Friday, April 22, 2022

Re: Your Brains

 Wowee, it's been a while since I posted here. At work, we've organized a little #writers-retreat Slack room where some of us have been posting our work and writing challenges. This week, I posted a writing challenge for everyone. Some of you might be familiar with Chuck Wendig and his Flash Fiction Friday challenges. I did this one a few years ago, hit that shuffle button on your favorite music player/app and whatever song you land on is the title for your story. So, I did that again today and got "Re: Your Brains" by Jonathan Coulton. So, here goes!


I sat down at my desk and saw a memo on it and picked it up. I chuckled a bit as I saw the memo was titled, “Re: Your Brains” like that old Jonathan Coulton song. Man, my dad loved that song. It did seem like a strange title for a memo, though. Then, as I read the memo, I had the weirdest sense of deja vu. I felt like I had read this same memo before, though I didn’t know how that could be possible.

I glanced across the aisle to where my coworker Kyle was sitting. He saw me looking and smiled and waved. I saw a piece of paper sitting on his desk that I assumed was the same memo, but it didn't seem as if he'd read it. If he had, he would probably have been as freaked out as I was. It was a weird memo to say the least. Well, maybe he wouldn’t freak out. Kyle was nice, but a little vapid. I’m actually not sure how he got a job at a think tank. Now that I think about it, it was probably nepotism. To be honest, I didn’t know Kyle that well. I awkwardly waved back to him.

As I’ve hinted at, I work at a think tank for one of the biggest neurological research hospitals. You see and hear some weird stuff at these types of companies. For example, just last week, a headless chicken ran down the aisle between Kyle and my cubes. There are still blood stains on the carpet from where the neurologist tackled the chicken right outside of my cube. They're replacing the carpet next week. I don’t know what happened to the chicken afterwards.

Even at a neurological think tank, you don't ever expect to get a memo titled, "Re: Your Brains" and even if you did, you wouldn’t expect to have it tell you that your company has been given legal rights over your brains when you die. The memo was unclear as to what claims the company had to the other parts of your body, but it was hard to focus on that bit at the moment.

How does a company get legal claims on someone's brain matter you might ask? Well, being a neurological research think tank, the researchers need a lot of brains to study, both alive and dead. I've done some of the studies, the living ones obviously. They pay you a bit extra and all you really have to do is wear ridiculous contraptions on your head while they ask you all sorts of random, off the wall questions. It’s kind of boring, but the extra money is nice. I used it to lease a new car. It’s blue, I think. That’s funny, I can’t seem to remember what color my car is. Yeah, I’m pretty sure it’s blue. Or maybe green? Anyway, I had to get a hard top because they were out of convertibles, but it’s only a two year lease, so I’ll get a convertible when the lease runs out.

I'm getting off track, sorry. The point is, they need lots of brains and supplies are limited, especially for dead brains. Apparently not everyone wants people to experiment on their brains after they die. I know that I wouldn’t want that. Sure, harvest my organs to save some lives and whatnot, but my brain is not going into some lab when I die. Who knows what kind of inhumane experiments these scientists have concocted.

So, supplies were an issue and when some lawyers for the company found that out, they thought it would be a slam dunk to get the government to award the company the employees’ brains for use in their experiments after they die. Apparently, some numbskulls in the government thought that anyone working for a "think tank" ought to have known that having their brains harvested when they die was a known risk when taking the job. I can tell you that I never had that thought cross my mind when I took the job. Given a few months and probably millions of dollars, it's now codified into law. Representative government at work, folks.

Anyway, back to the deja vu for a minute. I have the feeling that this has definitely happened before, but I don't know how that's possible since the law was just passed last week. It was last week, right? Yeah, it was last week, the law passed on the same day that I bought my red car, September 18th, 2034.

I idly glanced at the calendar on my computer and saw that it said November 11th, 2037. That is weird because the memo in my hand dated September 25th, 2034. How could it have been three years since the law was passed? No, my computer must be wrong somehow. I got a two year lease on my orange car and it’s sitting out there in the parking lot right now, I just drove it into work this morning. I remember because I had to have the top up because it was raining pretty hard. I can barely see the windows from my cube, but I do see that the sun is shining. I thought it was supposed to rain all day.

