Thursday, November 20, 2008

announcement: blog on hold

I will be creating a new blog: http://ecopractical.blogspot.com/ for my craft projects and therefore will not post any further craft projects on this blog. Ecopratical Crafting will launch on Janurary first, which I hope will help me present a organized well written blog.

And here is the picture of my completed quilt hanging in it's rightful place on our couch.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Random project progress

My mom came for a weekend and we produced a table. It still needs to be painted.



Max was tired.



I have finished sewing together my quilt top.



I've also sewn my quilt top to its fleece backing and done the actual "quilting" part. I've also made my binding for the quilt, which is the red ribbon-looking roll shown below. It will edge my quilt.



My plants are doing well. Go thiomotropism.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

jamie and eric-33-alternate universes

Eric was in fact sitting in the hall of the South Tower. He had walked sheepishly down every hall of this level twice. Feeling that he had just overlooked a door that would reveal the hall that would take him closer to Jamie. But the doors were only labeled with numbers. Some with welcome mats before them. And small daily life sounds filtered into the hallway when Eric stood still.

He was hugely aware of how he might appear to the inhabitants of this structure. But he had only seen two tower entrances from the main lobby. And having climbed up and down the stairs past this level a few times, he was sure Jaime was at this height above the ground. Eric now sat in front of a window that brought him the closest to Jamie as possible. He could see another tower out the window to the west. It was almost like looking through a portal into a parallel universe.

Maybe Jamie had stumbled upon some ancient spell in the library archives that he accidently cast that took him to that other universe. It would have to be activated just by reading it. There weren’t many spells like that. It look a lot of work and energy to create a text that circumvented normal incantation preparations. But maybe if Jamie was in a mysterious parallel universe, it granted Eric a window into that universe because they were bonded. Most spells, though, didn’t include handling of special cases. Instead the energy chose the least energetic path for unspecified variables. That’s what made it dangerous to try out spells in old forgotten spell books.

So dangerous in fact that most people stuck to the canon spells. Through generations of use the same spells had resulted in a large body of published articles detailing their effects and what factors were most important and how to deal with them. Everything. Thick tomes with decision trees, so dusty that Eric sneezed just opening them. New spells barely have a chance. That was another thing that bothered Jamie. Unnecessary loss of information because all of the federal funding went to researchers developing new spells. And most people have innate abilities that they can develop without needing elaborate incantations every time.

Like Eric’s telekinesis.

Eric reached his hand towards the other worldly building, to help focus his concentration, and tried to move something on the other building. He felts the mental whack connect but nothing moved. A large maple tree stood serenely in front of the building and Eric settled for moving its branches. Surely if the building was in an alternate universe the tree would be as well. But the branch clearly moved towards Eric’s universe as if being cocked back, and then sprung back as he let go, slapping the side of the building.

Monday, October 13, 2008

jamie and eric-32-Jamie makes it through the pain

The pressure of the windowsill returned to Jamie’s awareness. The pain starting to give way to shakiness. Shakiness and that gentle tug. If he could move he should leave, Jamie decided. His body felt achey and numb as he continued to climb the steps. His head lowered, his hair falling into his face, Jamie thought about the position of his body. He kept his back straight and his step swift. In case his gait gave away the discomfort he was feeling in his body.

But it wasn’t just physical. Jamie felt drained, almost in a good way. It left like huge weights had been lifted from his chest. Tears wanted to follow. But Jamie wasn’t so weak as to give into tears. He swallowed, but his throat felt tight. Jamie could only think about what would come. Think about when Master Brown found out what he had done. Think about what Eric would say the next time he saw Jamie. Or do…

Jamie did pass a student rushing down the stairwells at unsafe speed. She was actually wearing stiff white student robes. Students usually only wore their white robes during ceremonies. Jamie turned to watch her bright red hair bounce after her as she raced down the steps. Besides being itchy, they were hard to keep immaculate. Jamie didn’t remember Master Brown mentioning any auspicious events, and there certainly weren’t any graduation ceremonies going on this time of year. As the girl rounded the stairs below him she sped out of view and Jamie let the distraction of wondering about her purpose leave him too.

The bond strength test was in two hours roughly. Jamie had seven more flights of stairs to climb, but his pace was picking up. The youngest, least prestigious masters were housed at the top of the four towers allowing the older more profitable professors the easily accessible suites. The lower suites were also larger.

Jamie planned to meet Eric at Master Dragonbreath’s classroom for the test. Although he wasn’t entirely sure that Eric would remember where to go. Eric was never completely awake in the morning when Master Brown told him the things he was supposed to remember that day. He was so asleep in fact that this morning Eric put his boiled egg into his oatmeal and mixed it in. Eric seemed to register that his oatmeal didn’t taste quite right, by the grimace that had been on his face, but that didn’t stop him from finishing the bowl.

Five more flights. Jamie felt mostly back to normal, physically. He could climb the stairs at his normal pace at least. If he showed up on time to Master Dragonbreath’s room without Eric, that would raise suspicion. As much as Jamie wanted to put off dealing with the consequences of once again being bonded to Eric… Maybe Eric would play Jamie’s game of pretending everything was normal. That nothing big had happened. Then Master Brown and Dahlia and Bridgett would never say anything.

But really what was the worst that could happen? It’s not like Master Brown was going to punish him. No worse, she would want to have a heart to heart with Jamie to discuss his psychological scarring. She would want to know why he did it. Eric will want to know why…

* * *

Jamie was trying to settle into his work, but his eyes kept nervously twitching towards the clock. He had finally admitted to himself that he needed to bring his research back to ground zero. That no matter how many pretty graphs or complicated transformations he made from his data there still weren’t any distinct trends. And ground zero meant more research. Being fairly caught up with the leading edge of bond related publications, Jamie decided it would be worth his time to reread some old “favorites” for anything that he might have missed the first five times. It was either that or pick a new subject to devote his life to.

Forty-five minutes until Master Dragonbreath was expecting them. When should Jamie leave? It would only take fifteen minutes to walk there, but he would have to find Eric first. Or at least he should. But if Jamie was any judge of distance and position based on the tug of the bond, Eric was at the same height above the ground, but too far away to be in the West Tower. And he hadn’t moved position significantly for awhile… Could he have gotten confused?

“Eric? Wher-“ But before Jamie could finish the thought message to Eric the echo interrupted him, “Ee-er-ri-ri-ic… W-wh-wh-er-“

Jamie’s whole body froze.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

afghan and quilt progress

So I've completed another section of my afghan. The sky looks a little funny where I'm starting to introduce the lighter colors, but other than that I'm happy with it.


I'm also working on a quilt project made entirely of worn-out pant material (I chose not to use pants that were still good enough to be given away). Below you can see all of my squares arranged on top of their eventual fleece backing.

Friday, October 10, 2008

jamie and eric 31-the last moment

Five (or six, I need to make some cheat sheets for myself) Jamie had woken up in the hospital.
It was silent then to, but a different silent than the Masters’ quarters. The Masters’ quarters was like a library, sectioned off with beds. The energy buzzed, was tense, was impatient. People were constantly shifting even if any individual would spend hours at one task. The hospital was the land of eternal dusk, where time meant nothing even when the curtains were drawn back.
But his first thought in the hospital was panic. Bolting straight up in bed his first thought was of Eric. Eric had been bleeding so heavily in the forest. Lady Miranda had cut their bond close to Jamie, hoping that he wouldn’t be affected by the whiplash, but instead it had felt like he was bleeding. Bleeding his soul.
Vaguely he remembered the insane asylum. Like a bad dream. Remembered Bridgett’s voice. Later to find out that Bridgett had been a real hero saving both himself and Eric.
But Jamie only began to wonder about his circumstances after he had seen Eric’s sleeping face. Jamie wasn’t sure how long he had been out, but Eric seemed okay. Well… The color had come back to his face and his breathing was deep and steady. Monitoring devices gave soft little chirps. Feeling a little light-headed, Jamie he swung his legs around to hang off of the bed. The cold metal frame of the bed bit into the back of his calves. Jamie realized he was wearing a hospital gown, and nothing else, leaving him feeling rather naked. But even in his culture, hospitalized patients were reduced to this humiliation. He slid down until his feet touched the floor. He felt weak. But it was only one step to Eric’s bed.
Jamie brushed hair out of his face and felt his fingertips tingle. Jamie contemplated his fingertips. Contemplated his internal awareness of Eric. Lady Miranda had cut the bond, and it had not reformed yet. They were both so weak.
He couldn’t let himself think about what happened next. The guilt was too much. He made himself picture Eric’s face peacefully sleeping. Picture the last moment that he had meant anything to Eric.
The pressure of the windowsill returned to Jamie’s awareness. The pain starting to give way to shakiness. Shakiness and that gentle tug. If he could move he should leave, Jamie decided. His body felt achey and numb as he continued to climb the steps. His head lowered, his hair falling into his face, Jamie thought about the position of his body. He kept his back straight and his step swift.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

jamie and eric-30-Jamie's reaction

* * *

Later Dahlia regretted having brushed Daniel off so quickly. It was just she had to get to class. If he really wanted to talk to her, he should’ve given her his cell number so she could text him. Maybe he didn’t have a cell. Whatever, Dahlia would she him tomorrow. Still she felt a little hesitant to tell Eric that his brother, who he apparently hadn’t seen in ages, was in her class, but she had no idea how to contact him otherwise.

