Travels of a Crocheting Groupie

Over the years I’ve done some strange posts.  I’ve written about a variety of things, most of them revolving around writing, but sometimes I go places and do things that are interesting to others.  And there have been times when I’ve reveled things about myself that have surprised and sometimes shocked people.

This post . . . it’s a little of everything.  A tail of travel to exotic movie locations, a look at things on a long journey, and a bit of strange, personal information about me.

So, let’s get to the full disclosure:

I am a crocheting groupie.

I’ve been a member of a group on Facebook, HodgePodge Crocheting, for as long at the group has been around.  Why, you ask?  Do you crochet?  No, I am not a hooker, which is what we call someone who does.  Then why are you there?  Because my bestest friend, Tanya, owns the group, and she included me in the group when she put it together.  In fact, there are only three other people who joined before me, and the owner of the group is one, so there.

For the longest time I was a private groupie, because I wasn’t out as a woman yet, and the thousands of people in the group–yes, that’s true, we’re over three thousand strong–weren’t aware of my status as a transwoman.  But one day I jumped in on a question about gender identity in young kids, and that was it:  I was off and running.

These days I’m the Memestress and Keeper of Helena, our own Drama Llama, one of the Lorekeepers of TARDIS Knowledge, and a member in good standing.  I’ve also been promising to show off our groupie tee shirt . . .

See, a while back we sold tee shirts to our members, one with the group logo and the wording that proclaimed that we were proud HodgePodge Groupies.  Many members have already shown theirs, and I was getting questions about when I was going to show mine.  The answers were always the same:  I’m going to show it soon, and I’m going to do it at a famous movie location.

A couple of weeks ago, it was time to get to some picture taking.

To get to where I needed to go was gonna take some time, so I headed out early, pretty much as the sun was coming up, and began driving west:

Look:  mountains ahead!

Look: mountains ahead!

As you can see the Pennsylvania Turnpike is curving up into the mountains.  Just behind that “Blue Mountain” sign is the first of four tunnels I needed to traverse.  There are two just on the other side of the sign, then another about ten miles beyond that, and then further to the west, the Allegheny Tunnel, which is the longest on the turnpike.

Now, what do I do when I’m out driving for long periods of time?  Wouldn’t you know it, I shot a video!  First off, it’s not the car moving, it’s the camera:  I was holding it in my right hand while I drove with my left, and kept the vehical on cruise control.  The music is loud because that’s usually how I keep it when I’m driving.  Don’t try this at home, kids:  I’m a professional.  And at about forty-four seconds you’ll probably notice some caterwauling which is me doing my best to sing.

My best isn’t that good.

Beyond that is Sideling Hill–a place I visited last year–and this place:  Breezewood, home of a lot of places to stop and eat, as well as Gateway to the Abandoned Turnpike.

You should see this place at night--I have.

You should see this place at night–I have.

I needed to get a bit of breakfast and some coffee, and since I was running just a little ahead of schedule, it was a good place to relax and decompress.  Because I had a long ways to go to get to my first stop . . .

Right here, just south of Pittsburgh.

I heard the shopping here was a little "dead".

I heard the shopping here was a little “dead”.

I know more than a few of you are saying or thinking, “Cassie, why’d you drive half way across the state to visit a shopping mall?”  Because this isn’t just any shopping mall:  this is a famous movie location.  Monroeville Mall was the location for the filming of the original Dawn of the Dead, the second of the original George Romero zombie movies, released in 1978.  Filming took place from ten PM until 6 AM; at which point the mall Muzak came on and since no one knew how to switch it off, that was a wrap.

Since I was in the area I thought, hey, stop in and look around.  See if any of the undead are still around . . .

Zombies?

Zombies?

Yoo hoo?  You around?

Yoo hoo? You around?

Calling all Walkers.

Calling all Walkers.

Since it's fall, all the girls who love fall will be here trying to get their pumpkin spiced candles.

Since it’s fall, all the girls who love fall will be here trying to get their pumpkin spiced candles when they’re undead.

The mall has changed a great deal since 1978:  new stores, new look, probably even a layout change here and there–though the food court still looked pretty funky, so I gotta wonder if there’s been many updates there.  Since I didn’t see any zombies, I bought a pair of boots and a pair of flats.  Because . . . shopping.

Here we have Dawn of the Bitchy Resting Face.

Here we have Dawn of the Bitchy Resting Face.

But this isn’t where I really wanted to show myself wearing my groupie tee shirt.  I said I was doing it at a famous movie location, and I knew just the place.  Because before you can have a Dawn, you need a Night . . .