I shrugged to myself as I glanced over to Kyle again and saw that his smile was empty and hollow and he seemed to sit as still as a statue. Then I saw that the blood on the carpet from the headless chicken was gone. Something about this whole situation was off. I dropped the memo on the ground as I jumped out of my chair to go over to his cube to shake him out of his stupor. Just as I was about to leave my cube, I heard a terrible grinding sound.

I looked up to the ceiling and watched with horror and amazement as it began to slowly melt towards me. I screamed and the world lost focus for a moment, and then…

I sat down at my desk and saw a memo on it and picked it up. I chuckled a bit as I saw the memo was titled, “Re: Your Brains” like that old Jonathan Coulton song. Man, my mom loved that song. It did seem like a strange title for a memo, though. Then, as I read the memo, I had the weirdest sense of deja vu.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

The End of a Long Journey

It's been a while since I posted anything that I've written, or anything at all on here. Chuck Wendig, who's Flash Fiction Friday Challenges I've written for in the past, put out this challenge. I immediately thought of my Necromancer's apprentice, Max, who I've written about before. This entry comes in at 1,433 words and is called "The End of a Long Journey". I hope you enjoy it.


Max knew he was getting close to his master's tower as the forest got quieter and quieter. The normal denizens of the forest here knew that a powerful wizard lived in the spire and, as such, stayed away from it most of the time. He sighed with relief. He'd been away for over four months and it hadn't been an easy journey. Max felt like he'd earned a little respite for the last few miles.

He trudged up into the foothills of the northernmost reaches of the Bortan Mountains. It was getting dark, but Max didn't want to stop for the night when he was so close to his home. Thinking of his home reminded him that he'd been Alacast the Necromancer's apprentice for just over five years. It had been a great five years. Max learned so much, not just about Necromancy, but about how to be a wizard.

Finally, he reached the top of a hill and saw his master's simple black spire coming up out of the forest below him. He picked up the pace and was at the door within minutes. Max spoke the magic entrance words at the door of the tower and entered. The first floor was where his master kept all of his protection. Several undead minions stirred as Max entered, but they quickly recognized him as a friend. He walked right by them to the stairs in the back and went up to the second floor. The floor was dark, unlike the entrance. Max tried to navigate his way to the stairs upward, but almost immediately stubbed his foot on something, nearly dropping his pack in the process. He cursed and hopped back, running into something else behind him.

He sighed and muttered an illumination cantrip, lighting up the room around him. He noticed that the room was not at all like he remembered it. All the same furnishings were there, but they'd been haphazardly rearranged. Shrugging to himself, he wound his way through the jumble to the stairs. These stairs wound their way up the outer wall of the tower. He reached the third floor, where his own rooms were. Max was tempted to enter his rooms and sleep before reporting to his master, but he knew that probably wasn't the wisest course of action.

He sighed again and continued up the stairs to the top of the tower. He reached his master's chamber and rapped on the door. "Enter, Max," he heard his master say through the door.

Max opened the door and entered. His master looked up from the book he was studying and said, "Well?"

Max smiled and said, "I have it, master. I have the Amethyst Crystal Ball you desired."

Alacast rose excitedly and walked over to where Max stood. He reached his hands out, waiting. Max kneeled down and placed his pack gently on the floor to rummage through the bag. He pulled out a purplish orb the size of his own head. He stood and placed the orb in his master's hands.

Just as he was releasing the orb, his master sneezed and dropped the orb. Mune, the goddess of luck, must have been with Max because he managed to catch the orb before it could smash into pieces. Alacast and Max just stared at each other with looks of utter surprise on their faces. "How did you ever manage to catch that?" Alacast asked. "I think that, besides myself, you might be the clumsiest man on the entire planet of Uroth."

Max nodded and shrugged. "I don't know, master. I just don't know."

Alacast let out a little chortle. "Well, let's take it to the ceremony room, Max. I'm sure that you're eager to rest from your long journey."

Max carefully put the orb back into his pack and followed his master down the stairs. Alacast said, "Tell me of your journey, Max. It must have been quite the adventure."

Max replied, "Oh, it was indeed. You were correct that the Wizards' Guild in Bortan City had one Amethyst Crystal Ball in its possession, however, they were unwilling to sell it. They were, however, interested in a trade. There was an item they sought that was lost in the Delrool swamps. So, I hired a group of adventurers and we recovered the item. It was some sort of staff. I tried identifying it, but it didn't seem to like that."

