Talking to Humans

This one’s a little different than what I’ve done here before. I wrote a non-fiction book. What’s even stranger is that it’s a kind of self help book for those of us that have difficulty relating to others. It walks through different goals for interaction, identifying effective strategies and warning of pitfalls. It’s a big mass of concepts that I’ve collected and tested.

It runs just over 200 pages on a novel size paperback with generously sized print. If I keep editing and expanding ideas it may end up more.

It also features an off kilter narrator that may or may not really understand humans. They may not even be human themselves.

Right now it’s in the editing phase. It needs polish to make the information clearly understandable. It’s kind of a herky jerky rollercoaster ride right now, but I almost like it better that way. I’ve had some readers with positive feedback so far, but of course I could always use more.

Let’s see where this takes us.

Hi tech memory

I had a strange thought this morning for a feature of a high tech world. What if materials in a high tech setting had a way of remembering things? What kind of things? That’s where this gets interesting.

The initial thought was a material that knows who owns it and who owned it in the past. Basically a blockchain stamp that records a trail of ownership. The idea being that there are molecular arrangements that act as a watermark. Some device would be used to brand the memory into the material. The information is read externally, possibly via x-ray. This is what I’m going to call Memory 1 material.

Memory 2 material can form it’s own memories but it’s not intelligent. This means that the material only “remembers” what it’s told to remember. Some kind of nanotech material that can be written to is dispersed in the material and can re-write itself. There’s a pathway to communicating with the material so that information can be encoded. That pathway could be any number of things like a laser or radio waves or something more exotic if you don’t want people to alter it’s memory.

Memory 3 material has external senses and can remember events that happen to it. These senses may be very limited to strain, temperature and possibly chemical detection. Each time there’s a change, the material remembers it.

Memory 4 is when a material can communicate with other local objects to gather data about what’s going on with it. The paint talks to the metal it’s on and they share events.

Memory 5 materials are intelligent and can make choices about what is important or unusual. Instead of simply collecting events, these materials look for outliers and significant patterns to record from the materials and devices around them.

Memory 6 starts to display sentience. It is aware of itself, the things around it and the people (possibly chemical signatures) around it. It gathers data from materials and can actively communicate with devices designed to talk to it.

Memory 7 displays a distinct personality. It has preferences of it’s own and has a concept of how it wants to be used and manipulated.

Always Starting

The last few years have been rough. They’ve taken a lot out of me and I often wonder if I’ll get back to where I was before them. I don’t even feel like I’m the same core person I was before and that’s deeply disturbing because for most of my life I’ve had a concept of myself that I aspired to. It’s not that I couldn’t aspire to that person anymore, it’s just that I don’t know if I can remember him.

That’s the context. What I want to write about is the stress that has hurt my ability to work on projects. I definitely don’t want to give up on them but I’m struggling. The side effect of that struggling is I keep coming up with new projects to start and not finishing anything.

The reason is it’s easier to conceptualize an idea than to pick one back up. Why? because I have to essentially load the current state of a project into memory, to manipulate it and move forward. If I’m uninterrupted, this feels like a flow state and it’s pleasurable. Unfortunately that takes time and effort. I have time. That’s not the issue. I spend my time watching youtube videos on science, making and literature. I’m not sad that I’ve learned a lot of interesting things but it isn’t my goal.

What I don’t have is the emotional energy to discipline myself and focus. I worry that this might be a permanent state. I don’t think it has to be. If I were to force myself to work on a project and finish it, I think I could get my focus back. So why haven’t I?

Finishing games or stories takes a good deal of concentration. Being able to do that concentrative meditative work, I feel, makes me sharper. It also takes effort and big chunk of my effort, my mental energy has been going into averting disasters. My creative pursuits have rightly taken a back seat.

I’m in a relatively calmer place right now but I’m not sure when the next crisis will pop up. Actually I’m in the middle of one right now. I’ve sold my house and the house we were going to move to was snatched out from under us by another buyer with better connections and probably more money. Even with that going on, things have improved for the moment.

The problem is I’m not sure if the other fires are fully out. They could come roaring back and that has me hopping back and fourth between thoughts. I’m not sure I should take my eye off them right now. Staying in that fight or flight mode trains me to be vigilant but prevents me from thinking deeply and that bothers me greatly. I want to be able to think deeply.