* * *

Jamie knew that pain would come when he touched Eric. Six months without touching Eric. At first it had been hard. He was so in the habit of squeezing his shoulder or tussling his hair in passing as he worked around the lab. But then it became just an issue of avoiding accidently bumping into Eric.
Jamie didn’t know that the pain would come so completely, so quickly. He was only up one flight of stairs before it became difficult to move. Even though the hallways were typically empty, Jamie wanted to avoid embarrassing questions. Using the hand-rail to pull himself up, Jamie decided to sit on the windowsill of the next landing. He could pretend to be deep in thought while holding his pained body still.
But he was still shaking a little bit. Jamie could imagine a intensely-focused Master striding up the stairs not even seeing Jamie, not hearing him even. An old musty man in dusty black robes muttering to himself, or nose buried in a book, as he climbs the stairs. Crazy, except for that boyish curiosity bubbling, burning, flaring, in his eyes. But that man was so lost in his internal world that only out of habit was he able to safely navigate the stairs back to his suite. Jamie wasn’t afraid of scholars like that.
Jamie was afraid of their students. He was afraid of their students. Students who were still new enough to the world of grown-ups to want to conquer all problems. Including a solitary figure shaking with pain on the windowsill.
Jamie’s vision began to fuzz over. Before he had been sitting sideways, looking out the window to hide his face, but he was afraid that he may lose control of his body completely. He brought his feet up sinking his weight into both sides of the window frame. Nausea turned his stomach, he felt feverish but his body was chilled with sweat, and invisible needles he could not brush away pricked his skin. He willed himself to stay quiet.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

jamie and eric-29-classroom discussion

The boy said something to Professor Turntable (and yes it is a goofy name, but coming up with a bilzillion names is hard so I’ll change it in the final version) in a soft voice that didn’t carry.
“This is Novice Daniel (…don’t remember Eric’s last name…),” her professor announced to the class.
So it was Eric’s brother! Dahlia swept her papers into a neat pile before her, so that the unoccupied space next to her would look more available.
“Ah, it looks like Dahlia would like you to join her table.” Professor Turntable said pointing towards her. Dahlia turned bright red. Someone giggled. Nat, who sat across from Dahlia, shrugged when she looked at him.
The administrator gave Professor Turntable some papers and rushed off. Daniel, Eric’s brother, shouldered his book back and headed to the back of the room, to the empty spot that Dahlia had cleared for him.
Sitting down Daniel flashed Dahlia a winning smile, before extending his hand, “Dahlia, was it?” He kept his voice down as the class had generally quieted down again.
Dahlia blinked. Was this Eric-copy hitting on her. He cocked his head at her trying to reestablish the handshake.
“Oh.” Dahlia shook his hand, “Yeah. Yeah, Dahlia.”
Daniel pulled a notebook and pencil from his book bag. The notebook looked old and tattered. Dahlia watched out of the corner of her eye, pretending to turn back to her essay, as Daniel opened his notebook and flipped through a couple of pages to find an empty one. The thing had more doodles in it than words. Daniel began coping the prompt from the board.
Nat looked incredulous, “Have you even read the book?”
“Yeah, actually, I read it at my last school. I guess they mixed the curriculum up a bit.” Daniel replied.
“Where are you from?” Alex asked eagerly.
Dahlia realized she was watching the speakers, so she began writing non-sense words on her paper to disassociate herself, “Book, book, title, written written and now for the main topic. Blah blah topic book.”
“Back east. It was a small town. There were like two hundred people,” Daniel responded. His body was turned as if he was talking to all three of his table mates. And Dahlia kept catching his gaze out of the corner of her eye.
“The main character’s struggle was exemplified by her inability to leave the situation,” Dahlia wrote furiously.
“So what, did your family move out here?” Nat prompted the conversation.
“No… actually I ran away from home. I’m staying in the orphanage right now, but they’re going to move me into the dorms when something opens up.” Daniel was almost bragging. Nothing like Eric, Dahlia told herself. True, she had been annoyed by Eric’s cold shoulder behavior as of late, but he had always been modest. Always shrugged off his accomplishments. Always able to laugh at himself.
“Intense.” Alex mused.
“Are you really Eric’s brother?” Dahlia demanded. Demanded perhaps a little too loud because Professor Turntable spoke up, “Settle down class.”
Daniel didn’t miss a beat. He pulled Dahlia notebook away from her grasp and scribbled into the margin, “You know Eric?”
Dahlia grimaced and wrote back, “Well ofc I know Eric! Y else would I ask??” Daniel shrugged.
“How do you know him?”
“We live together.” Dahlia scribbled authoritatively and Daniel looked surprised this time. Dahlia shot him a dirty look. “Not like that. We have the same Master.”
“What???” Daniel made each consecutive question mark bigger than the last.
“explain later.” Dahlia wrote and pulled her notebook away from Daniel and resumed work on her essay. Reluctantly he turned back to his paper and finished coping the prompt.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

jamie and eric-28-trying to keep names straight

Just outside the cafeteria there was a glowing white lobby. There didn’t seem to be many people passing through at this time of day. What time of day was it? Light beaming in through glass doors and a couple of window told him late afternoon. Late afternoon. Eric took a deep breath, telling himself to calm down. He still knew where Jaime was. Did he?!
Eric lightning-fast checked his perception of the constant nudge. The nudge that he often took for granted. It was like wearing clothing. It was like feeling your breath expand into your lungs. But the nudge was there. So high up. But it made since now, Eric saw that the exits from the lobby were labeled ‘South Tower’ and ‘North Tower.’
The tower entrances were on opposite sides of the lobby, but all Eric could tell was that Jamie was up. So far up that Eric couldn’t feel any difference when he walked towards the entrance of one tower and back towards the other. Catching the curious glance of a miserly old man in warm black robes, Eric just bolted up the tower.

* * *
Master Graves turned to his assistant, a sturdy last year student struggling under a pile of books, “That was young Journeyman Eric, wasn’t it?”
The student, not really able to see and in the middle of a explaining the problem he was having with his research, obligedly responded, “Yes, I believe it was.”
“Huh,” Master Graves remarked to himself, absent-mindedly twisting the end of his moustache, “I didn’t know he had business in the North Tower. He lives in the West Tower, does he not?”
“I’m sure it was West, Master.”

* * *

The late afternoon light was still bright and Dahlia was fascinated by the shadow of the pencil tip striking the paper as she wrote her essay. The words flowed onto her paper effortlessly. Her professor only wanted to hear his opinion recited back to him, although that wasn’t quite how he had phrased the assignment. The tapping of the pencil tip as it came down was also satisfying.
There was a commotion at the front door entered into the periphery of Dahlia’s awareness. She felt dreamy though and could only muster up enough focus for the work before her.
”Class,” Professor Turntable cleared his throat before continuing, “it appears we have a new student. Novice- oh what was it again.”
Dahlia brought her attention forward. The office administrator stood in the doorway, clearly waiting to get back to her busy schedule. In front of her stood the boy that Professor Turntable was addressing. Dahlia’s jaw dropped. It looked like a younger Eric. Granted he was a good bit shorter, and scrawny where Eric had an athletic build. The bitter taste of used eraser overwhelmed Dahlia and she hastily removed the pencil from her mouth. She amazed herself. Certainly such an unpleasant habit wouldn’t stick.