Night of the Living Dead wasn’t just a genre changer, it was a genre maker.  Before this movie zombies were some drugged-out losers controlled by a bokor.  Everything that we know and love about zombies started with this moving, and while many have added to the mythos, without this little film you wouldn’t today have a guy on TV running around drilling zombies with a crossbow, a woman lopping off heads with a katana, another guy running around yelling “Coral!” and a woman who wants you to just look at the flowers.

Romero started the zombie apocalypse with a virus brought back from space (just like Robert Kirkman would lie about a few decades later when he pitched The Walking Dead and said the zombies were begin created by aliens) and before you knew it, the dead were crawling around looking to add to their numbers and fill their bellies at the same time.  He didn’t have a lot of money for filming, and he pretty much had to just shoot wherever he could–like an hour up the road from Pittsburgh in Evans City.

All of the shooting took place outside a house that is no longer standing, and inside a house right inside town that is still there.  But George needed some place special for the opening shots, which would involve–what we didn’t know at the time–the first attack by a zombie on a living person in cinematic history.

Where would you do that?  Where do you think?

"I need dead people.  Where's a good place to find them?"

“I need dead people. Where’s a good place to find them?”

Welcome to the Evans City Cemetery, and that sign in the above photo was in the movie.  This is it:  Ground Zero for Zombie History, because up the winding road and at the top of the hill is where George filmed Barbara and her douchey brother Johnny visiting their father’s grave before Johnny stupidly joins the ranks of the undead.

Here’s the small chapel in front of which Johnny and Barbara stopped:

It looks a lot better when it's not in black and white.

It looks a lot better when it’s not in black and white.

Here’s the lucky couple paying their respects:

Johnny can't even remove his driving gloves.

Johnny still being a douche, however.

And the site today:

Much better in color.

Much better in color.

And then Mister Don’t Say the Zed Word shows up and Barbara trying to escape from the horror:

Run, Barbara, Run!

Run, Barbara, Run!

And almost forty-five years later, Cassidy is trying to do a Barbara.

Zombies?  Are you there?  This is Cassidy.  Come and get me.

Zombies? Are you there? This is Cassidy. Come at me, bros.

Famous movie locations:  since a lot of my friends, Tanya among them, are huge Walking Dead fans, where better to show off my HodgePodge Groupie tee shirt than the site of the first cinematic zombie attack.  And am I worried I’ll be attacked by the undead?  No.  Not only because it’s a bright, sunny day, but . . .

Back off, Walker dudes:  I got my hooks.

Back off, Walker dudes: I got my hooks.

And I bought a big one just in case things get serious:

I'd be about a million times more bad ass if I had a katana.  And I was a bad ass woman who knew how to use it.

I’d be about a million times more bad ass if I had a katana. And I was a bad ass woman who knew how to use it.

I even managed to get my get my favorite traveling companion in one shot, my trusty CR-V with almost 150,000 miles on the odometer.

 

A girl and her car can't be seperated.

A girl and her car can’t be separated.

So there you have it:  travels to Zombieland, with stop-offs for breakfast on the way out:

Good morning!

Good morning!

And a stop for pumpkin spice latte on the way back:

Here

Good afternoon.

All that took place two weeks ago, on a Sunday, the 14th of September.  But I wasn’t quiet done . . .

See, today–the day of this post–is my friend Tanya’s birthday, and one of the things I wanted to do was wish her a happy birthday in a special way.  Because she’s . . . well, she’s a friend like no other, and you do lovely things for those friends.  I had intended to film a message for her while I was snapping pictures back in Evans City, but then realized, “Nope, I’m in the zombie graveyard, I need a better place.”  Which brings me a little closer to home:  near my apartment, down in Riverside Park right by the river.

So, without further ado, my birthday greeting.

And there you have it:  the travels of a crocheting groupie out to show off her tee shirt to not only her friends in her group, but to her friends on this blog . . . and most importantly, to try and make today a special day for my friend and, in many ways, my creative muse.

Until next year . . .

Abomination Time, Moving

We’ve come to that point in the story where people may die.  Well, they already had, but this is getting more personal now, isn’t it?

But I didn’t have time for writing yesterday.  Not really.  I went over a few things about this character I’m creating–for one, her name is Lauren Rafferty, her month is Cecilia Rafferty, aka “Cici”, and her father was Jacob Rafferty.  Also, since I was on the road a lot–I was actually twelve hours away from home–I was pretty knackered by the time I rolled back though the door a little after six PM.  But I had fun:

Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks and kinda Ugg boots.  Total Basic White Girl stuff going on here.

Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks and kinda Ugg boots. Total Basic White Girl stuff going on here.

And I brought home some new friends . . .

All hail my new ponies!

All hail my new ponies!

As I said yesterday I’d written a few things, almost five hundred words, Saturday, and since I didn’t get to it last night, I’ll have to get to it tonight.  But since I already have something, it would be poor of me not to share it with you.  So let’s go!

 

(All excerpts, this page, from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

18:26 to 18:30

Kerry followed Emma along the wall gap, flying south at a good rate. He fell in behind her because his knee was killing him and it made it difficult to things clearly, and with Emma relatively undamaged and clear of thought, having her pick their way at high speed along the Cove Path wall towards the Reservoir curve was a far better thing—

He was about doing this right, not letting his ego get in the way of who was best for this kind of flight. Emma was the best right now, that’s all there was: let her lead.

As for the rest . . .

Once Kerry had admitted that her plan made sense, it was difficult to convince her that they were better off staying and not moving. It was a bad thing to say it aloud, for once that was past his lips there was no taking it back. And there was no chance of Emma saying no. Not now.

The only thing to do was saddle up and make their way towards the wall.

Kerry had to admit that Emma’s plan was good. Using the night vision ability in their goggles they were able to take their time inching through the forest. Finding southwest wasn’t hard with the HUDs working, and they made their to the Cove Path in about five minutes. Then it was another few minutes of creeping through the forest before they reached the wall gap.

After that Emma led them south, reading the wall to know when it was safe to jump onto the Green Line, hop back over Cove Path—keeping close to the trees—and then winding up the speed on Gloucester Bend. Kerry kept his eyes tied to her back, because his mind was bouncing a little. He was trying to push the pain in his knee away, as well as reminding himself that leaving it wasn’t that bad an idea to leave their hidey-hole. Mostly, though, he kept remembering something he promised Annie, and he felt he’d broken some kind of bond by flying through the dark with Emma right now.

“It’s right here.” Emma pointed to her left and popped up and over the trees. Kerry followed and couple of seconds later found himself on the apex of Reservoir curve. He kept turning to the left, following Emma as she popped over Cove Path again, then dropped in behind her as they accelerated through Gloucester Bend and the southern most section of the Green Line.

He was just passing two hundred kilometers an hour when Kerry once again felt like someone was sitting directly behind him. He was about to say something when he heard Professor Soloman’s voice. “Attention all fliers. This is Nightwitch. Communications have been restored. Report to your rendezvous points if you are not already there. Do not respond to this transmission. Over and out.”

 

There you are:  Salem is back on the air.  And a couple of kids are racing like mad, in the dark, to get to safety.  What happens next?

I’ll write that tonight.

You better, girl, or the abomination is coming for you!

You better, girl, or the abomination is coming for you!

Back to the Character Boards

Before getting to all the Abomination nastiness–of which I wrote close to five hundred words last night, but it was the boring setup so no need to worry–I realized that I’m doing a quick post because today is one of those days where I’m out doing stuff again–you know, things . . .   And really, I am.  Oh, the things and stuff I’m doing . . .

But that’s beside the point.  Here’s the point of this post . . .

'Yes, Cassidy, enthrall us with you wisdom of stuff and things . . .

“Yes, Cassidy, enthrall us with you wisdom of stuff and things . . .”

I have a couple of ongoing projects this coming week.  I have to finish a book I’m reading, and . . . I have a make a character.

Let me explain that last.

I’m back to writing with someone.  It’s a strange sort of experimental thing, because we’re going to speak epistolary story.  If you don’t know what that means, our characters are telling a story through letters.  Which we are really doing, because we’re sending the story to each other in letter form, but ass our characters.

You fallow?

Like I said, a strange and interesting, and perhaps wonderful thing.  And considering I haven’t done anything hand-written in a long time, I’ll probably have to send along a decipher key so my friend will be able to understand my chicken scratch.

The thing I’ve started this week is developing the character.  There was a time when I used to knock this out in no time back in the old days, but today I know a little bit more about creating characters that are real, who have real body and interest and desires.

How I usually do that is by walking around my apartment and talking to myself.  Seriously.  That’s usually how I create all my characters.  I get an idea, and then I start talking.  Yeah, I know:  I sound like the eponymous character from last night’s Doctor Who episode, but that’s pretty much how I do it.

