A Long Drive to a Short Flight

Yesterday was my first day away from the computer in a long time.  And by away from the computer, I mean I wasn’t even in the apartment.  I got in the car and drove a long ways to the east, then after figuring out where I was, it was a long drive back to the west.  There was a lot of driving, a lot of different weather–at one point it was raining while the sun was shinning–and generally it was nice to do something besides sit in front of a screen and type away at things.  Or play games.  Which are sometimes the same thing.

I did learn something, however, and it’s this:  all these little town in eastern Pennsylvania are antique magnets, and people from Jersey and New York and Maryland were all over the place.  There was something in the back of my mind that reminded me of this–probably about the time I was wondering why there was so damn much traffic around.  I once worked for an antique dealer, and it wasn’t a great experience:  there is so much crap that’s pawned off as “special items”, not to mention my manager was this religious freak who hated me because, well, I didn’t see eye-to-eye with him on anything, but who used to steal furniture from the store and sell it on the side for his own financial gain.  One day I just went to lunch and never returned, a decision I never regretted.  (I actually did that with three jobs, so don’t trust me with big projects around lunch time.)

The only writing I managed was editing a short scene, one where I ended up removing about forty words from a paragraph because it switched the direction of the point of view.  There’s one more scene I want to look over in that area, then I need to do rewrites on three more scenes in Act One–

Then I can get back to the business of writing new material.  Which is bumming me out, quite frankly.

I’ve been working on getting characterization right, which means I’m away from the new stuff.  But with what I’m doing in Act One, things will change in Act Two, and it’s a good thing I was only two thousand words into that first chapter, ’cause this will help with what happens to my kids later.

Speaking of that, right before going to bed I figured out a scene that explains how the school isn’t all Big Brother all the time with each and every person within the walls of the Salem School For Magically Gifted Children, which gives that place in Salem Center, New York, more than a run for its money.  It will be reveled that it’s possible to track the moments of people just about anywhere inside the walls of the school, so why doesn’t everyone get all paranoid that Director Isis is sitting up in her command bunker keeping a list of who’s naughty and who’s nice?

Because the computer system–which may or may not be run by an AI that may or may not have been a person at one time–doesn’t let anyone see stuff unless the school is locked down at and above a a certain security protocol level.  It keeps track of where everyone is, but it won’t let anyone, not even the Director of Security, see this information.  Then after a day or so the back information is erased, so no one can say they need to check up on Serena and Kensa over in Ceridwen Tower because someone’s spreading rumors that they aren’t sleeping in separate beds.  Nah, not going to happen–

Unless someone dies.  Then the computer sends an alert to the security center and someone goes an investigates, while the computer dumps everything for the last twenty-four hours to a secure folder so Isis and her Security Minions can make sure there was no foul play involved.  Or if foul play was involved, she can bust the perp and hand them over to The Foundation police.

This all comes up during an investigation of some shady shit at the school during my kid’s F Levels, and it brings up concerns about something that happened a couple of years before and questions about why something wasn’t investigated then.  This doesn’t set right with my kids, and being that they’ve kinda gotten to where you don’t wanna mess with them by that time–yeah, sixteen and seventeen year olds with great power, booyah–they devise a plan . . .

To do what?  Well, I figured that out on the walk into work.  Gaming the system is easy if you’re willing to take risks.

In the process of putting all this security stuff together, it made me realize the level of warding that has to be in place around the living areas of The Pentagram, because once the older students–and by older, I mean like fourteen to seventeen–start learning things like Far Sight and Astral Walking and Teleportation, or start building enchanted supertech that going to give the x-ray vision and the such, one realizes that the school has to spend a lot of time pressing home the ethics of why spying on that girl you’re crushing on while she sleeps is really some bad, twisted Twilight shit, and you should put your magical abilities to better use.  Otherwise you’re turning loose on society a bunch of kids that can not only go wherever they feel like going, but could also make you forget they were ever there.  Or kill you with them mind.  Guess it depends on their mood.

"Seriously, you're telling me no one at Hogwarts ever used magic to watch Herminoe get ready for bed?  No one?  Right . . ."

“Seriously, you’re telling me no one at Hogwarts ever used magic to spy on Hermione while she was getting ready for bed? No one? Not even Ron? Right . . .”