Monday, September 29, 2008

jamie and eric-27-losing his mind

And then he realized that he hadn’t remembered any of this. Hadn’t remembered that moment, the moment when he had first bonded with Jamie, before this lunch. The memories were his. The knowledge, the knowing. Were natural in his mind. It felt more real than the bumming around the campus he did for five months. Real, but fuzzy.
Real, but fuzzy. Eric shook himself a little. He would ask Jamie about it later. He hadn’t been talking to Jamie. Jamie left his sandwich. Eric still had a lot of food, but it was cold and it wasn’t meant to be cold. Eric switched the plates around and started eating Jamie’s sandwich. He was surprised that his host family was away. Harnet was such a small town that if anything was happening Eric should’ve known and probably would have been there too. Maybe they had gone out of town to visit relatives and Eric had forgotten about it. Jamie should have finished dinner before going back to the library. Eric could feel Jamie’s presence. Feel it like a gentle tug that he could follow, could always find Jamie.
At least Eric though Jamie was at the library. The thought didn’t feel quite right. Maybe Jamie was talking with some of the processors at the college. Eric’s thoughts paused mid-bite. This was tuna fish. Jamie hated tuna fish. Why would he get a tuna fish sandwich?
It must have been a mistake. And then Jamie decided it wasn’t worth it to get something else, so he left to do whatever it was he was doing…
Which felt really high up. Eric didn’t think Harnet had any buildings this tall. Eric swallowed uneasily and the bite stuck in his throat. He coughed a little bit and grabbed the water to help him swallow. Eric could feel his body demanding food, but eating was starting to feel like a chore.
Eric pushed the sandwich away from him. His head felt clouded, heavy, and tired. He felt a little disoriented. Eric kept imagining Jamie soaring above Harnet. Far higher than Eric would ever levitate him. Well not that he couldn’t.
Jamie? Eric called out mentally across their shared bond. But the thought echoed back to him shattered, J- J- J- Ja- -mie -ie. Each syllable hit him like bullets and sent shivers through his body. He didn’t know how a thought echo was possible, but worse, Jamie hadn’t answered.
Eric stood up leaving the food on the table. Staring down at the full dishes Eric wondered whether the customers were supposed to bus their own tables here. He rubbed his arm, fear still rippling through him. The need to find Jaime overshadowed such a small task. So he left it. He left it, but guilt creeped into his gut. He should ask someone and not just leave. Had he even paid? Eric edged towards the exit, watching the wait staff out of the corner of his eye in case they made moves to snag him.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

tragedy and flowers

So a couple of days ago I left the rat cage open so the guys could poke their heads out. I've done this before and sometimes they will climb to the top of their cage, but they never try to take off so I feel secure letting them have the door open. This time, however, there where some deadly consequences, which I discovered the next time I came to water my plants...



If you'll notice, there are two small stems in the front of the pot that used to be vibrant seedlings as well as the deleafed nasturtium. I think I might get some wheat grass to keep on that window seal for them (it's right behind their cage).

On another note, Max and I made a painting together. He painted some of the background leaves and the top petal on lower flower. The imprecise nature of brushwork frustrated him so I finished his flower for him.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

wave afghan progress



This is my workspace. I don't always work on the floor, but I like to have a lot of room to organize my yarn colors. Yarn that I've already butterflied I keep together in plastic bags by color categories. Not shown are the two boxes of yarn I have waiting in my closet :-P




Here is the detail of what I've finished so far. I've cut the pattern up into squares to make it easier to work on and then I sew the squares together as I finish them.



The yellow box shows where this piece fits into the larger design. Despite using multiple colors to represent one color block, I think that the design is still clear in the finished piece. I surprised with how quickly this is going. I've only really been working on the afghan for a couple of weeks and have already completed 3/18 of the pattern. We'll see if I can keep this progress up.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

jamie and eric-26-flashback to highschool

Eric’s clearest memories of Jamie were of when they first met. First met in the bathroom when Jamie was crying. Led him around St. Phoenix’s campus avoiding detection, stealing food and office supplies. They didn’t really talk much. Or at least Jamie didn’t talk much. At the end of the day they just managed to sneak onto the busses heading back to the boarding school.
But Jamie disappeared as soon as they got off the busses. The crowds of students in bright red blazers, it wasn’t hard. And Jamie stayed disappeared for almost a week. Had they not been bonded Eric wouldn’t have cared, well if they hadn’t been bonded Eric would never have stopped to comfort him. But they were, and Eric kept looking over his shoulder hoping to catch sight of him.
In passing time before last class period on Friday a small black haired boy approached Eric at his locker. He didn’t say anything, he barely looked at Eric. “There you are, you jackass!” Eric exclaimed. “I’ve been looking for you all week.” And Jamie’s bright eyes widened with surprise. Jamie still couldn’t say anything though, shy and tucked into himself. Eric looked around at the busy hallway. “Let’s ditch class. Head out into the woods.”
Jamie gulped, clearly afraid, and managed to say “No.”
Eric scuffed the floor with his shoe. Jamie looked ready to run away. “Hey don’t freak out. We can hang some other time.” Jamie nodded. But Eric was freaking out. A little.
The crowd in the hall was thinning out. Jamie looked visibly nervous. It was making Eric nervous. The hall monitor security guy walked down the fall shouting out, “Get to class boys.”
Jamie almost ran, but Eric grabbed his shoulder. Letting go quickly. He tweaked something in his arm. His hand fell asleep. He pumped his fingers a couple of times and the feeling died down.
“Here after class. I’ll find you.” Jamie blurted out and ran away.
Eric smiled. He just felt happy. Eric’s older self knew that this was the moment that the bond had physically formed. Vaguely Eric wondered if this had been the first moment of being bonded, then how were they bonded before.

* * *

The pain was subsiding.
Eric could see his food again. He could see Jamie’s food. The table. The paintings on the wall. Eric forced himself to slow down and breath deep to fight the shakiness he felt.
Touch. Being close enough that their energies could touch and attach to each other. They were bonded again. It really hurt this time. It changed the way he felt. All of the feelings of mistakes, uselessness, emptiness, undirected energy… It was gone. It was gone. Completely.
Eric laughed from embarrassment. What was all of the angst over? He didn’t know what to do with his life. He didn’t know what to do? He was a part of Jamie’s research. He helped with Jamie’s research. He remembered talking to all those millions of candidates with some level of bond. Jamie spent a lot of time with books, and Eric talked to so many people.
And then he realized that he hadn’t remembered any of this. Hadn’t remembered that moment, the moment when he had first bonded with Jamie, before this lunch. The memories were his. The knowledge, the knowing. Were natural in his mind. But he knew that he had not known this yesterday.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