Or I do it while I’m driving.  I’m blogged before how I’ve worked out scenes for my stories–particularly this story I’m working on–where I’ll just “speak out” the character’s dialog while I’m zipping down the road at 80 mile an hour.  I’ve worked out many a scene that way, and there’s a good chance that I’ll do that today.

See, I already know what this character is like; I already have some ground rules for her, and I have an image in my head for how she looks.  That’s always important, because I need to see them and feel them before I can write them.  When that doesn’t happen, it shows.

I don’t want it to show here, because this has the ability of being something great.  I hope.

It’s always a writer’s hope that when they start off on something, it’s going to be good, and there is always the outlying possibility that it’s going to be great.  I would settle for good, but what I really want is magical, because that comes oh, so rarely with every and anything.

And magical is, really, what I love.

Out Time, Going Out

Strange times yesterday, so strange that it’s almost a story in of itself.  Needless to say writer was done last night, but it wasn’t as much as I’ve usually pulled off on a Wednesday night.

But writing was pulled off.  That’s better than none.

Right now I’ve got Wednesday in the tunnels, heading for the outer wall of the school.  “But isn’t everything sealed up?” you ask.  Why, yes it is, but like that’s going to stop Wends from trying to get out.

Let’s see then–

 

(All excerpts, this page, from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

17:21 to 17:36

She shot down the corridor, keeping her attention focused on the area ahead. She quickly passed the main tunnel leading to Cernunnos Tower; with Security Level Three in place, the entire base of the tower was sealed off, not just the passage way leading to the Instructor’s Residence—the same tunnel many students also used during the hardest part of winter to reach the Transformation and Formulistic Magic buildings.

No, there was a second tunnel, an older one that at one time was the only way to the Transformation Center, and which lead to cut over tunnels to Chemistry Hall and the Residence, the one that formed the northern terminus for The Chunnel. Wednesday wanted this one because it was a straight shot through the Pentagram Walls and to the main school grounds.

It was her way out.

 

Now, over a year ago, when I started putting this thing together, I was diligent about putting together a three-dimensional map of the Salem Institute.  I mean, we all pretty much know what it looks like from the air–

As it is above . . .

As it is above . . .

This is a good shot of where the action is taking place.  The Great Hall and The Pentagram are in the upper right hand corner.  The Instructor’s Residence is near the middle, and the two smaller buildings–which aren’t that small–are the Transformation Center directly to the right, and the Chemistry Hall above that.  Sunset Tower, which is Wednesday’s destination, is location in the lower left-hand corner.  And when you look at this picture, you’ll see something like a mini-tower about an inch to the right of Sunset, just above the frame of the picture.  That’s actually where Wednesday will come out.

And how is she getting there?

So it is below.

So it is below.

Tunnels.

This is the layout of where the action is.  In the lower right-hand corner is The lower levels of the Great Hall, with Åsgårdsreia Tower at the bottom most point of The Pentagram.  The tunnel Wednesday is looking for is the one that bisects the Pentagram Wall between Cernunnos Tower (that’s the left-most one in The Pentagram) and Ceridwen Tower (which is to the right, closest to the tunnel heading towards the top of the frame).  The Chunnel is the big tunnel leading just just above Cernunnos to the upper right-hand point of the picture, and Sunset Tower is the large round point all the way over to the left.  Keep in mind here, north is down and south is up, because we’re looking at this from below and from the south.

That’s where we are now, and that’s where Wednesday is headed for the Pentagram Wall.

 

She was just slowing to make the turn into the tunnel when her comm activated and Isis’ voice rang clear. “Shadowcat, Shadowcat, this is Fortress. Comm check, respond. Over.”

Hearing her old call sign brought a smile to Wednesday’s face. “Fortress, this is Shadowcat. Read you five-by-five. Over.”

“Great. We see you coming up on the Pentagram Wall. You about ready for us to unseal the passageway? Over.”

Wednesday was estimating her speed in her head, and figured she’d be on the sealed passage barrier in about five second. “I’m almost on top of it. Unseal now.” She didn’t bother with the “over”; she knew Isis would figure out she was getting ready to play her phasing game—

 

Isn’t the Pentagram Wall all sealed off?  Yes, it is.  But there are shields on the doors and tunnel entrances as well.  And Isis would never open those and violate her own security protocols, right?  Well, with Wednesday, there isn’t a real need to do anything but pull down the mystical energy barrier surrounding the physical door.  And she only need do that for a second . . .

 

Near the end of her A Level Wednesday figured out how to use Phase Magic, the ability to pull one object or objects through solid material. It was a common spell used by Coraline and all her nurses for undressing patients; all they had to do was grab the article the wanted to remove and pull it through the patient’s body.