Alacast paused on the stairs and said, "It didn't like that? What do you mean?"

Max shrugged, "I could sense that it was a moderately powerful item, of course, but it seemed to have a sort of sentience of its own."

Alacast turned and headed down further. He said, "Interesting. It would have likely spoken to you, had it been a truly intelligent item. I've read about semi-sentient items before, but I have never had any experience with any myself. Anything else?"

"Well, I got to know the adventurers really well," Max repled as they reached the second floor.

Alacast stopped, glancing back at Max. "You want to leave me to go on adventures with these people?" He made a placating gesture and continued, "It wouldn't be uncommon for apprentices of your age to want to leave their studies and see the world a bit. If that's what you want, I would support you and welcome you back when you were ready to return."

Max shook his head, "Oh, it's not that, master. I am very happy here with you. It's just..."

Alacast nodded, knowingly. "Ah, what's her name?"

Max blushed, not knowing he had been that obvious. "Rixi. She's an elf."

Alacast chuckled and continued down the stairs. The two of them didn't speak as they passed down to the first floor. The minions stirred again, but this time they eagerly approached Alacast and Max. Alacast smiled at them, "Ah, my pets. All is well, you all are doing a fantastic job."

The minions grunted and moved back to their places as Alacast and Max passed to the basement stairs. Alacast asked slyly, "So, should I be expecting a young elf maiden to visit my tower in the near future?"

Max blushed again and shook his head. "I don't think so, master. They're off questing. They were going to use the gold I paid them to book passage to Faald Island."

Alacast whistled, "Heading to the frozen north, eh? An old acquaintance of mine lives there. Or did, I haven't kept up with my correspondence the past few years."

The two of them reached the ceremony chamber in the basement. The room was dark until Alacast spoke a command word that set the dozen braziers around the room ablaze. Max saw Alacast's pet rats scurry from the corners of the room towards them. Alacast reached into his pocket and pulled out an old piece of bread. He tossed it into a corner and the rats ran over to fight over the snack.

Alacast motioned to the pedestal that was meant for the orb. Max set his pack on the stone slab in the center of the room and carefully removed the Amethyst Crystal Ball. He placed it on the pedestal. As he stepped back, he felt something squish beneath his right foot. He heard a squeak and then felt pain as one of the rats bit his foot after he stepped on its tail. Max hopped around in pain and ran into the pedestal, knocking the orb from its perch. Time seemed to slow to a crawl as Max and Alacast watched the orb fall to the ground and explode into a million little Amethyst shards.

Max sank to his knees, in despair. Alacast shook his head as he walked over to his apprentice and placed a reassuring hand on Max's shoulder. "It's alright, Max. As you might know, Amethyst crystals are a component of several powerful spells."

Max let out a deep sigh and said, "But you needed that orb to commune with the dead."

Alacast shrugged and said, "There are other Amethyst Crystal Balls out there. In fact, I've heard rumors of one with the Druids of Mirewood."

Max's face fell into his hands as he contemplated the journey he would soon be taking. The Mirewood was on the continent of Darel, more than three times further than he'd already travelled to retrieve the first orb. Assuming all went well, he might be gone for over a year, longer if the druids needed convincing as the Wizards' Guild had. However, his master needed the orb, so he said, "I'll set out tomorrow, master."

Friday, September 16, 2016

Know It All

I haven't written on here in over three years. Heck, I haven't written in over three years. While that feels like a personal failure, it's also indicative of how busy my life has been. Anyways, I had the idea for this story on Monday and I've written and re-written it all week. I just had to get it out there. I hope you like it. Maybe there will be more on here, but I make no promises. :)


A male of the Homo neanderthalensis species looked up from flattening the tall grasses to make his bed for the night. The flash of light he saw in the sky was pretty, but didn't hold the man's attention for long.

Nearly 250,000 years later, early in the year 1610, an Italian astronomer named Galileo Galilei was watching the planet Jupiter, looking for evidence of more moons orbiting the large gas giant. Suddenly, a small circular shadow began transiting the large planet. Galileo looked up from his telescope perplexed. The object was too large to be a moon of Jupiter and it was not in the plane of the rest of the moons he had already discovered. He looked back in the telescope and followed the object. After the object finished its transition in front of Jupiter, Galileo followed it. He could see it more clearly without the brightness of Jupiter behind it. It looked like a tiny moon, but was much closer than Jupiter. Galileo abandoned his exploration of Jupiter and tracked the object over the next few days. He traced its orbit over the next few weeks and ran and reran his calculations, but kept returning to the same conclusion. He had discovered a new satellite of Earth!