jamie and eric-25-a startlingly painful discovery

The Masters’ building had a small cafeteria off the main lobby. Jamie wasn’t sure how much food they actually served, but the small sitting area seemed to always be empty. Or almost empty. Still it was nice. The seating area was broken into cushioned booths. Calm music was soft enough for conversation but eased the tension of talking in a silent room. It didn’t help the two boys that entered the room and grabbed their plastic trays.
Eric led Jamie to a booth in the back of the seating area. As usual Eric had gotten a large lunch. He never really had the appetite to eat a large breakfast, and after hard work in the hot sun Eric was ravishing by lunchtime. Today was two entrees: spaghetti and roasted chicken. Jamie only had half a sandwich. They sat opposite each other in the booth and Eric immediately began stuffing his face. Jamie was quiet and still across the booth, composing himself. Eric tried to ignore him, just enjoy his lunch. Jamie exhaled audibly and Eric bristled.
“I..” Jamie began. Eric continued eating. “We have the test today.” Jamie began again. Eric grunted affirmatively. “Right now we would register as having no bond.”
Startled Eric swallowed prematurely partially choking on his bite. After a generous gulp of water he demanded, “what?!”
“You know that the incident broke our bond.” Jamie stated simply.
“Yeah,” Eric thought for a second. Eric felt a little stupid. It wasn’t that he had really thought that they were strongly bonded, or bonded at all, he just hadn’t thought about it. Still everyone talked about them like they were bonded and Eric just accepted it as truth. “But why do a test then?”
Jamie eyes fell again. Eric waited for him to talk again, having momentarily forgotten about his food. Jamie tucked a few stray black hairs behind his ears. He looked uncomfortable. But when he did finally spoke his voice was authoritative, “I lied. Being an expert on the nature of bonds I was able to bluff alternative explanations for the obvious symptoms. Further they believed me because of my credentials, and because of my assumed investment in reestablishing a healthy bond.” Eric was a little taken aback. It sounded so premeditated. Hostile. “Fortunately it’s relatively easy to reconnect.”
And this really took Eric back. What was Jamie covering his tracks now. Did he think that Eric would just take it. “Why should I go along with your lies?” Eric demanded angrily.
Jamie shut his mouth. His face turning pale. He looked a little like Eric had just punched him in the gut. Eric slowly wound spaghetti around his fork. Jamie deserved it.
Jamie remained still, looking into his lap. Eric continued eating. Jamie’s coy silence only fueled Eric’s anger. Eric knew his was useless, but if someone was going to use him as a tool he at least deserved to know about it. He watched Jamie out of the corner of his vision. His lips were moving like he was talking to himself. Finally he spoke.
“Eric I’m not going to give you a chose.” He reached across the table to touch Eric’s hand as he said it. Almost a gesture of comfort, but Jamie’s hand was icy hot. Sending piercing pain where it touched Eric’s hand.
Jamie held Eric’s hand firmly, determinedly, until Eric yanked free. The pain didn’t stop. It spread and deepened.
Jamie cradled his hand, his face showing pain, as he got up and left. Eric couldn’t have stopped him if he wanted. The pain was consuming. It made his vision hazy. His stomach queasy. His body feel weak and shaky. The pain was in his bones and his blood. He timidly drank some water, hoping to ease the pain. Eric’s senses registered the weight and feel of the glass the way he would dream about drinking water. He had to direct the glass to the lips with his vision.
Eric abandoned the cup. The water hadn’t helped. Hadn’t registered. The pain was beyond physical. His soul was on fire. Eric tucked into himself and closed his eyes, surrendering to the pain. No one could see him and no one would look for him. He would just wait the pain out. And as the sensations settled in his mind became numb, time became numb.
And then something strange happened. Eric remembered back to when he first met Jamie. The memory replayed itself drawing him in. He relived that first moment when…

* * *

Monday, August 18, 2008

jamie and eric-24-heading home from work

Last time (and yes I am changing the past)… Dahlia ended up skipping dinner to finish homework she had forgotten about (which means that Master Brown doesn’t find out that Eric has memory issues). Bridgett carried the conversation through dinner and became more and more annoyed at both Jamie and Eric feinted her attempts to make talk. Grilling Eric she discovered Eric’s loss of memories. This discovery seemed to make Jamie uneasy, but he didn’t say anything. Eric continued his tests all that week feeling worn not just by the long periods of intense mental activity but to the repeated assault of feelings of uselessness. He was sure Jamie hated him.
Friday came around and Eric went to work as normal. The heat of the day was just beginning to bite as Eric got off. Eric blessed his half days even if they meant waking up early. He spent the morning weeding. After work the venerable Master Dragon (or whatever his name was I forgot) would perform the bond test. Eric wasn’t sure what he would have to do or why only Master Dragon could perform the test in the entire South Central Region.
Dumping his weeds into the compost bin, Eric brought the wheelbarrow back around the front of the shed. His co-workers were breaking for lunch, laughing and talking in Spanish on the lawn in front of the shed. Eric smiled uneasily. A couple of times he had managed to pack a lunch before leaving for work so that he could eat with them. Their English was poor and he didn’t know any Spanish. Eric quickly finished cleaning and storing his tools. And not saying anything, just left.
He was only watching the trail walking home. Eric felt so.. frustrated maybe. Doing all of these tests exposed not only exhausted him. The thorough quiet scrutiny didn’t end when he failed, but continued demand answers from him until it had proved he was completely worthless. Work was okay, he could do it. The other guys all treated him like a rich white boy. He kinda was. He scuffed his shoes in the gravel of the path.
He automatically took the turns that would bring him back home, not really paying attention to his surroundings. Not really thinking either. Eric’s thoughts were such a mess. Jamie was standing next to the main entrance of the building, but Eric didn’t notice him as he approached. Eric had almost passed Jamie, when Jamie reached out almost touching him, “Eric!”
“Wha-?” Eric was slow to register that Jamie was talking to him. And then he felt immediately nervous. He couldn’t remember seeing Jamie outside of the suite. Eric thought he might be in trouble. He couldn’t have taken that long walking home.
“Let’s get lunch.” Jamie said quietly, tentatively as if afraid to speak. Eric didn’t respond, but the open-jaw astonishment on his face did. Jamie swallowed. “I have to tell you something.” Jamie explained turning his body to suggest they head inside, to the cafeteria. Eric went inside, not looking at Jamie but so aware of his presence he could almost feel it. Jamie followed. Silent. Slightly behind him. Slightly to the side.
The Masters’ building had a small cafeteria off the main lobby. Jamie wasn’t sure how much food they actually served, but the small sitting area seemed to always be empty. Or almost empty. Still it was nice. The seating area was broken into cushioned booths. Calm music was soft enough for conversation but eased the tension of talking in a silent room. It didn’t help the two boys that entered the room and grabbed their plastic trays.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

jamie and eric-17 3/4-scene conclusion

Jamie settled in front of his book again and before he could find his spot on the page Bridgett asked, “Don’t you miss Eric?”
Jamie started a little. Bridgett hadn’t asked this specific question before. Or any question along those lines. The answer was yes and he didn’t want to say that.
“Yes.” Jamie said at last. Looking at his page, he waited for her next question.
“Invite him to go to dinner in town with us.” Bridgett pleaded. Jamie squirmed. “Or I could.” Bridgett offered. Dahlia snorted. She had already heard about Bridgett’s and Eric’s reunion. Bridgett shot her a dirty look, but relented. “I bet he would come if you invited him, Jamie. Please invite him.”
“Are we going to dinner in town tonight?” Jamie avoided answering. “Yes,” Bridgett declared, “you, me, Dahlia, and… I rustle up a couple of kids from class, and Dahlia will invite Tonya.”
“Tomorrow’s a school day, thank you very much Miss I-can-get-up-whenever-I-want!”
“Take one for the team,” Bridgett shot back.
“I still think he’s an ass.” Dahlia retorted.
“Well?” Bridgett asked turning to Jamie.
Jamie so rarely left this room. Neat, quiet room. With its comfy brown couch and Jamie’s black-topped lab table over in the corner. In the past he had never felt so scared to leave, but now he realized how dependent he was on the nice quiet world Master Brown provided him with.
“Sure, fine. If he shows up before dinner time, I’ll invite him to join.”
Bridgett smiled. And tried to hide her smile. “Excuse I need to get something from my lab.” Leaving her books strewn across the table she gilded out of the suite. The heavy wood door giving a solid thunk behind her.
Jamie’s head fell to the table. He groaned. Dahlia looked confused.
“What? It’s not like she could possibly make that happen.” Her eyes darted to the main door and back to Jamie.
“She’s going to cast a suggestion spell.” Jamie answered.
“Oh give me a break; those things never work.” Dahlia tucked her fluffy brown hair behind her ear. As much as Bridgett took to plotting, and as annoying as it was, she really couldn’t do anything.
“Bridgett can do suggestion spells.” Jamie said matter-of-factly.
“No she can’t! The concept of a suggestion spell is inherently flawed. Not only do you have to form a connection with the target’s mind,” Dahlia counted the action on her finger, “which, I might add, has to be voluntary on both sides, but you have to give them thoughts, “ Dahlia counted this action as well, “while overcoming the mind’s sense of self and foreign.” Dahlia ticked this final action on her fingers as well. Throwing her arms up into the air, “You can’t ask for a connection and then tell the person to do something without them realizing it was you telling them to do it.”
“I never asked Bridgett how she does it. We should stop talking, though, and get our work done before dinner.”