But Wednesday’s magical ability went far beyond that. It didn’t take long—within the first month of her B Levels—that her instructors discovered she could phase herself through just about anything and anyone at will. Testing later reveled that she possessed a slight Gift that allowed her to perform Phase Magic easier and phase her body through nearly everything . . .

And when you can phase yourself through anything solid . . . Wednesday looked straight at the approaching tunnel closure and concentrated. It’s only natural you’re gonna get Kitty Pryde’s codename . . .

She passed through the thick door and continued on through into the tunnel on the other side of the Pentagram Wall. “Fortress, this is Shadowcat. Seal it up. Over.”

 

Now we know how Wednesday got her call sign–

 

Lockheed is totally not impressed you took his squeeze's name.

Though Lockheed is totally not impressed you took his squeeze’s name.

And we see how Phase Magic works, because it seems like those nurses just pulling clothes off without any tearing or ripping.  You could say, up to now, that what they did was . . . magic.

Tonight Wednesday gets all the way out–she’ll be out of the tunnels and into the grounds, and that will be interesting because there are a few things are going to be mentioned that just builds further upon the world I’ve created.  It probably won’t make any sense, but don’t worry–

It does to me.

From the Space and Time to the Sensuality

First there will be some geek talk, and then I’m Bringing Back Sexy in an open and honest way.  If you don’t want the sexy, read the two paragraphs after this one and bid the page Audios!  No harm, no foul, and You Have Been Warned.

Onward.

 

 

For the last few days I’ve found myself in some rather interesting conversations.  Naturally, because of my geeky nature, and those of others I know, we’ve chatting up a lot of Doctor Who this week because it’s time to come up with another Doctor, and for us who are into this sort of thing, we like to talk about it.  It also helps that BBCA has been running shows all week, so that gives us the opportunity to re-watch episodes that we’ve already seen a dozen times, and snark on about what we like and what we don’t like.

"Seriously, she thinks Rose is the best?  I'm gonna have to set this bitch straight, won't I?"

“Seriously, she thinks Rose is the best companion? I’m gonna have to set this bitch straight:  that’s what The Internet is for!”

It’s been a lot of fun chatting this stuff up, particularly since I consider myself to not only be an expert on the show–because I’m old and from Chicago, which was one of the only places that used to air the show in North America in the 1970’s and 1980’s–and because I’ve personally turned a few people onto the show over the years and made them nearly as geeky as me.  Nearly, I say.  That means when the lowdown on trivia is needed, and information is required for aspect that elude others, I’m the Go To Girl for All of Time and Space.  Just call me Idris, because I may as well travel around like that.

It’s a lovely diversion, but it’s not the only one . . .

‘Cause now comes Sexy Time.  You want more?  Come on in.

 

You ready?  Let’s go, let’s go.

 

. . .

 

. . .

 

. . .

 

There’s another conversation I’ve been falling into as well, and that’s something we, in the one group I’m in–are calling our “Sex Education Talk.”  Though “sex education is really a bit of a misnomer:  it’s more like the ladies getting together and talking about kinky-ass sex–in some cases actual kinky ass sex.  It’s really been all over the place, particularly in the area of toys, which seem to get used a lot.  I don’t have a problem with toys, or lotions, or wearing articles of clothing to help ramp up the passion and sensuality, or just the out-and-out Let’s Get Down and Bang This Gong feeling that’s gonna hit in any second now.  Particularly this last, because if they’re one thing I love, it’s sexy clothing or night gowns, or even a bit of fetish wear if you can find some that (a) fits and (b) doesn’t feel like you’re encased in something unyielding.  Unless that’s exactly what you want . . .

"Hi, honey.  Guess what's for dinner?  Tacos!  You better say yes if you know what's good for you--"

“Hi, honey. Guess what’s for dinner? Tacos! You better say ‘I’m so hungry’ if you know what’s good for you–“

It’s refreshing to sit and read some of the things my lady friends have experienced, some of the wildness they’ve gotten into, and some of the advice they have for those who may be less experienced in this area.  Because if there’s one thing we’re not open about is sex.  Particularly these days, when you have buttheads running for public offices who say watching women walk around topless will lead to men becoming gay.  Dude:  projection is a total bitch.  You should do something about that.

I haven’t said much about sex in the group simply because most of what I know these days ends up on the printed page.  Sure, I’ve written erotica, most of which is pretty strange, and probably goes well beyond anything my friends would ever consider–unless it is their total kink to turn into a human-like centaur with the fully functioning genitals of both genders, and then have a couple of women get down on them.  Then they’re right up there in my ballpark, ’cause that’s how my mind works.

