled tidal on his spirit. No hres he instantiated scoped his fluctuating emotions. Gane was certain the problem lay with the nature of his visits not the frequency or timing. One month wasn’t down and the next up. One trip wasn’t down and the next up. He could handle that. Hres or even just alcohol could handle that. His problem was that scoped out to the extremes multiple time each trip. The best he could tell was that it matter where the solex was that he was blessing.

Higher up the spike things were brighter, bluer. Lower down he had to intone the blessing with greater ferocity to get the same effect. Lower down it smelled. Brine. Refuse–human and other. Lower down it was brown.

His visits were never timed to start at one end and work to the other. That might have helped. He wasn’t sure if top to bottom or the reverse would be more pleasing. He did think that gradual was the way to go. On this visit he’d been able to force a few of the appointments to different times. He’d wanted to go bottom to top, but even before he’d gotten the calendaring girl to swap a few around they were trending downward.

Day 33: The Solex Guy

Yesterday’s review felt a little like cheating. I haven’t established any rules about what content makes it into these little sessions. To be sure that review was significantly more meaty than all of the first week of effort.

It feels unfair because it is meta-writing–even if it’s original for me. I wont be cutting those out entirely. I recognize that one of the things I do poorly is review things. My reviews need to get better because I like to review things. Can’t get better without trying.

But they’ll be fewer in number than the creative pieces.

Let me be creative…

I was thinking that I would do a second description of the ah’Taconschientee. Maybe I’ll do several.

Gane stood back from the clearcrete wall and the nerve-vibrating edge of oblivion. He was on deck for the next slide over to the ah’Taconschienteen spike. He had purposefully fasted since early the day before yesterday. His hunger drown out any nausea and focused his attention enough to stave off the worst of his vertigo. Chabe, a long dead technomonk, taught him that particular hres within a month of Gane taking vows. Gane had never been to ah’Taconschientee well fed.

His proper title was Solexcorp Technician – Prim. But the Tacons, and everyone else, just called him “The Solex Guy”.