jamie and eric-17 2/3-cliff hanger concluded

“I knew that Jamie and Eric had stationed in Harnet and were studying at Link. So I went to administration office there and talked to some people and they redirected me to some other people. Basically I spent the entire day trying to figure out where Jamie and Eric were. Finally, someone gave me the address of the house Jamie and Eric were renting a room in. Apparently, Jamie came home one night, about the time I got his thought-spell, completely mad and Eric’s whereabouts were unknown. Jamie was able to lead the family matriarch to where Eric was, severely wounded. Jamie had done his best to stop Eric’s bleeding but he was unconscious.
“The family immediately brought Eric to the hospital, which was inadequate to treat him, but better than nothing. Because Harnet has an unusually high number of bonded pairs, which is why Jamie and Eric chose to study there, understood that Jamie’s behavior was consistent with the shared shock experience. Meaning that when Eric was injured Jamie went into shock as well. But shared shock generally subsides quickly.
“By the time I got there, they had institutionalized Jamie. They deemed him mentally unstable, and kept him subdued with tranquilizers.”
Dahlia started, “But I thought—“
“Yeah, Jamie’s race have a high sensitivity to sedatives, and they did have him doped too high. I tried to explain that to them, but they wouldn’t believe me. This brings me back to my research. If people were more culturally aware—“
“Yes yes I know I know” Dahlia prompted Bridgett forward.
“Well anyways,” Bridgett continued. “I crashed in Jamie and Eric’s place for a couple of days. Originally I was just there for support, but both Jamie and Eric were getting worse. You know that I have some healing ability, as it’s taught in all the schools back home.”
“Yeah,” Dahlia intoned.
“So I offered to help stabilize Eric, but they wouldn’t have it. So I tried convincing the staff at the asylum that Jamie wasn’t insane, that it was just a case of extended shared shock. That Jamie should not be on such heavy drugs. They wouldn’t hear it either. They wouldn’t even let me see Jamie. I couldn’t convince the family they were living with to help me. And I couldn’t get anyone at the university to talk to me. I think it was probably a week after I first arrived in Harnet when I busted Jamie out—“
“You what?!” Dahlia blurted in surprise. “What do you mean ‘busted him out?’ How? What happened?”
“Harnet is a tiny little town and they don’t have security at the asylum at night. So I picked the lock to the front door and then picked the lock to Jamie’s room. It really couldn’t have been easier.
“Leaving with him was another story. He was physically shaking. He didn’t respond to me at all, and he jerked away any time I tried to touch him. I was pretty sure it was the drugs, but all the healing I know is along the ‘stop bleeding’ lines. So I fed him some syrup of ipecac. He threw up a lot. He still had drugs in his system but if they had given him anything before they left it wasn’t going to get into his system. It probably wasn’t the smartest thing to do, but I didn’t know what else to do. We were they almost all night. After a while he started coming back to himself a little. Enough for me to give him water. So when I started to hear birds chirping I freaked out. Basically carried Jamie out and back into the woods.
“I hadn’t really thought it through ahead of time. I had just figured I would bring Jamie back to the house, but when I had him it occurred to me that the whole town seemed somewhat… I hate to say it because you’re going to say that I always say it.”
“What racist?” Dahlia asked.
“Yeah. Well that and I had gotten so much resistance when trying to change Jamie and Eric’s situation. So I was in the woods with a half conscious, still physically sick Jamie with some food in my backpack and no way to get home.”
Dahlia looked almost incredulous. “No way. It couldn’t have been that bad. What did you do?”
“Well,” Bridgett continued. Jamie was really taking his sweet time in the kitchen. “I cheated.” She paused.
“What does that mean?” Dahlia asked impatiently.
“It must have taken two hours of sitting in the woods before it occurred to me, but I made an anchor point in my room here ages ago mostly for practice. Took me nearly another hour to remember how the spell goes. I teleported us back to my room here. In retrospect it wasn’t that smart a decision either.”
“Why?” Dahlia seemed to disagree.
“Bonded pairs are affected by distance. You’d have to ask Jamie why, but separating them when they were both in such a bad way was rather stupid.” Bridgett berated herself.
“But it turned out alright.” Dahlia insisted.
“Obviously. Master Honeywell (or whatever Bridgett’s Master’s name is) helped me get Jamie to the medical building. They hooked him up to an IV. They said there wasn’t much they could do for him. Once Master Brown had heard the full story she arranged for Eric to be moved to Phoenix University (or whatever this university is named) medical ward as well. It took about a week to get him back here. But you know all of this.”
“Yeah.” Dahlia seemed a little amazed. “But how do you know their bond was broken? If Jamie was under shared shock wouldn’t that mean he was still bonded to Eric?”
“I know that their bond was broken because Jamie told me. I wouldn’t be able to diagnose it myself. But Jamie told me that shared shock would have only lasted a day. He was reacting to energy whiplash and then energy withdraw.”
“What?” Dahlia wasn’t convinced.
“Whiplash.” Jamie explained coming out of the kitchen with strawberry lemonade. “All of the energy that was between us ‘hit’ me, so t speak, when the bond was severed. Some of it hit Eric as well, but the connection was cut unevenly. Withdraw is not entirely accurate. It’s more like energy drain.” Jamie paused in thought for a moment, setting the drinks down. “If you can imagine that the soul creates a shell for itself to hold its energy in, then a bond requires that a hole be made in the shell for energy to be exchanged. The exchange of energy being essentially what a bond is, of course.”
“Of course.” Dahlia and Bridgett repeated, giggling.
“Yeah,” Jamie smiled a little embarrassedly. “Well anyways, when the bond is broken the hole takes time to heal over. The soul is waiting for the connection to reestablish and continues to send energy out. Yeah.”
Jamie settled in front of his book again and before he could find his spot on the page Bridgett asked, “Don’t you miss Eric?”

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Cat Idol I



Here the background is complete.
I have added words onto the halo, they are: "Sinn, gultig, Konfession, Lack, Gift." These words mean, respectively, "sense (like touch, taste, smell...), valid, religion, gloss, and poison." I chose to use false friends (words that sound/look similar between languages, but have different meanings) to create a tension in the piece. I wanted the cat to be simple and authoritative like an idol. I wanted the words on its halo to create a sense of unease/religious (as they appear to have negative/religious connotations) but really be meaningless, in the end leaving you empty. The last word is different, however, appearing positive but actually being quite negative. The image is perhaps too happy-go-lucky taking away from the emotionally meaning of the false friends.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Blah Blah Blah: a short summary of sustainability

This is the final paper for my sustainability class. It's not exceptional, but it's the only thing I've written in a while so here we go. Blah blah blah is a joke from a lecture we had from Dr. Bauman also known as the standup economist (you can youtube him and see the joke I'm talking about).

Each lecture had some good points and some areas where the speaker failed to address the complete picture. Overall I really enjoyed most of the presentations, but I was disappointed that they focused more on describing problems than solving them. Still, framing the question is half of the battle. Thinking about my own aspirations, I feel like what I’m really taking away from this class is a broader perspective.

Anne Steinemann explained how regulations on toxic chemicals are almost non-existent and therefore one can safely assume any given product is toxic. This of course begs the question, ‘If we’re already constantly surrounded by toxic chemicals why aren’t we experiencing any effects?’ Anne explained that there are two reasons: 1) our body will mask symptoms of chronic exposure and 2) symptoms may be non-specific and small, such as a generally weakened immune system. While I believe her, I am skeptical because she didn’t show us any studies of the effects of toxics on human health. One reason may have been that there are so many toxic chemicals with different effects. Toxics are especially worrisome when you consider that they undermine our society in ways that caused past societies to collapse (Karr2). She ended on a positive note, though, and explained what we can do to make our homes less toxic. Beyond personal choices the low level of companies reporting toxics in their products would inhibit my ability to focus on toxicity. The current political atmosphere may be too controlled by special interests to achieve effective toxic regulation policy, which is a political transition the world needs to make (Karr11).

The next speaker was Christine Ingebritsen, who informed us of some aspects of how Scandinavian countries serve as examples for the Green Movement. I felt like she glossed over too many details for the lecture to prove useful, but this was probably because she was condensing her quarter long class into one lecture for us. Beyond environmental-forward policy, Scandinavia enjoys cultural norms that value natural systems. Among other causes, Scandinavia may have developed a more environmental set of cultural values due to resource limitation early in their histories. Unfortunately resource limitation cannot be applied to the United States, to affect a values transition, because we do not want to hit that low point. Instead the Scandinavian value system really only highlights the power that a shift in cultural normality could create, and perhaps provide examples of specific morals. I may further research Scandinavia to see how it could benefit my efforts.