Just over three hundred years later, an R-7 rocket launched from a remote part of the Kazakh SSR. Aboard was humanity's first object to be launched into space. Eyes around the world watched in wonder, excitement and worry. Little did humanity know that they were not the only ones watching.

A decade later, a rocket launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida carrying three men destined to land on the moon. Once more, eyes all around the world watched this historic event. At a small communications relay station in Montana, Sergeant Robert Reed was watching the launch on his little black and white television as he listened for comm traffic. He heard a faint voice on his headphones. Shaking his head at being interrupted, he turned up the transmission and listened. The voice was repeating, "Stay tuned for an important transmission."

Robert cocked his head to the side. He couldn't quite put his finger on it, but there was something odd about the voice. He checked the frequency to make sure he was on the appropriate military frequency. He said into the microphone, "Unknown caller, please verify your identity and location."

He waited, but the voice kept repeating the same message over and over. He shook his head again, and picked up his phone. It was a direct line to NORAD command. "Sergeant Reed, this better be good. We're watching history here," said the voice on the other side.

"I know, sir," Robert said to his commanding officer, Lieutenant Thompson. "I've got a weird transmission on the line. It's a strange voice that simply repeats, 'Stay tuned for an important transmission.' I don't know what to make of it, sir."

"You've got a direction and signal strength, Reed?" Thompson asked.

Shaking his head as his own stupidity for forgetting that, he said, "Hold on, sir. I'll get that for you."

He rotated some dials and inspected the results on his set. Shaking his head, he repeated the steps and got the same results. Into the phone, he said, "Uh, this doesn't make sense, sir. The instruments say that it's coming from straight above me and the range calculations are inconclusive."

Lieutenant Thompson wasn't listening though. The television in front of him had changed from a reporter talking in Florida to an image of a man in a white lab coat smiling. The picture was clearer than anything he'd ever seen before. The man started speaking, "Greetings humanity. My name is Frederick Malta and I am from a future that will no longer exist. My team and I live in the year 2122. We've spent the last twenty years assembling the probe we call Know-It-All. I don't know what you call it, but to you it's been nothing but a small natural satellite orbiting the Earth every six hours or so."

The man laughed a little and said, "It's kind of funny to think that I've spent my entire adult life working on a project that would guarantee that I won't ever exist. You see, the point of the Know-It-All probe was to send it back 250,000 years into the past and record all activity on Earth until such time that humanity was ready to consume the data that the probe was collecting. Although Know-It-All was designed to look like a small natural satellite, there was a small chance that it's existence would change the history of your timeline in some way as to be different from our history. We programmed the probe to watch for an event that signified the beginnings of humanity's exploration of space. In my history, that would have been the launching of the Apollo 11 mission to land men on the Moon. If you all named the mission something else, I would understand. Not everything would play out the same when we introduced a change to the timeline you all live in by sending Know-It-All back in time. Heck, maybe you haven't even sent men into space and have chosen to send robot explorers in your stead.

"But I digress. I'm sure that your leaders have begun to wonder where all of this is going. My hope would be that this event would be one of unification instead of division. In our history, the beginnings of space exploration were in the middle of a global struggle called The Cold War. It was a high tension time for the entire planet. I want the people of the Earth to know that the knowledge contained within the Know-It-All probe is not meant for one culture or nation, but for all of humanity to share and learn from. All data in the probe has been replicated six times and will be sent to what we called North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia. I apologize for not being able to send the data to all nations, but even with our relatively advanced technology we still have limitations.

"In addition to the recordings of the last 250,000 years, we've included documentation, such that it is, of our history. We also have documentation of our technological achievements in the hopes that it speeds your technological evolution. Although it's not an official goal of this project, I do hope that you all repeat our project and send your own Know-It-All probe into the past.

"So, that brings me to the end of my little speech. The Know-It-All probe will split into pieces and enter your atmosphere within the next eight hours. We can't guarantee exactly where the pieces will land, but you can be assured that the contents inside will remain intact. Good luck to you all."

The transmission cut off and returned to the reporter who was staring blankly at the camera.