I am happy to know sexy is alive and well with all kinds of people, but I’m also a little saddened because it’s not something I experience.  Intimacy is something I haven’t known in some time, and likely isn’t in the cards for some time to come.  That’s kinda of choice, and it’s . . . well, complicated, just like time travel.  The reasons for it I won’t divulge, but needless to say depression played a part there, a singular lack of love played another part–and these days I’m so uncomfortable with my body that it’s difficult for me to think about getting intimate with myself.

I’ve had the “sex talk” with my HRT doctor.  We’ve discussed the changes I’m going through, which is really nothing short of Puberty Mk 2.  My doctor is also trans, so she’s been through the same thing I’m going through, and had some advice for “exploring,” if we wish to call it that.  My reactions are decidedly feminine these days; stimulation starts in different places within the body than where they happened before.  There are physical reactions now that were never present in the past, and with continuing hormone treatment those reactions will become more pronounced and intense.

I did reassure my doctor that I wasn’t about to go running around town looking to score because that’s never been my style.  I’ve always been tentative about meeting other people face-to-face, and I’ve always been uncomfortable about my body and putting it on display for others.  Even more so now, because with the physical changes I’m also experiencing the insecurity that comes with those changes.

While I would love to get a sexy night gown and feel good about myself, I’m afraid I wouldn’t, just because it’s hard for me to feel that way.

This is my idea of sexy night gowns, though my sack of potatoes body wouldn't look nearly as nice in this one.

This is my idea of sexy night gowns, though my sack of potatoes body wouldn’t look nearly as nice.  Also, I’ll do without the Hello Kitty slippers as well.

It’s taking time to get to the place where I’ll be as comfortable talking about vibrating rings and beads and schoolgirl outfits as my friends–though I really sort of see myself as the domineering Headmistress in the corset dress wearing her shiny black boots, so watch out, girls.  That doesn’t mean I can’t write about it, and I have developed some good ideas that could turn into short, hot stories.  And once I’m though with this monster of a novel I could just do that–

Or maybe I should jump in and write about a woman who spends so much time in a sexy crocheted body suit that she just can’t find the time to take it off–

Hey, you should hear some of my other ideas.

Striking Out Along the Low Road

You know what works wonders for a bit of depression and being unable to get the words out?  A trip out to eat, and writing in public.  Which is exactly what I did yesterday.

I had to run out and pick up a light bulb and some coffee, but I thought I’d bring my computer along, because Panera is right there by the store, and it doesn’t hurt to stop, grab a bite, and write.  That was the plan, and that’s what happened.  Of course the funniest part of the night was the guy running the counter.  He just kept staring at me, probably because I’m just so damn awesome he was at a loss for work.  That, or transwomen scare the hell out of him, and he thinks he’d gonna catch some bad gender cooties if he opens his mouth.  Whattsa matter, bro?  Scared of tall girls?

(I should mention that I was wearing my new espadrille sandals which add about two-and-a-half inches to my five foot, eight inch frame, so I was getting up there towards six foot.  Just wait until I’m out in some nice evening pumps.)

The upside is I finished up the last scene in Chapter Twenty with a thirteen hundred word run that lasted about an hour and forty-five minutes.  The scene worked out at just over three thousand words, which is sort of half expected due to the stuff going on.  But it was written, and it is done.  Getting out into the public places and writing does seem to get my juices flowing, probably because the whole, “Up in the morning, go to work, come home, write,” thing gets a little old after a few weeks–or in this case, months–and you need that break to freshen things up.  Plus, I had news shoes to wear, and what women doesn’t like going out in new shoes?

Where are we, then?  Vicky’s giving the last of the orders to her gallant fliers.  Let’s pick up there . . .

 

 (All excerpts, this page, from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

Vicky spent several seconds in silence considering the students before her while contemplating all the possible permutations for the day ahead. “I hope today is boring.” She nodded slowly as she looked from right to left. “I really do, because a boring day means nothing happens; it means the Deconstructors aren’t coming for us and there’s no chance of anyone getting hurt. Which means when this is over—maybe in a few hours, maybe at the end of the day, maybe sometime late tonight—we can all gather in the Dining Hall and have something to eat while we talk about how we flew in circles doing nothing. The hot cider’s on me, by the way.

