Bucket List

Around Thanksgiving last year I made a bucket list for myself. A bucket list is a list of things you want to do before you die (kick the bucket).

So here’s the list along with why I want to do each thing.

1. Finish my Things Fall Apart screenplay and attempt to turn it into a movie.
I read Chinua Achebe’s novel, Things Fall Apart, in high school and one of my first thoughts upon finishing it was, “This would make an awesome movie.” I set out to find the movie and… there isn’t one. There is a TV show, but it was produced in Nigeria and I couldn’t find a DVD version available in the USA. I started a screenplay adaption of the book and also seriously considered going to Bard for college where Achebe taught while he was still alive. I’d still like to see a movie of Things Fall Apart and with no one else working on it as far as I know, it’s up to me! I would have to get permission from Achebe’s family at some point though.

2. Have kids.
Pretty simple American dream stuff here. I like children a lot. I want to have some of my own.

3. Coach soccer for my kids.
This was one of the big things that my dad and I did together to bound when I was a kid. He coached my AYSO soccer teams so I got to hang out with him a lot over the years. I’d like to have the same sort of bond with my kids.

4. Attend a dance recital for my kids.
While I played soccer as a kid, my wife did dancing. Since I want our kids to play soccer it’s only fair that they dance too. I can’t teach dancing, but I can still support my kids doing it by going to see them.

5. See Wicked.
People have been telling me how good this musical is ever since it came out and ten years later I still haven’t see it or the movie. I should fix that before I die.

6. Go to a secluded ruin in Greece.
I love ancient Greek and Roman culture. I visited Rome and Athens with my sister in high school. I got to see a lot of the still intact buildings while I was there like the Pantheon, Partheon, Colosseum, and the Temple of Olympian Zeus. I’d like to see other ruins that are in more secluded areas instead of being in the downtown tourist places of capital cities. Greece has plenty of secluded islands with ancient ruins in the Aegean, so I’d like to go to one of those. Preferably with my wife coming along.

7. Learn ancient Greek.
Part of the whole loving ancient Greek and Roman culture. There wouldn’t be much purpose to knowing ancient Greek beyond doing it for its own sake. I might be able to read the Iliad in the original language but I have a feeling that I’d still enjoy the translated version better because I wouldn’t need to look up what a word means every five lines. Still! I wanna learn ancient Greek!

8. Have a popular website/attached sites.
This site. The one you’re on right now. And/or the Twitch and YouTube channels I’ve started up.

9. Design something for a video game that is actually used in that video game later on.
I’d like this to be through merit along. Something like designing a champion for League of Legends that Riot Games actually uses in the game. That’s unlikely because A) Riot avoids using fan made ideas to avoid copyright issues, and B) I might not be good enough at designing video game concepts to pull this off. If all else fails a few of the larger rewards for video game Kickstarter campaigns allow you to create something for the game. If merit doesn’t pan out for whatever reason, I can always use money.

10. Buy a house.
More American dream stuff. Pretty simple. I think most people want a place to live that belongs to them and them alone.

11. Do a dance routine with my wife to Aqua’s “Barbie Girl”
When I was in elementary school I went to a sleepover camp. One night there was a dance where all the kids and the counselors got together, danced, hung out, and watched movies. Two of the counselors did some sort of choreographed routine to Aqua’s “Barbie Girl” that amazed me ever since. I’d like to replicate it in some way with my wife.

12. Finish the novel/novel series I’ve been working on called Light’s Shadow.
I had a recurring dream when I was a kid where I inserted myself into various TV shows and comics that I watched/read. I started writing a novel of it and I’d like to finish it before I die. I’d also like to publish it before I die, but given that the premise of the novel includes about a dozen copyrighted works, I doubt that’s happening. I might be able to put it on a fan fiction website though.

13. Finish the Gurutama campaign setting and create a PDF of it that I can upload here.
In the process of doing this one on here already. The end goal is to have something that resembles an official D&D campaign setting in one document. Illustrations, borders, page numbers, etc. The whole thing.

14. Invent a cool biology thing.
One of my idols is Sir William Lawrence Bragg, the youngest scientist to ever win the Nobel prize at 25 years old. He, along with his father, invented X-ray crystallography which was used to discover the double-helix structure of DNA and many other molecular structures. Unfortunately it is virtually impossible to get the Nobel prize at that age today. Nobel prizes in the sciences are often given ten years after an initial experiment as the Nobel committee waits for others to replicate the work of the original discoverer. Most people don’t have amazing scientific discoveries until they’re at least 25 years old which would make it difficult to copy Sir William Lawrence Bragg. I’d still like to do something of scientific significance. Hopefully something to do with endosymbiosis, but I’ll take whatever the world ends up giving me.

15. Go camping in Yosemite with my wife and kids.
My family did this a lot when I was a kid and I really liked it. Got to keep the tradition alive!

And there you have it. My bucket list objectives as of January 2015.

-Mister Ed

Vampire Physics

That’s a picture of my favorite vampire, Spike. He’s a recurring villain/anti-hero from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I always like anti-hero characters and Spike is one of the better ones. He starts off as a villain, but fails spectacularly at that. He then tries his hardest to reform and become a hero, stumbling and falling all the way until he martyrs himself to save his love, Buffy.

Vampires are a very mutable part of our culture. The rules that define vampires change depending on which story you’re reading or watching. My dad and I refer to these rules as the “physics of the story.” Magic can have physics or superpowers can have physics or a particular type of monster can have physics. The important part of physics in a story is consistency. If the vampires can shoot lazers from their eyes, that’s fine as long as they all have that power or its absence is explained.

Vampire physics are consistent in most stories about them, but horribly inconsistent if you look at different stories.

Twilight vampires are supernaturally fast and strong, sparkle in daylight, need to be ripped apart and burned to be killed, and each individual vampire has a superpower of some kind.

Buffy vampires are strong and burn in daylight or when exposed to sanctified objects such as a cross or holy water. Buffy vampires turn to ash when a stake goes through their hearts, cast no reflection, and need to be invited into private residences before entering them. 

I might be remembering this one wrong as its been a long time since I’ve seen this movie. The vampire in Vampire in Brooklyn (Eddie Murphy in a classic gory vampire movie if you’re interested) has super speed, super strength, the ability to magically charm people, some sort of sixth sense, and the ability to create zombie-like servants.

In D&D, vampires are strong, fast, fear sanctified objects and mirrors, can’t cross running water unless in a boat, and are killed by decapitation or staking in the heart (but will return if the head is reattached or the stake removed). D&D vampires can also turn into a bat or a wolf and summon such creatures to do their bidding as well. D&D vampires can turn into mist, must sleep in coffins, can magically charm people with a glance, and can walk on walls.

All of these are part of the vampire myth and each is consistent within each story, but it becomes difficult when new vampire stories come out to discern what the rules will be. The sparkling vampires in Twilight were a new thing for a lot of people. Dracula isn’t killed by stakes in Van Helsing but can only be killed by werewolves. Another part of the vampire myth is a constant feud with werewolves, present in Twilight, Van Helsing, and Underworld.

That vampire-werewolf connection is actually pretty interesting. One of the theories is that vampire and werewolf stories started when rabies first reached Europe. People didn’t know what it was. All they saw was a bite turning a normal person into a beast of some kind whose bite would also transmit the disease. These people started being called vampires and werewolves (possibly even the same word that shifted pronunciation).

Anyways, I’m thinking about all of this because I’m writing about vampires in my True Colors Hornblower story. I’d like the vampire physics to be consistent, but I haven’t nailed down which rules I’d like to use. I’ll probably closely follow Buffy as that’s the story where my favorite vampire lives, but I’ll ditch those restrictions if they don’t fit the story.

That’s all for tonight!

-Mister Ed