Two weeks later President Richard Nixon and Premier Alexei Kosygin stood in front of the assembled United Nations delegates and shook hands. Both leaders pledged a new era of cooperation and collaboration. The applause took ten minutes to die down.

Sixty years later, at the Frederick Malta launch facility located in the Azores, a technician was inspecting the rocket housing the Know-It-All 2 probe. He smiled at his little contribution to this historical achievement as he worked. He also reminisced at the stories his parents would tell of the tension and worry of the Cold War that ended late in 1969. What must it have been like back then? Today, the Azores, among many other places in the world, participated in the global government instead of a national government. How did humanity ever survive any other way? He wrapped up his inspection left the rocket. He looked back and smiled once more. It was a good time to be alive.

Just over 65 million years ago, a Velociraptor looked up from the Gallimimus corpse it was consuming just in time to see a flash of light in the sky. It meant nothing to the dinosaur as it went back to its meal.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Making Chainmail

I've decided to make a set of chainmail. Ever since high school, I've known people who had either made or were making a set and I'd always wanted to give it a try. Finally, last weekend, I went and bought the equipment and materials that I would need to get started.

I've read about how to do it extensively and it was just a matter of getting started. Here's what you need to make chainmail:
- Wire. I chose 14 gauge aluminum wire. I plan to also get some copper, brass and maybe colored aluminum wire in the future to add some color and style to the armor.
- Wire cutters. Choose good, strong cutters with a nice grip. You'll be using them a lot to cut the rings and you want something that will last a long time and be comfortable to use.
- Steel Rod. You'll use this to wrap the wire around to make the rings. I bought a 4' long rod, but I might suggest a 3 or 2 foot rod instead as it can be hard to wrap the wire by yourself with that long of a rod. My rod is 3/8" in diameter, but I've read about people using other diameters.
- 2"x4" board. You'll build a contraption with the boards to hold the rod while you're wrapping the wire around it. I had some scraps in my garage that I used to build mine.
- Drill. You'll probably need this to build your contraption and also to help you wrap the wire around the rod.
- Gloves. You'll want at least one glove to protect your hand while wrapping the wire. Don't use gloves that have a rubber grip as it will stick to the wire and could get your finger stuck in the wrapped wire. Believe me that this hurts a lot.

I'm not going to go through all the steps, there are tons of tutorials out there from people with more experience. If you're interested, go check some of them out.

I started with the plan to just make a bracelet for my daughter, but it turned out to be so easy to make a chain that I just kept on going. My first attempt at wrapping the wire didn't go very well, I almost cut my finger off when it got stuck in between the wire and the steel rod when my gloves stuck to the wire and pulled my finger in. Ouch. Also, I had trouble keeping a constant gap, but I didn't have to throw away too much of my first attempt. I made 103 rings in my first attempt. I haven't had a second attempt yet, but I think I'll get to 115-130 or so rings when I do.

Here are shots of my progress. Stay tuned for updates!

My wire wrapping contraption
My first attempt made 103 rings.
My first two sets of five rings.
Connecting those two sets.
My first chain!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Story: Perfect Match

After several months, I finally managed to write a story! This is another Chuck Wendig flash fiction challenge. This one was to get a random plot and write a story from that. I'll keep what my result was until the end. I wouldn't want it to spoil anything.


Mike double checked the form to join Satisfied that he'd filled out the form without embellishments, he hit the submit button. He sat back and wondered when, or if, he'd get a response when his computer signalled that he had an email.

Expecting a welcome message from the dating site, he leaned forward and opened his inbox. That email was there, but in addition was an email saying he had a message in his FindYourMatch mailbox. A wave of excitement tore through Mike as he went back to his browser and refreshed the page. Sure enough, there was a message from a woman with the simple title of "Interested in meeting". Another wave of excitement, this time mixed with nervousness, hit him. He clicked the link waited eagerly for the page to load.

He was greeted by an image of a woman in a flight suit standing by a fighter jet. The image told him that she was a pretty brunnette of average height that is or was in the military as a pilot. Her message was short and to the point. Her name is Pam, and she read his bio and was interested in a meet up tonight.

He fired off a message back to tell her he was interested in meeting. Before he could even sit back again, he got a reply telling him where to meet her. He looked at his watch and jumped up. He didn't have much time to get ready if he was to make it on time.

When he arrived, he saw someone who looked like Pam talking to the hostess and walked over. "Pam?"