Professor Gloyd illustrated how ‘higher level’ driving forces must be addressed before common and preventable diseases can be effectively treated. He advocated lifting the World Bank restrictions on internal government spending in debt burdened countries, which would allow said governments to create adequate national healthcare systems, because NGOs focus on short-term and non-comprehensive solutions. To really cure diarrhea, pneumonia, etc. we would need to borrow pieces from the social (improving gender equality), economic (addressing poverty and debt), political (reducing the power of the World Bank) transitions and possibly even the values transition (valuing human welfare above free trade) (Kerr11). Personally, his story served more as a framework for presenting similar problems than as a call to arms since I won’t be working in either policy or medicine.

Professor Miller shared the recent discovery of his department with us; namely that marine tourism should consider environmental dimensions. In future presentations he should provide guidelines for what sustainable tourism is. In general, tourism is part of a consumption pattern that needs to be changed.

“Dirt: The Erosion of Civilization” was the title of Professor Montgomery’s latest book as well as his lecture to us. Having written a book on the subject, the lecture was remarkably succinct and informative. Montgomery proposes that poor agricultural techniques (primarily the plow) cause accelerated erosion that ultimately limits food production and puts a time limit on civilization. Adding further emphasis to this area of thought is the fact that per capita food production has been decreasing since 1984 (karr1).

Dr. Bauman reduced the sustainability crisis down to needing a carbon tax, which would make renewable energies competitive, which is something I’ve heard before. What I really took away from his lecture, though, was how harsh market transitions are. For instance, low wage workers often commute to work because it is too expensive to live in the cities where the work is. Imagine a low wage worker that commutes to work because housing is too expensive close to work. A gas price increase will provide incentive for her to stop commuting, but she has no capital to move and there may not be public transit to where she lives. If there are no alternatives and she doesn’t have a social safety net than it’s highly likely she will end up in poverty. Dr. Bauman suggested providing those negatively affected by the transition with finical help, but how do you make that happen?

Professor Westerman puts forth that waste in our current system is an opportunity to improve systems and make money. He is after all a business professor. He threw a list of potential tools to tackle the sustainable business problem at us; the tools I like best were cradle-to-cradle and life cycle assessment, both of which I had heard about before. I wish he would have gone into more detail about some of the tools that were new to me, such as ISO 14000. The critical take away for me were four communication strategies to approach businesses: surprise, crisis, voice of authority, and peer pressure. Professor Westerman himself has done some pretty audacious things to get companies to listen. To protest wasteful packaging, he has sent packaging back to the company.

After all this I’ve really decided that I need more education in terms of economics and business practice. Westerman proposed we need a genius to cook up a new value system as compelling as money, but I think we also need one to resolve the tragedy of the commons. Economic modeling in general seems weak and oversimplified, which I want to learn more about if not tackle myself. Even if we cannot accurately model human responses to market forces, it is important to consider all affected parties and craft solutions that will provide sustainable welfare for everyone. Obviously this will be easier when working on specific problems with the affected parties, but even then it will still be important to remember the boarder context that any problem falls into.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

button ideas

C.A.R.E. (campus animal rights educators) gives out vegan/animal rights related buttons. I decided to make a couple of designs this time around. Going on the "animals are my friends; I don't eat my friends" idea I came up with this button, which Max thinks is sexual...

This is my favorite phrase, because I think it really captures the idea of veganism, although the image isn't terribly cute or pretty. I saved the image in layers, so I might go back and change the background. Playing around with distortion effects I stumbled upon the lower design. Both are kinda cool.


This is by far my favorite based on how they turned out. From the last time we made buttons, my favorite said "veggies are dope." I tried to expand on that idea.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Searching for the Holy Grail of Alternative Energies

This is an assignment I did from my Creating a Sustainable Society class.


Imagine twenty-foot tornados attached to nuclear power plants, fields of corn and sugarcane produced not as food but as ethanol, ever more complicated devices to trap sun beams, tidal motion and wind currents, methane captured from the melting ice caps… The list of fantastic new sources of clean energy goes on, but which one should we invest in?

The answer may be more complicated than we think, and it might not just be producing energy. Three important principles shape the future of energy: negawatts, diversity, and regionally specific energy plans.

Negawatts

As it turns out, not using the energy in the first place is the cheapest and cleanest ‘source’ of energy. Negawatts is the term used to describe a unit of saved energy, and it’s not a new idea. Energy efficient technologies already exist across the line: everything from cars with better gas mileage to programmable thermostats. People and companies tend to shy away from these technologies because of long return times on initial investments, but solutions to this problem may be just around the corner.

While buying a new and more efficient water heater may be an investment that is unfavorable for a homeowner due to budget constraints, the government sees it differently. Just last year the US Department of Energy awarded $574 million in financial assistance to business, industry, universities, and others for energy conservation projects. Some utilities are considering offering similar financial assistance instead of building new power plants. As it turns out, investing in energy efficiency costs an estimated 4 cents per kilowatt-hour, whereas building and operating a nuclear power plant costs 5.2 cents per kilowatt-hour.

Diversity

Surprisingly, the best answer to renewable energy isn’t one source but several. Many great ideas for producing clean energy are not feasible at a large scale, such as using exercise equipment to generate electricity, because they don’t produce enough. Even solar panels cannot replace fossil fuels because they do not provide a constant baseline of power. Despite these disadvantages, many such ideas should still be implemented because the combination of technologies is cheaper and cleaner than any one energy source.

Localized power plants send electricity through several transformers and many miles of wire before it reaches your home, and during this process some amount of energy is lost. Micro energy systems, which produce small amounts of energy at many non-localized areas, avoid this problem reducing the overall energy demand without changing consumption at all. And a diverse portfolio of energy sources reduces potential damage from unforeseen side effects by limiting the amount of harm any one technology can cause.

Regionally Specific

Available natural resources differ between regions, so it would make sense to implement different methods of generating power. While this concept seems obvious, it may be tricky to know what all of the energy opportunities in a region are. Did you know that energy can be produced from cow manure? States need to think creatively about their options when implementing energy plans.

These energy principles can be applied to homes as well. When something around the house needs to be replaced, we can make the choice to spend that little bit more for the efficient option. I would also highly suggest taking advantage of the government’s willingness to help finance energy conserving improvements. And if for those us ready to take the investment plunge, such as installing solar panels on the roof, we think about regionally appropriate micro energy systems.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Kelly's afghan

I finished this afghan a while ago. The pattern is called gothic square, it is made out of organic cotton - very soft and earth friendly. I was trying to make an interconnected bleeding-color look.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

jamie and eric-17 1/2- history

Keeping her place with her finger she flipped forward to the end of the article, and contemplated the thickness of the article. She sighed, and watched Dahlia making intentional scribbles on her paper.

“You have to cut Eric some slack. Jamie for that matter too. They’ve had it really hard since the accident.” Bridgett stared drowsily at the wall.

“The accident” Dahlia scoffed. I really don’t see what was so bad about the damn accident. Eric recovered all of his mobility. Jamie didn’t have any major injuries. Everyone molly-coddles them like they’re bound to wheelchairs”

“Dahlia,” Bridgett’s voice was more serious now than argumentative. “They’re bond was broken.”

Dahlia gave Bridgett a skeptical look. “What does that even mean?”

“Well…” Bridgett was looking for the right words. “All I know is that Jamie lost touch with reality..” Bridgett’s voice trailed off.

Dahlia made a continue hand gesture, “I want to hear the whole story.”

“Didn’t Jamie tell you?” Bridgett asked surprised.

“No. Master Brown told me to drop it.”

“Alright. So you know Jamie and Eric had gone to Harnet to study at Link University. And I was in Danyar. Jamie has yet to tell me what actually happened, but I came into the story when I got a desperate and basically incoherent thought-sharing spell from Jamie. I only recognized it was him from his ‘voice.’” Bridgett gave the word special intonation to indicate Jamie’s mental voice. Jamie hadn’t returned from the kitchen yet. Bridgett suspected that he had heard the conversation topic and was finding ways to stay busy until she was finished telling Dahlia. In his own way, Jamie was giving Bridgett permission to tell the story.

“I tried to contact Jamie again via thought spell, but he wouldn’t respond. The only other piece of information that I could really get from his spell was a sense of need and urgency. So, I can’t do finder spells so I ended waking up like twenty people who could and would be willing to do a finder spell for me.”