“In the meantime we’re going to do our job: we’re going to play our part in the defense of the school. There’s only seventeen teams, and two of those teams are volunteers, which means we’re a little short—and that means we need to be extra vigilant today. Keep your eyes open and the chatter to a minimum; if I hear you gabbing away like you’re on a Saturday flight around the ground I’ll give you a verbal warning first and I’ll be up your ass in person second: there won’t be a third—you’ll get pulled, because what’s the point of keeping you in the air if you’re not doing your duty.”

Vicky raised her voice slightly to drive home this last point. “I want you all to take heed of this last—if you can’t follow orders, I will sit your ass down, either at Carrier or Laputa, but I will yank you out of the sky. I don’t want gawkers, I don’t want sightseers, and I damn sure don’t want heroes. Not today. I want thirty-four pilots, seventeen teams, who when given an order will follow it exactly.”

She lowered her head slight and stared at the ground for just a moment. “This is the big time, kids, and if things even get the least bit ugly at some point there won’t be any room for ambiguity. If you’re told to do something, you get to it, nothing else, nothing more, no questions asked. At the end of the day I want to stand in the hangar and collect everyone’s broom—I don’t want to be spending my time looking for you at your last known position before you vanished from Fortress’ scans. If you follow your orders, the later won’t happen; you gotta believe me.”

She shifted her weight back and forth as she watch the expression of her pilots. They got it; they know what could happen today. That’s good . . . “That’s all I got.” She turned to Erywin. “Let’s get ‘em lined up and in the air.” She turned back to the students and spoke with obvious emotion in her voice. “Fly safe, everyone. See you back here in a while.”

 

There it is:  the big time.  This is where things could get nasty fast, because the school has been a target in the past, and it could be a target this November day.  Like it or not, this isn’t a game, not by a long shot.  In the history of the story about forty students and instructors were killed eleven years before, and it could get just as bad today.  So . . . let’s be careful out there.

Particularly these two–

 

Emma and Kerry turned along with the rest of the students, but before they could follow the others they heard Professor Salomon voice ring out loud and clear. “Selene; Starbuck.” They turned and saw her pointed at the ground in front of her. “Front and center.”

Vicky waited until the A Levels were directly in front of her before she spoke to them in a normal tone. “I hope you understand that everything I said about following orders goes double for you.”

Kerry nodded slowly. “Yes, Professor.”

Emma was also nodding. “You don’t have to worry about us.”

“I hope not.” Vicky relaxed so she didn’t appear too intimidating. “I know you guys can fly, and I know you can do what’s expected of you. What I want to make sure of is that you don’t decide to take it upon yourself to do something that I don’t want you to do.”

“That won’t happen . . .” Kerry cleared his throat. “Nightwitch.”

Vicky chuckled. “That’s what I want to hear—Starbuck.” She nodded towards the line preparing for takeoff. “Okay, you two. Get on the line and get ready for take off.”

Emma’s eyes lit up. “Roger, Nightwitch.”

Vicky smiled. “Make me proud.”

Kerry smiled. “We will.” He turned and walked off with Emma for the back of the flight line.

 

Sure, the last time they were off together they ended up in the hospital.  No chance that’ll happen today–right?  Right?

When they are ready for takeoff, one finds there is always time for a little banter, and the discovery that one of your favorite lesbian witches is also a bit of a geek:

 

Finally they were the last remaining. They stood next to Professor Sladen, whose gaze shifted from her tablet to the students and back. “You excited, Emma?”

Emma almost bounced on her tip-toes. “Yes, Ma’am.”

“And what about you, Kerry?”

“You know it—” A lop sided grin formed. “Savage.”

Erywin snorted. “I knew you’d recognize my call sign.”

He pointed at her jacket patch. “And your little tin doggie, too.”

“Smart arse.” She tapped her display twice. “By the way, your team call sign is Myfanwy.” She raised her right eyebrow. “You know that one as well?”

Kerry looked off into the distance, his half-grin now a full one. “I promise not to fly off to The Hub.”

Emma was completely lost. “I have no idea what you guys are talking about.”

“English geekness, my dear.” She check her display. “Hover and mount; HUDs up.”

 

For the information of people who don’t know better, in that short passage was seen the reference of two well-known Companions from Doctor Who, and a certain pteranodon from Torchwood.  It helped that Kerry recognized Professor Sladen’s jacket patch, because geek.

And with that–

 

Erywin snapped her right arm forward. “Launch.”

They were off the line and rising quickly. Kerry saw the dim outline of a flight route in his HUD. “I have the course.”

“I see it.” Emma quickly glanced over to her wingmate as they banked left. “I’ll watch speed, you watch altitude.”