She glanced at her watch and nodded. "Ah, five minutes early, excellent." She looked up at him and smiled. Mike thought she had a beautiful smile. She held her hand out and said, "It's nice to meet you, Michael."

Mike cursed himself for putting his full name on his profile. The only person who called him Michael was his mother. He took her hand and shook it, smiling back at her. "Everyone calls me Mike, actually."

Pam frowned and said, "Well, Mike, it's customary to put your preferred name into your profile." She made a wave of dismissal. "Never mind. Our table is ready, shall we?"

Mike nodded and followed Pam and the hostess to their table. They looked over the menu in awkward silence for a few moments before Mike said, "I just signed up for FindYourMatch today, so I was a little surprised to get your message."

"I have an alert for when a man in my area signs up that meets certain criteria. It is more efficient than sifting through old and out of date profiles," Pam replied.

Mike nodded. "That makes sense. I didn't know you could do that alert thing."

Their waiter arrived then and asked, "Are you ready to order?"

"Typically, you're supposed to ask for our drink orders first," Pam said. "However, I am ready to order my meal. How about you, Mike?"

Mike nodded and they ordered their meals and drinks. As Pam was ordering, Mike looked her over and decided there was something he really liked about her, but he couldn't quite put his finger on it.

The waiter left and Mike said, "So, are you a pilot? In your profile pic, you are standing next to some sort of fighter."

Pam smiled and Mike thought again that she had a beautiful smile. "Yeah, that one is a ZF-132. It was fun to fly, but probably won't make it to production."

"What does that mean? I've never heard of that model," Mike replied.

"You'll likely never hear of it. It failed several tests regarding safety, operability and performance." Seeing that Mike was still confused, she added, "I'm a test pilot for the USAF."

"Oh, that must be dangerous," Mike said, concern in his voice.

Pam laughed, "It's not as bad as in, say, 1950, but it can be dangerous. Fortunately, we haven't lost a pilot since I joined the 412th a few years ago." She looked down at the table. "The silverware isn't placed correctly. The fork goes on the left and the knife on the right."

Mike noted that his silverware was misplaced and corrected it, too. He looked back up at Pam and said, "I'm glad we could meet up for a date-"

"You're mistaken, Mike, this is just an informal meet up, not a date," Pam interrupted.

Mike was taken aback a little, but continued, "Err, as I was saying, I'm glad we could meet up on such short notice. I'm having a good time."

Their meals came and Mike told Pam about being a college math teacher. Then, Pam told Mike more about being a test pilot. They ordered dessert and another round of drinks. At closing time, the waiter brought them their bills.

Mike reached for both checks and said, "I can cover these."

Pam quickly scooped up her bill and shook her head. "Maybe on the first date, Mike, but it wouldn't be proper for you to pay for my meal at an informal meeting of friends."

"So, you're saying that we're going to have a first date?" Mike asked with a smile on his face.


Have you been able to guess the scenario?  My scenario was:
The story starts when your protagonist joins an online dating site.
Another character is a test pilot who wants everything done by the rules.

Thursday, July 11, 2013


I've been trying to get my kids exposure to baseball by hitting whiffle balls and tennis balls to them at the park. Well, the other day they weren't interested in running around and chasing balls, so they decided to play at the park. I didn't want to do that, so I started hitting the whiffle ball and tennis ball around the open space at the park.

After a while I started to make a game of it. I hit the tennis ball as far as I could, then tried to get the whiffle ball to it in as few hits as possible. It hit me that this goal was the same as golf, so I started making a few rules and came up with Basegolf.

Here's what you need to play:
1 baseball bat
1 whiffle ball per player
1 tennis ball

I'm using an aluminum bat, I don't know how a wooden bat would effect the game since I don't own one. If you try the game out with a wooden bat, let me know how it works out!

The rules are simple and designed for solo or group play.  The game is best played in a large space with some obstacles, but probably not a heavily wooded area.

You start the game in one corner of the area you intend to play in.  Make sure all players know what the out of bounds, or foul territory will be as if they hit a foul ball, it will cost them a stroke.  You may decide, however makes sense to you, who goes first. That person will take the tennis ball and hit it as far or close as they want.  The tennis ball is the "hole" that the players must hit their whiffle balls to.  Players take turns "teeing off" by throwing their whiffle ball into the air and hitting it towards the hole.  Then, the players farthest away from the hole take turns hitting until everyone has "sunk" their whiffle ball.  A whiffle ball counts as getting into the hole when it is within a bat's length of the tennis ball.