“How could someone who’s never met Jamie possibly find him.”

“Oh.” Bridgett shook her wrist to indicate the bracelet she wore, “Jamie gave this to me. It was a stretch but it worked. Realistically I couldn’t leave that night, but I mapped his location. I packed my bag. Looked up the train schedules Slept as well as I could. The next day I headed out on the first train, and it took me three days to get to where he was the night he called out to me. The exact location was in the woods on the outskirts of Harnet.

“So here I was in the middle of nowhere near Harnet, unable to do another finding spell and Jamie had a three day head start on me.”

“What did you do?” Dahlia was enthralled.

“I knew that Jamie and Eric had stationed in Harnet and were studying at Link. So I went to administration office there and talked to some people and they redirected me to some other people. Basically I spent the entire day trying to figure out where Jamie and Eric were. Finally, someone gave me the address of the house Jamie and Eric were renting a room in. Apparently, Jamie came home one night, about the time I got his thought-spell, completely mad and Eric’s whereabouts were unknown. Jamie was able to lead the family matriarch to where Eric was, severely wounded. Jamie had done his best to stop Eric’s bleeding but he was unconscious.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

The Wave

This was the inspiration for my latest afghan project.


Sketch made as color blocking study for afghan pattern.


And here is it after adding color.
Here is a detail of the final patteren.

Monday, March 3, 2008

jamie and eric-6 7/8-coming to that awkward point

“Or co-evolution.” Jamie added.

“huh?” Bridgett’s free-hand was frozen mid-gesture.

“What types of information co-evolve. Like in war when each side tries to produce more advanced weaponry.”

“Oh, yeah.” Bridgett’s pace slowed as she was thinking. Jamie obliged her, being physically connected to her pace by hooked arms, knowing that the coffee shop wasn’t far off. And they didn’t really seem to be in any hurry to do anything. “Well I had kind of thought of that. But I want to examine mechanisms of information transfer as a proxy of cultural acceptance and a possible method for expanding that acceptance. I mean if you could implement a large scale educational program that had- Well I mean if you could pass beneficial information from one culture to another with that tag-line of this benefit in your life came from so and so, then that could open the gate.”

“The problem isn’t in the educational system.” Jamie commented. “Educated individuals value knowledge based on its intrinsic qualities. They’ll seek out cross-cultural information if only to prove it wrong.”

“But that’s the problem! To prove it wrong. There has to be a way to erase or mitigate the negative connotation associated with outside information.”

Bridgett fell silent as they reached the coffee shop. Acknowledging the impossibleness of her self-set task. She released Jamie as he opened the door for her. The coffee shop was pleasantly busy. Several shelves of snacks and school supplies sat next to the baristas station. Beyond comfy seating and tables hosted a variety of socializing and studying students.

After ordering their drinks, Jamie didn’t drink coffee, the pair found a couch near the window, where they were mostly sheltered from the noise of the television.

“I don’t think you’re being fair Jamie.” Bridgett rekindled their previous conversation. “I mean your focusing on Academia. The world you live in. But I mean just basic everyday customs. Cooking and land practices. And basic education. You know that having required basic education is rather unique. I mean in my homeland everyone, well I can’t say everyone—almost everyone, undertakes a rather high level of education, but that’s because of the shame associated with being uneducated. The assumption is that even the basest farmer could discuss philosophy. But in some countries, education means you learn how to do a job.”


“There’s nothing wrong with that.” Jamie reminded her. “But you’re right. I was assuming academia. It seems like you would want to avoid academia altogether then.”

“Maybe.” Bridgett took a sip of her sweetened coffee. “I think I might need to narrow my thesis more.”

“You have a good place to start from.” Jamie reassured her. “I still feel like I’m doing exploratory surgery.”

Bridgett grimaced at the comparison. “It can’t be that bad, can it?”

“Before the accident it was just going to be a simple review paper on what we know about bonds, but… well I guess I’m still focusing on that. I have nothing else to focus on. So much of the research on bonded pairs has been done in Alsonkarpa where they don’t focus nearly as congruently on general magic principles. So I spend most of my time teaching myself Alsonkarpian theory and trying to match it up to the well developed general magic base developed here.”

“Why don’t you go to Alsonkarpa? I’m sure it would be easier to study there.” Bridgett suggested and quickly amended, “not that I’m trying to get rid of you.”

“I guess I should. Really.” Jamie admitted. “I just don’t want to.” Jamie dipped his finger into the hot chocolate to scoop up the foam and lick it off his finger.

“Weren’t you running experiments before?”

“Yeah,” Jamie said softly, “I still have all the data. Doesn’t really help.”

“Why not?” Bridgett was confused.

“I haven’t been able to find strongly enough bonded test pairs to find significant trends in the data. I’ve been trying to recreate key experiments done in Alsonkarpa holding variables they didn’t account for constant. So far it’s been a wash.”

“Did it seem like it was working before?” Bridgett was starting to feel like she was pulling teeth. Jamie had this habit of becoming quiet when he didn’t want to say something. Instead of outright admitting he didn’t want to talk about it.

“Before I was using myself and Eric as a case study and surveying other bonded pairs to see if the results I got on us were mirrored by the general trend… Eric hasn’t been able to help me.”

Jamie’s words almost faltered, but came out steady. Still Bridgett understood and changed the subject.

* * *

jamie and eric-6 3/4-more conversation

Jamie smiled good-humoredly. “So what was Danyar like?”

“Oh you know,” She began playing with Jamie’s keys, “it’s nice to be home. See my family. Eat Danyarian food again. You know, though,” Bridgett fell into step with Jamie as he finished tying his shoes and headed down the hallway. “as much as Danyarian customs are second nature to me, I kept feeling restricted.”

“Oh?” Jamie prompted her. He held his hand out and she handed him his keys.

“On one hand it’s nice that everyone is so focused during work time. And there’s just an ethic of helping people with their studies. But then scholars don’t go drinking. Don’t have fun.”

Jamie smiled slightly, knowing that he was not someone ‘who had fun.’

“I guess that means you’re glad to be back.” Jamie commented.

“Of course I am! I missed my best friend of all time plus one.” She hopped-spun around to face Jamie. Bridgett had such an careless happiness. Jamie instinctively grabbed her, afraid about her proximity to the stairs. Then smiled.

“I missed you too, Bridgett.” He let her go and she raced down the stairs. Jamie quickened his pace to follow.

Jamie was breathless as they spilled out into lobby. Bridgett spun around, musing, “it’s so nice to not have constant restrictions on your behavior.”

“I’m sure. When did you get back in?”

“Just today. I only stopped to put my luggage in my room before I came to see you.”

Bridgett let a heavy sigh, and took a more subdued position next to Jamie, hooking her arm into his.

“So did people really help you with your research?” Jamie inquired.

“Oh yeah. Like parts I have trouble with. Like statistics. I, of course, lend my vast knowledge of human behavior. Although the need for social studies seems a little less widespread.”

“But I thought that your people were xenophobic. Or tended to be xenophobic. Aren’t your studies exactly what they try to avoid?” Jamie queried.

“ Yeah,” Bridgett admitted making a ‘it’s complicated’ noise, “I get the sense that most of my colleagues are fascinated by my studies, but they wouldn’t want to actually interact with the people I interview. Also they all want to believe that anything different people do differently is inferior to the way we do things back home.” Bridgett was about to continue on the same line of thought, but burst into a new conversation, “Oh, I almost forgot to tell you. I’ve restructured my thesis.”

“Well it has been almost six months. I thought you would.”

“Shut up. Anyway, instead of focusing on the big wide world of cultural differences and mechanisms for acceptance, I’ve narrowed it down to how cultures share technical knowledge. I was thinking about actual applications, and while it’s true that a broad study could serve as the foundation for future research, I really want to feel my legacy. I’m thinking how cultural boundaries affect the spread of information, which I think is a selective process. So it could be really fascinating to see what types of knowledge are more readily passed around-“


Wednesday, February 13, 2008

jamie and eric-6 1/2-Bridgett and Jamie head out

* * *

Jamie opened the door absent-mindedly and was walking back to his desk, still thinking about the matrix of data on his laptop, when it registered that it was Bridgett that had knocked.

She laughed as he pivoted back towards her, “Bridgett!” the word stumbled out of his mouth. They hugged.

“It’s good to see you too,” Bridgett said, “Your bonded on the other hand freaked when he saw me.”

