Monday, May 4, 2020

Reflection #AtoZchallenge 2020, Alton Brown Love, and a Short Story #FlashFiction LGBTQIA+

Reflection #atozchallenge 2020

  • I managed to get all my posts done this year! 
  • I also entered WriteClub 2020. 🀞 
  • I worked on my writing. 
  • I entered a flash fiction contest (tied for second).
  • I celebrated my 13th wedding anniversary – we even opened the wine we were saving.
  • I fell behind on journaling. 
  • I didn't keep up with my commenting. 
  • I'm behind on email replies.
  • I've had several arguments on Facebook with people who... don't share my belief in the seriousness of the pandemic. 

Our special drink to celebrate our anniversary.

Look what I spotted on an old episode of Desperate Housewives. A to Z Yellow Pages.

Biolidics, a company from Singapore, has a rapid test for the virus! Video:

Wear a mask! Support the United States Postal Service! πŸ“¬ Follow Alton Brown's Quarantine Quitchen on YouTube because he, his wife, and their two dogs are adorable! πŸ’‘πŸΆπŸ•

That's the prompt and this is my entry (this was before I saw the show Upload). (Trigger warnings: current pandemic, LGBTQIA+)

Welcome to Third Life _ _ _


"You just pick your name and password to get started. Think to type," the sales representative says as she rearranges my bedside table.

"Right. But this isn't a regular website."

"The instructions are all on the screen. At any time, say 'exit' and an option to quit will appear."

"What happens if I quit?"

She gnaws on her lip before answering. "I've never seen that happen. But you are free to leave any time."

"Why did you pause?"

"Because I'm in the world. I had to cancel and close my box after saying the word. Any other questions you have are answered in the program," she says as she leaves.

I probably shouldn't do this. But she looked so real! I could smell her, and it wasn't a cleaning product scent, but perfume. Her skin felt real to my touch. That's what skin still feels like, right? Anyone who comes in here hides behind a biohazard suit, as do I. She didn’t need to.

I click the FAQ.

Do I have to use my real name?

—  No! In Third Life you can be your most true self, whoever you feel that is. Upgrades and changes for your avatar are purchasable. Usernames are permanent but in-game IDs can be altered for a fee.

I type a username and password. I've seen Avatar and the Matrix movies. And I played SecondLife for years. I know this isn't much different. Except those were movies and a game. This is real life.

Real life? I think that ended back in Nineteen or Twenty. Reality tumbled into a portal dimension of country-sized fires, quakes, sickness, and building-sized asteroids.

The screen starts with an avatar that looks like me. Or, at least, the me that was. Back when smiles weren't hidden behind masks. Hair that was cut and styled: what a memory!

This biohazard suit is like my closet. I dared not come out of it before. I've pretended to be Cis to survive. But the avatars that live in the world are without violence. I can be my real self now.

I scroll through base avatars until I find what I want. There. The body that reflects who I feel I look like.

Hours have passed by the time I've perfected making my avatar. I step out into the world for the first time as my true self.

What will happen to my birth body? They say the avatar never dies. But my birth body was about to expire. I survived the first two virus waves, but won't survive cardiomyopathy. If I exit, is that suicide?

When my birth body dies the biohazard suit, my closet, will be discarded. So I'm out. There's no going back. I'm going to have to live as my true self among the remaining thirty-million survivors. Is that a silver lining, or a tinfoil one?

#AtoZChallenge 2020 badge

How was your April? I hope you liked my story.

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Zombie Mummy #AtoZchallenge #rpg #fantasy #prompt #pandemic

My theme is a month of prompts and ideas for tabletop role-playing games or prompts for fantasy writers.
#AtoZChallenge 2020 badge

Zombie Mummy

People in a fictional society were having a fictional pandemic. And the fictional leader suggested they inject cleaning products into their lungs. A disinfectant producer flat out tells people not to do this, but they do anyway. Really, what kind of leader would even speculate about injecting cleaning products into the lungs? But there you go, people doing it, and the poorest people eating and snorting soap. "I was only kidding!" the leader claims as his people die.