Once everyone has finished the hole, the next player will hit the tennis ball from the point it landed for the prior hole.  If the tennis ball is in the middle of the play area, and all players agree (or a judge if you have one), the hitting player may chuck their whiffle ball in any direction and hit the tennis ball from where their whiffle ball lands instead of from the spot of the prior hole.

Putting: You can putt by leaving your whiffle ball on the ground and hitting it with the bat.  I've considered making a rule about how you can't putt unless you're on the "green", but I haven't decided what the definition of the green would be.  If you have an idea, leave it in the comments.

Foul balls: As I mentioned before, the play area has a boundary.  Balls hit outside of this boundary are considered foul and cost the player a stroke.  They will drop the ball at the boundary where the ball left fair territory for their next stroke.  This changes a little for the tennis ball.  Instead of a plain drop, the player must make an underhand throw from the boundary.  This still causes the player a stroke.

Whiffs, Strikes and Biffs: If you don't know, a whiff is when a player misses hitting the ball when they throw it up to hit it.  This is a strike.  When you get three strikes, it costs you a stroke.  A Biff is when you hit the ball and it goes less than 10 feet.  This is a strike and you must try to hit the ball from where you started.

Finishing the game: The game is done when the players want it to be done.  The players can agree beforehand on a number of holes, or you could play the standard 9 or 18 holes like in golf.

Scoring: Count the number of strokes it takes each player to sink their whiffle ball in the hole.  At the end of the game, the player with the fewest strokes wins.

Par: I consider Par an optional rule as it can be hard for a group to agree on what the par should be on a particular hole.  It would be easier if you have a judge, I guess.

Strategies: I've considered a few strategies as I was playing by myself.  One, hit the tennis ball as close to foul territory as you can without being foul.  This has risk, but could be good if an opponent hits foul trying to get to the hole.  Two, utilize obstacles to make getting to the hole harder.  Also risky, but if you're confident in your skills, might be worth it.  Three, bunting or "pitching" can be a good tactic when you're too close to swing away and too far to putt.  Leave any other strategies that you come up with in the comments!

I've played Basegolf a few times by myself, but I think it would be fun with a partner or group.  One warning, I've already broken one whiffle ball in half with my aluminum bat, so that's something you've got to watch out for.  Try out the game and let me know if you enjoy it!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Geekonablog News

I can't believe that I haven't posted since April 23rd.  It doesn't seem like it was that long ago, but I guess that I've let things go around here for a while.

Well, let me tell you what's been going on in my life.  In April, I started on a new team at work, which I mentioned in my last post.  We're creating a new web page configuration app for the new web platform that Best Buy (me included) has been working on for over a year.  You may have noticed changes to Best Buy's product pages, I had a hand in that work and now I'm on the team that is going to allow more pages to go to the new cloud-based platform by having a tool to configure those pages that isn't based on the old platform.  I know that this description is a little hand-wavey, but I'm not sure how much I should be sharing.  I figure that just mentioning I'm doing this work is safe enough.

Since April, my family and I have gone on two vacations.  The first one was with my family family.  Meaning the family that I started with my wife and the family I was born into (mom, dad, brother, sister and her family).  We stayed at a cabin that my sister found online.  It was awesome!  Fishing every day, hanging out, playing games, relaxing.

The second vacation was camping at the Hayward, WI KOA.  We stayed there three days and two nights with some friends.  I've stayed at that KOA and the Hixton, WI, and I would recommend either of them for anyone looking for a good time.  They have plenty of activities and they are reasonably priced.  We stayed in a small cabin (basically four walls and beds).  When the kids grow up a little, we'll probably try it with a tent.

Other than that, it's summer, so some more fishing, swimming, working in the yard, etc.  Busy, busy.  I have missed writing here and writing stories.  I've been wanting to get back to some of my serial stories (Uroth, Candy Land, maybe even Thaw Deal).  I've also wanted to do more Chuck Wendig challenges, but haven't had any weekend time to do those.  Look for something (hopefully) soon.

In the non-fiction realm, I think I might write a post about Pair Programming.  I used to be against the concept, but my new team does it and I think that I can see the benefits, but more on that when I write that post.