Would You Like to Hear a Story?

From the moment I leave my shack on the edge of town, I know today will be no different than the last. Nothing is ever different.

I still have to get out of bed in my rusty, dirty shack that serves as a house, find something edible from the night before that I can call breakfast, and then drag my sorry, tired body to work. Every day is the same here in Haletown. It’s the same for everyone though.

I suppose that’s just the way it’s going to be when your ancestors destroyed most of the planet, hundreds of years before you were born. Don’t get the wrong idea, it’s not like it was just MY ancestors who pushed a button and ruined it for everyone. Every person did their part. So I guess it’s fair to say that everyone’s ancestors screwed it up for everyone’s kids. Unfortunately for me, I’m somewhere down the line from ‘everyone’s kids’.

I should probably introduce myself: My name is Alastair. My father’s name is Magnus, and my mother’s name was Allison. There are no family names now, I’m just know as Alastair, son of Magnus or, if you’re being lazy, Alastair Magnusson. See how that works?

My father lives in a different town, he’s too important there to leave, or for me to continue living there. I don’t see him as often as I’d like though, the distance is too great to travel often. My mother died when I was 9 so I don’t get to see her either.

The year is 2454. I am 19 years old. Just over 400 years ago, in 2049, the world stopped. The people in the world didn’t stop, but the world itself did. Governments all over the world had decided that they knew what was best for everyone, and no one disagreed. They were all to busy making friends over the internet and arguing about who should be able to marry who to notice that the governments had stripped them of their freedoms and decided to handle everything themselves. Suddenly, in the blink of an eye, everything was different. Then people took notice, and as large groups of unhappy people tend to do, they began to try to force things to change back to how it was before. You obviously know by now that it was too late. Governments fought back with their soldiers and planes and tanks. Common people fought the governments with their spies and hackers and assassins.

When it was all over, all that was left was a population a quarter the size it used to be with no place to live because they’d destroyed it all in a matter of months. Since no one was willing to give power back to a group of people anymore, small settlements sprung up all over. They were governed in any way the residents saw fit. It would be years before any ground was fertile enough to grow real crops again.

Years went by, and settlements grew. We still had all the knowledge we’d had from all that time before. Unfortunately for some settlements, not everyone knows how to run a farm or raise livestock. Some settlements are still worse off than others. We all govern ourselves though. Out in The Waste, the area between settlements, there are no rules. The strong kill the weak and take what they want. They’re smart enough not to attack settlements… most of the time.

Which brings me back to where I live; Halestown. Named after our founder, Micah Hale. It exist just south of where the old city of Cleveland used to be, back when this area was still called Ohio. I live in a shack on the edge of town. I don’t like many people so I live near the edge, where the population is less dense. I work in what’s technically a factory, but I mainly work with a small group of people. We’re responsible for trying to improve the technology of Halestown. We don’t exactly work for the Mayor, but it’s not exactly like we’re free to do what we please either.

We dig up whatever old information we can about previous technology, and try to see how it would best benefit the folks of town. I’m both a fabricator and what I like to refer to as an ‘Idea Man’. I claim that I come up with my best ideas while sitting around brainstorming, while the rest of my team says I just do nothing and expect to be paid for it. Not that we get paid much of anything, but that’s a different discussion.

I work under the Head Inventor, our Fearless Leader and team manger, Jacobus the Swift. We’ve been friends since we started school together. He’s a real genius with technology, and he’s not bad at drawing either, but most say he’s a bit off his gourd. We also work with Fenris, our large, able bodied mechanic who manages to build practically anything out of a spring and a few scraps of iron and Kat our technological marvel who doesn’t like people to mention that her looks are more obvious than her brains, and I’ve never met anyone smarter.

I enjoy their company, but recently I’ve been getting restless. Is working in the Workshop all there is to the rest of my life? How is a 19 year old kid with no ambition supposed to make it in the world I live in? Will I ever have more to look forward to in life than the possibility that someone, somewhere might recognize my name sometime?

On that day that was just like the one before it, I was soon to find out that no day after would ever be the same.

I Have a Problem

Hi. My name is Chris, and I have a problem.

I can’t find a music play list that has everything I want to hear on it.

Ok, so it isn’t a real problem, or even what most people would consider an inconvenience. The problem is as follows: There are “90’s Music” Playlists, and “00’s Music” play lists, but my true desire is to hear stuff from like 1994 to 2003.