So here’s to hoping things keep calming down and the fires are out. I hope I’m able to settle down and rebuild the habits that get me to finish projects. That’s not an empty hope, I am still motivated to get them done, I’m just hedging my bets at the moment. The longer I stay in this mode, the more it’s going to take to get back to where I was, so I’m eager to find a way.


I’d like to make things that help friends communicate with each other who they truly are. There are plenty of barriers to authentic communication. Trying to break down those barriers so you can earn trust is hard work. I believe those barriers can be circumvented when we “play” and that’s what I want to use to help people express themselves to their friends.

Working On Station Keepers

Hey, I can finally say I’ve run a successful Kickstarter! Station Keepers is a go and I’m furiously working on it. The first phase of getting a functional structure is in place and now I’m working on infusing it with some more meaning. Not that I’m trying to shoehorn meaning into it, but each design speaks in it’s own voice. Station Keepers has a specific voice and I’m trying to find it. Maybe I have my metaphor, but I’ll have to see if I can make it work.

Building a Community

These are questions useful for world building and planning campaigns based on different sized communities.

Food – Plant
Where does the community get their grains, beans, nuts, vegetables and fruit?
Locally grown – Circle all that apply
All, Staples, Supplemental, Luxuries

Imported – Circle all that apply
All, Staples, Supplemental, Luxuries

Does the community grow produce for other communities? Yes, No

Where do they export to?

Food – Animal
Does the community eat animal products? Yes, No

Circle the activities the community takes part in for food and sport. Fish, Hunt, Trap

Are domestic animals farm raised?

Locally Raised – Circle all that applies
All, Staples, Supplemental, Luxuries

Imported – Circle all that applies
All, Staples, Supplemental, Luxuries

Are there large herds? Yes, No

Do families keep a few animals for food? Yes, No

Does the community export animals? Yes, No

Do they host hunters from other communities? Yes, No

Do they host fishermen from other communities? Yes, No

Food Service
Is there a market or restaurants? Yes, No

Are these services for the local population or to accommodate travelers? Local, Travelers

Does the community have breweries wineries or distilleries? Breweries, Wineries, Distilleries

Are these commercial businesses or operated by individuals?

Fuel – Electrical
Does this community have access to electrical power? Yes, No

If so, how widespread is it’s distribution? Central source, Distributed source, Distribution network

Why do people receive electrical power? They pay money, It is considered a right, By title position or rank

Generating electricity requires powerplants and possibly electrical transmission equipment.

Is water, wind, steam engine, or some relic the source of electrical power? Water, Wind, Solar, Steam, Other

Where does the community get the fuel for electricity?

Fuel – Chemical
What fuels are used?
Wood, Coal, Gas, Oil, Animal dung Other

How do people cook their food?

Do people control their home’s temperature, how?

Do they use fuel from local sources? Yes, No

Do they import fuel? Yes, No

How abundant is the supply?

What machinery, equipment and jobs are needed to provide fuel?

Raw Materials
Does the community harvest trees for building materials?

Do they grow crops or raise animals for making thread?

Do they have clay in their soil for making bricks or tiles?

Do they mine for metal

Are raw materials imported? From where?

Refined Materials
Does the community refine raw materials?

Circle how they refine materials
Lumber mill, Weavers for textiles, Smelting refinery, Cement kilns, Brickworks, Chemical plant, Oil refinery

If the community does not have these facilities themselves, where can materials be obtained from?

How often can the materials be acquired?

Does the community produce it’s own tools?

How do they make tools? Circle all that apply.
Carpenter, Blacksmith, Foundry, Machinist

Do they import tools? From where?

How hard is it to obtain tools?

Communities will need a source of clothing. Does the community make their own?

If so, for small towns they may have tailors or for large cities, garment factories. However in very small communities a family member may make clothing for each household.

Where does the community get their textiles? Where do they get the tools for making clothing come from? At it’s simplest this could be sowing needles.

If the community does not make their own clothing, where does it come from?

The vast majority of communities make use of some kind of shelter. The more the society produces as product, the more elaborate their homes are.

Who makes the shelters the community uses? Does a family make their own? Are their skilled individuals that build shelters? Is there an industry for making shelters?

Where do the refined materials and tools for shelters come from?

How do people move themselves and goods around?

If they use animals, which animals are used and for what purposes?

Are the animals used as mounts or do they pull carts or wagons?

Who makes the gear for harnessing animals?

Who makes the carts if they are used?

Does the community use powered transportation?

Where do the vehicles come from? Who maintains them?