Jamie grimaced, “Sorry..”

“No matter.” Bridgett grabbed Jamie’s shoulder. “When was the last time you got out of here.” She was referring to mock-lab that Jamie had set up in the corner of the living room.

“Yeah,” Jamie admitted, “I have to leave to get data.”

Bridgett gave a sigh and rolled her eyes. “We’re leaving. We’re going to a coffee shop and we’re getting coffee.”

Jamie protested as Bridgett began physically dragging him out of the door as she spoke.

“I can’t just leave in the middle of what I’m doing. And I’m not wearing shoes. Or my coat.” Bridgett let him go, and he continued to list things as he turned back into the room. Bee-lining for his desk. “And I don’t know where my wallet is. I should ask Master Brown if…” His voice dropped into mumbling.

“I’m only letting you save your data.” Bridgett sat on the edge of the couch, near Jamie’s workspace. “And I’ll treat you. I don’t want to wait a century.” She watched Jamie rustling through papers on his desk.

The living-room wasn’t square. A nook closest to the kitchen entrance housed the dining table. On the adjoining wall, the width of the room narrowed slightly to define the entry-way. A nice, polished wooden table complete with a doily runner and a vase of flowers stood to one side of the front door. Hooks for coats and a short shelve for shoes on the other side. Keys and mail litter covered most of the doily. In the middle of the room, in front of the windows on the far way, two couches and a TV made a sitting area perfect for teenagers, and even young adults, to enjoy. Jamie’s desk was in an awkward corner. He faced it along the wall on the entrance wall, beyond the entry-way partition. Jamie tacked important documents on the wall. Bridgett was sure that Master Brown would have allowed Jamie to put his desk in front of a window.

Jamie’s computer, a blue-backed laptop, sat in the middle of neat stacks of papers. File cabinets flanked Jamie’s sides when he sat at his desk. The file cabinet on his left was a good two inches from obstructing Dahlia’s door. His bookcase, filled with loans from the library, stood between Dahlia’s and Eric’s doors. Every morning Jamie folded his blankets and put them up with his pillow in the linen closet in the bathroom. So Bridgett didn’t realize that Jamie slept on the couch.

Jamie saved the information on his computer and shut it down crouching over his chair. “Okay, almost done.” He pressed a button. Watched the screen for a moment and closed his laptop. Hopping out of his death trap work area, he grabbed his shoes and coats on his way out the door. Bridgett followed more slowly behind him, selecting his keys from the hall table as she left. Bridgett found him sitting in the hallway tying his shoes.

“I’ve missed you.” She mused as she locked the door.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

jamie and eric-24-reprecussions

“I’m so sorry!” Dahlia exclaimed as she threw her arms around him. Eric backed off instinctively, but she was only hugging him. “I didn’t realize you couldn’t remember anything! Things must have been so hard for you this past few months. And I’ve been so mean!” She was almost sobbing.

Eric patted her head.

* * *

While Dahlia was distracting Eric, Bridgett pulled Jamie aside, “You know something you aren’t telling me.”

“Maybe.” Jamie met her eyes challengingly.

“You want to help Eric, don’t you?” Bridgett appealed.

“Yeah,” Jamie said in an obscure manner, “I’ll help him”.

Bridgett eyed him, both suspicious and annoyed at being excluded. But Jamie was normally so open that when he decided to keep something secret, it was secret.

* * *

Eric woke up early for work the next day. The evening had ended with Dahlia asking Eric endless questions. Mostly for reassurance. No he wasn’t mad at her. Yes he remembered when her birthday was. Jamie had chosen to remain silent the rest of the evening. How could Jamie be so cold? Eric hated that feeling of not being cool enough to get the cool kid’s attention.

Eric dreaded the day. He stared at the amorphous pile of clothes on the floor. Always shifting. Sometimes disappearing when Master Brown demanded he do laundry. More often now that Eric did manual labor. Dahlia had done a complete 360. Gone from snide little monster child to doting little monster child. Too sweet. Too enthusiastic. Eric had no idea how to, to keep her back. To be what she wanted him to be, now that he had this out-of-his-control excuse. And he had a huge test today. Huge mental test after hours of hot sun manual labor.

Eric blinked. Realizing he was supposed to be getting dressed.

He found himself at the breakfast table, clothed, mostly awake. Dahlia bubbling voice in the background. Eating porridge, when “Eric, Eric. Is that true?” Master Brown asked him.

“Wha?” Eric rubbed his eye, focusing harder on his surroundings.

“Do you really have trouble remembering the five years you spent here?”

“Oh, that. No” Eric took another bite of his porridge. In the corner of his eye Master Brown turned again to Dahlia.

She said, “Well he won’t admit it—he wouldn’t admit it last night—because he can still remember general ideas, but nothing specific.”

“That would certainly explain your test scores.” Master Brown declared. Eric shrugged. He had never been a good student.

Master Brown was tapping the table, mumbling “…who do I know…” Eric kept eating. Respecting Master Brown’s need to think, Dahlia was forced into silence. And Eric ate in silence several bites.

Master Brown placed her hand on Eric’s arm from across the crowded table. Her sleeve threatening to dirty itself in dishes of food. “I’m going to cancel your tests. You need a physical and psychological-“ Eric groaned at the word. Master Brown ignored it. “evaluation to determine why you’re having memory lapses. But we’re going to have to send you somewhere else. Since Master Carter left, we haven’t had anyone trained in psychology.” Master Brown was tapping the table again. Standing to leave for her office.

Dahlia turned to Eric. “This is great!” She beamed. Eric groaned tiredly. This meant he was still going to work today.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

jamie and eric-23-dinner's discovery

“Uh-huh,” Eric grumbled. The ring thing was stupid, but it was really the way the girls were treating him had Eric in a bad mood. The girls giggled again, as if Eric’s annoyance fueled their secret little joke.

“Eric,” Bridgett asked, suddenly going serious, “do you remember how we met?”

“No,” Eric spat out, wishing the girls hadn’t come along.

“Well that was a while ago. And it was just like ‘oh hey Eric this is Bridgett.’ What do you remember about me?”

Eric held his tongue, holding back the your annoying comment. “Dunno, you were kinda weird when you first came back to campus.” Eric shrugged.

“Before that.” Eric was a little suspicious where this was going. “Think carefully.”

“Uh…” Eric eyes strayed upwards in memory. “I dunno. I remember you being around.” He shrugged. “Oh and that you couldn’t help me with math.”

Eric caught the tail end of a meaningful glance between Bridgett and Jamie after a sip of soda. Dahlia looked confused and eager to share the gossip.

“What?” Eric asked.

“Eric why didn’t you tell anyone you couldn’t remember anything before the accident?” Bridgett asked frankly.

Dahlia exclaimed wordlessly. Jamie was looking at him too now.

“Oh come on I remember stuff.” Pause. “I remember that I’m Master Brown’s apprentice or I was, I’m not sure what I am now, and so are Jamie and Dahlia. I remember that I took a bunch of stupid classes. And did stuff. I’m telekinetic. And Jamie’s an illusionist… And we’re bonded.” Bridgett had a concerned quirk to her mouth. Jamie’s expression was surprisingly neutral. Dahlia looked almost horrified.

“What about me? What’s my natural ability? Do you remember meeting me?” She asked worriedly.

“Uh…” Eric was blanking. He was sure he knew. “Yeah I know… Uh… You do stuff… We meet when you were little.” Eric rubbed the back of his head, his checks feeling hot. Another test he was failing. “Hey, I remember how I met Jaime” Eric said, pointing in his direction to add emphasis. “I remember how stupid we looked in those red wool jackets with shoulder pads. We were visiting the college for ‘conflict resolution training’ and I found him in the bathroom, cry- ing.” Eric let the last word die realizing that was a personal detail that he probably shouldn’t have shared with the girls.

Jamie was staring at his plate, wide eyed.

“So you’ve lost a period of time in your memory. You have just enough left to string together a congruent past.” Bridgett concluded cheerfully.

“Hey I don’t have memory problems, and if I did you shouldn’t be so happy about it.” Eric demanded.

Bridgett through up her arms in surrender, “Woah, I’m not happy that you have a problem. I’m happy that we figured it out. The first step to recovery is recognizing the problem after all.”

“Yeah…” Eric answered skeptically.