“Got it.” They climbed quickly and silently into the sky, the air cold against the exposed skin of their faces. Kerry kept the flight line between them, and noticed as soon as they were next seventy meters the color changed subtly from a light white to a pale yellow. “Okay, we’re here.”

“Roger.” Emma quickly scanned her HUD. “We’re right on target for speed. Call it in.”

“Roger.” He lower his gaze towards the ground as he contacted flight control. “Carrier, this is Myfanwy. We’re on the Low Road: altitude seventy meters; speed forty kph. Over.”

The response was almost immediate. “Roger, Myfanwy. We see you on the Low Road. Maintain current altitude and speed. Over and out.”

Emma turned and smiled at Kerry. “Here we are.”

“Yep.” He shot her a quick smile, then turned back to watching the land close to the outer wall slowly slip behind them. “Here we are.”

 

And there you are:  the chapter is complete.  Preparations are over; now we wait.

 

Cheer up, Kerry.  You don't have much to do now except go rest in a few hours.

Which are the actual chapter names.  Cheer up, Kerry. You don’t have much to do now except go rest in a few hours.

Anxiety and Affection

Some people don’t like new technology–some don’t like it, period.  Last night I was going to do something with my new video camera, and technology decided to bite me in the butt.  Hard.

"Don't worry:  I totally got the shot.  No problems, right?"

“Don’t worry: I totally got the shot. No problems, right?”

Getting the shot isn’t the problem, though, is it?

"It's an eight minute video--why are you going to hell on me?  Why?"

“It’s an eight minute video–why are you going to hell on me, you demon computer? Why?”

That was me last night.  Every time I shot a video that lasted more than, say, five minutes, the software I was using to download it to my computer had fits.  Lots of fits.  As in, “I ain’t gonna be your coded slave, bitch.  You figure out another way to get this down.  Bwah, hahaha.”

It was very frustrating to say the least.  But, in the end, I figured out the problem and managed to get the first video up to YouTube.  And . . . I may reshoot it, because it was done in poor light.  Hard to say what I’ll do, because by the time I managed to get it up there, I was pretty frustrated by the whole process.  Then again, it’s new for me, so there’s a learning curve.

What this also did was cut into my writing time.  I managed almost seven hundred words, but I’d wanted more.  Tonight I need to go shopping, so that will cut into time–

Oi.  What’s a girl to do?

My kids went to a bonfire after the dance and walked back to the center of the school, so when finally reach a point where they can rest, it’s late–probably the latest they’ve ever been up.  And this happens . . .

 

(All excerpts, this page, from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

Rather than take the return portal back to the Great Hall, she asked if they could walk back. Since the temperature was dropping, Kerry asked if she would like to take the tunnels back, but Annie refused; she’d brought the beautiful crocheted shawl her grandmother had made for her earlier in the year and it kept her warm; the path back to The Pentagram was illuminated; and she was wearing flats.  She didn’t see a single problem . . .

She wanted to enjoy the darkness and silence with Kerry by her side, hand in each other’s hand.

Neither broke the silence all the way back to Founder’s Gate. Never once did Kerry even seem as if he were going to speak: to Annie it felt as if he knew she wanted to linger in the quiet night and enjoy the spark between them, and would only speak when Annie was ready to speak. He knows my moods and perhaps my thoughts. Once inside The Pentagram she turned him onto the second left hand garden path instead of entering the Great Hall. She knew it would be cavernous and dark inside; here there was still the abstract indirect light that made walking though the Pentagram Garden at night such an enjoyable and loving experience.

It wasn’t until they were nearly to the opening of the covered walkway leading to their tower than Annie uttered her first words since leaving the bonfire. “Moyata polovinka.” She slowly ran her left finger down the Kerry’s left arm.

He waited until she was finished before responding. “What does that mean?”

“Moyata polovinka—” She stopped the moment they stepped onto the path between Cernunnos Tower and the Great Hall. “My soulmate.” She gently pressed against Kerry and gave him a peck on the cheek. “If you say the last as two words it’s moyata srodna dusha.”

“Moyata polovinka.” Annie thought Kerry’s pronunciation was almost spot on, though the accent needed work. “I like how that rolls off the tongue.”

“You can say it in a much softer, gentler tone, too.” She tugged on Kerry’s arm. “Let’s sit at our bench.”

 

Our bench, our sofa . . . our time together.  It’s starting to get real serious here, and I’m gonna try to get to that tonight, at some point.  But I’m getting there.

If I’ve not pulled what little hair I have left out by then.