Does the community use water travel? Are there special hazards in doing so?

Who makes the boats or ships?

Are there different tiers of prestige linked to methods of transport?

How is law and order maintained?

How does the community ward off attacks from the outside?

Is there a central figure that handles security or are there many people that get involved in security decisions?

In small close knit communities, law and order may be kept socially, where each individual upholds the group’s ethics.

Larger towns, especially those with travelers going through it may need someone empowered to enforce law like a sheriff or chief. In the case of external attack, the enforcer is likely to select able individuals to aid them in defense.

Cities require a network of enforcers such as a military or police force. In many cases, the role of maintaining law and external defense are different specialized roles but not always.

Does the community make aggressive attacks on others?

If so, are the attacks carried out by untrained civilians or a trained, dedicated military?

Why would the community make aggressive actions against others? What could make them change their stance?

Small communities may raid neighbors for resources especially if they are not self sufficient. Often a leader selects and possibly trains individuals to go on raids.

Tribal or territorial conflicts may cause medium sized communities to attack one another. These are usually calculated attacks intended to push back a rival. These conflicts are often carried out by militia that arm themselves.

City states may go to war over trade conflicts philosophical differences or territorial disputes. City states are likely to have militias or their own standing army depending on how centrally controlled they are.

Who does the entertaining in the community?

Are there a few talented people that play music or act?

Is entertainment something that everyone has a part in?

Do travelers have a part in sharing stories from afar?

What kinds of entertainment is common, what kinds are taboo?

Even in small communities information is an important resource. What is the role of gossip in the community?

How much are people involved in news of their community?

Is keeping up on the lives of people encouraged or is it frowned on?

Is there an industry built around information or is it just a hobby?

Is there one or more dedicated spy networks?

Information Distribution
Is there a way of recording and spreading news?

How do people find out about events that happen around them?

World Door Chapter 6 – Answers


“I’m not going anywhere.” I said. “None of that matters if everyone in my family dies in the plague. The one I could have stopped!”

“Mechal, listen, this plague might kill them or the next or the one after that. The only real solution is to end the plagues. You are the only person that can do that.” Ashlyn said.

“How? How am I supposed to go through this door. Don’t you think they had Tows when the village was founded?” I said.

This actually took Ashlyn back a bit she seemed rattled by it.

“I see. You really haven’t thought this through. You just hope it will work.” I taunted.

“You think you’ve got things figured out? Turn off your pet and I’ll tell you what you really are.” Ashlyn said. Continue reading “World Door Chapter 6 – Answers”

Glyph becomes World Door

I’ve been working on a novel that I’ve been calling Glyph. Originally I thought I’d have to tell two separate stories about the world. I resolved the issues I had with telling it in one. With that in mind, I’ve been thinking about the title.

It would be more appropriate to call the story World Door.

I’ll be changing the titles to match this.

World Door Chapter 5 – Error


We packed slowly in the morning and started on the trail. We hadn’t gotten far when we spotted the sisters heading towards us. They actually looked worried.

“Ho, sisters.” Thain called.

“Ho.” Janna called back.

They approached us quickly. Something had to be wrong for them to show themselves to us. I thought to run ahead, but my blistered feet would not allow it.

As they got closer Janna stopped and raised her hand in front of her. Ashlyn started to circle.

“Behind you!” Janna said.

I we turned but saw nothing coming up the trail. We all looked back for clarification.

“The tigerwolf!” She yelled.

I tried to laugh but nothing came out. “That’s Melsa!” I called back.

Continue reading “World Door Chapter 5 – Error”

World Door Chapter 4 – Lien


I walked back to where I had left the hunters. As I went I wondered what the sisters would want with this world door and why they needed me. Did they want me to transfer Melsa to this creature they were afraid of? Were they there when my brother died? My Father never mentioned them being there. Were they watching from the shadows?

Melsa flew from tree to tree as I trudged through the woods. I couldn’t figure out how Ashlyn was able to walk without stepping on a twig or kicking a root. I made so much noise as I walked, the hunting party knew I was coming long before I arrived. Not only that she moved faster than I could.

“Ho, Mr. Hill!” Hane called.

I waved and continued my approach. Lien met me as I got closer, he had used my delay to set traps.

“Mechal,” He began “This is bad business, the sisters. I don’t even know what you talked about, but I know they’re baiting you. And this business with the bird is at the heart of it.”

Continue reading “World Door Chapter 4 – Lien”