A wizard, who was banned from the kingdom by the leader, attempts a spell to end the pandemic. He doesn't know about the cleaning products. By chance, having soapy lungs is the only way this spell could possibly backfire. (But really, who would think someone would have cleaning product in the lungs? I mean, come on...) So everyone in the fictional land that was still alive or recently died and followed the idea of the leader turns into a zombie. Those who had died earlier in the week after following the idea become zombie mummies (walking around with bandages, because that's how the land cares for their dead). Oh, and anyone who ignored the cleaning idea has just been cured of the pandemic and now has to deal with zombies and zombie mummies.

Your party might include the wizard, adventurers from other lands, residents from the land...
Kill them? Try to cure them? Risk restarting the pandemic?
Side with the leader? Replace the leader with someone in your party?

Some people like to use a fictional game to make light of an impossible situation. Winning a fictional game can almost feel like regaining a little control. And rolling natural 20s while slaying fictional evil can be a healthy outlet for anger. All players should be aware of the premise beforehand, as many people are experiencing mental health challenges right now. The idea for the post was written in early March, not including the cleaning products. Originally the leader suggested drinking ogre milk and the party had to figure out if an ogre even could be milked... but, I mean... real life just outdid my idea, as you can see by the hyperlinks.

PLEASE do not ingest cleaning products. Follow the nice Wizard Sanders... πŸ˜‰

And that's it for the A to Z Challenge 2020! Thanks to everyone who visited me. This is a personal blog, and 11 months of the year it's just me sharing my thoughts somewhere other than FB or Twitter.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Yesterday #AtoZchallenge #rpg #fantasy #prompt

My theme is a month of prompts and ideas for tabletop role-playing games or prompts for fantasy writers.
#AtoZChallenge 2020 badge


Due to a timewarp, everyone relives yesterday. Unlike Groundhog Day, you only relive the day one time. Monday Monday Tuesday Tuesday Wednesday Wednesday...

Fight the same monster twice (perhaps with a different outcome). Get another chance at the treasure.

How long will this timewarp last? What caused it? What if it stops? What if days start skipping and the dice determine what day it is now? The ultimate goal is to fix the timewarp... though anarchist characters might prefer things as they are... πŸ˜„

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Forbidden Love Ends With X #AtoZchallenge #rpg #fantasy #prompt

My theme is a month of prompts and ideas for tabletop role-playing games or prompts for fantasy writers.
#AtoZChallenge 2020 badge

Forbidden Love Ends With X

There's a forbidden love. It resulted in the forbidden ones having se… well, you know the next letter. πŸ˜‰ ❌

And now there are offspring. Half of your adventures are tasked with destroying the "abominations," the other half with protecting them and getting them accepted. Some party members might even be the parents, grandparents, half-siblings, aunts, and uncles of the offspring.

Monday, April 27, 2020

Wayfaring for Second Chances #AtoZchallenge #rpg #fantasy #prompt

My theme is a month of prompts and ideas for tabletop role-playing games or prompts for fantasy writers.
#AtoZChallenge 2020 badge

Wayfaring for Second Chances

No mounts are allowed. Everywhere the party goes, they must go on foot.

When creating characters, each player must have a horrible experience from their past, a moment where if they had just done one thing differently, made one different choice, they feel everything would be better.

However many adventurers there are, the chalice of second chances will grant the opportunity to one less. (5 players = 4 chances.) This is not known until they get there.

The chalice cannot be reached until the party has bonded, until everyone deeply cares that the others get the chance. The first player to drink must ask to grant the second chance wishes of all the others, but that player's character will forever become part of the chalice. To never live or die, to never be free, a magic that could only be undone if someone else went on the quest for a second chance to be the one to drink. Except the chalice of second chances only grants one second chance per being, ever, so none of the party members can be the one to do this.

While the second chance might go well (the dice determines that), the player swill forever be racked with guilt (regardless of alignment) at the loss of their party member.

Sunday, April 26, 2020


(Warning: Language and Pandemic rant. This is not an A to Z post.)

I had a dentist appointment coming up on Tuesday. I have rescheduled it for September. Hopefully, things will go back to normal by then.

normal wasn't working meme


Yes, I know. We were a world in need of change. We were a country with some serious problems. For fuck's sake, our two frontrunners for the November election have both been accused of sexual assault, so it's so bad in America that we can't even get someone without a history of criminal behavior to stay in the presidential campaign!

I'll grant you that Bernie dropped out as a way to protest the lack of vote-by-mail opportunities at a time when voting could mean infection. So he was trying to protect his people, which is freaking presidential. But still, look where that leaves us. With an Electoral College picking which sexual assaulter will rule for the next four years. That sucks.