Do you see my great distress? the music I want to hear, fall across 2 separate decades. This means I have to listen to about half a playlist full of stuff I actually want to hear, and the other half is just some stuff I remember hearing at some point.

If you actually think about it, most music goes this way. You would be more accurate, stylistically anyway, to group music from say 1955 to 1965, or 1975 to 1985 than to say “80’s Music”. I suppose it’s just more convenient to group things by decade as it’s a handy reference point.

I miss music from the late 90’s though. I like the place Rock, Hard Rock, and Hip-Hop were in. Pop was ok, working around the boy bands anyway. I understand that the reason I think fondly of it is nostalgia, in large part, but I also think I was a little happier with the direction certain genres were headed in.

Back in my day, the music was better.

Ha! I sound so old.


Defying Expectations

You know how when you make that transition from elementary school to middle school, or sometimes from middle to high school, you begin to feel a pressure to conform to something?

Not everyone feels the same pressure, or the pressure for the same things but there’s just that feeling like you have to be more… Something.

I’m beginning to notice that the same pressure shows up in the transition from college age to adulthood. When you jump from high school to college, there’s a sense of freedom. It’s a time of self discovery where you can begin to experiment. You’re in a new place, with new people and no one expects anything specific from you (parents excluded).

Once you make the transition from that age to adulthood, there’s a new pressure. For some people it’s pressure to get the right career, for others it’s a spouse and family.

For me, I’m beginning to notice that without even realizing it, I’ve been slowly giving up things that I enjoy. It’s not for any specific reason other than maybe a misguided view that an “adult” doesn’t do certain things.

While it’s completely reasonable to make some changes, like forgoing frivolous spending because now I have bills like a house and the utilities for that house; It’s no always necessary to give up things like old cartoons or old video games simply because “I’m an adult and those things aren’t for adults”.

When you’re a kid, you look at the adults and you’re so incredibly jealous. They don’t have anyone telling them what to do and they get to do whatever they want, whenever they want to. Obviously that isn’t exactly true. It could be.

At least a little bit. Sure you have responsibilities, we all do. Those things need to be done, but what about everything else? What really needs done right this minute? Why can’t we take a look at some things and start to treat everyday like we always thought it was?

There’s not reason we can’t all be adults like we thought we were going to be. As long as we pay our bills, and uphold our end of our responsibilities, and obviously don’t break any laws (not any major ones anyway), who’s to say we shouldn’t just do whatever we want whenever we want? Why do we keep letting other people tell us what we ought to do?

I think we should all try a little harder to do something we want to do, just because we feel like it. Just a little something, and you don’t even have to tell anyone, I promise. Just take back a little control and be proud of yourself for it.

Of course you can always come back here and tell just us what you did. Kudos all around.


Internet! Forever…

I was pondering today while I was bored, and I noticed that I have some odd internet habits.

Don’t get all excited, they aren’t that weird, and I bet if you stop and think about it, you do some strange things while you sit there with the browser open as well.

I suppose first it should be pointed out that I’ve been told I have a problem. I refuse to believe this. Since the advent of web browsers with multiples tabs available, I tend to have a couple more than necessary open at any given time. I say a couple, my ever-tolerant Wife says 15. I suppose I’ll leave it up to you to decide if my average of 24 tabs open at one time is a couple or 15 more than necessary.

Regardless, I tend to leave things open on these tabs like internet forums, and blogs. Things where new information could show up at anytime, without automatically informing me that there are things I could be reading about. They are usually about electronics, or sports. So my strangest habit is where I will routinely bounce between about 4 tabs, just refreshing each one to see if there’s anything new there. I probably do this every 5 to 10 minutes.
These sites only tend to update about once every hour or so. Granted, the forums are a lot more unpredictable because they rely on user contributions, but the point is the same. I can do this refreshing for several hours before I realize I’ve been looking at the same crap over and over again for all that time. How insane is that?

Actually, that sounds like… ‘The definition of insanity is continuing to do the same thing over and over, but expecting to get different results’. Hmmm… Interesting. Does that make me insane by most people’s definition? I already suspect I’m slightly unhinged.

What about you? Are you one of those people that clicks around the same couple of people’s profiles on Facebook every 10 minutes wondering if anything new has shown up? Kind of weird for both of us if you stop and think about it.


P.S. if you don’t know where the title of this post came from, read this. Warning! Language not necessarily safe for all age groups, but I didn’t write it, so don’t yell at me. Although, it’s pretty much describes me too…