And STILL, I want to go back to normal.

Cat image from NIV
This exhausted kitty sums up how I feel.
(I got this pic by becoming a Patreon of Niv
I highly recommend following her.)

You people exhaust Kitty.

Look, what I'm saying is that I would like to be able to make a dentist appointment without wondering if the office will be there, and without thinking there's a good chance a cleaning will actually kill me. I need an x-ray of my lower back. I've been putting that off for two reasons. 1- Because I know the x-ray techs are completely overworked right now. 2- I don't want to get the virus and die from having a back x-ray.

My best friend just lost an immediate family member. How? He broke his leg and went to the hospital to have it taken care of, and then spiked a fever, and then the fever got really high, then they put him on a vent, then in a medically induced coma, and then he died. That was in the span of a few days. And my best friend is three states away so it's not like she can go handle things, or attend a funeral (which are drive-by services where you roll up in your car, pay respects at the casket, and drive off). Plus, she works security for P&G, and it's not exactly the right time to take off of work. (Feel free to click to see what they make. Gold. They may as well be making freaking gold right now. If someone robbed Fort Knox, they'd use the gold to buy stuff from P&G because it's worth more right now.)

So yeah. When I say normal, I mean I want to be able to go to the store and buy Charmin UltraSoft toilet paper and a roll of paper towels and some Lysol disinfectant spray. I want to buy all of those in one shopping trip, like normal. I want to carry them to my car without my husband putting on his Hulk face like, "don't mess with us! These are our products! Stay back!" And I don't want to feel bad if I opt to buy two of any of those items. DON'T TELL ME THAT PART WASN'T WORKING. BECAUSE GOING TO THE STORE TO BUY TOILET PAPER WAS WORKING PRETTY DAMN WELL FOR ME, THANK-YOU-VERY-MUCH.

Change is good. There are improvements that can, should, and must be made to our world.

But there's nothing wrong with wanting to be able to do A SIMPLE FUCKING THING like buy toilet paper, get an x-ray, have a meal with a friend, or go for a dental cleaning.



It doesn't have to be every day. But yes, I want the option for those things 24/7/365. I want that back. AND I AM ALLOWED TO WANT IT. I'm allowed to want to not worry that my husband went to work today and could get the virus and bring it home to me. I'm allowed to want to not worry that my mom is going to get the virus from her merchandising job. I'd really like to be able to go back to Facebook being happy stuff shared with friends instead of damn near every post being catastrophic. I want healthcare workers to be able to see their families. I wouldn't mind if states stopped trying to outdo each other with death tolls. "My state is gonna be the death destination!" "Nah, I already have a quarter of my citizen throwing suicide parties!" And it sure would be nice to have a president that loves the lives of the people more than money and power. (That's a long-shot dream. I'M ALLOWED TO DREAM.)

But yeah. When I say I would like to go back to normal, I don't mean nothing should change. But there are some basic routine activities that I'd like to have back. This world we're in right now is too stressful and, honestly, I don't know that I can handle the idea of this new level of constant fear and stress as being permanent. And I don't think I'm alone in that.

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Variating Weather Vane and Vials of Minor Inconveniences #AtoZchallenge #rpg #fantasy #prompt

My theme is a month of prompts and ideas for tabletop role-playing games or prompts for fantasy writers.
#AtoZChallenge 2020 badge

Knowledge Kidnappers Quest - (Or Party versus Party) -

Variating Weather Vane

(See letter K post or letter p post for details.)

It looks like a charm on a necklace. Give it a spin and think about the weather you'd like. Alters a 6-acre span of weather around you for an hour. Takes 24 hours to recharge.

Vials of Minor Inconveniences

An unlabeled pack of ten vials that cause minor inconveniences. When they're gone, they're gone. (The pack clearly held a baker's dozen- 13- vials at some point. These are the ones that remain.) Drink it and you'll be the inconvenienced one. Throw it at someone, they're inconvenienced. Doesn't do any actual damage. The GM should write ten possible minor inconveniences before the game begins, and seal them so they can be pulled out at random when the player uses one.

You know you want to watch an angry ogre have to stand in an imaginary line for a few minutes. Or there's this non-sense, as pointed out by Family Guy: